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THE FOOD BASKET OF THE NATION

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BENUE STATE


BACKGROUND INFORMATION 

The agitation for the balkanization of the Northern Region of Nigeria started 
as far back as the early 1960s. The United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), led 
by Mr. J. S. Tarka aligned with the Action Group (AG) party, in order to get 
the Middle Belt Region created. But in 1963, when the geopolitical map of Nigeria 
was altered, only the MidWestern Region was created.

Ochi Idoma's Palace,Oturkpo

Ochi 
Idoma’s Palace,Oturkpo

In 1967, the regions were dissolved and in their place, twelve States were 
created among which was BenuePlateau State. This notwithstanding, the Benue 
people still wanted a state of their own. Their dream came true on 3rd February, 
1976. However, the Igala and Bassa people were brought from Kwara State to form 
part of Benue State. The desire of the Igala to rejoin their kith and kin led 
to the creation of Kogi State in 1991, leaving Benue State with its present 
boundaries.

Benue State lies between latitudes 6�25’N and 8�8’N and longitudes 7�47’E and 
10�E’. It is surrounded by five states, namely Nassarawa to the north, Taraba 
to the northeast, Cross River to the south, Anambra to the southwest and Kogi 
to the west. There is also a short international boundary between the state 
and the Republic of Cameroun along Nigeria’s southeast border.

Administrative Areas:Benue State is made up of twentythree Local Government 
Areas(LGAs); 14 of these Local Government areas correspond with the ethnic territory 
of the Tiv people, while seven correspond with the ethnic territory of the Idoma 
and two with the lgede. The LGAs are divided into districts. The state has two 
traditional councils, the Tiv Traditional Council, headed by the Tor Tiv and 
the Idoma Traditional Council headed by the Och’ldoma. Assisting the Tor Tiv 
are the TER’, who are second class chiefs. Their domain is the LGA. Under the 
‘Ter,’ are the district heads who are third class chiefs.

Administrative Structure:The state administration is made up of the 
Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. The executive arm of government comprises 
the Governor, Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the state government, the Head 
of Service and Commissioners. The Legislature, in its composition, has the Speaker, 
Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Whip, 
the Clerk of the House and Clerks of the arms.

Makurdi Model Market

Makurdi 
Model Market

The Clerks of the arms are responsible for taking minutes of the Standing Committees 
of the House. Lastly, are the rest of the members of the State House of Assembly. 
Benue State has twentynine members in the House of Assembly. The Judiciary is 
the system of courts of the judges collectively. The State Judiciary is made 
up of the State Chief Judge, High Court Judges, the Registrar of the High court 
and Deputy Registrar, the Directors, the Judges of the Customary Courts and 
their Registrars.

The indigenous administrative structures and institutions include the Tiv Traditional 
Council, Idoma Traditional council and religious organisations. The Tiv Traditional 
council is headed by a first class chief, the Tor Tiv, who is advised by a Council 
of elders known as Jirtamen. Under the Tor Tiv are the second class chiefs called 
“Ter” whose domain is the Local Government Area. The third class chiefs, called 
Tyoor, take charge of the districts. Below these are the kindred heads called 
Ortaregh who are in charge of kindreds. Last along the line are the Tax Collectors 
known as Torkpande.

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