Cross River State

Cross River is a state in Southern Nigeria, bordering Cameroon to the east. Its capital is Calabar and its name is derived from the Cross River (Oyono), which passes through the state. The current Cross River State was reconfigured in 1987 when Akwa Ibom State was carved out of the former South Eastern State structure, which was renamed Cross River State in 1975.

Cross River State
State Logo

The People’s Paradise
Location of Cross River State in Nigeria

Coordinates: 5°45′N 8°30′E


Geopolitical ZoneSouth South
Date created27 May 1967
GovernorSen. Prof. Benedict Ayade
Deputy GovernorProf. Ivara Esu
SpeakerRt. Hon. Eteng J. Williams.
Chief JudgeHon. Justice Akon Ikpeme
SenatorsSen. Gershom Bassey
Sen. Sandy Onoh
Sen. Jarigbe Agom
Senatorial Districts 3
Federal Constituencies 8
State Constituencies25

Cross River State, as is presently constituted, has a land area measuring about 98,000 square kilometres, with a population density of 20 per square kilometre. One third of the state is covered by a body of waters from the tributaries of the Cross River and the Atlantic Ocean. This renders the land very fertile and provides abundant aquatic resources for esploitation.

Two-thirds of Cross River State is covered by tropical rain forests, making it one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The State is also blessed with mineral resources like; Oil and gas; clay; salt; limestone; kaolin; barite, and quartzite.

Cross River State has 18 local Government areas namely; Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Bekwarra, Biase, Boki, Calabar Municipal, Calabar South, Etung, Ikom, Obanliku, Obubra, Obudu, Odukpani, Ogoja, Yakuur, Yala.

English, Efik, Bekwarra, Ejagham are major languages of the state.


Cross River State derives its name from the Cross River which passes through the state. It is a coastal state located in the Niger Delta region, and occupies 20,156 square kilometers. It shares boundaries with Benue State to the north, Ebonyi and Abia States to the west, to the east by Sud-Ouest Province, claimed by both Ambazonia and Cameroon Republic, and to the south by Akwa-Ibom and the Atlantic Ocean.


The South-South State was created on 27 May 1967 from the former Eastern Region, Nigeria by the General Yakubu Gowon regime. Its name was changed to Cross River State in the 1976 state creation exercise by the then General Murtala Mohammed regime from South Eastern State. The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from it in the state creation exercise of September 1987 by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Its capital is Calabar. Its major towns are Calabar Municipality, Akamkpa, Biase, Calabar South, Ikom, Igede, Obubra, Odukpani, Ogoja, Bekwarra, Ugep, Obudu, Obanliku, Akpabuyo, Ofutop,  Boki, Yala.

The state has been previously governed by many governors and administrators including Udoakaha J. Esuene, Paul Omu, Tunde Elegbede, Clement Isong, Donald Etiebet, Daniel Archibong, Ibim Princewill, Ernest Atta, Clement Ebri, Ibrahim Kefas, Gregory Agboneni, Umar Faoruk Ahmed, Christopher Osondu, Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Benedict Ayade. The Current Governor is Benedict Ayade, who was sworn into office on 29 May 2015.


The State is composed of several ethnic groups, which include the Efik, the Ejagham, Yakurr, Bette, Yala, Igede, Ukelle and the Bekwarra. There are four major languages spoken in the state: French, Efik, Bekwarra, and Ejagham. The Efik language is widely spoken in the southern part of Cross River State, especially in Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Odukpani Local Government Areas. The Ejagham language is the most widely spoken language in Cross River State; from Calabar Municipality, Akamkpa, Ikom, Obubra, Ogoja, Obudu, and Etung local government councils, to the south west province of Cameroon.

The Efik-speaking people live mainly in the Southern senatorial districts of Cross River, or as it is commonly referred to, the Greater Calabar district, which includes Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Bakassi, Biase, Akpabuyo, Odukpani, and Akamkpa LGAs. There is also the Qua community in Calabar, which speaks Ejagham. The main Ejagham group occupies mostly the Greater Calabar areas of Calabar Municipality, Odukpani, Biase and Akampkpa sections of Cross River State.

Cross River State epitomises the nation’s linguistic and cultural plurality and it is important to note that, in spite of the diversity of dialects, all the indigenous languages in the state have common linguistic roots as Niger–Congo languages.
Finally, the State boasts of being the venue of the largest carnival in Africa.

Local Government Areas

Cross River State consists of eighteen (18) Local Government Areas. They are:


Languages of Cross River State listed by LGA:

AbiAgwagwune; Ikwo-Igbo
AkamkpaAgoi; Bakpinka; Doko-Uyanga; Efik; Lubila; Nkukoli; Ukpet-Ehom; Ejagham; Kiong; Korop; Ubaghara; Ukwa; Umon
BekwarraBekwarra; Tiv; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike
BokiBete-Bendi; Bokyi
CalabarEjagham; Efik
IkomEjagham; Abanyom; Bukpe; Efutop; Mbembe, Cross River; Nde-Nsele-Nta; Ndoe; Nkukoli; Nnam; Olulumo-Ikom; Yala
ObanlikuBete-Bendi; Evant; Iceve-Maci; Obanliku; Otank; Tiv
ObubraAgoi; Hohumono; Legbo; Lenyima; Leyigha; Lokaa; Mbembe, Cross River; Nkukoli; Yala; Ikwo-Igbo
ObuduBete-Bendi; Bukpe; Bumaji; Elege; Tiv; Ubang; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike
OdukpaniEfik; Ejagham; Idere; Kiong; Korop; Odut; Usaghade
OgojaEkajuk; Igede; Kukele; Mbe; Nkem-Nkum; Nnam; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike; Uzekwe
YalaIzii-Igbo; Mbembe, Cross River; Tiv; Yace; Yala

Raw Materials Distribution in Cross River State

1ABISalt, LimestonePalm Produce, Cassava, Poultry, Maize, Forestry, Fruits, Vegetables, Rice
2AKAMKPALimestone, Coal, Manganese, Ilmenite, Gold, Quartz, Glass sand, TourmalineTimber, Palm Produce, Poultry, Forestry, Fruits, Vegetables, Rubber, Raffia Palm, Gmelina
3AKPABUYOPetroleum, Natural GasPalm Produce, Cassava, Raffia Palm, Timber, Poultry, Forestry, Fruits, Kolanut, Fishery
4BAKASSIPetroleum, KaolinFishery, Raffia Palm, Forestry, Beniseed
5BEKWARRAMaize, Cassava, Groundnut, Palm Produce, Yam, Beniseed
6BIASETin OreFruits, Vegetable, Plantain, Banana, Timber, Forestry, Raffia Palm
7BOKIMica, IlmenitePlantain, Banana, Fruits, Vegetable, Livestock, Palm Produce, Raffia Palm, Cocoa, Poultry, Timber, Forestry , Cane Ropes, Coffee.
8CALABAR MUNICIPALSharp Sand, Kaolin, Limestone, ClayFishery, Raffia Palm, Cassava, Palm Produce, Rubber, Vegetable
9CALABAR SOUTHSharp Sand, Clay, Spring WaterFishery, Vegetable, Cassava, Palm Produce, Raffia Palm
10ETUNGSaltPlantain, Banana, Cocoa, Fruits, Timber, Forestry , Palm Produce, Maize, Livestock, Cassava, Cane Ropes, Coffee
11IKOMQuartz, Glass SandPlantain, Banana, Cocoa, Fruits, Timber, Forest Produce, Livestock, Yam, Poultry, Palm Produce, Gmelina, Rubber, Maize, Coffee.
12OBANLIKUTalc, Mica, Ilmenite, Granite, Spring WaterMaize, Poultry, Livestock, Timber, Forestry, Palm Produce, Yam, Beniseed, Groundnut, Kolanut, Cassava, Rice, Plantain, Banana.
13OBUBRALead/Zinc, Salt, Tin Ore, Geothite, Quartz, Muscovite, Pure Quartz, Limestone, ClayFruits, Rice, Yam, Palm Produce, Poultry, Cassava, Timber, Forestry , Maize, Cocoa
14OBUDUKaolin, Quartz, Glass Sand, Gold, Tin Ore, Mica, Ilmenite, TalcPoultry, Livestock, Yam, Palm Produce, Beniseed, Kolanut, Groundnut, Maize, Millet, Plantain, Banana
15ODUKPANILimestoneFishery, Plantain, Banana, Fruits, Vegetable, Timber, Rubber, Palm Produce, Raffia Palm, Cassava, Maize, Kolanut
16OGOJATin Ore, ClayMaize, Millet, Cassava, Poultry, Livestock, Sugarcane, Yam, Rice, Groundnut, Beniseed, Palm Produce
17YAKURRUraniumFruits, Rice, Rubber, Palm Produce, Poultry, Timber, Forestry, Cassava, Maize
18YALABaryte, Lead/Zinc, SaltMaize, Millet, Cassava, Palm Produce, Poultry, Livestock, Yam, Rice, Sugarcane, Fruits, Beniseed








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