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Benue is a State in the middle-East region of Nigeria, it has a population of about 2.8million based on the 1999 census record; its total land area is 34,059km2 and it is among the 11th in the country. Benue State has its capital at Makurdi and its GDP was estimated in 2007 to be $6.86billion, $1.592 billion. The name Benue is named after the River Benue and the state was formed from Benue Plateau On the 3rd of February 1976 along with Igala and some parts of Kwara State which were carved out to become part of the present Kogi State. Some popular towns in this state include Vandeikya, Gboko, Ogbadibo Katsina-ala, Okpokwu, Obi, and Makurdi which is the state capital of Benue.
Location of Benue State
Benue State falls within longitude 70471, 1000E and latitude 60251, 8081N, the State shares boundaries with five other states in Nigeria. It share boundary with Nasarawa State to the north, Taraba State to the east, Cross River State to the south, Enugu State to the south-west and also with Kogi State to the west, hence it shares International boundary with the Republic of Cameroon to the south-east.
There are 23 local government areas in Benue State namely Ado, Katsina-Ala, Oju, Agatu, Konshisha, Okpokwu, Apa, Kwande, Oturkpo, Buruku, Logo, Tarka, Gboko, Makurdi, Ukum, Guma, Obi, Ushongo, Gwer-West, Ogbadibo, Vandeikya, Gwer, Ohimini. However, the dominant dwellers in Benue State are the Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Abakpa,jukun, NyIfon, Akweya . The Tiv are the major dominant ethnic group, they occupied about 14 local government areas with the Etulo and Jukun, however, Idoma, Igede Akweya , Nyifon occupy the remaining nine local government areas, while other migrants like the Igbo Hausa , Yoruba and some other minor other tribes in Nigeria leave among them.
In the year 1991, some areas of Benue state like the Igala area along with other areas inKwara were carved out to become part of the present Kogi State. Igbo peoplesettle in the boundary areas ofEbonyi StateandEnugu Stateand within local government areas like theObi and Ojuetc.
Additionally, Benue State possesses rich and diverse cultural heritages, which are commonly seen on the peoples colourful cultural clothing, displayed masquerades, supplicated music and on traditional dances. Beautiful dances from Benue State have won the State acclaim at national and international cultural festivals. Some of these popular dances include Ange, Ingyough, Anchanakupa, Swange and Ogiriny and others.
Relief and drainages
The land in this State is generally low lying, averaging a total of 100m-250m and gently undulating with occasional inselberg, knolls, laterites, capped mesas and butts. It is only at the terrain where the State shares boundary with Cameroon Republic and in Kwande and Oju LGA that the land has hilly terrain with appreciable relief. Steep slope, deep incised valleys and generally rugged relief characterize the relief. In Benue State, there are broaden villages with occasional swamps and extensive folded plains, where the River has become braided (just like the case of Numan and Jimeta in Adamawa State).
Agricultural activities in Benue State
Benue State is one of the biggest states in Nigeria, it is also seen as richest in the country in terms of food; it is blessed with a lot of food produce, hence the State is refers to as the food Basket of the Nation, since it is known for its large food production throughout the year. The people of Benue are engaged in different occupations, hence the Tiv grows grains like beni-seeds (sesame), and soy beans in the drier lands of the Benue Valley (east of Makurdi), while they cultivate rice on the more swampy area of the state. Other crops such as yam, palm fruit, maize, banana, orange, mango, cassava, cashew, groundnut, etc. are also grown in this part of the State. People who leave very close to the riverine areas engage in fishing as their primary occupation. However, within the southern part of the state is the large thick forest which grows useful trees for timber for both the State and for the country use, the thick forest provides a suitable habitat for rare animals types and species. The state thus possesses potential for the development of viable forest and wildlife reserves just like that of Pandam Wildlife Park in Plateau State, hence, it is now left for the State government to develop the forest and ban illegal cutting down of trees.
Climate of Benue State
Benue State experiences both dry and rainy season during the year, its climate is characterised by tropical sub-humid, according to Koppens classification, Benue lies within theAW climate. The dry season Starts from November to March, between the Month of March and April, the temperature becomes very high; the rainy season lasts for seven months (April and October) with annual rainfall in the range of 100-200mm.
Along the river valleys, these high temperature and high relative humidity give rise to inclement/debilitating weather conditions. The State Capital (Markurdi) experiences a slight change in its temperature. For instance, it records an average maximum and minimum daily temperatures of 35C and 21C in summer and 37C and 16C in winter, respectively.
Tourism in Benue State
Just like any other state in Nigeria, Benue State is a state that is rich in diverse natural resources and sites which need to be developed by the Government. The State has many attractive sites both in the state and within the State Capital. Some of the attractive sites in the State where visitors can enjoy most of their time undisturbed, while exploring the uniqueness of nature include the River Benue downstream, Katsina-Ala Riverfalls, Plateu benue trough, Ushongo Hills, Ikwe Holiday Resort, Enemabia Warm Spring, Kwag-hir Puppet Festival, Souvenir, Dajo Pottery, and TIV Anger Weavers.