Makurdi is the Capital ofBenue State, it was established in the 20th century, and its total population was recorded to be 300,377 in 2006. Starting from 1927, Makurdi started gaining popularity however, in 1976; the town became the capital of Benue State even until now. Makurdi is essentially an administrative centre with very limited industrialization occurring in it. River Benue divides the town into north bank and south bank. Two bridges further connect both the north and south banks to each other: the railway bridge which was constructed in 1932, and the new dual carriage bridge was constructed in 1978. Makurdi is a colonial town Just like Jos City, it was developed during the colonial period; initially, the capital of Benue province was not Makurdi, it was somewhere toward Gboko. According to Daniel Otega, (A rural geography coordinator on the History of Makurdi ) A rich migrant once settled very close to the river Benue Bank, he was surrounded by local villagers who did not have knowledge about monetary value. This man was the only person who had access to money at that time and he was very rich, for the reason, the villagers usually come to him to collect money and then exchange it with other goods. Since then, they started calling him mme- kurdi which later became the name of the town Ma-kurdi, pronounced as Makurdi until today.
Markurdi is located on the south bank ofRiver Benue, where the railway line running from Port Harcourt stretches to the present government house, which was formally a residence for majority of engineers working there. The geographical coordinates of Markurdi town are 70 441 0N, 80 321 0E.
Means of Transportation
Roads, railway, water and air are the common means of transportation routes that connect to Makurdi town with other towns and states; the major north route is the straight road that links Makurdi, Lafia and Jos Plateau road. The south routes are linked by Makurdi, Otukpo, Enugu, Yandev, Adikpo and Calabar roads. This Makurdi Rail Bridge provides the only rail link between the northern and eastern parts of Nigeria; though the railway is not currently working, it used to serve as a port from which goods, including locally grown sesame seeds and cotton were transported toLagos State and to the Niger River delta ports, also see water works.
Makurdi Airport has the Nigerian Airways and other private airlines provide air links between Makurdi and the rest of the country. The beautiful beaches of River Benue can be exploited to provide good sites for relaxation. The river itself provides tourist opportunities for fishing, boating swimming and scientific research. The Makurdi Moratorium that houses a variety of animals including some rare species also serves as another feature of tourist attraction.
In 1984, an industrial estate was built to provide urbanization with facilities and road networks; there was an establishment of coca cola deport and Benue State breweries along Gboko road. In 982 Agro mining food processing unit owned by a private individual for mining of rice was also created in Markurdi hence, there are printing press, small-scale industries, beautiful science, high commercial activities, hotels, banks, hospitals and recreational centres all over Makurdi town. Some institutions also exist such as Benue State University, Fidei polytechnic, Federal University of Agriculture, University of Mkar, and Benue State Polytechnic etc.
Makurdi is the biggest urban centre in Benue State, the present Makurdi has grown up to 348,990 in number, and other towns found in Benue were formed in the late 20th Century, which means that there is no town that is more than 100 years. There is an expansion of urbanisation, which has attracted administrative staff and population increase hence, native authority has gain popularity due to the growth of Makurdi town. There is a major development of new towns which were not there before on the way that leads to Gboko toward PKO, the southern parts is fast developing , while the northern parts is not as developed as the southern parts. The Jukun are the predominant settlers in the north bank, on the hills that used to be the colonial residence towards where the government house is presently located. When viewing the landscape, you can see that Makurdi is just like Garden city, the trees are lavishly planted to modify the micro climate of this area, but the low lying area of this town are covered with flood.
Generally, Benue State is known as an agricultural catchment area, it cultivates more of cash crops, fruit crops and food crops hence, it is commonly called The food Basket of the Nation. This rich attributes can easily be noticed while traveling from Jos to Benue State. In addition, the State logo and other physical features give important insight on the type of occupations that the state is dealing with.
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