Cross River State
Cross River State is a coastal state in southeastern Nigeria, bordering Cameroon to the east. Its capital is at Calabar, and it is named for the Cross River, which passes through the state. Ibibio and Efik are major languages of this state.
The state was created in 1967 from part of the former Eastern Region, and was known as the 'South-Eastern State until 1976 when it adopted its present name. The state originally included what is now Akwa Ibom State.
Its governor since May 2007 is Liyel Imoke. The state is ethnically diverse, including Efiks, Bekwara, and Ejagham inhabitants. The state has experienced tensions between ethnic groups as well as border clashes with other states, particularly Akwa Ibom. Most of the inhabitants of Cross River are Christian. The state government is striving to make Cross River the tourism hub of the West African coast via the Tinapa resort project. Cruise ships are eventually expected to bring in large number of tourists to enjoy the Tinapa business resort.
The state is located in Nigeria's southeast corner bordering Southwestern Cameroon and contains a land area of about 28,585 km. The state borders, Benue state to its north, Anambra, Abia, and Akwa Ibom states to the west and the Atlantic ocean to the south. Located in the state is the Cross River which rises from the Cameroon mountains. The state is within the tropical rain forest though the Obudu plateau encounters temperate weather and other regions fall within mangrove swamps and savanna vegetations. The rainy season runs from May-October followed by the dry season from November to April. However, in some coastal towns, the rainfall is yearlong. The topography of the state is low lying landmass rising gradually upwards towards, the towns of Ugep, Ikom, Bekirana and Obudu.
A Cross River National Park was created in 1991 to conserve tropical moist forest areas in the state, it boast of one of the largest intact expanse of forest in the nation. The park is located between Sanaga and Cross river, the area has about 1000 species of butterflies. The park covers an area close to 4000 square kilometers and is divided into two divisions, Oban and Okwangwo, the latter host a few gorillas and chimpanzees. The forest areas is the residence of such trees as the Iroko tree (Milicia excelsa), Black Afara (Terminalia ivorensis), White Afara (Terminalia superba), Opepe (Nauclea diderrichii), Bush Mango (Irvingia spp.), Camwood (Pterocarpus osun), Mahogany (Entandrophragma spp.) and Ebony (Diospyras spp.)
Important cities and towns
The capital of the state and also the largest city is Calabar located near the Calabar River which is a tributary of Cross River. Other major locations are Ikom, Ogoja, Ugep, Obudu and Akamkpa.
The state is located within the South South zone of Nigeria. The largest ethnic group in the state are the Efiks and other groups closely related to the Efik in spoken dialects. Also, there are the Ejaghams in Northern parts of the state, the Ekois, Aleges, Bette-Bendis, Bokis, Bumajis, Amanas, and a few other groups closely related to ethnic groups in Benue State. The state is also residence to a number of migratory Nigerians from nearby states.
The state has a sizable land area that is used for agricultural resources both cash and food crops such as timber, cocoa, yam, maize, rice, plantain, pineapple, palm fruits, cassava and rubber. Banana is a major cash crop grown in many areas of the state. Fishing is also prominent in the riverine areas and creeks. However, economic growth in many agrarian communities is hampered by lack of infrastructures.
The state has a few industries including an almost completed cement factory located close to Akamkpa which builds on an already existent factory at Calabar, also located at Akamkpa and Odukpani LGAs are projects linked with Obasanjo farms and Dangote Cement and a Dansa Foods pineapple plantation is planned at Akamkpa. Other industries in the state includes, the Niger Mills, Seromwood Industries, Oban Rubber Estate, Plywood Industries, Calabar Eastern Match, Durafoam, and Cross River Limestones.
Cross Rivers hosts one of the oldest educational institutions in Nigeria: the Hope Waddell Training Institute. The state also hosts the University of Calabar, Cross River University of Technology, a state polytechnic and a college of education. The state has about 1,280 primary schools and 502 secondary schools.
Arts, tourism and culture
The state is rich in cultural ceremonies and associations including Nkim and Ekpa masquerade ceremonies and associations such as Obon and Ekpe.
Other areas of interest is the Obudu Cattle ranch and Obudu Hills where many tourists visit for the green scenery and cool weather. Others are Tinapa, a business and leisure resort, Qua falls, Agbokim falls, the tomb of Mary Slessor, Afi Mountains and Wildlife sanctuary and some structures of historical significance located in Calabar. In Calabar, Channel View Restaurant and Bar is a fine place to dine, so also is Crunchies, and Mr Fans, the city also host a niteclub called Pinnacle while for shopping, Rabana Supermarket, Watt Market and Marian Market are places to find groceries and vegetables.
Cross River State is divided into 18 Local Government Areas:
- Brig Esuene. 1967-1975
- Brig Paul Omu.
- Comm Elegbede
- Dr Clement Isong
- Donald Etiebet. 1983-1983
- Col Dan Archibong. 1984-1986
- Comm Ibim Princewill
- Ernest Atta
- Clement Ebri