Benue Map

As an administrative unit, Benue State was first created on February 3, 1976. It was one of the seven states created by the military administration headed by the late General Murtala Mohammed, which increased the number of states in the country from 13 to 19. In 1991 its boundaries were adjusted with the creation of Benue State. The new Benue State of today has twenty (23) local government areas, which are administered by local government councils. Benue State lies within the lower river Benue trough in the middle belt region of Nigeria. Its geographic coordinates are longitude 7° 47’ and 10° 0’ East. Latitude 6° 25’ and 8° 8’ North; and shares boundaries with five other states namely: Nassarawa to the north, Taraba to the east, Cross-River to the south, Enugu to the south-west and Benue to the west. The state also shares a common boundary with the Republic of Cameroun on the south-east. Benue has a population of 4,253,641 (2006 census) and occupies a landmass of 32,518 square kilometers. The state comprised of several ethnic groups: Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Abakpa, Jukun, Hausa, Akweya and Nyifon. The Tiv are the dominant ethnic group, occupying 14 local government areas, while the Idoma and Igede occupy the remaining nine local government areas.

According to the 2006 population censors, Benue State has a total population of 4,253,641 (with 2,144,043 are male and 2,109,598 are female) out of which 2,169,357 are children (0-17years) (FMWA&SD, 2008). With OVC prevalence of 49%, the OVC population for the state is 1,062,985(FMWA&SD, 2008). From 349 households surveyed in 2007, the OVC situation shows that 1313 children lived in households (% male = 50, % female = 50%) with an average of 3.8 children per household, 31% of children are orphans while 73% of children were attending school (CS, 2007). The Socioeconomic status of households surveyed shows that majority of households lack access to safe drinking water and so prefer to buy drinking water from vendors, poor toilet facility and waste disposal, and majority of households use firewood as main source of energy (CRS, 2007).