Rivers State is one of Nigeria’s 36 states located in the South-South geopolitical zone. Its largets city and capital is Port Harcourt.
It is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by the Anambra, Imo and Abia State, to the East by Akwa Ibom State and to the West by the Bayelsa and Delta State.
Rivers State was named after the many rivers that border its territory. It was part of the Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 till 1893, when it became part of the Niger Coast Protectorate. In 1900, the region was merged with the chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company to form the colony of Southern Nigeria.
In 1966, the people of Rivers tried to tackle the problems of underdevelopment in the region by succession and proclaimed a Delta Peoples Republic. The rebellion was immediately crushed by the Federal and the old Eastern Nigeria government.
These agitations led to the creation of Rivers State in 1967 out of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. It gained Ughelli from Bendel State, and Opobo from the Cross-River State in 1976. Until 1996 the state contained the area which is now in the Bayelsa State.
About Rivers State
Rivers State has a population of about three million people occupying an area of 21,850 sq. km with two thirds of it in the Niger Delta geographical terrain. The dominant ethnic groups are Ikwere, ibani, Eleme, Etche, Ogoni, kalabari and Ogba/Egbema. The people from Rivers State are known as Riverians.
The inland part of Rivers state consists of tropical rainforests; towards the coast, the typical river delta environment features many mangrove swamps. Rivers State is most famous for its production of oil and gas with Port Harcourt being in the centre of the famous Oil industry.
Numerous international and local companies such as Shell Petroleum Company, AGIP, Texaco, Elf, NPRC, Michelin, West African Glass Industry, Alcan Aluminium, Metaloplastica, Risonpalm, NAFCON, Pabod Breweries, etc all having interests within the city.
With enormous reserves of crude oil and natural gas, Rivers State accounts for more than 40% of Nigeria’s crude oil production. Apart from this, there are many petrochemical related industries in the state which also harbour the first petroleum refinery in Nigeria. Nigeria’s gigantic liquefied natural gas project is located in Bonny in the state.
Agriculture although overshadowed by the oil and gas industry, is the main occupation of the people of Rivers State. The agricultural policy of the state government is anchored on food production and this provides employment for young school leavers and university graduates. These agricultural activities are grouped under Community Block Farming Scheme, Community Fishing Scheme, Livestock Scheme and Rabbitry.
Due to its beautiful layout and peculiar topography, Port Harcourt, famously nicknamed Garden City, is accessible by road, rail, air and sea. Apart from being a railway terminus and having one of the busiest airports in Nigeria, Port Harcourt has the unique natural advantage of being the nation’s second largest sea port with another sea port, the Ocean Terinal at Onne close by.
Rivers State has maintained its importance as a leading supplier of wealth to Nigeria. In 2007, the state ranked 2nd nationwide with a GDP of $21.07 billion and a per capita income of $3,965.