The Richest Local Governments in Cross River State

The top ten richest local governments in Cross River State are Calabar municipality, Obudu Local Government, Ogoja, Ikom, Bekwarra, Bakassi, Biase, Boki, Calabar South, and Etung Local Government.

Cross Rivers State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It is also the leading tourism state and a petroleum-producing state in Nigeria. It was established on 27 May 1967 during the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. Since its creation, it gained wide recognition not just as a home to some of the firsts in Nigerian history but also as one of the major contributors to Nigeria’s wealth.

Cross River State has 18 local governments, and each is endowed with human and material resources that contribute to the state’s economic growth, making it one of the richest states in Nigeria.

List of Richest Local Governments in Cross River State

1. Calabar Municipal Local Government Area

  • Headquarters: City of Calabar
  • Population: 279,800 People
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Tourism Industry, Rich Cultural Heritage

The Calabar Municipal is Cross River’s capital and the richest local government area in the state. With a projected population of 279,800 people, the Calabar municipal local government is the headquarters of all the state’s eighteen (18) local governments. The municipal also serves as Cross River’s state capital. It is bounded in the North by Odukpani Local Government Area in the North-East by the great Kwa River. The Calabar River and Calabar South Local Government Area bound its Southern shores.

Calabar municipal local government Area is known for its rich cultural heritage, as it was once the capital city of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria and the main trading port for palm oil export. The local government is also home to some of Nigeria’s biggest industries, like the Calabar Free Trade Zone located near the port of Calabar, and the Tinapa Business Resort located by the Calabar River.

The area is also home to some of Nigeria’s best oil and gas companies, like the Ty Danjuma Oil Company, which is owned by a renowned politician and retired Nigerian army lieutenant general, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.

In addition to the teaming businesses in the area, the Calabar Municipal is a well-developed tourist home, thanks to its scenic landscapes, the beautiful Calabar carnival, and the Cross River State National Park. The headquarters of the Calabar municipal is in the city of Calabar, and it is located in the southern senatorial district of the state. The local government area is famous for being the neatest city in Nigeria, and it has international recognition too. Some of the known areas in the municipality include

  • Marian Market,
  • Ikot Ishie Market
  • Timber Market Akia Efa,
  • Ikot Eno Obong Market
  • Calabar Tinapa (business and leisure resort)

2. Obudu Local Government

  • Headquarters: Ogudu town
  • Population: 196, 680 (Est)
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Tourism, Agriculture

Second on our list of richest local governments in Cross River state is the Obudu local government, which was created in the year 1976. Obudu LGA is in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State.

Its headquarters is Obudu and it shares borders with Obalinku and Bekwara local government areas. The local government area is known for its tourist centre called Obudu Cattle Ranch, which normally hosts an annual mountain running competition called the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race.

Obudu is located downstream from the Obudu Dam, which is known for causing acute scarcity of drinking water in the area during the dry season. Obudu is a 6-hour drive from Calabar, the state’s capital, and it is situated approximately 18 kilometres away from Bebi Airport. The local government as a whole is blessed with a lot of natural resources. The place also houses a lot of establishments, making it among the richest Local Governments in Cross River State.

3. Ogoja Local Government

  • Headquarters: Ogoja town
  • Population: 171,901
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Farming, trading

Ogoja local government is one of the oldest known provinces during pre-colonial times before Nigeria became Independent. It is located in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State. The area consists of many tribal units, including Ishibori (this village has different clans such as Uhmuria, Ikaptang, Ikajor, Ishinyema, Ikariku, Imerakorm) and Igoli as the central town.

However, the major tribal group in Ogoja is the Mbube, which occupies several villages including Egbe, Oboso, Odajie Ekumtak, Idum, Ojerim, Ogberia Ogang & Ogberia Ochoro, Benkpe, Adagum, Edide, Bansan, Aragban, and so on. Ogoja LGA also has ten Political Wards, including the Nkum Irede Ward, Mbube West 1&2, and Nkum Iborr.

Ogoja people are farmers, practicing subsistence farming, hence, the city’s economy is majorly dependent on agriculture, the planting and trading of Yams, Cassava, rice, Corn, Rice Palm oil and many more. The influence of the early missionaries was significantly felt in the area, thus, Christianity is the predominant religion. The area is also home to the Federal College of Science and it is endowed with different cultural values some of which are revived and modernized to emphasize the cultural heritage of the people.

Ogoja is also blessed with a large quarry rich with by-products that could be used for industrial and commercial activities. Generally, the people of Ogoja operate a five-day market. Markets in the area include  Ishibori and Ogboja in Ogoja Urban, Odajie, Idum and Ojerim in Mbube, Ogidi, Ukpa and Afrike in Bekwarra and Ndok, Aladim. The Shibori and Ogboja operate daily. Items sold in these markets include garri, beans, yams, maize and vegetables. Aside from the local markets, Ogoja also has several supermarkets and provision stores that generate income for the community and the state at large.

4. Ikom Local Government

  • Headquarters: Ikom 
  • population: 124,881
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture

Ikom Local Government is in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State. The area comprises a number of towns and villages such as Bisiri, Abakpa, Ukelle, Ukwel, Okuku, Udama Ubug, Akparabong, Abanyum, and Olulumo. Ikom people are known for their cultivation of cash crops. The local government area is majorly known for the Ikom monolith artefacts that bear nsibidi, ancient writing.

A number of mineral resources you can also find in Ikom LGA include limestone, Basalt, Baryte, and salt. Agriculture is also a  major economic hub in the area as the people are the major producers of bananas and Plantain for the Nigerian market. Cocoyam and yam are also grown in substantially large quantities in the area.

To generate its own income, Ikom LGA is also a trade hub with the area hosting several markets such as the Ikom main market where a plethora of commodities are bought and sold. Other important economic activities in Ikom LGA include fishing and lumbering.

5. Bekwarra Local Government

  • Headquarter: Abuochiche
  • population: 150,000
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture

Bekwarra Local Government Area has its headquarters at Abuochiche. It is bounded in the north by Benue State, South by Ogoja Local Government Area, East by Obudu Local Government Area and West by Yala Government Area. The major population groups of the local government area are Ujia, Unwapu, Unwagba Oli West, Oti East, Eya Aba, Beten, Uduo, Eya Adie, Ika-Ichia, Udomu, Atibulum, Afrike, Okpeche, Ikachor and Ochagbe.

The major economic activities in the area include agriculture, cattle/goat and poultry rearing, petty trading et cetera. The majority of the indigenes are farmers who produce and sold crops like groundnut, rice, maize, yam, cassava, pineapple, plantain and banana. The people are also into trading, hunting and tapping of palm wine. The traditional market days are Udama, Ugbada, Uchagu, Ugidi and Achanya.

6. Bakassi Local Government

  •  Headquarters: Ikang
  • population: 106,771
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Oil&Gas, Fishing

Bakassi local government is one of the 18 local governments in Cross River state. It was created on December 12, 1996, out of what used to be known as Akpabuyo Local Government Area and it is bordered in the East by the Republic of Cameroon, in the South by Equatorial Guinea and the Bight of Bonny, in the West by the Cross River Estuary and North by Akpabuyo Local Government Area. It was formerly governed by Cameroon and later transferred to Nigeria due to a judgment by the International Court of Justice.

Despite being devastated by severe environmental issues like erosion, and oil spillage, the Bakassi local government still stands among the richest local governments in Cross River state. The area is the lifeline of Cross River State in terms of Crude Oil and aquatic food such as crayfish, fishes, shrimps, and periwinkles in commercial and exportable quantities. Virtually all parts of Bakassi lie within the coastlines and the occupation of the people is fishing and trans-Atlantic trading.

7. Biase Local Government

  • Headquarters: Akpet Central town
  • population: 169,183
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture, Fishing

Biase Local Government Area is one of the 18 local governments in Cross River State and it is located in the Southern Senatorial District of the state. The headquarters is located at Akpet Central with its area council comprising of towns and villages of Abanwan, Afono, Edu/Elu, Egbor, Etana, Ipene, Ibini, Obum, Umuolor and Urugbam. The people of Biase speak Efik and Erei language. The area is blessed with abundant fertile land, which is suitable for the cultivation of cash and crops.

The people of Biase Local Government Area are also known for their hard work, especially in fishing and agriculture. Crop cultivation is also an important source of income for dwellers of Biase LGA. Among the crops cultivated in the area are Banana, Cashew, Cassava, Castor, Citrus Orchard, Cocoa, Coffee, Cotton, Grape, Groundnut, Honey breeding, Kola nut, Mango, Palm Tree, Pineapple, Plantation, Rice, Soya beams, Tea, Wheat and Yams.

Besides agriculture, the activities of oil mining companies in and around the area of Biase LGA contribute immensely to the economic growth of the LGA. Trade also blossoms in the area with markets such as the Akpet main market attracting thousands of sellers and buyers daily.

8.  Boki Local Government

  • Headquarter: Boje
  • population: 143,980
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture, Fishing, Oil & Mining

Boki is a landlocked Local Government Area created on 28 August 1991, and its capital is Boje. Boki is one of the most populated local government areas in Cross River state. The area also bears a national and international reputation for being a major commercial centre where forest and internationally quoted agricultural commodities such as cocoa, coffee, timber, palm products, etc. are sourced and supplied for international consumption. Also, oil mining in and around Boki LGA contributes immensely to the economy of the area. Other important economic enterprises in the area include fishing, net weaving and canoe making.

Bounded in the west by Ogoja, north by Obudu, south by Ikom Local Government Areas and in the west by the Republic of Cameroun, Boki LGA has about fourteen major communities, including Iso-Bendeghe, Bansan-Osokom, Nsadop Abo, Okundi, Iman, Bateriko, Bumaji, Orimekpang, Wula, Buardwr, Natamarte and Kakwagom. Traditional market days in the area include Okundi Market Day, Ntamarte Market Day, Kakwagom market day and Wula market day.

9. Calabar South Local Government

  • Headquarters: Anantigha
  • population: 91,630
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture, Fishing

Calabar South is a Local Government Area of Cross River State headquartered in Anantigha. The local government was created from the former Calabar Municipal Government and is bounded by Akpabuyo and Calabar Municipal local government areas. The area consists of several districts, including Henshaw town, Effut Uwanse, and Efut Ebua, with its inhabitants being from the Efik and the Qua ethnic affiliations.

Agriculture is the predominant source of livelihood for the people of Calabar South with a number of crops grown in the area. Also, commerce booms in the area with the area hosting a number of markets such as the popular Watt Market.

10. Etung Local Government

  • Headquarter: Effraya
  • population: 91,630
  • Primary Source of Livelihood: Agriculture, Fishing

Rounding up our list of the Richest local government Areas in Cross River State is Etung Local Government Area, which is in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State and has its headquarters in Effraya. Etung LGA is a richly historical area known for its rich cultural heritage and colourful display of masquerades during festivals, especially the New Year Festival. The local government was removed from the former Ikom Local Government Area in 1996.

Etung LGA shares an international boundary with the Republic of Cameroon to the East. It is bounded in the North by the Ikom Local Government, in the south by Obubra and Akamkpa LGAs. In addition, Etung has 16 clans with over 300 villages. The land is blessed with abundant human and agricultural resources such as cocoa, plantain, cassava oil palm, maize coconut, banana, cocoyam, Okra, cucumber, pumpkin and yam. Etung is predominantly an agricultural area, with arable fertile land.

As a predominantly Agricultural area, Etung LGA is the highest producer of cocoa in the state and second in the country, which made it imperative for the establishment of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) at Ajassor, Etung LGA. Another good source of livelihood in the area is the Abia salt derived from the Ejagham Lake, which provides raw materials for salt production at both individual and commercial levels.

Etung Local Government Area provides a wide range of investment opportunities for indigenous, private and corporate investors. The forest in the area could be exploited for sourcing industrial raw materials, such as timber, ceramics paper and bricks, chlorine, sodium and brine, raffia palm and cane, which are essential materials for making chairs and trays etc.

Which is the Richest Local Government in Cross River State?

The richest local government in Cross River State is the Calabar municipality, which consists of ten wards and is known for its dual roles as the Capital city of Cross River State and as headquarters of the Southern Senatorial District. It is home to some of Nigeria’s biggest oil and gas companies, tourism and large agricultural produce.

Top 10 Richest Local Government Areas in Cross Rivers State

  1. Calabar municipal
  2. Obudu Local Government
  3.  Ogoja Local Government
  4. Ikom Local Government
  5. Bekwarra Local Government
  6. Bakassi Local Government
  7. Biase Local Government
  8. Boki Local Government
  9. Calabar South Local Government
  10. Etung Local Government


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