Benue State is one of Nigeria’s North Central states, having a population of 4,253,641 people according to the 2006 census. Benue state was founded in 1976, as one of the 12 new states at the time. The name of Benue state comes from the Benue River, Nigeria’s second largest river.
Several ethnic groups inhabit the state, including Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Abakpa, Jukun, Hausa, Igbo, Akweya, and Nyifon. With the Etulo and Jukun, the Tiv control 14 local government areas, while the Idoma, Igede, Igbo, Akweya, and Nyifon control nine.
In Benue State, ethnic people speak three main languages: Tiv, Idoma, and Igede, with Tiv being the largest of the three. While some Idoma and Igede speakers also speak Tiv, the majority of Tiv speakers do not speak any other ethnic language. What makes the Benue state important is the River Benue.
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The Benue River is a major tributary of the Niger River. It was previously known as the Chadda River or Tchadda. The river runs for around 1,400 kilometers and is virtually totally navigable throughout the summer. It has an area of 319,000 km2. It begins in northern Cameroon’s Adamaoua Plateau and flows west via Garoua and the Lagdo Reservoir before entering Nigeria south of the Mandara Mountains and passing through Jimeta, Ibi, and Makurdi before meeting the Niger River at Lokoja.
Heinrich Barth and Eduard R. Flegel, two German explorers, determined the course of the Benue from its source to its confluence with the Niger in separate journeys in the second part of the nineteenth century.
Cameroon features a fairly dry northern region and a very wet, high-altitude western region. Before entering Nigeria, the River Katsina-Ala begins in Cameroon’s western region and flows through Katsina-Ala before joining the River Benue around 40 kilometers east of Makurdi. The River Donga, which supplies up to 20% of the Benue’s flow, originates in Nigeria’s Adamawa Highlands, which border Cameroon. At Jibu, the Donga River enters the Benue River. The Adamawa Highlands are also home to the River Taraba, which enters the River Benue about 20 kilometers northeast of Jibu.
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The rivers Katsina Ala, Donga, and Taraba drain a portion of Cameroon’s western region as well as a portion of Nigeria south of the Benue River. The River Gongola originates in Nigeria’s Plateau State and drains an area north of the River Benue before joining it near Numan.In essence, the major rivers mentioned above contribute to the flow seen in Makurdi’s River Benue. The most basic method for controlling river flooding is to construct a dam at a suitable spot along the river to restrict the peak flood waters within the dam reservoir. Water stored in the dam reservoir is released in such a way that peak flows are reduced and low flows are increased, resulting in a steady flow downstream of the dam.
The release of water from the Lagdo Dam on Lagdo Lake in Cameroon has also caused widespread flooding in Nigeria. The Lagdo Dam is located along the path of the Benue River in Cameroon’s Northern Province, and water released from the reservoir would frequently flood lowland settlements in North-eastern Nigeria, notably those within the River Benue drainage basin.The Lagdo Dam, a 40-meter-high structure built across the river about 50 kilometers upstream of Garoua, a significant river town in Northern Cameroon, has been completed. Over the years, water flows from this dam have caused floods in Cameroon and Nigeria, with the consequent devastation reaching all the way to Nigeria’s Niger Delta in 2012. In Northern Cameroon, downstream of the Lagdo Dam, two large tributaries, River Mayo Kebi and River Faro, join the Benue.
During floods, its waters are connected to the Logone, which flows into Lake Chad, via the Mayo-Kebbi tributary. The river below the Mayo-Kebbi is navigable all year for boats with a draft of less than 2.5 feet (0.75 m) and for shorter periods for larger boats. River transport carries a significant amount of goods (especially petroleum), as well as cotton and peanuts (groundnuts) from the Chad region. The Gongola joins the Benue between Yola and Makurdi, and the river travels east and south for roughly 300 km (480 km). During the summer, people can travel virtually the whole length of it. It is a vital transit corridor in the areas it passes through.
Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, and Cameroon are all part of the Niger-Benue system.
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The River Benue, for its part, travels all the way from Cameroon to Lokoja to meet its Niger ‘wife,’ where Mother Nature finally consummated the union. The river provides an important source of economic activity for the people who live along its banks, as well as a natural home for aquatic wildlife. The river serves as a major source of economic activity for residents living along its banks, as well as a natural home for aquatic wildlife. A plain gorgeous environment, smooth river surface, dotted with green flora that does not block visualization, can be found at the confluence in Lokoja. At the confluence’s point lies a short spit of land that might be developed for tourists to board from a boat and observe the larger Niger, which is brownish in color. The larger river Niger appears to the right, with a clearer river Benue to the left and the mixture of the river downstream. Two settlements may also be seen from the river bank from the confluence.