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BENUE STATE
Posted to the web: 1/29/2003 11:59:35 AM
 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The agitation for the balkanization of the Northern Region of Nigeria started as far back as the early 1960s. The United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), led by Mr. J. S. Tarka aligned with the Action Group (AG) party, in order to get the Middle Belt Region created. But in 1963, when the geopolitical map of Nigeria was altered, only the MidWestern Region was created.

Ochi Idoma's Palace,Oturkpo
Ochi Idoma's Palace,Oturkpo

In 1967, the regions were dissolved and in their place, twelve States were created among which was BenuePlateau State. This notwithstanding, the Benue people still wanted a state of their own. Their dream came true on 3rd February, 1976. However, the Igala and Bassa people were brought from Kwara State to form part of Benue State. The desire of the Igala to rejoin their kith and kin led to the creation of Kogi State in 1991, leaving Benue State with its present boundaries.

Benue State lies between latitudes 6°25'N and 8°8'N and longitudes 7°47'E and 10°E'. It is surrounded by five states, namely Nassarawa to the north, Taraba to the northeast, Cross River to the south, Anambra to the southwest and Kogi to the west. There is also a short international boundary between the state and the Republic of Cameroun along Nigeria's southeast border.

Administrative Areas:Benue State is made up of twentythree Local Government Areas(LGAs); 14 of these Local Government areas correspond with the ethnic territory of the Tiv people, while seven correspond with the ethnic territory of the Idoma and two with the lgede. The LGAs are divided into districts. The state has two traditional councils, the Tiv Traditional Council, headed by the Tor Tiv and the Idoma Traditional Council headed by the Och'ldoma. Assisting the Tor Tiv are the TER', who are second class chiefs. Their domain is the LGA. Under the 'Ter,' are the district heads who are third class chiefs.

Administrative Structure:The state administration is made up of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. The executive arm of government comprises the Governor, Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the state government, the Head of Service and Commissioners. The Legislature, in its composition, has the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Whip, the Clerk of the House and Clerks of the arms.

Makurdi Model Market
Makurdi Model Market

The Clerks of the arms are responsible for taking minutes of the Standing Committees of the House. Lastly, are the rest of the members of the State House of Assembly. Benue State has twentynine members in the House of Assembly. The Judiciary is the system of courts of the judges collectively. The State Judiciary is made up of the State Chief Judge, High Court Judges, the Registrar of the High court and Deputy Registrar, the Directors, the Judges of the Customary Courts and their Registrars.

The indigenous administrative structures and institutions include the Tiv Traditional Council, Idoma Traditional council and religious organisations. The Tiv Traditional council is headed by a first class chief, the Tor Tiv, who is advised by a Council of elders known as Jirtamen. Under the Tor Tiv are the second class chiefs called "Ter" whose domain is the Local Government Area. The third class chiefs, called Tyoor, take charge of the districts. Below these are the kindred heads called Ortaregh who are in charge of kindreds. Last along the line are the Tax Collectors known as Torkpande.

 

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