Ethnic Composition, Languages, Culture and the Arts: Several ethnic groups are found in the State. These include the Nupes
who are large ly though not exclusively found in Bida, Gbako, Lavun, Mokwa, Lapai and Borgu LGAs; the Gbahyis (Gwari) who dominate Minna, Suleja, Gurara, Bosso, Maikunkele and Shiroro LGAs; the Hausas are predominant in Kontagora, Suleja, Mariga, Chanchaga and Magama LGAs.
Other ethnic groups include the Kadara, Koro, Baruba, Fulani, Ganagana, Dibo, Kambari, Kamuku, Pangu, Dukkawa, Gade and Ingwai. Islam and Christianity are the major religions in the State.Niger State is popular for its brassworks, particularly at Bida, and also for pottery, weaving and several cottage industries which can be found throughout the length and breadth of the state.
Population Structure and Distribution: Niger State had a total population of 2,482,367 people in 1991. Out of this, about 1,290,720 or 52 per cent were males; while 1,191,647 or 48 per cent were females. Thus, the population is slightly skewed towards males.
Brasswork Products, Bida
With a total land area of 74,244 sq. km, this gives the State a popu lation density of about 33 per sq km; the lowest in the country. It should be noted, however, that this low population density conceals local variations, particularly in some of the largest local government areas such as Wushishi, Borgu, Mariga and Shiroro where population density is below the state aver age. The implication of such low density of population is that large expanses of land exist which are currently undeveloped or uncultivated.
Urban and Rural Development and Pattern of Human settlement: The majority of the people of the State reside in rural areas (about 90 per cent). Thus, only 10 per cent reside in urban centres . There are four urban centres that might qualify as urban Minna, the state capital, Bida, Suleja and Kontagora. Thus, most of the LGA headquar ters are rural even though there is the tendency to regard them as urban through an administration definition .
Wood Carving Works, Agaie
These four urban centres form the higher order central places which provide goods and services to lower order central places made up of rural settlements. Given the proximity of Suleja to the Federal Capital of Abuja, it is fast becoming an important centre. Indeed, it is now serving as a satellite town to Abuja.
Problem Of Urban Primacy: There is no problem of urban primacy as far as the State is con cerned. However, Minna, the state capital is the leading urban centre.
This is closely followed by Suleja, Bida and Kontagora. Perhaps, Niger State can claim to be one of those states which, in spite of the predominance of rural settlements, does not experience the problem of urban primacy since similar facilities are located in the four major urban centres in the State. This notwithstanding and by virtue of its status as a state capital, most of the Federal and State parastatals are located in Minna .
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