History of Kaduna State

Kaduna State is a state in the northwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The state capital is its namesake, the city of Kaduna, which was the 8th largest city in the country as of 2006. Created in 1967 as North-Central State, which also encompassed the modern Katsina State, Kaduna State achieved its current borders in 1987. Kaduna State is the fourth largest and third most populous state in the country, Kaduna State is nicknamed the Centre of Learning, owing to the presence of numerous educational institutions of importance within the state such as Ahmadu Bello University. During the colonial era, the city of Kaduna was made the capital of Northern Nigeria Protectorate by British leadership in 1916.

In 1967, the old Northern Region was divided into six states in the north, leaving Kaduna as the capital of North-Central State, whose name was changed to Kaduna State in 1976. Meanwhile, Kaduna State was further divided in 1987, creating Katsina State. Under the governance of Kaduna are the ancient cities of Zaria, Kafanchan, and Nok. The most intriguing aspect of this area is that the colonial construction and its post-colonial successor called ‘Nigeria’ hardly documented the history or the method of how Kaduna State’s people groups encompassed in these constructs define and identify themselves.

In 1976, when the General Murtala Mohammed administration created seven new states in Nigeria, North Central State, with capital at Kaduna, was renamed Kaduna State. It was made up of the two colonial period Provinces of Zaria and Katsina. When in 1991, the number of states in the country was increased from twenty-one to thirty. Katsina Province became Katsina State, while the old Zaria Province became the new Kaduna State. There are twenty three local government areas (LGAs) in the state, although the number of ethnic groups is much larger

In 2019 Kaduna State celebrated its 100-year anniversary, making it one of the oldest states in Nigeria.

In 2021, Kaduna State was the site of several major attacks done by bandits involved in the Nigerian bandit conflict. On 24 February, at least 34 were killed in attacks in Kaduna and neighboring Katsina state. On 11 March, 39 students were kidnapped when gunmen attacked the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization. On 20 April, in another raid by bandits on Greenfield University students and staff, 22 were kidnapped and 6 of them were killed. On 5 July, a further 140 students were kidnapped from Bethel Baptist High School. Attacks have continued into 2022, 2023, and 2024.

Kaduna state produces cotton and peanuts (groundnuts) for export. Other cash crops include shea nuts, ginger, and peppers; vegetables grown in the riverine floodplains, brown sugar processed locally from sugarcane; onions; and soybeans. Tobacco is a major cash crop around Zaria (where cigarettes are made), and sorghum is utilized by a brewery in Kaduna town. Sorghum and millet are staple foods. Cattle, chickens, guinea fowl, and sheep are raised, and hides and skins are tanned for export.

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