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Cross River State

Cross River, with capital at Calabar, is one of the oldest geopolitical sub-units in Nigeria. Its history dates back to the period of Old Calabar when it was the second most important port, behind Lagos before and during the British colonial era.

As a State under independent Nigeria, Its precursor, the South-Eastern State, was created on May 27, 1967 out of the former Eastern Region by the General Yakubu Gowon military dictatorship.

Its name was changed to Cross River State during the 1976 state creation under the General Murtala Mohammed led military junta. The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from it in the subsequent state creation exercise of September 1987 under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. 

Lying between latitudes 40. 28′ and 60.55′ North of the Equator and longitude70. 50′ and 90. 28′ East of the Greenwich meridian, present day Cross River state covers a land mass of 23,074km2. It also lies within the catchment of the Cross River which courses down the Cameroun Mountain, across the flat Cross River Basin finally emptying into a vast estuary located along the southern Nigeria-Cameroun border.

The state shares its borders with Benue State to the north, Akwa Ibom State to the South, the Republic of Cameroun to the east and Anambra and Imo States to the East. 32% of the State’s landscape represents the world’s second-largest most preserved rain- forests. The Afi Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the last remaining reserves and tropical rain forests in West Africa and home to the most successful rehabilitation for Drill Monkeys in the world today.

The population of Cross River state according to the National Population Commission is about 2,892,988- (Male: 1,471,967; Female: 1,421,021). Agriculture remains the largest employer of labor in the state, employing about 80% of the population. It also contributes about 40 percent to the gross domestic products, GDP, of the State.

Cross RiversCross River State is naturally one of the hotspot of the Nigerian tourism industry with its many beautiful nature Scenes. Instructively, the Cross River National Park incorporates a large area of tropical rain forest on the southeastern axis of Nigeria between the Cross River State and the Republic of Cameroun border. The park is now the only protected forest area in the rainforest region of Nigeria. Animal species to be found in the park include antelopes, chimpanzees, high forest monkeys, Buffaloes, monkeys, high forest elephants, manatees and the bush pigs. Others are baboons, leopards, and gorillas, some of which are endangered. The famous Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort and Tinapa- Nigeria’s first Free Trade Zone centre are all located in Cross River State.

Currently, the State owes its legal existence to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a State, it is constitutionally mandated to establish:

  1. an Executive arm of government headed by an elected Governor;
  1. a legislative arm of government which members shall be drawn from constituencies defined in the Constitution. Its activities are presided over by a Speaker elected by the members of the State House of Assembly which oversees the exercise of the State’s legislative energies;
  1. a judicial arm made up of judges, magistrates and other officers that help in the administration of justice and related activities within the State. The judicial arm is headed by the State’s Chief Justice. Nonetheless, judicial pronouncement of the State’s tribunals are subject to the appellate review of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in that order;
  2. and maintain the Local Government level of governance. Presently, the Nigerian Constitution prescribes18 Local Government Areas for the State.
  3. mobilize the powers of the State, the institutions and resources of  its arms and levels of government in order to secure a socio-economic environment for persons resident in the State and its other stakeholders to pursue legitimate goals in dignity under the State’s justice administration umbrella.

The Cross River State legal system comprises;

  1. The compendium of Constitution provisions applicable to the State as one of the 36 States that constitute the Nigerian Federation;
  1. Laws made by the Federal Legislature applicable throughout the entire federation or specifically to Cross River State;
  2. Laws made (or deemed to have been made), by the State’s legislature;
  3. Laws made by Local Government Councils in the State;
  4. Customary laws or other customs of the market place applicable under the operation of Law;
  5. Judicial precedents of the courts of the State and of appellate courts with jurisdictions over its tribunals  like the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria;
  6. Judicial precedents of federation tribunals like the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investments and Securities Tribunal and so on to the extent to which their mandates allow.
  7. Law enforcement institutions, law enforcement officers, judges, legal practitioners, judiciary workers, other professionals and persons recognized at various levels as part of the justice administration complex of the State.

Sources of Cross River State Legal System include:

  1. The Constitution of Nigeria (including its amendments and other laws it refers to expressly as having the same character as provisions contained within the formal Constitutional document;
  2. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria;
  3. Legislations of the National Assembly applicable to Cross River State;
  4. Legislations of the State House of Assembly;
  5. Recognized customs of the people of Cross River State;
  6. Judicial precedents of courts with judicial authority over Cross River State;
  7. Local Government edicts.



Abi Biase Ikom Odukpani
Akamkpa Boki Obanliku Ogoja
Akpabuyo Calabar Municipal Obubra Yakurr
Bakassi Calabar South Obudu Yala
Bekwara Etung




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