Niger State, with capital at Minna, was created on the 3rdof February, 1976 out of the defunct North Western State by the military dictatorship of General Murtala Mohammed. The State took its name from the River Niger.
Niger State is located in Middle Belt region of the country. It lies between latitudes 8o20’N and longitude 3o30’E and 7o20’E. Niger State in terms of land mass is the largest State in Nigeria with a total land area of 76,363km2 representing about 9 percent of Nigeria’s territory.
It is bounded by Zamfara State to the north, Kebbi State to the northwest, Kogi State to the South, Kwara State at the southwestern border while Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory take up its northeastern and southeastern borders respectively. Additionally, the State shares an international border with the Republic of Benin making it a very important communication hub and potential hub for commerce in its zone.
The population of Niger State according to a recent estimate from the National Population Commission is 3954772- Male: 2,004,350; Female: 1,950,422. With over 80 percent arable land Niger State is a haven for agriculture which accounts for the nearly 90 percent of the population that are engaged in agriculture in the State. The State has one of the largest and most fertile agricultural lands in the country. Niger State has the capacity to produce most of Nigeria’s stable crops. It also has ample opportunities for grazing, fishing and forestry. Major crops produced in the State include guinea corn, yam, potatoes, millet, rice, cassava, soya beans, sheanuts, groundnut, beniseed, cowpea, and melon.
Niger State goes with the sobriquet, “The Power State” due to the fact that it plays host to two of the nation’s major hydroelectric power stations located at the Kainji dam and Shiroro dam.
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:
- an Executive arm of government headed by an elected Governor;
- 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;
- 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;
- maintain the Local Government level of governance. Presently, the Nigerian Constitution prescribes25 local Local Government Areas for the State;
- 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 Niger State legal system comprises;
- The compendium of Constitution provisions applicable to the State as one of the 36 States that constitute the Nigerian Federation;
- Laws made by the Federal Legislature applicable throughout the entire federation or specifically to Niger State;
- Laws made (or deemed to have been made), by the State’s legislature;
- Laws made by Local Government Councils in the State;
- Customary laws or other customs of the economic space applicable under the operations of the Laws;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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 Niger State Legal System include:
- 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;
- Laws of the Federation of Nigeria;
- Legislations of the National Assembly applicable to Niger State;
- Legislations of the State House of Assembly;
- Recognized customs of the people of Niger State;
- Judicial precedents of courts with judicial authority over Niger State;
- Local Government edicts.
NIGER STATE BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
LEGAL SYSTEMS OF THE FEDERATING UNITS OF NIGERIA – 37 STATES/FCT