The Richest State In Nigeria 2021

  • Lagos! Lagos State is the richest state in Nigeria. The state was created on 27 May 1967. The State GDP is $33.679 billion
  • Lagos internally generated revenue (IGR), mainly through taxes stood at $1.3 billion in 2015.
  • The quick expansion of Lagos was due to the growth of the colonial economy of Nigeria
  • Foreign direct investment stock from the United States into Nigeria was $5.8 billion

Nigeria is a country blessed with the potential to one day rise from her slumber and take on the rest of the world on equal economic terms. As the largest economy in Africa, the dream should be about making it to the top ten largest economy in the world.

By spreading economic growth to all the states in the federation. Nigeria can actually create a momentum that would amplify a financial growth, so powerful that as a Nation. We shall no longer answer to the set backs of neo colonialism.

And since every state must play its role in the making of a financial giant. It pays to measure the particular growth of each States rather than summing the collective financial effort that is often buried in national claim.

And that is exactly where our article must start from today. On that state that has contributed immensely to the economic growth of the nation and has prescribed a solid standard for other states to follow when it comes to urbanization and economic importance.

So Which State Is The Richest State In Nigeria?

The richest state in Nigeria

1. Lagos State$33.679 billion

Lagos State is the richest state in Nigeria. The state was created on 27 May 1967. But Lagos was not always the name. Before the adopting of the Portuguese term Lagos, the land was known as Eko ( the origin of this word is unknown and has no meaning in Yoruba.), a name that is still associated to the economic heartbeat of the nation.

Lagos was first inhabited in the 15th century A.D., And the name meaning lakes or lagoons, was the name given to the settlement by the early Portuguese traders (1472).

It is normal to hear many Nigerians make the joke “Lagos is ahead of Nigeria”. Which is a solid fact that supports the reality that Lagos State is the most developed state in Nigeria. The fact that it is the  largest urban area in the country is the reason why the state is host to the many economic activities responsible for the incredible wealth she makes through revenue alone. Which is based on the fact that state has manged to diversify its economy and considerably reduce its dependence on oil allocations.

 Internally generated revenue (IGR), mainly through taxes stood at $1.3 billion in 2015.

Despite occupying a class of its own, Lagos is still very far from paradise. According to a 2016 World Bank report, two out of three people in the city live in slums.

On the North and East Lagos is bordered by Ogun State while sharing borders with Benin Republic on the West and the Atlantic Ocean on the south. Lagos actually have the the highest population density in Nigeria.

Lagos is located in a lagoon along the southwestern coast between latitudes 6° and 7° north of the Equator, and between longitudes 3° and 4° east of Greenwich. This lagoon extends from Cotonou (Republic of Benin) in the west, to the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

The first people to have settled there are the Awori Yoruba people. But by the 1700 the region had become a Benin colony and would pay tributes until 1830.  Today, Lagos accounts for about 10% of Nigeria’s population which is in excess of 20 million people.

The quick expansion of Lagos was due to the growth of the colonial economy of Nigeria.

 Lagos once served the dual role of being the State and Federal Capital until 1976, when the capital of the State was moved to Ikeja. The Federal Government seat was formally relocated to Abuja on 12 December 1991. Which means Lagos served as the seat of government between 1914 and 1991. 1

Lagos inhabit only 0.4th of Nigeria’s territorial land mass, making it the smallest state in the country. But despite its size, the state accounts for over 60% of industrial and commercial activities in Nigeria.

It generates the highest internal revenue of all states in Nigeria. And is financially viable, generating over 75% of its revenues independent of federal financial  assistance derived from oil revenues.

With a population well over 16 million, Lagos is the seventh fastest growing city in the world, and the second largest city in Africa. It is also the operational base of the richest man in Africa.

Lagos serves as the industrial, financial and commercial nerve centre of the country and home to a teeming population multiplying at a geometric rate.

The state contributes 7% of the national GDP made up by manufacturing and  accounts for over 53% of manufacturing employment in Nigeria. Manufacturing is estimated to have contributed $35 billion to the national economy in 2013.  It also forms 29.6% of the GDP of  Lagos State. 2

As the richest state in Nigeria, Lagos GDP is estimated at  $ 91 billion and is currently Africa’s 5th largest economy.A fact that is taken very seriously by the Lagos state government. According to the former governor Ambode during his time in office said.  “Very soon we would be setting up what we would refer to as an Economic Management Team to drive the fifth largest economy, because that’s the way we need to envision our self and this Economic Management Team will involve nominees from the Chambers and other people in the private sector, so that we can collaborate because majorly this economy is driven by the private sector, our duty is to create an enabling environment and fuse all that together, I think that synergy can just catapult Lagos into that global city state that we want it to be,4

And is also the seventh fastest growing city in the world, bigger than Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya .  It accounted for 26.7% of Nigeria’s total GDP and more than 50% of non-oil GDP. 

In 1992, the Third Mainland Bridge was officially commissioned to link Lagos Island with Oworonsoki, an area which has since become another growth point in the metropolis. 3

Together with Lagos State Nigeria is now the largest market in the continent, with its population nearly as twice as the size of Ethiopia (110 million) or Egypt (102 million).

In 2017 foreign direct investment stock from the United States into Nigeria stood at $5.8 billion.

2. Rivers State – $21.07 billion

While it is true that Lagos is the richest state in Nigeria, it is helpful to note that there are few other states in the country that is also thriving as centers of economic growth and development and that is where Rivers State comes into the picture.

Rivers State comes second on the race to win the trophy for the richest state in the country. The state is considered as the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry. The state was formed in 1967 and in 1996 a part of the state was used in forming Bayelsa State.

The state as the second most richest state boasts of a gross domestic product (GDP) of $21.07 billion and a per capita income of $3,965 and interestingly, more than 60% of the country’s output of crude oil is produced in the state.

Major oil terminals exist offshore from Brass and Bonny, and petroleum refineries have been established at Port Harcourt and nearby Alesa-Eleme. Large deposits of crude oil and natural gas in the Niger River delta are the state’s major mineral resources.

 Rivers state IGR totalled N89.4bn in 2017 putting it as Number two among the 36 states of the federation.

3. Delta State – US$16,749 billion

Delta State was created out of the former Bendel State on 27 August 1991. And is one of the largest producers of petroleum products in Nigeria. The State supplies about 35% of Nigeria’s crude oil and some considerable amount of natural gas and ranks second after Rivers State.

It is a major exporter of petroleum, rubber, timber, and palm oil and palm kernels via the Niger delta ports of Burutu, Forcados, Koko, Sapele, and Warri. 

The state internally generated revenue realized as IGR in 2017 was N51.89bn. In 2016, 2015 and 2014, IGR fluctuated, at N44.8bn, N40.81bn and N42.82bn. And the states GDP stands at US$16,749 billion. Making it the third richest state in the country.

The state’s industries include glass and bottle factories, textile mills, and plastics, rubber, plywood, natural gas, boatbuilding, sawmilling, and furniture industries.

In 1978 Warri became the site of Nigeria’s second petroleum refinery and is also a Petroleum Training Institute opened there in 1972.

4. Oyo State – US$16,121 billion

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Oyo State. unlike the first three states on this post about the richest state in Nigeria, oil is not part of Oyo state’s economic portfolio.

The economy of Oyo is based chiefly on agriculture and handicrafts. Agricultural products include yams, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), beans, millet, plantains, tobacco, cacao, palm oil and palm kernels, cotton, kola nuts, indigo, and fruits.

The state is also noted for its cottage industries, consisting of cotton spinning, weaving, dyeing, leatherworking (sheep and goat skins), wood carving, and mat making.

The state now has the biggest education spending allocation of 22.4% of the 2020 budget, topping the federal government’s 15%. 

The state is home to the first teaching hospital in Nigeria and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (lITA). And is also host to the first degree awarding institution in Nigeria known as University of Ibadan. The state also have  324 secondary schools and 1,576 public primary schools in the

List Of Universities in Oyo State

  • University of Ibadan, Ibadan
  • Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso
  • Lead City University, Ibadan
  • Dominican University, Ibadan
  • Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo
  • KolaDaisi Univerisy, Ibadan-Oyo Road
  • Oyo State Technical University, Ibadan, Oyo State
  • Àtìbà University, Ọ̀yọ́

The state is also home to the  the first skyscraper built in Africa, known as Cocoa House. The state is also home to NTA Ibadan, the first television station in Africa.

Industries in Ibadan, the second largest city in Nigeria, include a cannery, a brewery, a publishing industry, a tobacco-processing factory, wood- and steel-furniture factory, and a motor-vehicle assembly plant. 

The state’s tourist attractions are the Ibadan University Zoo, the Agodi Zoological Garden, and the residential palaces of Yoruba rulers in Oyo and Ogbomosho.

5. Imo State – US$14,212

Imo is endowed with abundant natural resources like crude oil, lead, zinc, white clay, fine sand, limestone and natural gas in commercial quantities. 

Agriculture is the major occupation of the rural population. Commerce, industry, and services constitute much of the
economic activity of the urban dwellers.

As a commercial hub, Imo state have 69 branches of commercial banks out of 4,606 in Nigeria, while out of the 721 microfinance banks in Nigeria, the state had 41 as at March 2008.

Imo state is also a serious tourist destination, blessed with the following: Oguta Wonder Lake Resort and conference centre, Oguta; The Natural Springs located at Onicha, Ezinihitte Mbaise; Nekede Zoological garden and forestry reserve; The rolling hills at Okigwe; Monkey colonies at Lagwa, Aboh Mbaise, and Omuma and Aji, Oru East LGA; Ezeama mystic spring at Isu Njaba; Ngwu springs at Nkwerre near Oriukwu, Dikenafai, Ideato South LGA; Njaba springs; Abadaba Lake; and the blue lake at Oguta.[5]

6. kano State – US$12,393 billion

When we talk about the richest state in Nigeria, it is expected that we talk about the North as well because that region is responsible for most of the agricultural produce of the country.

Agriculture forms the backbone of Kano’s economy, with over 75% of the rural population engaged in food production. The state is the highest producer of groundnuts in the country, which is a very important commodity to the states economic blue print.

The second most important traditional export is hides and skins. Traditional industries include leather tanning and decoration, mat making, metalworking, tailoring, and pottery manufacture. 

Evidence from the Lagos–Kano Household Survey (LKHS) reveals that 73% of households in Kano are living below the World Banks $1.25 a day poverty line, reflecting the severity of poverty and inequality in areas of high economic affluence in the country. [6]

7. Edo State – US$11,888 billion

Edo state is also a crude oil producer but operate an economy that is also agriculturally based.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Yams, cassava (manioc), oil palm produce, rice, and corn (maize) are the major subsistence crops, while rubber, timber, and palm oil and kernels are cash crops.

The state isalso blessed with precious stones like Quartz, Amethyst, Mica, Dolomite, Granite Stone and Lime Stone used in the production of Cement at Okpella. 

The state is also a tourist destination that include, the Emotan statue in Benin City, Ise Lake and River Niger beach inAgenebode, Etsako-East; Ambrose Alli Square, Ekpoma, River Niger beaches at Ilushi, BFFM building at Ewu,College of Agriculture and Aqua Culture Technology, Agenebode, Okpekpe with its hills and scenes and the Somorika hills in Akoko Edo. [7]

8. Akwa Ibom – US$11,179 billion 

Akwa Ibom is currently the highest oil- and gas-producing state in the country. [8]

The traditional occupation of the people of the state are mainly farming, fishing, raffia and hand crafts, commerce and petty trading, timber logging and palm oil production until in modern times, oil and gas production.

The state’s mineral resources include lignite deposits and offshore oil fields. And there is a museum in Oron founded in 1959.

The state’s population is made up of mainly of Ibibio people, who raise yams, rice, cowpeas, corn (maize), and cassava for subsistence and oil palms and cocoa as cash crops.

Shrimping along the coast and deep-sea fishing are also economic activities carried out in the state.

9. Ogun State – US$10,470

Agriculture is the economic mainstay of Ogun. The state produces rice, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), yams, plantains, and bananas. Cocoa, kola nuts, rubber, palm oil and palm kernels, tobacco, cotton, and timber are the main cash crops.

Mineral resources include limestone, chalk, phosphates, and clay. While the Aro granite quarries near Abeokuta, the state capital, provide building material for much of southern Nigeria.

Major tourist attractions are Olumo rock, which according to tradition provided refuge for early Egba settlers; the Ake, the residence of the alake (the traditional ruler of Egbaland), built in 1854 and noted for its collection of antiquities and relics; and the Centenary Hall, all in Abeokuta.[8]

Ijebu-Ode is a major collecting station for kola nuts, which are purchased for trucking to the northern states. It also serves as a collecting point for cocoa and palm oil and kernels, which are exported from Lagos. 

Shagamu is Nigeria’s largest collecting point for kola nuts. Although cocoa, rubber, and palm oil and kernels are also cultivated in the vicinity for export, local trade is primarily in yams, cassava (manioc), rice, corn (maize), palm produce, oranges, and onions.

10 Kaduna State – US$10,334 billion

Another state on this article about the richest state in Nigeria is Kaunda State. It is considered the gateway to Northern Nigeria. The state capital, is Nigeria’s largest textile-manufacturing centre and has other major industries as well, including an oil refinery.

The state produces cotton and peanuts (groundnuts) for export. As well as other cash crops including shea nuts, ginger, and peppers; vegetables grown in the riverine floodplains, brown sugar processed locally from sugarcane; onions; and soybeans. [9]

Tobacco is a major cash crop around Zaria, 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.

Traditional crafts, especially cotton weaving and dyeing (with locally grown indigo), leather processing, raffia weaving, and pottery designing (notably among the Gbari), also retain considerable economic importance.

Tin mining is also carriedout near Kafanchan on the western edge of the Jos Plateau, and tantalite is also found there.

Zaria is a major collecting point for cotton, tobacco, peanuts (groundnuts), shea nuts, and hides and skins. Cotton, peanuts, and shea nuts are processed locally and sent by rail to Lagos for export.

11. Cross River State – US$9,292

Cross River state has a significant portion of the nation’s forest resources and supplies a sizable amount of the country’s industrial woods for export and domestic markets.

Cross River State is developing tourism-related infrastructure and activities to attract National and international visitors to the state.

Ejagham and Efik are the major languages in the state and are widely spoken in Cross River State, and as far as Arochukwu in bordering Abia State.

The State is very rich in culture and offers spectacular tourism sites such as Obudu Mountain Resort with breathtaking views of the hill tops rising 5200 feet above sea level, a 4-km cable car ride over the mountains, a canopy walkway through tropical forests, and a water parks; Agbokim Waterfalls; The Old Residency Museum (offers a moving display of the history of slave trade from Cross River); the Cross River National Park, home to a variety of rare and endangered animal species, including the Cross River Gorilla.


With just eleven states out of the 36 states in Nigeria listed here. It is obvious that Nigeria is a country that is heavily blessed with natural resources. But the problem with the economic structure of the country and consequently the states, is that everyone is now more interested in oil money than anything else.

The oil boom has seen Nigeria abandon other lucrative avenue of revenue making, like agriculture. In other words Nigeria is doing little to diversify its economy.

As a matter of priority, Nigeria government must encourage the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. It is the only viable way to survive the current environment of global economic uncertainty with the volatility of oil price. 

Nigerian economy is mono-cultural, depending on a single commodity–oil. Other sectors of the economy have been relegated to the background, while the management of oil revenues has proven inefficacious in driving the economy to bring about the needed level of development.

This dependency on oil alone imposes serious negative implications on the nation’s development calculus, as after five decades of exploration activities, a good percentage of Nigerians live in abject poverty, unemployment is double-digit and productivity is at its lowest ebb.

Diversification of the Nigerian economy with specific emphasis on the agricultural and solid mineral sectors is what is needed to take the country into the next level, that will bring about great economic change that will contain the acute spread of poverty amongst her people.

By diversifying the economy, Nigeria will be able to achieve economic stability which is very important for the nation’s survival. Which will then translate into more jobs and create a tomorrow that can survive the depletion of our oil reserves.

It is important to note that oil is no longer that relevant as it used to be. With the advent of electric cars and other mode of energy generation, a time will come in the future when our oil would no longer bring in as much profit as available in today’s market.

The Richest state in Nigeria

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