Nimba County is a county in the northeastern Liberia that shares borders with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire in the East and the Republic of Guinea in the Northwest. Its capital city is Sanniquellie and its most populous city is Ganta. With the county's area measuring 11,551 square kilometres (4,460 sq mi), Nimba is the largest of Liberia's 15 counties. The county has six statutory districts. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 462,026, making it the second most-populous county in Liberia.
The Heroic Land (The Home of Conqueror)
Location in Liberia
|Coordinates: 6°45′N 8°45′W|
Largest city (Ganta)
|• Superintendent||D Dorr Cooper|
|• Total||11,551 km2 (4,460 sq mi)|
|• Density||40/km2 (100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, which demarcates part of the Guinea-Côte d'Ivoire border, Nimba is also bordered by Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, Rivercess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast. The northern and northeastern parts of Nimba border the nation of Republic of Guinea, while the northeast lies along the border of Côte d'Ivoire.
Nimba County is one of fifteen counties of Liberia. During the nearly three-decade administration of William V.S. Tubman (1944–1971), the region now called Nimba County was one of three of Liberia's provinces: Western Province, Eastern Province, and Central Province. In the sixties, Tubman reorganized these provinces into counties. Central Province became what is known as Nimba County.
Before the First Liberian Civil War broke out in 1989, the county had a population of over 310,000 people. The top executive in the counties is a County Superintendent, appointed by the president of the county. The current County Superintendent, D. Dorr Cooper, who is the chief administrative officer, was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017. He was re-appointed in 2018 by President George Weah after a change in administrations.
The County is represented by two senators and by nine representatives in the bicameral Legislative Branch of Government. The two senators currently serving the citizens of Nimba County are senior Senator Prince Yormie Johnson and junior Senator Thomas Semandahn Grupee.
- Boe & Quilla District (18,262)
- Buu-Yao District (40,007)
- Doe District (35,918)
- Garr Bain District (61,225)
- Gbehlay-Geh District (32,176)
- Gbi & Doru District (8,131)
- Gbor District (10,875)
- Kparblee District (11,424)
- Leewehpea-Mahn District (24,747)
- Meinpea-Mahn District (24,157)
- Sanniquellie-Mah District (25,370)
- Twah River District (37,479)
- Garr Bain District (37,479)
- Wee-Gbehy-Mahn District (32,934)
- Yarmein District (22,718)
- Yarpea Mahn District (21,647)
- Yarwein Mehnsonnoh District (25,584)
- Zoe-Gbao District (29,372)
- Nimba District 1 Garr Bain District
- Nimba District 2 Garr Bain District, Sanniquellie-Mahn District and Yarpea Mahn District
- Nimba District 3 Garr Bain District, Gbehley-Geh District and Yarmein District
- Nimba District 4 Gbor District and Twah River District
- Nimba District 5 Buu-Yao District
- Nimba District 6 Boe & Quilla District, Gblor District, Doe District and Kparblee District
- Nimba District 7 Zoe-Gbao District and Wee-Gbehy-Mahn District
- Nimba District 8 Leewehpea-Mahn District and Meinpea-Mahn District
- Nimba District 9 Gbi & Doru District, Doe District and Yarwein-Mehnsonoh District
During the late 1950s, iron ore was found in "the Iron Mountain" Mount Nimba. In a joint venture among the Liberian Government, US Bethlehem Steel, and the Swedish mining company Gränges, a huge project was set up: LAMCO (Liberian American Company). The project contributed to economic and social development in Liberia for 30 years. It built the necessary infrastructure and operated mining, transporting ore by rail to the port of Buchanan, from where it was exported to other markets.
Corruption was minimal and political stability improved. During this period, Liberia was classified among the most progressive countries in Africa.
In 1980 civil war erupted between tribal factions. Nimba county was devastated by the civil war that followed. The iron ore had been degrading in quality, and world prices had plunged in this period. The combination led to a dismantling of the LAMCO project.
Since the end of the Civil War (which lasted for more than a decade), there are discussions about renewing mining at Nimba is finally getting better. Arcelor-Mittal, a European-Indian steel business, is committed to reopening the iron mine at Nimba Mountain, outside the former company town of Yekepa. Hospitals and schools built and financed by LAMCO are now being run by ArcelorMittal. The houses which were built by LAMCO have partly been rehabilitated by ArcelorMittal, though many had been overtaken by rainforest development.
BHP Billiton has engaged in an extraction agreement with the Government of Liberia to mine ore in Nimba. As such, they are active promoters of education, scholarship and, for the most part, human resources.
The main ethnic groups in Nimba County are the Dan, also known as Gio and the Mano. The Dan, commonly known as the Gio, live closer to the Cote d'Ivoire border. In that French-speaking country, they are known as the Yacouba. The Mano live closer to the Guinea border.
There are also indigenous minority groups, such as Krahn, Gbi, and Doru. Small Kpelle and Bassa settlements are located near the borders of Bong County and Grand Bassa County, respectively. These are the historical indigenous peoples of Nimba County who have settled in towns and villages.
Various ethnic groups from other parts of Liberia, such as the Mandingo people, have also settled here. They are indigenous people of Lofa County, Guinea, and the Cote d'Ivoire. Other tribal peoples include the Lorma from Lofa. Since the early 20th century, peoples from all parts of West Africa have settled in Nimba.
The ethnic Dan (Gio) own and live in these areas: Gbehlay-Geh Statutory District, Zoe-Geh Statutory District, and Tappita Statutory District. The main towns are Karnplay City, Bahn City, Tappitta City, Baylehglay, Buutuo, Garplay, Toweh town, Graie, Gbloulay, et cetera.
The Man (or Mano) ethnic groups own and live in Sanniquellie Mah Statutory District, Saclepea Mah Statutory District, and the Yahwin-Mehnsonnoh Statutory District. The main towns are Sanniquellie City, Ganta City, Saclepea City, Flumpa, Zekepa, Kanwin, Yekepa and others.
The ethnic Krahn live along the Ivory Coast border in Kpeahbleee District. The main towns are Zoudru, Behwoaloa, Yourpea Old Town, Yourpea New Town, et cetera. The other ethnic indigenous groups, the Gbi and Doru, live along the border of Grand Bassa and Rivercess counties. Their main towns are Glann Town, Camp One, Kidka's Town, and Torkpor's Town.
The Gio and the Mano ethnic group together are referred to as the Dan,, and are closely related tribes. They both claim to be descendants of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. They are believed to have links with the Danites. Most people refer to them as the Jews of Liberia, just as they will refer to Igbo as the Jews of Nigeria.
There is, however, little or no practice of Judaism in Liberia, and no known synagogue. Most purported Liberian Jews are practicing Christians. There has not been DNA testing to assess the beliefs of the tribes. The Liberian Dan continue to say that their name originates from one of the ancient twelve tribes of Israel, as discussed in the Torah. The Dan people also live in Cote D'Ivoire and Guinea. The Dan language is related to the Mande group of African languages.
Ganta has become the second-largest city in the country. Its population has grown as has its business class.
Access to quality healthcare in Nimba is lacking for many residents. As of 2008?, the hospital at Yekepa, built by LAMCO, is now being run by Arcelor-Mittal. In Sanniquellie, the County Referral Hospital is the George Way Harley Hospital. It is solely sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Nimba County. The county health officer is Dr. Collins S. Bowah, and the medical director of the County Referral Hospital is Dr. Lavela B. Kortimai, Jr. at Ganta.
The Methodist Church runs a private hospital. E and J Hospital opened in 2016 in Ganta, Nimba County. At Saclepea, the Government of Liberia and Africare jointly operate Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center. There are 74 functional health facilities in Nimba County Health, of which there is one regional referral: Jackson F. Doe Hospital.