Bayelsa State

Bayelsa is a state in southern Nigeria in the core Niger Delta region, between Delta State and Rivers State. Its capital is Yenagoa. The main language spoken is Ijaw with dialects such as Kolukuma, Mein, Bomu, Nembe, Epie-Atisa, and Ogbia. Like the rest of Nigeria, English is the official language. The state was formed in 1996 from part of Rivers State and is thus one of the newest states of the Nigerian federation.[4]


Location of Bayelsa State in Nigeria
Geopolitical ZoneSouth South
Created1 October 1996
  GovernorHenry Dickson (PDP)
  Deputy GovernorGboribiogha John Jonah
  Total10,773 km2 (4,159 sq mi)
Area rank27th
 (2006 census)
 Ranked 35th
ISO 3166 codeNG-BY
Total$4.34 billion[2]
Per capita$2,484[2]
HDI (2016)0.591[3] · 2nd of 36


Bayelsa state was created out of Rivers State on October 1, 1996 by the Sani Abacha's military government. Its name was derived from the first few letters of the names of the major local government areas from which it was formed - Brass LGA (BALGA), Yenagoa (YELGA) and Sagbama (SALGA). Hence BAYELSA was derived from the letters BA + YEL + SA.[4]


Bayelsa State has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in Nigeria. As a result, petroleum production is extensive in the state. However, the majority of Bayelsans live in poverty.

They are mainly rural dwellers due to the terrain and lack of adequate transportation, health, education or other infrastructure as a result of decades of neglect by the central governments, state governments, and petroleum prospecting companies. This has been a large problem in the state since its creation; successive state governments have not been able to address and repair the issue. The state, as a result, has an almost non-existent commerce. Successive state governments have embarked on industrial projects (even venturing into the oil and gas sector) and poverty-alleviation programs to reverse this situation. Some argue that there is nothing on ground to show for huge sums of money spent for development by successive and present state governments.

The local population engage in fishing on a subsistence and commercial level. The Bayelsa State government is otherwise the main employer in the state.


Bayelsa has a riverine and estuarine setting. Many communities are almost (and in some cases) completely surrounded by water, making them inaccessible by road. The state is home to the Edumanom Forest Reserve, in June 2008 the last known site for chimpanzees in the Niger Delta.[5]

Other important cities besides Yenagoa include Akassa, Lobia, Amassoma (the home of the Niger Delta University), Eniwari, Ekeremor, Aliebiri, Peretoru, Twon-Brass, Egwema-Brass, Kaiama, Nembe, Odi, Ogbia, Okpoama, Brass, Oporoma, Otuan, Sagbama, Olugbobiri, Peremabiri, and Swali.

Notable people


Due to massive overseas scholarship programs implemented by the old Rivers State in the 1970s and recent Bayelsa State governments, large numbers of Bayelsan professionals reside in Europe and North America. This is part of the general brain-drain trend affecting many African communities.


The major tertiary institutions in Bayelsa state are:

  • Niger Delta University
  • Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education
  • College of Health Sciences
  • School of Nursing
  • Bayelsa State College of Arts and Science
  • Bayelsa Medical University
  • University of Africa
  • Federal Polytechnic Ekeowe
  • International Institute of Tourism[21]
  • Federal University Otuoke

Local government areas

Bayelsa State consists of eight local government areas:


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