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Most Populated Cities in Nigeria 2020


Many Cities in Nigeria can boast of over a million residents that’s why Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world. Nigeria has 36 states with 774 local government areas that spread across the country.  

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the 7th most populated country in the world with an estimated population of 206,139,589 people at the time of this writing.

Over half of the populations of the Nigerian residents live in rural areas, about 52% to be prĂ©cised. The populations of those living in the rural areas have reduced compared to as it was in 1960 because most of them have moved to the urban areas to seek greener pastures taking advantage of the numerous job opportunities found there and because it affords them the basic amenities they need. 

Out of all the cities in Nigeria, 7 of them have a population of more than one million residents, 79 cities have a population that ranges from 100,000 to 1 million residents while the rest have less than one hundred people living in the areas.

This list focuses on the 10 largest Nigerian cities by population.

  • LAGOS
Lagos is no doubt the largest Nigerian city by population because it is a centre for commercial and business activities. With about 14 million people, Lagos is the largest urban city in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. 

If Lagos were to be a country, it would have been the fifth-largest economy in Africa. The city is dominated by the Yoruba speaking people but it is also filled with people of different tribes from Nigeria and other African citizens who have come to the city for either business purpose or for education purpose. Because of the large population of the city, traffic congestion is an everyday thing in the city.

  • KANO 
Kano is the largest city in the Northern part of Nigeria in terms of both landmass and population. The city is mostly dominated by the Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups with about 98% of them being Muslims and the Hausa language is spoken by most of the residents but English language is sometimes used for business purposes. The population of Kano is estimated at 4 million people. 

The city of Kano like Lagos is a financial and commercial hub for the northern people. Kano is the home for most textile industries in Nigeria. They also have food processing industries, plastic and furniture. The city also has agricultural centres for produce like wheat, cotton, rice, peanut, maize, millet etc. 

  • IBADAN
Ibadan is an ancient city that was founded in the 18th century by the Yoruba community and the capital of Oyo state. The city is still dominated by the Yoruba people. 

Ibadan is the third largest Nigerian city by population with an estimated population of over 3 million residents. There has been increase in migration of people to Ibadan in recent years because of the low cost of living in the city and Ibadan also is a centre for educational institutions. 

There have over the years an increase in the number of vehicles in the city but the traffic is not as much as Lagos.

  • ABUJA
Abuja is a modern city built in the 1980’s. it is the administrative centre of Nigeria which host International embassies, financial institution, government offices and house for the wealthy class of Nigeria. 

Abuja still stands as the fastest-growing city in Africa and one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. It is also one of the largest cities in Nigeria by population with an unofficially estimated population of 3 million people. 

Abuja has been continuously attracting foreign investors in mega projects thereby increasing the city’s economic growth. The indigenes of Abuja are Gbagyi (Gwari) as well as Bassa, Gwandara, Gade, Ganagana, Koro but the official language used is the English language.

  • PORT HARCOURT
Port Harcourt is one of the largest Nigerian cities by population and also the capital of Rivers state. The major industry in this city is petroleum. Crude oil was first discovered first in Oloibiri in 1956.

 Port Harcourt has been developed over the years with aspects of modernization through the benefits of the Nigerian petroleum industry. A large number of oil firms can be found Port Harcourt like Chevron, Shell, and Royal Dutch.

 Port Harcourt has two main refineries that are used to process around 210,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Port Harcourt also has other industries that are used for the production of furniture works, food processes, and Crude oil-related products. The city has an estimated population of over 2.9 million people. 

  • BENIN CITY
Benin City is an ancient city and also the capital of Edo state. The city is known as the centre of rubber industries in Nigeria. With a population of about 1.7 million people, Benin is one of the largest Nigerian cities by population. 

Benin became rich because of the trade activities within the Southern part of Nigeria in the 16th and 17th century. They also trade with the Europeans then. Ever since Benin has continued to grow as the trade activities continue to grow too. 

They sell oil, pepper, and ivory. Benin City is also home to many tourist attractions sites which also attracts people from inside and outside the country to the city. These tourist places include Kada event centre, the palace of the Oba of Benin, National Museum, and the King’s Square. The Benin people are also famous for bronze casting and other metal works.

  • MAIDUGURI
Maiduguri is also called Yerwa by its locals and it is the capital of Borno state in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. Maiduguri was the home for the Kanem-Bornu Empire for centuries before it was invaded by the British using theirs as their military headquarters. 

Maiduguri is one of the largest Nigerian cities by population with an estimated population of about 1.1 million people. The city is mostly dominated by Muslims. The major language spoken by the people of Maiduguri is the Hausa language but they have other ethnic groups which include Kanuri, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups. 

There is also a considerable amount of Christian there. The population of Maiduguri is thought to have reduced a bit because of the recent activities of the Boko Haram Insurgents in the region.
  • ZARIA
Zaria is the largest city by population in Kaduna state. Though it is not the state capital but it is a major city in the state. It was formally known as Zazzau and one of the original seven Hausa-city-states. 

Zazzau is thought to be to have been founded in 1513 before it was renamed Zaria after the queen Zaria. It is home to many important and prominent Nigerians. 

The economy of Zaria is primarily based on agriculture with cash crops that include Groundnut, Tobacco, and Cotton. The population of Zaria has estimated at 975,153 inhabitants with the major language spoken there as Hausa.
  • ABA
Nicknamed as Eyimba which means Elephant in Igbo language, Aba is a City in Abia state and also the centre of commercial activities in the state. Aba is also a business hub for the people of Abia state and neighboring South Eastern states. 

The communities in Aba is dominated by the Igbo speaking people and the religion mostly practice there is Christianity. The major economy contribution of Aba is Palm oil and textiles. The population of the city of Aba is at about 897,560 which makes it one of the largest Nigerian cities by population.

The cost of living in Aba is relatively low which makes the city affordable for the average Nigerians.
  • JOS
The last on our list of the 10 largest Nigerian cities by population is Jos which is nicknamed as J-Town. Jos is a city in the middle belt region and the administrative capital of Plateau state.  The earliest settlers known before the place was known as a Nigerian city were the Nok people (1000 BC), they were skilled artisans that later mysteriously vanished.

Jos is well known for its sales of fresh fruits. Tin and columbite are extensively mined in the area. The population of Jos is estimated to be over 900,000 residents. Tin mining is very popular in the area which makes the place a destination for the Igbo, Yoruba, and the European people who constitute almost half of the population of the city. The religions practiced in Jos are both the Christian and Islam religions.

Jos is known as a home of peace until 2001 when there was a clash between the two major religions of the state which led to the death of many of its citizens.

CONCLUSION

Above is an updated list of the most populated cities in Nigeria. It is important that you know this list will be subjected to review and updated as the population of the people changes over time.

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