South East States in Nigeria: The Full List

South East Nigeria or South Eastern Nigeria is one of the six geopolitical zones in the country.

The region is an offspring of the former Eastern Nigeria. The zone was carved out from Eastern Nigeria in 1967 during the Gowon administration between 1967 and 1975.

South East States in Nigeria

The region consists of the following states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

In this post, we take a look at a brief profile of each of these states.


Abia State is one of the major states in South Eastern Nigeria. The capital of the state is Umuahia. Abia is particularly known for its commercial hub, Aba.

The state was created in 1991 from Imo State and it is one of the constituent states of the Niger Delta region. It occupies a geographical area of 6,320 square kilometres. It is bounded in the north and northeast by Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi while it is bounded on the west by Imo State, to the east and southeast are Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State respectively and to the south is Rivers State.

The southern part of the State lies within the riverine part of Nigeria, it is a low-lying tropical rainforest with some oil-palm brush, the southern portion gets heavy rainfall of about 2,400 millimetres (94 in) per year and is especially intense between the months of April through October. The rest of the State is moderately high plain and wooded savanna.

The most important rivers in Abia State are the Imo and Aba Rivers which flow into the Atlantic Ocean through Akwa Ibom State.

The state is involved in crude oil and gas production which contributes over 39% of the State’s GDP. Also, there is a manufacturing sector that accounts for 2% of the GDP.

Aba is the industrial centre of the state and the area is involved in textile manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, soap, plastics, cement, footwear, and cosmetics.

Agriculture is also an important sector of the state’s economy representing 27% of the GDP and employing 70% of the state workforce- is the second economic sector of Abia.

There are over 100 oil wells and 3 installed flow stations in Abia State. Currently, Abia state produces 36,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

There are four universities in Abia state: the federal-owned Michael Okpara University of Agriculture at Umudike, the state-owned Abia State University in Uturu, the Gregory University Uturu (privately owned) and Rhema University in Aba also (privately owned).  There is also the Abia State Polytechnic located in Aba.

Also, there are two tertiary hospitals, the Federal Medical Center in Umuahia and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba, which serve as referral hospitals in the State.

Additionally, the state has two major power plants in Abia, The Alaoji Power plant and the Geometric Power plant.


Anambra is also located in southeastern Nigeria. The capital and seat of government of the state is Awka.

However, the most important area in the state is Onitsha which is a historic port city from pre-colonial times.  In fact, it is the largest urban area in the state. The state’s theme is “Light of the nation”.

The western boundaries of the State have Imo State while there is Rivers State to the south. Also, there is Enugu State to the East, and Kogi State to the north.

Anambra is primarily made up of Igbo ethnic group while the Igala living in the north-western part of the state make up a very small portion of the state.

The state is rich in natural resources such as natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, and ceramic. Also, it has an almost 100 per cent arable soil. There are other resources in terms of agro-based activities such as fisheries and farming, as well as land cultivated for pasturing and animal husbandry.

Interestingly, Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria. In 2012, Anambra became an oil-producing state when Orient Petroleum, an indigenous company struck oil in the Anambra River basin.

The major urban centres of Anambra state are Onitsha, Nnewi, and Awka, the state capital. Awka and Onitsha developed as pre-colonial urban centres: Awka was the craft industrial centre of the Nri hegemony. Onitsha is a city state on the Niger, having developed as a river port and commercial centre.

Nnewi which is sometimes called the Taiwan of Nigeria is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre.


Ebonyi state is the most recent of the South Eastern states. It was one of the states created in 1996 by the Military Government at that time. It was created from parts of Enugu and Abia stats

The capital of Ebonyi is Abakaliki. There are other major towns in the state which include Afikpo, Onueke, Edda, Onicha, etc.

The state is home to six tertiary institutions of learning namely: Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki (EBSU); Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI); Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo (EBSCOEI); Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana; College of Health Sciences, Ezzamgbo and Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.

There are several Igbo dialects spoken in Ebonyi State with the most prominent being the Izi-Ezza-Mgbo-Ikwo dialect cluster, Ehugbo,Akpoha, Edda, Okposi, Onicha and Uburu.

Ebonyi is a prominent agricultural region and it is one of the leading producers of rice, yam, potatoes, maize, beans, and cassava in Nigeria.

Ebonyi is also known as the salt of the nation because of its huge salt deposit at the Okposi and Uburu Salt Lakes.

The state consists of 13 Local Government Areas which include Abakaliki, Afikpo North, Afikpo South (Edda), Ebonyi, Ezza North, Ezza South, Ikwo, Ishielu, Ivo, Izzi, Ohaozara, Ohaukwu and Onicha.


Enugu is a state in southeastern Nigeria. It was created in 1991 from part of the old Anambra State. Its capital and largest city is Enugu, from which the state derives its name. The principal cities in the state are Enugu, Nsukka, Agbani and Awgu.

The state shares borders with Abia State and Imo State to the south, Ebonyi State to the east, Benue State to the northeast, Kogi State to the northwest and Anambra State to the west.

The word “Enugu” (from Enu Ugwu) means “the top of the hill”. History has it that the first European settlers arrived in the area in 1909, led by a British mining engineer named Albert Kitson.

The state is known as the coal city. During the colonial rule, coal was often shipped to Britain and the area was quite prominent for its mining activities.

In 1917, Enugu acquired township status in 1917 and became strategic to British interests. Foreign businesses began to move into Enugu, the most notable of which were John Holt, Kingsway Stores, the British Bank of West Africa and the United Africa Company.

Enugu was the capital of the Eastern Region (now divided into nine States), the capital of the now-defunct Federal Republic of Biafra, thereafter, the capital of East Central State, Anambra State, (old) Enugu State, and now the capital of the present Enugu State through a process of state creation and diffusion of administrative authority.

The first indigenous university in Nigeria, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), is located in Enugu State. The state is also home to the Enugu State University of Science & Technology (ESUT), Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Federal Cooperative College, Oji River (FCCO); Enugu State College of Education Technical, Enugu; Caritas University and Amorji-Nike, Renaissance University, Ugbawka


Imo is another major state located in the south-east of Nigeria. Owerri is its capital and largest city. The major cities in the state are Orlu and Okigwe.

Imo State is bordered by Abia State on the East, River Niger and Delta State to the West, Anambra State on the North and Rivers State to the South.

The state depends primarily on agriculture and commerce.

Also, the state has several natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, lead, Calcium Cabornate and zinc.

There are over 163 oil wells at over 12 different locations in the state and the main petroleum companies operating in the state are Addax Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell and Agip.

The chief occupation of the local people in Imo is farming. The cash crops produced include oil palm, raffia palm, rice, groundnut, melon, cotton, cocoa, rubber, and maize. Consumable crops such as yam, cassava, cocoyam and maize are also produced in large quantities.


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