Prior to the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in 1951, Agriculture was the primary occupation of the people of Rivers State. Around the 19th century when the industrial revolution reached its peak in England, the area was then referred to as Oil Rivers Protectorate; this was due to its abundant palm oil and kernel that constituted the main revenue source of the country. In a sample survey carried out by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, about 40% of the rural inhabitants were committed to farming in 1983. Rivers State is one of the leading states in the production of yam, cassava, cocoyam, maize, rice and beans. About 39% (760,000 hectares) of the state’s total land mass, particularly in the upland area, is suitable for cultivation. Major cash crops produced are oil palm products, rubber, coconut, raffia palm and jute. Other crops grown for food include; vegetables, melon, pineapples, mango, pepper, banana and plantain. The fishing industry is an important sector in Rivers State. Besides being lucrative, fishing is also a favorite past time activity. There are approximately 270 species of fish existing; with many artisanal fishermen in the riverine areas. The state provides valuable seafood such as crabs, oysters, shrimps and sea snails among others. Vertebrates like birds, mammals and reptiles are also found in the region.


In 1999 the state had 2,805 government primary schools and 243 secondary schools. The secondary schools are concentrated mainly in LGA headquarter towns and in Port Harcourt. Tertiary institutions include the:

University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Port Harcourt established by the federal government in 1975,

 Rivers State University of Science and Technology, founded in 1980 by the state government,

 School of Health Technology, Port Harcourt, established by the state government,

Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku and the state-owned Rivers State Polytechnic at Bori,

 Rivers State University of Education (Ignatius Ajuru University) at Rumuolumeni, Nkpolu Oroworukwo and Ndele and

 School of Nursing and Midwifery at Rumueme, Port Harcourt.

The Rivers State College of Arts and Science in Port Harcourt gained polytechnic status in 2006.


Rivers State is the fifth most populous State in Nigeria with over 3 million residents. Its ia also the second largest economy in the country, next only to Lagos State. Port Harcourt, the State’s capital, is one of the largest cities in the country and contributes significantly to the nation’s financial, manufacturing, transport and telecommunications sectors, among others. In 2007, the State’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $21.07 billion and a per capita income of$3.965.

Rivers State generates about a third of Nigeria’s gross domestic product, gross domestic and national income and foreign exchange. Most of the multinational oil and gas companies in Nigeria and abroad are based either in Rivers State or have offices and branches in the state. These companies include, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Total-Elf-Fina, Nigeria

Agip Oil Company, Saipem Nigeria Limited, Dawoo Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited. The State also has two petroleum refineries;two seaports,two airports, the Trans Amadi Industrial Estate and the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.


Rivers State is famous for its vast reserve of crude oil and natural gas. More than 40% of Nigeria’s output of crude oil and gas resources is produced in the state. Apart from crude oil, the State is also rich in silica sand, glass and clay and other solid minerals, most of which is untapped.


Manufacturing activities are presently very limited in Rivers State. The State depends largely on goods and commodities imported from abroad or produced from other cities such as Aba, Onitsha and Lagos. Nevertheless the Trans Amadi industrial estate in Port Harcourt host some manufacturing companies. There are also some considerable manufacturing activities taking place in the Eleme/Onne industrial hub where indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited,the Nigerian Petroleum Refinery Company and the Notoro Chemical Industries, among others is located.

The Oil and Gas Free Zone Onne

Established in the year 2000, the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne, Rivers State, dedicated to offering high-speed services in cargo handling, equipment,shipping and paperwork processing in a safe and efficient manner to Oil and Gas companies. The OGFZ has two major terminals: a Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) and a Federal Lighter Terminal (FLT). Over 200 companies with a combined investment portfolio of $20billion are currently operating in the zon, including reputable international energy companies creating jobs, transferring skills and empowering people.

The Service Sector

Rivers State has a fairy robust and expanding service sector, which encompasses the private businesses and public service such as retail, banks, hotels, education, healthcare,administration, social work,information technology, communications, transportation, arts, entertainment, recreation, electricity and water supply. This sector accounts for nearly two thirds of the State’s economy.

Onne Port Complex is the largest oil and gas free zone in the World. All major industry players are operating from Onne. Supporting the exploration and production of Nigerian Activities. Under-Used and partially built, Intels Nigeria Limited refurbished it from 1982 until 1995, when the first ocean vessel moored ata FOT’s (Federal Ocean Terminal) Berth No.1. This became the only berth for deep offshore support, provides valuable seafood such as crab, oysters, shrimps and sea snails among others. Vertebrates like birds, mammals and reptiles are also found in the region.


In the early days of the colonial period, several protection treaties were signed between various indigenous communities and the British colonial government. Between 1941 and 1952, agitation for the creation of Rivers province began with the formation of the Ijo Rivers People’s League. By 1953, the Council of Rivers Chiefs was birthed as a replacement body for the League, the same year, another organisation, the Calabar Ogoja Rivers (COR) State Movement became existent.

The Council of Rivers Chiefs was later renamed in 1954 to Rivers Chiefs and Peoples’ Congress and in 1956, the organisation became known as the Rivers Chiefs Peoples Conference. Until 1958, hopes of an independent state resonated with the region, and lingered consistently in the minds of its natives. During the constitutional conference that year, the country’s nationhood was affirmed while an agreement was reached on some measures to mitigate the fears of the ethnic minorities in the area. Around this time, the COR State Movement had broken away to press their own case. Thereafter, the British launched a commission led by Sir Henry Willink to look into the misgivings of these autochthons. The Willink Commission initiated the conception of the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB). The purpose was to tackle the problems of underdevelopment, however, this failed to rise to the expectations of the masses. After much discontent, some of the people attempted to take the extralegal route to achieve their goals.

In February 1966, Isaac Boro, Sam Owonaro and Nottingham Dick alongside their supporters proclaimed a “Delta Peoples Republic”. The rebellion was immediately crushed by the Federal and the old Eastern Nigeria government. On 27 May 1967, under the administration of General Yakubu Gowon, decree No. 14 was issued, allowing the creation of Rivers State. From then on, complaints about political marginalisation, environmental degradation and economic pauperisation remained among the Ijaw groups, such that a separate Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State by the military government during 1996.


Rivers State is the sixth-largest geographic area in Nigeria according to 2006 census data. The state has an indigenously diverse population with major riverine and upland divisions with beautiful cultural heritage. The dominant ethnic groups are: Ogoni, Ijaw and Ikwerre. The riverine, including most of the state's towns and villages surrounded by water is moderately inhabited.

Our engagement in arts often serves to strengthen social bonds in subtle but important ways, and to forge connections that may not have existed before. Our Arts and culture are a vital tool in promoting a stronger social fabric and enhancing the social health of our state.

Our engagement in arts often serves to strengthen social bonds in subtle but important ways, and to forge connections that may not have existed before. Our Arts and culture are a vital tool in promoting a stronger social fabric and enhancing the social health of our state.

Though we have our different cultures and outlook towards life, we are one people with one voice.