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KwaraLoaded

247 Gist & Entertainment Blog

Explore “Kwara State”

History of Kwara state:

Kwara State is one of the 36 states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Kwara State shares her boundaries with the Republic of Benin at her West and the Niger River at her North.

The capital city of Kwara State, Ilorin, is situated 306km inland from the coastal city of Lagos and 500km from the federal capital, Abuja. Major towns include Ilorin, Offa, and Jebba, located on the Niger River. Other towns include Patigi, Erin-lIe, lIoffa, Adeleke Igbewere, Ejidongari, Osi, Lafiagi, Gure, Afon, Kaiama, Isanlu-lsin, Omu-Aran, Egbejila, lIota, Iponrin and Igbaja.

Kwara State was created in May 1967, as one of the first of 12 states to replace the nation’s four regions. Originally the state was known as West Central State but the name was changed to Kwara, a local name for the Niger River. The size of the state has been reduced over the years, as new states have been created within the federation. The total landmass of Kwara State today is 32 500 square kilometers.

Kwara State is known as ‘The State of Harmony’ on account of the peaceful relations that exist among its multicultural and diverse population of about 2.5 million people. Followers of the three great religious faiths to be found in Nigeria, Islam, Christianity and traditional, coexist within the state.

Facts and Figures

Capital:                          Ilorin

Area:                             36,825 km

Population:                     2,591,555 (2005 est.)

Major Languages:            Yoruba, Ebira, Nupe, and Hausa.

Governor:                       Abdulfatah Ahmed (APC)

Date Created:                  27th May 1967

Population Rank:             Ranked 31st

About Kwara State:

Kwara State’s peaceful population, abundant natural resources, well-developed infrastructure and proactive investment-attraction policies have made it an attractive destination for investors

Kwara State is one of the 36 states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Kwara State shares her boundaries with the Republic of Benin at her west and the Niger River at her North.

The capital city of Ilorin is situated 306km inland from the coastal city of Lagos and 5OOkm from the federal capital, Abuja. Major towns include Offa and Jebba, located on the Niger River. Other towns include Patigi, Erin-lIe,lIoffa, Adeleke Igbewere, Ejidongari, Osi, Lafiagi, Gure, Afon, Kaiama, Isanlu-lsin, Omu-Aran, Egbejila, lIota, Iponrin and Igbaja.

Kwara State was created in May 1967, as one of the first of 12 states to replace the nation’s four regions. Originally the state was known as West Central State but the name was changed to Kwara, a local name for the Niger River. The size of the state has been reduced over the years, as new states have been created within the federation. The total landmass of Kwara State today is 32,500 square kilometres.

Kwara State is known as ‘The State of Harmony’ on account of the peaceful relations that exist among its multicultural and diverse population of about 2.5 million people. Followers of the three great religious faiths to be found in Nigeria, Islam, Christianity and traditional, coexist within the state.

States in Nigeria enjoy a high degree of autonomy. Each state, for example, can set industrial policy and independently seeks to attract investment. This is normally located within a broader national policy and must naturally comply with federal rules (with regard to import duties, for example). Energy policy is the sole preserve of the federal government although this is changing as the option of using Independent Power Producers (IPP) becomes more attractive. Each state is divided into Local Government Areas (LGAs) and, in the case of Kwara, there are 16 such LGAs.

Geography

Kwara State comprises rainforest in the southern parts with wooded savannah covering the larger part of the state. The soil is fertile and the state is well watered by the various tributaries of the Niger River which run through hills and valleys, none of which rise to any great height. The western section of the state is at a slightly higher altitude than the eastern.

This is a summer rainfall area, with an annual rainfall range of 1000 mm to 1,500 mm. The months of December and January coincide with the cold and dry harmattan period. Average maxi-mum temperatures vary between 300.C and 350.C.

Logistics

Kwara’s central location has resulted in it sometimes being called the ‘Gateway’ state. Ilorin international Airport has undergone major upgrades and is now not only a passenger airport but a major cargo hub. Not only is Kwara State well situated within Nigeria, with connections south to the key harbour of Lagos and to the capital city of Abuja to the north-east, but it is well sited regionally within West Africa and within a relatively short international flight from Europe and the US. There is an extensive network of well-maintained roads. Kwara is working on maximizing its potential through the building of truck stops and logistics hubs. The Jebba Dam is an important source of water and hydro-electric power.

Unique selling point

Kwara State is known for its peaceful character, its innovation and its strong educational sector. In recent years it has come to be known as the home of commercial agriculture, as a result of the, New Nigerian Farmers initiative.

Also known as the Shonga project, after the name of the town close to where the commercial farming is being practised, the New Nigerian Farmers initiative has got Nigerians and foreigners talking about Kwara State in a new way. Kwara State has changed in the public eye from being a ‘civil service’ state to being the state where the Shonga farmers are succeeding. Kwarans believe this could happen on a broader scale in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a land of immense agricultural potential. Milk products and rice currently make up US$1.2-billion of the nation’s US$4-billion food-importation bill- a situation that well-organised commercial agriculture has the potential to reverse.

In support of the Shonga project, processing facilities have been built, for example a dairy and a poultry abattoir. Refrigeration facilities and transport infrastructure form the next stage in the value chain.

The upgrading of Ilorin International Airport be in Europe within hours. This again opens up many other potential avenues to be explored, for example, in the cultivation and exportation of cut flowers, a very lucrative enterprise.

People, skills and culture

The principal groups residing in Kwara State are the Yoruba, Nupe, Bariba and Fulani. The skilled craftsmanship of the people of this central region has been evident for centuries. The, largest and most important pottery workshops in Nigeria can be found in the capital city of Ilorin. Proponents of the craft of traditional textile weaving are also very prominent: the Aso Oke style of hand-loomed cloth-making is world renowned.

The Yoruba are the largest population group in the south-western part of Nigeria while the Fulani comprise a significant proportion of the population of the north. Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo is a Yoruba; former president Umaru Yar’Adua was a Fulani.

The Yoruba stem from an ancient civilisation, the Oyo Empire, that came into existence in the eighth century with its headquarters in Ife, in what is now the neighbouring state of Osun. Historian Robin Hallett has described the bronze and terracotta works of art known as the Ife heads as one of the ‘supreme artistic achievements of mankind’. Oyo was at the height of its powers in the middle of the 18th century and was a trade conduit between the south and north.

The Nupe Kingdom was located to the north of the Niger River. According to Hallett, they were ‘industrial specialists’, with skills including glass-making, weaving, tailoring, blacksmithing and iron mining. One of the traditional skills of the Nupe is in the making of elaborate carved stools, using only one piece of wood. The Bariba people were once part of the Borgu Kingdom and about 80% of this group now lives in neighbouring Benin.

Tractor ploughing the ground in preparation for new planting season at Shonga Farm

The rich and varied cultures of Kwara State can be viewed at places such as the Esie Museum, Ogunjokoro and the Imoleboja Rock Shelter. The pategi regatta is a popular attraction, with boat owners proudly displaying their vessels and fishing and swimming contests. The Esie stone images are an important cultural artifact while various festivals are not only important to local communities but would prove fascinating to visitors. The Awon and Egungun festivals are just two examples. The tragic end of explorer Mungo Park’s expedition down the Niger River is commemorated at Jebba where his boat is on display and there is a monument.
Connecting

The modern Kwara State is an outward-looking polity. Ilorin International Airport is just one symbol of this attitude. The recently opened branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange is another. The state’s governor has addressed meetings in the USA and the UK, advising Kwarans in the diaspora of the opportunities back home and encouraging them to solicit investments in their home state. Companies such as Kwara Ethnix Designs (the furniture manufacturer) have their eyes on the London market for their high-quality products, utilising Ilorin International Airport to transport their goods.

Industry

Pottery worshop in Ilorin

The preferred method of growing the state’s industrial capacity is through public-private partnerships (PPPs). The state provides site services and associated support. Among the several current success stories are: Kwara Ethnix Designs, the Olam Nigeria cashew-nut processing facility, Dangote Flour Mills and the Chellarams motorcycle assembly plant.
With the state’s excellent natural resources, good infrastructure and the positive support and encouragement of the state government, the outlook for industrial and commercial investors is very good.
Education and research

For any state to be competitive in industry, it needs a good educational infrastructure and in that sense, Kwara State is well served. Kwara State University was inaugurated in 2009, joining the University of Ilorin (a federal institution) and AI-Hikmah University as the leading tertiary institutions in the state. Other facilities include Federal Polytechnic at Offa, a Federal Training Centre in Ilorin and State Colleges of Education at Ilorin and Oro. Ilorin also hosts the Kwara State Polytechnic and a School of Nursing. Two important religious centres of learning are the College of Arabic and, Islamic Legal Studies and the United Missionary Theological Seminary. The town of Offa is home to Adesoye College.

The University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital is the main medical institution in the state, supported by specialist and general hospitals, rural health centres and health clinics. An aviation college located close to lIorin International Airport aims to offer high-quality pilot training and the Kwara Football Academy is another specialist institution. Research institutes include the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI). Another Ilorin-based institute doing important work is the Niger River Basin Development Authority, which oversees issues pertaining to development in the broader region.

A new way of doing business

The administration of Kwara State has instituted special measures to control expenditure and prides itself on transparency in its account keeping. Fitch Ratings has given the state ratings on two consecutive occasions. A Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BM PIU) monitors all state budgets and scrutinizes quotations. Kwara State was the first state in Nigeria to voluntarily subject itself to federal government benchmarking exercise in accountability and transparency.

Nigeria

Nigeria is a federal republic with an executive president. The National Assembly comprises the 360-member House of Representatives (selected from constituencies around the country) and a 109-member Senate. Each of the country’s 36 states nominates three senators, and one senate seat is allocated to the Federal Capital Territory, the area that controls the nation’s capital city of Abuja. Nigeria’s legal system is based on English law and two types of customary law, ethnic and Islamic. Some northern states have chosen to introduce Sharia Law. Kwara State is not among them. The Supreme Court of Nigeria is the country’s highest court.

After a long period of military rule, Nigeria has been civilian led since national elections were held in 1999. Subsequent national elections have been run in 2003 and 2007. Nigeria’s population is estimated to be in the region of 149 million, representing a massive potential market for goods and services.

Population estimate: 149 million
Size: 924 000 square kilometres
Agricultural land: 81%
Major Languages: English (official), Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa.
Currency: Naira (May 2010: US$1 = N150)
International dialing code: +234
Internet domain: ng.

An Excellent Investment Destination

Kwara State is the only Nigerian state to have received two consecutive positive ratings from ratings agency Fitch. This is just one of the many good reasons why Kwara State stands and like a beacon as prospective destination for serious investors.

When Nigeria Telecommunications sector was opened up to competition in 2001, the response from the world community of investors was fairly tepid. One of the companies to win a mobile phone licence at that time, MTN, is now a continental giant; its current Nigeria subscriber base of more than 20 million is ample testimony to the good sense of investing in Africa’s most populous country.

Since 1999, Nigeria has held three national elections and democratic values are taking hold in the Federal Republic. Periodic unrest has been fairly localised, either in the north or in the Niger Delta. Kwara State has proudly lived up to its reputation as the State of Harmony, where the major religious communities have good relations with one another.

The centrally located Kwara State is ideally situated to serve Nigeria: it is just north of the megalopolis of Lagos, trucks travelling north-south pass through the state and it has road connections to Abuja, Kaduna and Kano beyond. In addition, Kwara has been investing heavily in its infrastructure, not least in the upgrading of Ilorin International Airport, which is now a fully fledged international facility able to handle significant volumes of cargo. The airport investment is the central plank of the state’s two-pronged strategy to grow the economy. The first component is to promote commercial agriculture. This in turn will produce enough produce to sustain an export-driven strategy.

The entire value chain is being addressed and investors are being encouraged to get involved at the level of farming (like the successful Shonga farmers who are already producing dairy products, crops and poultry), beneficiation (the state needs processing plants of every sort), transport (trucking and storage) and exportation to foreign countries. Ilorin International Airport’s location allows for relatively short flights to the USA and the UK. Typically, the go-ahead planners of Kwara State are not going to sit around and wait for pilots to be trained elsewhere; instead, the state has inaugurated a top-flight aviation college to be located in Ilorin.

Assets

Kwara State has a very good education system, with several universities, a teaching hospital and research institutions maintaining the state’s high reputation in this field. Investors will find it easy to find suitably qualified staff.

The state is richly endowed with agricultural and mineral resources. The primary focus at the moment is on promoting investment in agriculture and agri-processing, but substantial’ opportunities exist in the solid minerals sector as well.

Kwara has very good support services including hotels of international standard, banks, communications networks and data banks. A branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange recently opened in Ilorin.

The unreliability of electricity supply has long been an obstacle to concerted investment in Nigeria. While this situation has not been entirely solved at national level, Kwara State has taken steps to secure a regular supply of power, particularly for its industrial estates. The work done on the Ganmo substation has had the effect of ensuring close to 24 hours of electricity per day, and this will continue to improve.

Incentives

The Kwara State Government extends a number of incentives to serious investors. These include the provision of land and infrastructure, tax holidays and assistance with obtaining financing. In addition, the state is willing to construct infrastructure such as roads to facilitate development.

A recent example of this was the completion of a N2.9-billion irrigation project in support of the Shonga farming initiative. Investors willing to participate along with government in public-private partnerships (PPPs) will find a willing partner in the Kwara State administration.

Another area where the state has made things easier for investors is in respect of the Certificate of Occupancy (CoO). In some parts of Nigeria this document – and the difficulties associated with obtaining it became a major obstacle to development. Kwara State is now able to produce a CoO within two weeks and businessmen can start planning and building quicker than before.

Transparent and accountable

Fitch Ratings has given Kwara State positive ratings on two consecutive occasions: AA- for national long term and B+ for long-term local currency. This was based on the state government’s prudent budget management.

Tradingmarkets.com reported in 2009 that other positive factors were the administration’s new debt-management office, the consolidation of the state’s own-revenue source and the establishment of a trust fund to build reserves. Kwara was the first Nigerian state to be assigned a credit rating by an international rating agency such as Fitch.

Major sectors

A number of companies have already set up operations in Kwara State. Some are primary industries such as a major national producer of flour, others are in soap, detergents and pharmaceuticals, and there is a furniture factory that has been restored so well that it is now regarded as one of Nigeria’s top companies.

A significant investment came to fruition in June 2009 when Jebba Paper Mills started rolling again. This facility is the only producer of kraft paper in the whole of the ECOWAS region. Cashew processing and motorcycle assembly are other companies that are rapidly expanding the variety – and scope – of Kwara State’s manufacturing capacity.

Sectors in which Kwara hopes to attract investment include:

Agriculture
Agri-processing
Minerals
Manufacturing
Industry
Education
Infrastructure
Property
Tourism
New Investors in Kwara State

A number of private-sector companies have successfully invested in Kwara

Kwara State has become an investment destination of choice-with a whole variety of commercial and industrial enterprises choosing to set up new businesses in the thriving state. The investment-friendly policies of the state government, coupled to Kwara strategic position, plentiful natural resources and well-educated workforce, are contributory factors in persuading entrepreneurs and corporations to set up their enterprises in the state.

In recent times, a number of companies have chosen Kwara as the place to build their brands and grow their businesses.

Dangote Flour Mills

The Dangote Group is one of the largest corporations in Nigeria. It is a diversified group with an historical emphasis on foodstuffs and agri-processing. Cement production, logistics and real estate are some of the other areas that the multi-billion-naira company now operates in, but it remains one of West Africa’s biggest processors of agricultural goods.

Dangote operates five flour and semolina mills in different locations through-out the Republic of Nigeria. Annual production of flour is approximately 1.6 million metric tonnes.

The flour mill operation in Kwara is wholly owned by the Dangote Group of Companies. The mill, located along Asa Dam Road, was established in 2003, and the factory went into full production in July 2006. The major product is flour with spaghetti and macaroni also being made on site. The installed capacity is 27 trailer-loads of finished product every day. Up to 30 trailer-loads of wheat are needed as feedstock on a daily basis.

The feedstock is sourced from within the drier parts of Kwara State where wheat is cultivated and from other regions in the northern parts of Nigeria.

Dangote Flour Mill employs about 450 workers which indicates that the company is performing well. Demand for the flour produced by the mill is high and sales figures have been very positive in recent years.

Kwara State Government provided incentives and a generally conducive environment to investment when Dangote made the decision to invest. The chief reasons cited by the company for the original decision to locate its plant in Kwara were:

Nearness to raw materials
Conducive enabling environment
Government support and encouragement
Provision of adequate infrastructure such as land, water, good roads and electricity
Availability of market for the finished products.
Jebba Paper Mill (MINL Ltd)

Jebba is a medium-sized town in the northern part of Kwara, situated on the southern bank of the Niger River. The town represents the northern-most point of the river that is navigable throughout the year. The main railway line from the coast to the north runs through the town.

Until 1994, one of the town’s most important industries and employers was the Nigerian Paper Mills, which was the property of the federal government. When the company closed its doors, the regional economy was negatively affected. In 2007, private investment company MINL Ltd agreed to take over the assets of the company from the state (and change the name to Jebba Paper Mills). It agreed to invest heavily in upgrading the plant’s machinery to get it up and running and to give it modern capabilities.

Jebba Paper Mills represents a strategic national asset as there are very few specialized paper-production companies in the country. Specifically, Jebba Paper Mills is the only producer of kraft paper in the whole of West Africa.

The first phase of the plant upgrade cost N3-billion while the total cost of the overhaul will be approximately N12-billion. The plant boasts the most modern electronic controls and systems, all overseen by state-of-the-art computers. Grammage is automatically controlled, as are factors such as moisture and other quality measurements. Hydraulic and flow circuits have been altered to expand capacity as well.

The company’s commitment to using scrap paper to create its product, apart from the obviously positive environmental implications, has the added benefit of increasing indirect employment opportunities for collectors of scrap paper.

The plant’s 2000 full-time employees are all drawn from the local areas surrounding the facility. The upgrading of the mill has had a very positive effect on the regional economy and the paper mill company has supplied piped water to several local communities.

Olam Nigeria

Olam Nigeria Ltd has a significant presence in Kwara State and constitutes an important partner in the state’s drive towards industrialization and food self-sufficiency. Olam Nigeria is a subsidiary of the Singapore based Olam International, an agricultural products and food ingredients multinational with 8000 employees in 56 countries. Through the Olam Company, Kwara is connected to a distribution network of more than 4000 customers in 60 markets around the world.

In Kwara, Olam has established a cashew-processing plant at Ogbondoroko which produces exclusively for the export market. At least 5000 local farmers are involved in harvesting the raw product, which the company then purchases for beneficiation.

Plans to increase rice production in Kwara and Nigeria received a big boost with the opening of Olam’s 40,000.metric-tonne capacity rice processing factory at patigi in late 2009.

Olam declared that it wanted to produce more than 20 000 metric tonnes of rice per year by 2010, from its facilities scattered throughout Nigeria.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has a stated aim of making the country self sufficient in the production of rice and the establishment of rice-processing factories is clearly an important part of that process. The federal government has a Rice Intervention Fund Scheme and Kwara State is one of the chosen sites for the roll-out of this programme.

Tuyil Pharmaceutical

Tuyil Pharmaceutical is a major company in the pharmaceutical sector, with a presence in all parts of Nigeria. The decision of Tuyil to begin production in Kwara has extra significance, given the importance of pharmaceutical production in the national economy. The federal government is very aware that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry is relatively small and the installed capacity only caters for about 50.75% of the nation’s drug needs. The country is still largely dependent on the importation of drugs. As a result, a ban on the importation of a number of drugs has been instituted in order to stimulate local production.

The raw material requirements of the sector can be classified into heavy and fine chemicals. While the heavy chemicals are mainly mineral and petrochemical-based, most of the fine chemicals are agri-related and Kwara State has many of the relevant resources.

Tuyil Pharmaceutical decided to locate a manufacturing plant in Kwara State because of the peaceful environment and infrastructural advantages such as a good road network and adequate supplies of water and electricity.

Business Monitor International believes that signs for private-sector involvement in African healthcare are very good after the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) unveiled a US$l-billion support package for the development of private healthcare on the continent. Although Nigeria is introducing a national health insurance scheme, BMI suggests that the increasingly popular concept of health savings accounts (HSAs) could provide a solution for many millions of Nigerians, particularly those employed in the informal economic sector.

An aspect of Tuyil’s corporate social investment was revealed in 2009 when it donated a building for the use of the secretariat of the Association of Resident Doctors in Ilorin.

Tourism in Kwara State:

Tourist Attractions in Kwara State

Owu-Fall

This is one of the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in West-Africa. It is a perennial waterfall cascading from a height of about 120 meters to the base where it forms an ice-cold pool. It is surrounded by a luxuriant vegetation and beautiful landscape, which provides the site with a refreshing atmosphere.

Location/Accessibility: Ilere District in Ifelodun LGA. It is accessible through State and local roads. It is 112 kilometers to the state capital.

Accommodation: Availability in near towns of Owu-Isin, Oke-Onigbin and Omu-Aran at affordable rates.

Time of visiting: All round the year.

Imoleboja Rockshelter

A massive rock formation with natural architectural design, capable of accommodating about 100 people at a time. It is a good site for picnic and monumental experience. The Rockshelter at various times served as a safety hide-out for local maidens protesting against their peers who engaged in pre-marital relations and become pregnant.

Location/Accessibility: Located at Odo-Owa in Oke-Ero LGA. It is about 90km from Ilorin the state capital and accessible by road.

Accommodation: Available in nearby towns of Iloffa.

Time of visiting: All year round

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Alfa Alimi’s Mosque and Residence

Alfa Alimi was a Fulani Muslim Scholar who came from the north to preach in Ilorin. He built his mosque and residence as far back as 1831. The mosque was the first Juma’s Mosque in Ilorin. Today, the mosque still being used to offer routine prayers, and special prayers occasionally.

Location/Accessibility: It is located behind Emir’s Palace in Ilorin and accessible by road, air and rail.

Accommodation: Available at various rates according to standards and facilities.

Time of visiting: All year round.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available.

Sheikah Alimi Mosque (Kuho)

Sheikh Alimi was the progenitor of the Fulani dynasty in what is today known as the Ilorin Emirate (Comprising Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Ilorin West and Moro LGAs of Kwara State). It is believed, he would have made Kuho his permanent base if any of the seven wells which he and his followers dug around the site had produced water. The site of the mosque had since become a great centre for Islamic activities, where people gather for religious tourism.

Location/Accessibility: Located at Kuho near Temidire Village, Asa LGA of Kwara State about 54km from Ilorin.

Accommodation: Available at moderate rates.

Time of visiting: All year round

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Agan Festival

The Agan festival starts with dancing and singing of spiritual songs. Prayers are offered for successful celebration, among other things. It is a colorful celebration.

Location/Accessibility: Obbo-Aiyekunle, Egosi in Ekiti and Oke-Ero Local Governments.

Accommodation: Available at Omu-Aran and Osi.

Time of visiting: In the month of December every year.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Adin and Black Soap Industry

The act of local production of soap and pomade is being demonstrated at this site where all the women and children do nothing else than the production of these materials with local technology. Such soap and pomade are believed to be very good, especially for children. The main ingredients used for the production are palm kernel and ashes.

Location/Accessibility: Located at Odo-Owa in Oke-Ero LGA and is accessible by road at about 84km to the state capital.

Accommodation: Accommodation is available at near-by towns of Iloffa, Osi and Omu-Aran.

Time of visiting: All year round

Communication: Available by GSM

Security Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Dada Pottery

Dada pottery workshop has a lot to show as one of the traditional occupations of women in Ilorin. It is one of the biggest traditional pottery factories still in existence in the country. Here, cooking pots, flower pots, frying pots and water storage containers are produced, sold on the spot or exported to other parts of the country and abroad.

Location/Accessibility: Located at Dad, Okelele Quarters in Ilorin. It is accessible by road, rail and air.

Accommodation: Available at moderate rates.

Time of visiting: All round the year.

Security: Available

Bureau de change Available.

Jebba Tourist Sites

Jebba town houses a lot of historical relics and tourist attractions, some of which tell a lot about European presence in Jebba Town. These include the Mungo Park cenotaph, in memory of Mungo Park and the Lander Brothers, the wreckage of Mungo Park’s Ship while attempting to discover the course of River Niger, the historical cemetery, where some British railway men, who died in Jebba, including the first Chief Justice of the then Northern Protectorate Nigeria, Sir Alastair Davidson, were buried. Other attractions include the Juju Rock, the “Ahoyaya” waterfalls and the Jebba Colony, where the panoramic view of Jebba Township could be enjoyed.

Lord Lugard Office/Residence

Lord Lugard began his administrative presence from the coast and gradually moved to Lokoja, Gudu and Kaduna; eventually, established his indirect rule that made Nigeria a British Colony.

Location/Accessibility: Gudu is in Edu Local Government.

Accommodation: Available at Ilorin, Tsaragi and Tsonga.

Time of visiting: All year round

Communication: Available on GSM

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Extension of Kanji Lake National Park

Kainji Lake National Park is the first National Park in Nigeria, established by Degree 46 of 1979. Incidentally, part of the park is situated in Kwara State while the other part is situated in Niger State. The park is made of two contiguous sectors, Borgu and Zugur man sectors and Kwara State has more than half of the total area covered by the sector. This park is essentially for educational and tourist purposes.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Kaiama Area of Kwara State and accessible by road.

Accommodation: Accommodation available at Local Government Head Quarters, Kaiama

Time of visiting: Best viewed between December and June

Security Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Moremi Festival

This is an important festival also known as Onimoka festival. It features wrestling combat between the traditional ruler of Offa and his second-in-command. It is usually staged to coincide with the eating of the new yam referred to in vernacular as “LA’ARE”. However, the influence of Christian and Islam religions has greatly affected the annual celebration of the festival. Though efforts are on to revived it.

Location/Accessibility: Offa in Offa Local Government.

Accommodation: Available at Offa.

Time of visiting: Between July and August of every year.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Ogunjokoro Iron Mass Park

The Iron Mass known as either “Ogunjokoro” or “Omo Owu” is about the size of a cement block, yet it cannot be lifted by anybody who belittles it, while ordinarily, a young boy or girl could lift up as desired. There is no clear information about when, or why, the mass of iron was brought to the spot. But a lot of mysteries still surround the lifting of the Iron Mass.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Gbodomi, near Jokoro, in Ipaiye district of Moro LGA. It is about 105km from Ilorin and accessible by road.

Time of visiting: All year round

Communication: Available

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Ikan Festival

Ikan Festival is a colorful and fascinating festival. The festival marks the initiation of a new group of warriors and the retirement of the older group who had served the community for seven years as warrior to defend the land against external aggression or tribal wars. The immediate junior age-group to this group is known as Odofin-Ikan who takes over from the retiring Ikan group.

Location/Accessibility: Etan and Opin in Ekiti Local Government.

Accommodation: Available.

Time of visiting: Once in every seven years.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Ningurume Fish Pond

This mysterious fish pond houses special species of fishes adorned with ear rings and beads, but it is not every time that one could see them, except on special occasions. The villagers offer sacrifices and worship the fishes on “sacred” days with prepared pap and ram. The fishes are not edible and only calabash is used to fetch water from the pond. Any fish that is mistakenly picked must be dropped back immediately. While the villages are free to drink water from the pond, a host of things are forbidden at the pond.

Location/Accessibility: Ningurume village is in Baruten LGA. It is accessible by road.

Accommodation: Available at Kaiama, Ilesha, Okuta and Kosubosu.

Time of visiting: Time is determined by the pond’s caretakers, who are also the Chief Priest.

Security: Available

Bureau de change Available at the state capital. CommunicationNot available.

Esie Museum

This is the first Museum in Nigeria established in 1945. It houses the largest collection of stone images discovered in 1775. There are fascinating stories surrounding the images, one of which is the belief that the images were actually human beings turned to stones through supernatural spells.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Esie, in Irepodun LGA. It is about 53km from Ilorin and accessible by roads.

Accommodation: Available at Esie and Oro at moderate rates.

Time of visiting: All year round

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Ero-Omola

This is a voluminous waterfall with attractive topography best viewed in rainy season. It is fascinating during rainy season with cool and refreshing breeze, while the spot offers an awesome vista of fabulous network of rock formation during dry season.

Location/Accessibility: Along Osi, Idofin-Igbana road in Oke-Ero LGA. Accessible by road at about 102km to the state capital.

Accommodation: Available in nearby towns of Ilofa, Osi and Omu-Aran at moderate charges.

Time of visiting: All year round.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Epa Festival

It is a colourful festival celebrated by wards in the town in the same year, though in different months. The gods at the wards, heroes and heroines are carried by men who dance about at the village squares. Prayers are offered for good health and bumper harvest, during the celebration.

Location/Accessibility: Ekiti and Oke-Ero Local Governments.

Accommodation: Available at Osi, Iloffa and Omu-Aran.

Time of visiting: Once in every three years.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Awon Mass Wedding Festival

It is an occasion during which all marriageable girls of the town are given out in marriage at once. This is the only period in Shao when wedding ceremonies take place.

Location/Accessibility: Shao in Moro Local Government.

Accommodation: Available at Ilorin.

Time of visiting: October of every year.

Communication: Available on GSM.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available only at the state capital.

Okuta-Ilorin

The stone called “Okuta-Ilorin” (Stone for sharpening metal) has a clue to how the town “Ilorin” derived her name. It is the stone with which one of the founders of Ilorin known as Ojo Isekuse used to sharpen his metal tools. In the past, the stone was deified and worshipped but nowadays as it is ordinarily preserved and no longer worshipped.

Location/Accessibility: Located at Idi-Ape Quarters in Ilorin. It is accessible by road, rail and air.

Accommodation: Available in varying grades and costs.

Time of visiting: All year round.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available.

Olofa Palace

The Palace of Oloffa of Offa, situated very close to Oba’s market is a combination of ancient and modern architectural piece. The Palace remains one of the oldest building in Offa and houses the tombs of past Oloffa who had reigned at various times in Offa. Thus affording historians the opportunity of compiling the historical past of Oloffa ruling houses.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Offa LGA and accessible by road and rail. Offa is 56km from Ilorin.

Accommodation: Available at various rates according to standard and facilities.

Time of visiting: All round the year.

Security: Available

Bureau de change Available at the state capital.

Patigi Regatta

It is a festival that features fishing, swimming, competitions, canoe paddling among the Nupes. The festival was initiated in 1953 as a river sports competition. It compares favorably with the Argungu fishing festival in Kebbi State.

Location/Accessibility: Patigi in Patigi Local Government.

Accommodation: Available.

Time of visiting: Between October and April.

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

Hide and Skin Tanning Industry

Hide and Skin tanning is an important traditional economic activity of the family of Onitopo, Alawonla of Okelele Area of Kwara State. The act of tanning is believed to be an inherited occupation passed from one generation to another and dates back to ten decades. The site remains an interesting and fascinating place for tourists to visit.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Okelele Area of Ilorin East LGA and accessible by road, rail and air transportation.

Accommodation: Available at different grades and rates.

Time of visiting: All year round

Security Available

Bureau de change: Available

Wanzaya Cave at Tsarahi

In Edu Local Government Area, the cave is about 25km long. It bursts out at Apado in Ilorin East Local Government Area. It was formerly a safety heaven for the two communities.

Location/Accessibility: Tsaragi in Edu Local Government Area

Accommodation: Available at Tsaragi and Ilorin.

Time of visiting: All year round

Communication: Available on GSM

Security: Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital.

The Watana Rock

This is a peculiar rock formation that is massive in size yet motorable to the flat top. It is interesting to drive to the top of the rock because of its low gradient. The site stands out uniquely and is a very good site for picnic, camping and mountaineering.

Location/Accessibility: Located in Gwette Village of Baruten LGA and accessible by typical rural road.

Accommodation: Accommodation is available in the near-by border town of Chikanda.

Time of visiting: All year round

Communication: Not available yet

Security Available

Bureau de change: Available at the state capital

Traditional weaving centres

A lot of traditional weaving centres abound within the State. The popularly called “Aso Oke” materials are processed locally by indigenes of Ilorin. It remains a very important economic activity among the old and young in the state.

Location/Accessibility: Heart of Ilorin and accessible by road, air and rail.

Accommodation: Available in various grades and rates.

Time of visiting: All round the year.

Security: Available

Bureau de change Available.

Investment Opportunities in Kwara State:

Doing Business in Kwara State

Kwara State welcomes investors with a comprehensive set of policies and guidelines

Kwara State offers many opportunities for investors in a wide range of sectors. To facilitate such investment, the administration of Kwara State has developed a comprehensive set of policies and guidelines. These outline the principles upon which the investment regime of the state is founded and give specific guidance as to what assistance will be rendered to prospective investors. Kwara State is eager to welcome new investors, and has already done much to smooth the way for new projects to be started.

Industrialisation is a way of achieving meaningful economic growth, social progress and general development. The numerous contributions that industrialisation can make to the overall development of a nation have caused the Kwara State Government to regard it as a priority. The government is also aware that the state has much to do to achieve a sufficient level of industrial development. Consequently, it has introduced a number of measures and policies which are aimed at transforming the state from an essentially consumer state to an industrialised one. These policies are:

Industrial policy

The policy objective of the Kwara State Government is to ensure the rapid industrialization of the state through the provision of a virile industrial base. The government aims to achieve this through:

  • Promoting massive tourism, industrial, commercial and cooperative activities especially through the encouragement of private-sector initiatives.
  • Encouraging local/foreign, private/public capital investments in all spheres of tourism, industry and commerce, especially those related to the resource endowment of Kwara State. This would be done through direct state participation or the creation of a favourable atmosphere for their operations.
  • Encouraging the development of indigenous technology, especially through the use of adaptive and/or copy technology.
  • Promoting the establishment of small-scale industries and cooperative projects, especially those that are agro-based. This is to further stimulate industrial growth in the rural areas while at the same time bringing about the expansion of the agricultural sector, particularly through Farmers’ Cooperative Societies.
  • Vigorously promoting the development of export-oriented industries and programmes to generate foreign exchange that could be used to bring about the expansion of the industrial and commercial sectors to further generate new employment opportunities.
  • Promoting commercial enterprise generally and providing an efficient distribution network for all cooperative and commercial activities. Developing the state’s tourism potential.
  • Promoting the development of the service industry (repairs and maintenance) and those companies supplying components and parts.

Investor guidelines

The appropriate authorities

  • The Bureau of Lands and Physical Development demarcates appropriate areas in various towns or Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state as layouts for commercial use or as industrial estates. Within this bureau, there is an Industrial/Commercial Plot Allocation Unit.
  • The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives is adequately informed of decisions pertaining to the demarcation of industrial estates so that such information can be disseminated to interested investors. All three of these bodies work hand-in-hand for quick allocation of plots to interested investors.
  • The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives has studies on raw materials available in the state for interested investors.

Queries

  • All inquiries on industrial or commercial ventures must be made to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.
  • The Bureau of Lands and Physical Development offers the necessary forms for industrial plot application to the investor. A copy of this form is kept with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives for its records.

Allocation of plots

All plot allocations (industrial or commercial) are made by the Bureau of Lands with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives in attendance. The Ministry of Commerce is officially notified in writing of all such plot allocations made by the Bureau of Lands.

Challenges and forfeits’

An investor who is dissatisfied with the size or location of a plot allocated to him/her informs the Bureau of Lands. The Bureau in turn will inform the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives of the complaint and the necessary actions being taken. An investor who is allocated an industrial/commercial plot and who fails to develop his plot within one year of such allocation automatically forfeits his/her allocation.

Industrial incentives

Apart from setting priorities in its investment promotion efforts, the state government has introduced a package of incentives to prospective investors. These incentives will assist the industrialist in taking the right decision with respect to the choice of location of his industry in the state. These incentives include:

  • Provision of in fro structure: The Government has provided industrial and commercial layouts/estates that are fully serviced with the necessary infrastructure in all Local Government Areas: access roads, water supply, electricity and drainage. Where telephone facilities are available in a town, telephone lines will be extended to the layouts/estates therein.
  • Plot allocation: Industrial and commercial plots will be allocated promptly on approval of the project.
  • Certificate of Occupancy (CoO): Certificate of Occupancy will be issued within 30 days of agreement by all the parties involved in the processing.
  • Joint financing of project: Joint financing by government agencies is guaranteed subject to their independent assessment of the project.
  • Rebate on ground rent: Rebate is granted on ground rent and other fees to reduce the financial burden on investors.
  • Raw material data: An in-depth survey of the available raw-material potential of Kwara State is obtainable from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC] at a token fee.

Existing Investors in Kwara State

A number of private-sector companies have successfully invested in Kwara

Kwara State has become an investment destination of choice-with a whole variety of commercial and industrial enterprises choosing to set up new businesses in the thriving state. The investment-friendly policies of the state government, coupled to Kwara strategic position, plentiful natural resources and well-educated workforce, are contributory factors in persuading entrepreneurs and corporations to set up their enterprises in the state.

In recent times, a number of companies have chosen Kwara as the place to build their brands and grow their businesses.The Dangote Flour Mills

The Dangote Group is one of the largest corporations in Nigeria. It is a diversified group with an historical emphasis on foodstuffs and agri-processing. Cement production, logistics and real estate are some of the other areas that the multi-billion-naira company now operates in, but it remains one of West Africa’s biggest processors of agricultural goods.

Dangote operates five flour and semolina mills in different locations through-out the Republic of Nigeria. Annual production of flour is approximately 1.6 million metric tonnes.

The flour mill operation in Kwara is wholly owned by the Dangote Group of Companies. The mill, located along Asa Dam Road, was established in 2003, and the factory went into full production in July 2006. The major product is flour with spaghetti and macaroni also being made on site. The installed capacity is 27 trailer-loads of finished product every day. Up to 30 trailer-loads of wheat are needed as feedstock on a daily basis.

The feedstock is sourced from within the drier parts of Kwara State where wheat is cultivated and from other regions in the northern parts of Nigeria.

Dangote Flour Mill employs about 450 workers which indicates that the company is performing well. Demand for the flour produced by the mill is high and sales figures have been very positive in recent years.

Kwara State Government provided incentives and a generally conducive environment to investment when Dangote made the decision to invest. The chief reasons cited by the company for the original decision to locate its plant in Kwara were:

  • Nearness to raw materials
  • Conducive enabling environment
  • Government support and encouragement
  • Provision of adequate infrastructure such as land, water, good roads and electricity
  • Availability of market for the finished products.

Olam Nigeria

Olam Nigeria Ltd has a significant presence in Kwara State and constitutes an important partner in the state’s drive towards industrialization and food self-sufficiency. Olam Nigeria is a subsidiary of the Singapore based Olam International, an agricultural products and food ingredients multinational with 8000 employees in 56 countries. Through the Olam Company, Kwara is connected to a distribution network of more than 4000 customers in 60 markets around the world.

In Kwara, Olam has established a cashew-processing plant at Ogbondoroko which produces exclusively for the export market. At least 5000 local farmers are involved in harvesting the raw product, which the company then purchases for beneficiation.

Plans to increase rice production in Kwara and Nigeria received a big boost with the opening of Olam’s 40,000.metric-tonne capacity rice processing factory at patigi in late 2009.

Olam declared that it wanted to produce more than 20 000 metric tonnes of rice per year by 2010, from its facilities scattered throughout Nigeria.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has a stated aim of making the country self sufficient in the production of rice and the establishment of rice-processing factories is clearly an important part of that process. The federal government has a Rice Intervention Fund Scheme and Kwara State is one of the chosen sites for the roll-out of this programme.

Tuyil PharmaceuticalTuyi Pharmaceutical Company

Tuyil Pharmaceutical is a major company in the pharmaceutical sector, with a presence in all parts of Nigeria. The decision of Tuyil to begin production in Kwara has extra significance, given the importance of pharmaceutical production in the national economy. The federal government is very aware that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry is relatively small and the installed capacity only caters for about 50.75% of the nation’s drug needs. The country is still largely dependent on the importation of drugs. As a result, a ban on the importation of a number of drugs has been instituted in order to stimulate local production.

The raw material requirements of the sector can be classified into heavy and fine chemicals. While the heavy chemicals are mainly mineral and petrochemical-based, most of the fine chemicals are agri-related and Kwara State has many of the relevant resources.

Tuyil Pharmaceutical decided to locate a manufacturing plant in Kwara State because of the peaceful environment and infrastructural advantages such as a good road network and adequate supplies of water and electricity.

Business Monitor International believes that signs for private-sector involvement in African healthcare are very good after the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) unveiled a US$l-billion support package for the development of private healthcare on the continent. Although Nigeria is introducing a national health insurance scheme, BMI suggests that the increasingly popular concept of health savings accounts (HSAs) could provide a solution for many millions of Nigerians, particularly those employed in the informal economic sector.

An aspect of Tuyil’s corporate social investment was revealed in 2009 when it donated a building for the use of the secretariat of the Association of Resident Doctors in Ilorin.

KWARA STATE : IT’S REALLY GOOD HERE!😊

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