Top 10 Cities In Nigeria By Population

Nigeria is a country blessed with a lot of mineral and natural resources which have contributed a lot to the growth and development of the economy. Another factor that aids the growth and development of the Nigerian economy is the amount of human capital available in the country.

Top 10 Cities In Nigeria By Population


With the population of Nigeria estimated to be about 170 million, the country has a lot of people who have contributed individually and collectively to growing the economy.

With infrastructure being built and developed as well as the provision of social amenities especially in the cities, many people have migrated and moved to these areas for various reasons and opportunities.

In such cities, people also try and set up one form of business as with a large population, there is a tendency that a business venture will receive a lot of patronage and customers. Apart from employment opportunities and business opportunities, people move to the cities for other reasons like better welfare and health care, education, better infrastructure and facilities, social amenities among others.

This article takes a look at the ten most populated cities in Nigeria. The ranking is based purely on reports from various publications.


Maiduguri is located in the northern part of Nigeria. Maiduguri is the capital city of Borno State and is also the largest city in the State.  Maiduguri is a major trading center for north east Nigeria as its economy thrives on a bit of manufacturing and trading.

The city has one of the best universities in Nigeria in The University of Maiduguri which is known to attract foreign students from neighbouring countries like Niger and Cameroon. This has led to an increase to the population of the city as a lot of people go to the city to do various activities.


Aba which located in the south eastern part of Nigeria is considered as the business center and trading hub of Abia State.

Aba which is famous for its handcrafts has major economic resources which have been used to contribute to the growth of the economy of the state and country. They include the following, palm oil, cement, textile, plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and a lot more which has led to the rapid growth and rise of Ariaria International market to become one of the largest markets in West Africa along with Onitsha market.


Benin City is the capital of Edo State and is located in southern Nigeria. Benin is known traditionally for its rubber industry as well as the production of oil through processing of palm nuts. The people of Benin are also known for their arts and craft, bronze sculpture and casting skills.

Benin City which is home to one of the long standing monarchies has notable attractions in the state such as the Oba palace, National Museum Benin City, King’s Square which is known as Ring Road, its major festivals and traditional markets.


Ogbomosho founded during the 17th century is located in Oyo State, southwestern Nigeria. One of the major attractions in the city of Ogbomosho is the central mosque which a very tall building that overlooks private house and other buildings around it.

Ogbomosho has two degree awarding institutions including Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH) which is one of the top new generation universities in Nigeria and The Baptist Seminary which is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country.

The city is also known for producing notable agricultural produce such as yam, cassava, tobacco and maize.


Kaduna was founded in 1913 and in 1917 was named capital of Nigeria’s former northern region, a position it held till 1967. Kaduna is the capital of Kaduna State in north western Nigeria and is a major commercial center for business and agricultural services. Kaduna is known for its pottery activities and for manufacturing products like machinery, steel, textiles and aluminium.

Kaduna houses some major institutions like the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna State Polytechnic, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.


Known as the garden city, Port Harcourt is located in the Niger Delta and is the capital of Rivers State. The port was built and created by the British, Nigeria’s colonial administration to export coal from Enugu to Port Harcourt and was connected by a railway called the Eastern line which was also built by the British.

Port Harcourt is a major commercial and industrial center and is home to many multinational companies who deal mostly in petroleum business. Port Harcourt has two major refineries which has led it to be one of the richest states due to revenue obtained from the oil industry.


Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. Abuja was built in the 1980s and replaced Lagos as Nigeria’s capital in 1991. Abuja is home to a lot of government dignitaries and government functions.

Abuja is home to major and important parastatal like The Presidential Complex, Supreme Court and National Assembly.

Abuja has some notable attractions including Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Zuma Rock, Nigerian National Mosque and Nigerian National Christian Center.


Ibadan is the capital of Oyo State and is located in south western part of Nigeria. During the time that Nigeria was given independence, Ibadan was known as the most populous city in Nigeria and the third in Africa behind Johannesburg and Cairo.

Major industries in the city include those of flour milling, tobacco, leather works and furniture making. The headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is also in Ibadan. According to some reports, Ibadan is said to be the third cheapest city to live in.


Kano is the capital of Kano State located in northern Nigeria. Kano which is the second largest city in Nigeria is the business and commercial center of northern Nigeria.

Kano the largest city in Nigeria a couple of years before been placed in second position is also a commercial center for sub-Saharan Africa and links other African countries like Chad, Niger, Republic of Benin and Cameroon by road.


Lagos known as the mega city is the largest city in the state of Lagos and Nigeria. Lagos is considered the largest city in Africa, the second fastest growing city in Africa and the seventh fastest growing city in the world.

Lagos was initially the capital of Nigeria in 1914 and later on was named the capital of Lagos State after it was created.  Years later in 1976 the capital was changed to Ikeja and Abuja became the capital of Nigeria.

Lagos is a major commercial city with a lot of business activities taking place with a lot of people involved leaving Lagos as the financial center of Nigeria and Africa.












About the Author

Dayo Egbonwon is a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Roberts. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Roberts. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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