Lafia is the largest and capital city of Nasarawa State found in the Northcentral geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The predominant tribes in Lafia include the Alago, the Kanuri and the Fulani. Hausa is a commonly spoken language in Lafia while the state has a Christian majority constituting about 70 percent of the city’s population. Popular districts in Lafia include Assakio, Barikin Abdullahi, Angbako, Ruwaya, Awuyo, Gwayaka, Ambana, Achigogo, Mankwar, and Tunga Nupawa. A number of tertiary institutions are found in Lafia and these include the Federal University Lafia, College of Agric Lafia, and the City College of Education.
The estimated total population of Lafia city is 854,922 inhabitants with the city having close proximity to towns such as Keffi and Akwanga. Popular landmarks in Lafia include the Federal University Lafia, the Nasarawa State university, Lafia Central Mosque, Nasarawa state Government House, Assakio Natural Spring water, Emir of Lafia Palace, Nasarawa state House of Assembly, and the Lafia township stadium which is home to Nasarawa United; a state owned and run professional football club. Health institutions found in Lafia include the Dalhatu Araf specialist hospital, Kowa hospital, Mand D hospital, Diamond hospital, and the Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital.
The city of Lafia falls under the the Tropical Savannah climate and has a 29 percent humidity. The city has two distinct seasons which are the dry and the rainy seasons with the rains lasting between April and October and the dry season beginning around November and terminating in late March.
Rains in Lafia are intermittent with average annual precipitation pegged at about 1200 mm while the average yearly temperature is estimated at 29 degrees centigrade. The landscape of Lafia consists of plains in some areas and of small hills in other parts of the city.
Lafia has a remarkable agricultural heritage which contributes enormously to its economy. Crops cultivated within Lafia include soybeans, yams, sorghum, millet, and cotton. Trade also contributes to the economic life of Lafia with an estimated 11 percent of its population engaging in commercial activities in the town's markets such as the Karu international market, Lafia central market, and the New market.
Also, weaving and dyeing of fabric and Animal rearing are also key feature of the economic life of the people of Lafia town. Owing to its status as the capital city of Nasarawa state and the presence of al of the state owned agencies and ministries, a sizeable portion of the dwellers in Lafia are civil servants who earn a living as employees of these state-run ministries, departments and agencies.
Lafia city was originally known as Beri-Beri and was initially inhabited by the members of the Koro ethnic group. Lafia has had an illustrious Emirate spanning several decades with the British colonial administrators recognizing Alhaji Musa Agwai as the pioneer Emir of Lafia in the year 1903.
The city of Lafia became part of the the Benue-Plateau state in 1967 and then part of Plateau state in 1976 before becoming the capital city of Nasarawa state following the state’s creation in 1996.
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