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Atser, J,Ofem, B. “The Central Place Theory and Settlements Classification in the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria”. In:Uyanga J &Ikurekong E (eds.).,Environmental Planning and Resource development in Niger Delta Region, Nigeria. Enugu: Immaculate publications limited. P 221-232. 2014.

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Emerging Urban Systems in the Benue Basin of Nigeria

1Department of Geography Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria.

2Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria.

3Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Uyo-Nigeria

4Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Jos-Nigeria

5Centre for Sustainability and Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, London South Bank University, UK

6Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Nasarawa State University, Keffi-Nigeria

American Journal of Rural Development. 2020, Vol. 8 No. 1, 17-27
DOI: 10.12691/ajrd-8-1-3
Copyright © 2020 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Daniel P. Dam, Sylvester Iorliam, Felix Kwaghsende, Peter T. Anule, Irene Mngutyo, Jacob Atser, Emmily Adaaku, Davidson Alaci, Fanan Ujoh, Timothy Gyuse. Emerging Urban Systems in the Benue Basin of Nigeria. American Journal of Rural Development. 2020; 8(1):17-27. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-8-1-3.

Correspondence to: Daniel  P. Dam, Department of Geography Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria.. Email:


Urbanisation is widely recognised as one of the major trends of this century that offers great opportunities as well as significant challenges for poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the development of small and medium-sized towns remains largely linked to the nature of agricultural production systems. They nevertheless perform a number of essential functions from market nodes to providers of services, goods and non-farm employment to their inhabitants and that of the wider surrounding region. This research investigates the emerging urban system of the Benue Basin region of Nigeria. The data were collected on 80 urban functions across 140 settlements in the basin using a checklist, and analysed using principal component analysis and cluster analysis. The result of the Principal component analysis extracted 10 major functions out of the 80 variables that together explained 67.6% of the total variance. These functions are named workshop services; security and banking services; industrial services; education and commercial services; administrative functions; judiciary and retail services; health/social services; agro processing services; primary health services, and tertiary/secondary health services. The factor scores of the 10 major functions were examined to showcase the performances of each of the 140 settlements in terms of the functions they perform. On the basis of identified major urban functions, the cluster analysis grouped the 140 settlements in a five-order hierarchical structure. Gboko town emerged as the dominant settlement in the system with the highest number of urban functions, and is regarded as the 1st order settlement in the hierarchy. The study recommends provision of basic infrastructure in the emerging urban settlements of the Benue basin particularly settlements in the 3rd, 4th and 5th order in the hierarchy to reposition them for rapid socio-econmic growth of the region.