REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY

EASTERN HIGHLANDS OF NIGERIA

Physical Setting

The eastern highlands consist of chains of hills, plateaus and mountains along the eastern borderlands of Nigeria. Prominent among these relief features are Bamenda highlands, Biu plateau, Mambila plateau, Shebshi and Alantika mountains, Adamawa plateau and Obudu hills. This region is the highest part of the country, the relief ranges from 600m to 2000m above sea level. The relief ranges are made up of metamorphic rocks with plateau surfaces, which have been dissected in a number of places to produce isolated hills and deep gorges. Volcanic landforms such as cones and traces of lava flows are found on the Biu plateau which is an extinct volcano.

The region is drained by River Benue, and its major tributaries- Katsina-Ala and Gongola rivers. The highlands in the region modify the tropical climatic type to feel like a temperate climate. A good example of this change is the dew and cool weather frequently experienced in the region. The vegetation is essentially savanna. The upland grass is shorter than that found in the lowland areas and does not wither as fast as that in the lowlands. Patches of forest vegetation occur on the steep slopes of some of the highlands.

 

People and Population

Small ethnic groups dominate this region; prominent among these groups are the Koma people, who until recently were unknown. They are adjudged by anthropologists as the most backward people in Nigeria. The people live in dispersed and isolated settlements spread over the hills and highlands in this region. Important towns in the region are Yola, Numan, Hong, Jalingo and Ganye.

 

Resources and Economic Activities

The eastern highlands region is endowed with both agricultural and mineral resources but the terrain is a major hindrance to the exploitation of these resources. Minerals found in this region include limestone, salt, iron ore and uranium. Due to the region’s high altitude, it enjoys a cool climate even though it lies within a tropical climate zone; hence, both tropical and temperate crops are grown in this region. Tropical crops, such as, rubber, cotton, tea, and coffee are cultivated particularly on the Mambila plateau and temperate crops such as, apples, potatoes, grapes and vines are also grown in this region. Apart from the crops mentioned earlier, which are essentially for commercial purposes, food crops such as maize, millet, yam and cassava are grown in the valleys and lowlands.

The combination of temperate and tropical climatic conditions and the rich pasture or grass found in this region favours livestock farming; hence, both nomadic rearing and modern commercial ranching of livestock are carried out in this region. Nomadic rearing is carried out by native nomadic Fulani who herd animals, such as, cattle, goats, sheep and poultry. Modern commercial ranches include the Obudu and Ikogen cattle ranches in Cross River and Benue States, respectively. There are also modern ranches on the Mambila plateau.

Some processing industries have been established in this region to process the industrial raw material produced in the area. For example, there are tea, cotton, grain and vegetable processing factories in this region.

The combination of tropical and cool temperate climate conditions experienced in this region makes it a great tourist haven. Tourism is therefore one of the emerging industries of the future in this region. Obudu cattle ranch for example is now being patronized by tourists from all parts of the globe.

 

Transport

The high and rugged terrain of this region has made the development of transport routes and highways difficult. This accounts to a great extent for the low level of development of this region. For example, Mambila plateau was linked to a modern highway only in 1974. There are few other motorable roads in the region; where they exist they are seasonal roads that become impassable during the rainy season. With the increasing investment in the tourist and agricultural sector being witnessed in the region in recent times, more roads are being developed. Yola which is the largest urban centre in this region has an airport, providing a major air link to other parts of the country. Obudu cattle ranch also has an airstrip for light aircraft.

 

Problems of Development

A number of problems have slowed down and, in some instances, prevented development of many areas of this region, though it is greatly endowed with natural resources. These problems include:

  1. The rugged and remote nature of this region makes road development difficult and virtually impossible in some places.
  2. The region generally is very remote from the major industrial centres that could positively influence its socio-economic development.
  3. There is low level of investment in this region. The industrial market is lacking due to its essentially rural setting.
  4. The steep slopes of most of the highlands make the region highly prone to soil erosion and land degradation. This is a threat to agricultural development.
Link. Link. Różne regiony mogą mieć różne regulacje i wytyczne dotyczące terapii tlenem hiperbarycznym w domu.