Cross River is a state in South South Nigeria, bordering Cameroon to the east. Its capital is Calabar and its name is derived from the Cross River (Oyono), which passes through the state. English and French are the major foreign languages of the state while Bekwarra, Bette people, Ejagham and Efik are major indigenous languages of this state. Ejagham remains the largest ethnic group which stretches from the northern senatorial district to the southern senatorial district.
The State is composed of several ethnic groups, which include the Efik, the Ejagham, Yakurr, Bahumono, Bette, Yala, Igede, Ukelle, Utukwang [Utugwang] and the Bekwarra. There are four major languages spoken in the state: French, Efik, Bekwarra, and Ejagham. The Efik language is widely spoken in the southern part of Cross River State, especially in Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Akampkpa, Biase, and Odukpani Local Government Areas. The Ejagham language is the most widely spoken language in Cross River State; from Calabar Municipality, Akamkpa, Ikom, Obubura, Ogoja, Obudu, and Etung local government councils, to the south west province of Cameroon.
The Efik-speaking people live mainly in the Southern senatorial districts of Cross River, or as it is commonly referred to, the Greater Calabar district, which includes Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Bakassi, Biase, Akpabuyo, Odukpani, and Akamkpa LGAs. There is also the Qua community in Calabar, which speaks Ejagham. The main Ejagham group occupies mostly the Greater Calabar areas of Calabar Municipality, Odukpani, Biase and Akampkpa sections of Cross River State.
There are also the Yakurr /Agoi/Bahumono ethnic groups in Yakurr and Abi LGA, while the Mbembe are predominantly found in Obubra LGA. Further up the core northern part of the state are several sub-dialectical groups, among which are Etung, Olulumo, Ofutop, Nkim/Nkum, Abanajum, Nseke and Boki in both Ikom, Etung and Boki LGAs. Also, the Yala/Yache, Igede, Ukelle, Ekajuk, Mbube, Bette, Bekwarra and Utukwang people are found in Ogoja, Yala, Obudu and Obanliku and Bekwarra LGA's. The Yala are a subgroup of the Idoma nation, part of the Yala LGA's subgroups are the Igede speaking people believed to have migrated from the Oju part of Benue State, who migrated from Ora, in Edo North. In Cross River North, Bekwarra is one of the most widely spoken language. It is understood by other tribes in the district. This language along with Efik and Ejagham is used for news broadcast in the state owned radio and TV stations.
Cross River State epitomises the nation's linguistic and cultural plurality and it is important to note that, in spite of the diversity of dialects, all the indigenous languages in the state have common linguistic roots as Niger–Congo languages. Finally, the State boasts of being the venue of the largest carnival in Africa.
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|Languages spoken||French, Efik, Bekwarra, Ejagham and English|
|Currency used||Naira (NGN)|
|Area (km2)||20,156 km2|