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Nigeria has Thirty Six states and the Federal Capital Territory. Amazingly, each of these states have different atmospheric conditions and weather/climatic conditions. While it is known that the Jos Plateau is probably the coldest part of Nigeria, it is quite not so known where the hottest climatic condition is found in Nigeria. Without a doubt, anyone that has travelled round Nigeria can attest that some states are manifestly hotter than others, some are not necessarily hot but very humid; states like Benue, Niger, Kogi, Zamfara etc have a reputation for being humid, warm or hot. But do you know that the hottest or the state with the highest temperature in Nigeria is actually Sokoto state?

Sokoto: Birnin Shaihu da Bello

Sokoto state is a city located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. Sokoto has a hot semi-arid climate. This is so because, it is located in the dry Sahel surrounded by sandy savannah and isolated hills. Because of its geographical location, Sokoto has an annual average temperature of 28.3 °C (82.9 °F) making it the hottest part of Nigeria. As a matter of fact, Sokoto is also one of the hottest cities in the world. In addition, it’s the maximum daytime temperatures are generally around/a little below 40 °C (104.0 °F) most of the year, and this coupled with the dryness makes the heat bearable.

In months ranging from February to April, where daytime temperatures can exceed 45 °C (113.0 °F), the state experiences its warmest periods. The highest recorded temperature is 47.2 °C (117.0 °F), which is also the highest recorded temperature in Nigeria. This highest recorded temperature was recorded in the year 2010.

Sokoto: Two Seasons, Two Extremes

There are two major seasons in Sokoto, namely dry and wet. The dry season starts from October, and lasts up to April in some parts and may extend to May or June in other parts. The harmattan, a dry, cold and fairly dusty wind is experienced in the state between November and February. Heat is more severe in the state in March and April. But the weather in the state is always cold in the morning and hot in the afternoons, save in peak harmattan period.

The wet season on the other hand begins in most parts of the state in May and lasts up to September, or October, with the rains lasting between June to September, with a daily occurrence of showers. This implies that the rain starts late and ends early with mean annual rainfall ranging between 500 mm and 1,300 mm.

The climatic and geographical conditions of Sokoto has served to influence the agriculture also. The presence of the rich alluvial soil allows for only a few crops to be cultivated. Crops such as millet (being the most abundant), maize, rice, other cereals, and beans. Notably, only very few vegetables thrive there alongside Tomatoes.

The name Sokoto, which is the modern/anglicised version of the local name, Sakkwato is of Arabic origin, representing suk, ‘market’. It is also known as Sakkwato, Birnin Shaihu da Bello (meaning, Sokoto, Capital of Shaihu and Bello). The name serves as both the name of the state and the capital of the state, and has a population of about 427,000 as of the 2006 population census report.

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This article was first published on 6th February 2019


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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