Kaduna is the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria, on the Kaduna River, is a trade center and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agricultural areas with its rail and road junction. The population of Kaduna was at 760,084 as of the 2006 Nigerian census. Rapid urbanization over the past decade has created an increasingly large population, now estimated to be around 1.3 million. Kaduna’s name derives from the Hausa word “kada” for crocodile (“kaduna” being the plural form).
Kaduna was founded by the British in 1913 and became the capital of Nigeria’s former Northern Region in 1917. It retained this status until 1967. The first British governor of Northern Nigeria, Sir Frederick Lugard, chose the present site due to its proximity to the Lagos-Kano Railway. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the premier of Northern Nigeria (1954-1966), was assassinated in Kaduna on January 15, 1966 in an Igbo military coup. This contributed to the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970).
People hailing from Kaduna include Dahiru Sadi, Tijani Babangida, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (“the underwear bomber”), Celestine Babayaro and Fiona Fullerton (British actress and former Bond girl). The Nigerian Islamic umbrella association Jama’atu Nasril Islam is based in the city.
Muslims compose roughly 60% of the population and Christians constitute roughly 40% of the population.
Kaduna State is home to the Nigerian Defence Academy (1964) Kaduna, Polytechnic (1968) Kaduna, Ahmadu Bello University (1962) Zaria, Kaduna State University (2007) Kaduna, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (1951) and the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology.Government college kaduna, Jamals International School, Essence International School, Imperial School, Federal Government College and Zamani College are also located in Kaduna.
Kaduna is an industrial center of Northern Nigeria, manufacturing products like textiles, machinery, steel, aluminum, petroleum products and bearings. However, the textile industry has been declining because of factory closings due to neglect during military rule and competition with Chinese imports. Automobile manufacturing also remains an important part of Kaduna’s economy. Pottery is highly prized from Kaduna, especially from the Nok culture, which precedes Abuja and Minna. Other light manufactures include: plastics, pharmaceuticals, leather goods, furniture, and televisions. Some of the main agricultural exports include: cotton, peanuts, sorghum, and ginger.
One of Nigeria’s four main oil refineries is located in Kaduna. It is supplied by a pipeline from the Niger Delta oil fields.
A 2009 World Bank survey states that Kaduna is one of the top six cities with the highest unemployment. 20% of the population is estimated to be unemployed.
The main highway through the city is called Ahmadu Bello Way. Many of the place names come from past sultans, emirs and decorated Civil War heroes. Kaduna has a large market, recently rebuilt after an extensive fire in the mid-1990s.
There is a large racecourse, approximately 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) round, inside which the Ahmadu Yakubu Polo Club and Kaduna Crocodile Club are situated, whilst the Kaduna and Rugby Clubs are on the periphery.
There are two airports, one of which is Kaduna Airport. Chanchangi Airlines has its head office in Kaduna.
Kaduna also has a branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Kaduna is an important junction on Nigeria’s Cape gauge railway network. At Kaduna, a branch line connects the Lagos–Nguru Railway to the Port Harcourt–Maidugur Railway.
Kaduna is also on the route of the planned Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway, which has been completed between the national capital of Abuja and Kaduna. Trains for Abuja depart from the Rigasa Railway Station in Kaduna.