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Lafia is a town in central Nigeria. It is the capital city of Nasarawa State and has a population of 330,712 inhabitants according to the 2006 census results. It is the largest town in Nasarawa state.
Before Lafia became the capital of a local chiefdom in the early nineteenth century, a small settlement consisting of a minority tribe called madah had existed on the site.
Lafia, formerly Lafia Beri-Beri, town, Nassarawa State, central Nigeria. Originally the site of eggon a small town of the Koro (Migili) people and now have 16th Emir in the person of Isa Musatafa Agwai I. Lafia became the capital of a prominent local chiefdom in the early 19th century. During the rule of Mohamman Agwai (1881–1903), the Lafia market became one of the most important in the Benue Valley, and a trade route was opened to Loko (56 mi [90 km] southwest), a Benue River port. In 1903 the British, who controlled Northern Nigeriarecognized Chief Musa as Lafia's first emir. The emirate formed the major part of the Lafia Division of Benue province. In 1967 the town became part of Benue-Plateau state, and in 1976 it was allocated to Plateau state.
Modern Lafia is a collecting point for sesame seeds, soybeans, and is a trading centre for yams, sorghum, millet, and cotton. Besides farming, cotton weaving and dyeing are traditionally important activities of the town's permanent inhabitants—members of the Alago, Tiv, and Kanuri people which are the royal clans—while Fulani herdsmen bring their cattle to graze in the vicinity during the dry season. Tin and columbite are mined nearby, and there is a deposit of coal southeast of the town.
In addition to the Emir's palace, Lafia has a central mosque, a Roman Catholic secondary school, and a government health office. It is situated on the trunk railway from Port Harcourt and on the main highway between Makurdi and Jos. Population of (2006) census in Lafia local government area was estimated 330,712.
Lafia is home to Nasarawa State University Faculty of Agriculture Lafia, Nasarawa State Polytechnic Lafia, College of Agriculture Lafia, and recently Federal University, Lafia and a large number of primary and secondary schools.
Lafia is the location of Nasarawa United, a football club whose stadium is Lafia Township Stadium.
Lafia is served by the main narrow gauge railway from Port Harcourt.