Location in Liberia
Largest city (Ganta (Ghonpa))
|• Superintendent||Robert S. Kamei|
|• Total||11,551 km2 (4,460 sq mi)|
|• Density||40/km2 (100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
Nimba is a county in the north-central portion of the West African nation of Liberia. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division in the nation, it has six districts. Sanniquellie serves as the capital with the area of the county measuring 11,551 square kilometres (4,460 sq mi), the largest in the nation. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 462,026, making it the second most populous county in Liberia.
Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, the tallest mountain in the county, Nimba is bordered by Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, River Cess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast. The northern and northeastern parts of Nimba borders the nation of Guinea, while the northeast lies along the border of Côte d'Ivoire. Created in 1964, the current County Superintendent, who is the chief administrative officer, is Robert S. Kamei.
Nimba County is one of fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. During William V.S. Tubman's administration (1944–1971), the region now called Nimba County was one of three of Liberia's Provinces - namely, Western Province, Eastern Province and Central Province. In the sixties, Tubman changed these provinces into counties. Central Province became what is known as Nimba County. Before the civil war of Liberia in (1989), it had a population of over 310,000 people. It is the second largest county in Liberia in terms of population.
The districts of Nimba County include (population):
- Boe & Quilla District (18,262)
- Buu-Yao District (40,007)
- Doe District (35,918)
- Garr Bain District (61,225)
- Gbehlageh (Gbehlay-Geh) District (32,176)
- Gbi & Doru District (8,131)
- Gbor District (10,875)
- Kparblee District (11,424)
- Leewehpea-Mahn District (24,747)
- Meinpea-Mahn District (24,157)
- Sanniqquellie-Mahn District (25,370)
- Twan River District (37,479)
- Wee-Gbehy-Mahn District (32,934)
- Yarmein District (22,718)
- Yarpea Mahn District (21,647)
- Yarwein Mehnsonnoh District (25,584)
- Zoe-Gbao District (29,372)
During the late 1950s iron ore was found in "the iron mountain" Mount Nimba. In a joint venture between the Liberian Government, US Bethlehem Steel and the Swedish mining company Granges a huge project was set up, LAMCO (LIBERIAN American Co.). The project contributed to economic and social development in Liberia for 30 years. Corruption was minimal and political stability good. Liberia was amongst the most progressive countries in Africa during this period. History itself caught up with the past and ironically the usual tribal war mentality erupted in 1980 (see Liberia facts). Nimba county was devastated by the civil war that followed. The iron ore had been degrading in quality, and world prices plunged. The combination led to a dismantle of the LAMCO project. After the civil war (which lasted for more than a decade), Nimba is finally getting better. Arcelor-Mittal is committed to reopening the iron mine at Nimba Mountain, outside the former company town of Yekepa. Hospitals and Schools built and financed by LAMCO, are now being run by ArcelorMittal. The houses which were built by LAMCO have partly been rehabilitated by ArcelorMittal though most are overgrown by the rain-forest.
Nimba County is inhabited predominantly by two ethnic groups—the Mán speaking people and the Dán speaking people. The Mandingos or Malinky or Manding people, who were late arrivers in the region, make up the third group but are in smaller number than either one of the two major groups. The Mán and Dán people are very closely interrelated. They also share a common history that is traceable mythologically to a common father but different mothers. Also in Nimba County are two minority group of people namely, the Krahn of Kparblee and the Bassa of Gbi and Doru Administrative Districts. The Krahn are situated along the Cestos River which border Liberia with the Ivory Coast. According to the history of the Krahn, they and the Gio tribe have inter-marriage relationship this also occurred in the Ivory Coast where these two group of people just migrated from before settling here in Liberia.
Access to quality healthcare in Nimba is lacking for many residents. The hospital at Yekepa, built by LAMCO, is now being run by Arcelor-Mittal. In Sanniquellie, the Ministry of Health and MSF Holland are cooperating to run a hospital and a set of health posts which provide access to basic care. At Ganta, the Methodist Church runs a private hospital. At Saclepea, MSF Switzerland runs a temporary comprehensive health center and is building a permanent one to move into during 2007. MSF Switzerland also operates three health posts at Lepula, Diallah, and Zekepa (all in southern Nimba). There are other small clinics and health posts operated by NGOs like MERCI and Africare. Presently, Equip-Liberia is running two health centres in Kparblee District one is in Zodru while the other is in Yourpea New Town. Also a private clinic is being run by one Thomas Saulgaie in Kparblee Town. This clinic has about eighteen bed rooms.
Much of the population has access to traditional healers and to unregulated, privately operated pharmacies. The healers are using herbs of unknown efficacy, and the pharmacies are selling chloroquine, a drug which is known to be ineffective against the majority of malaria cases seen in Nimba.