Makurdi, the state capital was established in the early twenties and gained prominence in 1927 when it became the headquarters of the then Benue Province. Being a river port, it attracted the establishment of trading depots by companies such as UAC and John Holt Limited. Its commercial status was further enhanced when the Railway Bridge was completed and opened in 1932. In 1976, the town became the capital of Benue State and today, doubles as the headquarters of Makurdi Local Government Area.
The town is divided by the River Benue into the north and south banks, which are connected by two bridges: the railway bridge, which was built in 1932, and the new dual carriage bridge commissioned in 1978.
The southern part of the town is made up of several wards, including Central Ward, Old GRA, Ankpa Ward, Wadata Ward, High Level, Wurukum (Low Level), New GRA etc. Important establishments and offices located here include the Government House, The State Secretariat, The Federal Secretariat, Commercial Banks, Police Headquarters, Nigeria Prisons Service, Aper Aku Township Stadium, Nigeria Air force Base, Makurdi, the Makurdi Modern Market, the Federal Medical Centre, Nigeria Railway Station, Benue Printing and Publishing Company Limited, Radio Benue, Nigeria Television authority (NTA), Central Post Office, Benue Hotels, Benue State University.
The North bank area of the town houses among other establishments, the Federal University of Agriculture, the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering, the headquarters of the 72 Airborne Battalion and the State Headquarters of the Department of Customs and Excise.
Owing to its location in the valley of River Benue, Makurdi experiences warm temperatures most of the year. The period from November to January, when the harmattan weather is experienced is, however, relatively cool.
Makurdi can be reached by air, rail, road and water. The major northern route is the Makurdi – Lafia – Jos road. The southern routes are Makurdi – Otukpo – Enugu and Makurdi – Yandev – Adikpo – Calabar roads. Traffic from the west comes through Makurdi – (3) – Ankpa (3) – Okene (1) roads and from the east through Makurdi – Yandev – Katsina Ala – Wukari roads. These Makurdi Rail Bridge provides the only rail link between the northern and eastern parts of Nigeria.
Private airlines provide links between Makurdi and the rest of the country. The beautiful beaches of River Benue can be exploited to provide good sites for relaxation. The river itself provides tourist opportunities for boating angling and swimming.
The present administration is committed to the completion of the 300-bedroom Makurdi International Hotel to provide additional high class accommodation for visitors to the state capital. This will be done in partnership with the private sector. Meanwhile, Benue Hotels, Gordon Plaza Hotels, Royal Choice Inn, Doo Palace Hotels and several others offer accommodation and catering services of high standard.