Sokoto state, north-western Nigeria, borders with the Republic of Niger to the north, Kebbi state to the west and south, and Zamfara to the south and east. Sokoto state occupied an area of short-grass savanna vegetation in the south and thorn scrub in the north. A generally arid region that gradually merges into the desert across the border in Niger republic, it has limited rainfall from mid-May to mid-September and is subjected to the Sahara’s harmattan (dry, dust-laden wind) from November to March. It is drained by the River Rima and its tributaries, the Sokoto being itself a major tributary of the Niger River. Sokoto is a city located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. As at 2006 it has a population of 427,760.
The name Sokoto (which is the modern/anglicised version of the local name, Sakkwato) is of Arabic origin, representing suk, 'market'. It was founded by Caliph Muhammad Bello in 1808/1809 and later after 1812 became the capital of the Caliphate. Hence, the Hausa adage; Sokoto Birnin Shehu ta Bello maida kasari zuma. Being the seat of the Sokoto Caliphate, the city is predominantly Muslim and an important seat of Islamic learning in Nigeria and West Africa. The Sultan who heads the caliphate is effectively the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims.
From ca. 1900, with the British take-over of the Caliphate, Sokoto, which then encompassed the entire north-west corner of Nigeria, became a province of the British in Northern Nigeria. The province has been organized on the same principle as the other provinces of Northern Nigeria. A British Resident of the first class has been placed at Sokoto and assistant residents at other centres. British courts of justice have been established and British governors are quartered in the province. Detachments of civil police are also placed at the principal stations. The country has been assessed under the new system for taxes and is being opened as rapidly as possible for trade. After the establishment of British rule farmers and herdsmen reoccupied districts and the inhabitants of cities flocked back to the land, rebuilding villages which had been deserted for fifty years. Horse breeding and cattle rising form the chief source of wealth in the province. There is some ostrich farming. Except in the sandy areas there is extensive agriculture, including rice and cotton. Special crops are grown in the valleys by irrigation. Weaving, dyeing and tanning are the principal native industries. Fair roads are in process of construction through the province. Trade is increasing and cash currency has been introduced.
Since its creation as a state in 1976 from the of the erstwhile North-Western States of Nigeria then later into Sokoto and Niger States, and later on, Kebbi State (in 1991) and Zamfara State (in 1996). Sokoto state has been ruled by governors, most ex-military officers, who succeeded each another at short intervals. At present the economic fortunes of the state grew into industrial and manufacturing. Industries and companies like; Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, SOKOTAN, LIBELA Ceramics, Fertilizer company and a lot of Agro allied companies are functional in the state. This is in addition to trade and commercial activities of both local and international level.
The Shehu Shagari College Of Education, Sokoto was established in 1970.