Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.
Present-day Nigeria has been the site of numerous kingdoms and tribal states for millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960, and plunged into a civil war from 1967ÔÇô1970. It has since alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, with its 2011 presidential elections being viewed as the first to be conducted reasonably freely and fairly.
Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. The country is viewed as a multinational state, as it is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different languages, and are identified with wide variety of cultures. Regarding religion, Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the northern and southwestern regions. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to Igbo and Yoruba peoples.
In 2014, Nigeria’s economy (GDP) became the largest in Africa, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become the world’s 21st (nominal) and 20th (PPP) largest economy in 2015; furthermore, the debt-to-GDP ratio is only 11 percent (8 percent below the 2012 ratio). The country’s oil reserves have played a major role in its growing wealth and influence. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank and has been identified as a regional power on the African continent. Nigeria is considered to be a middle power in the world, and has also been identified as an emerging power; it is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe’s next “BRIC-like” economies. It is also listed among the “Next Eleven” economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, OPEC, and the United Nations among other international organizations.
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was allegedly coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Frederick Lugard, a British colonial administrator. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
Ceremonial Igbo pot from 9th-century Igbo-Ukwu.
Early (500 B.C.ÔÇô1500)
Further information: History of Nigeria before 1500
The Nok civilisation of Northern Nigeria flourished between 500 B.C. and A.D. 200., producing life-sized terracotta figures which are some of the earliest known sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri[ In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost-wax process were from Igbo Ukwu, a city under Nri influence.
The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively. The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife’s current site date back to the 9th century, and its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures.
Middle Ages (1500ÔÇô1800)
Further information: History of Nigeria (1500ÔÇô1800)
Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo. The Edo Kingdom of Benin is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin’s power lasted between the 15th and 19th centuries. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate). The territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria; it lasted until the 1903 break-up of the Empire into various European colonies.
For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa. Cities in the area became regional centers in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western, central and northern Africa. In the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin significant, direct trade with peoples of modern-day Nigeria, at the port they named Lagos and in Calabar. Europeans traded goods with peoples at the coast; coastal trade with Europeans also marked the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade.[ The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) become one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade. Other major slaving ports in Nigeria were located in Badagry, Lagos on the Bight of Benin and on Bonny Island on the Bight of Biafra. The majority of those enslaved and taken to these ports were captured in raids and wars. Usually the captives were taken back to the conquerors’ territory as forced labor; after time, they were sometimes acculturated and absorbed into the conquerors’ society. A number of slave routes were established throughout Nigeria linking the hinterland areas with the major coastal ports. Some of the more prolific slave traders were linked with the Oyo Empire in the southwest, the Aro Confederacy in the southeast and the Sokoto Caliphate in the north.
Slavery also existed in the territories comprising modern-day Nigeria;. its scope was broadest towards the end of the 19th century. According to the Encyclopedia of African History, “It is estimated that by the 1890s the largest slave population of the world, about 2 million people, was concentrated in the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate. The use of slave labor was extensive, especially in agriculture.”
A changing legal imperative (transatlantic slave trade outlawed by Britain in 1807) and economic imperative (a desire for political and social stability) led most European powers to support widespread cultivation of agricultural products, such as the palm, for use in European industry.
British Nigeria (1800ÔÇô1960)
Main article: Colonial Nigeria
“Up-River Chiefs, Calabar“, 19th century
The slave trade was engaged in by European state and non-state actors such as Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and private companies, as well as various African states and non-state actors. With rising anti-slavery sentiment at home and changing economic realities, Great Britain outlawed the international slave trade in 1807. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Great Britain established the West Africa Squadron in an attempt to halt the international traffic in slaves. It stopped ships of other nations that were leaving the African coast with slaves; the seized slaves were taken to Freetown, a colony in West Africa originally established for the resettlement of freed slaves from Britain. Britain intervened in the Lagos Kingship power struggle by bombarding Lagos in 1851, deposing the slave trade friendly Oba Kosoko, helping to install an the amenable Oba Akitoye, and signing the Treaty between Great Britain and Lagos on January 1, 1852. Britain annexed Lagos as a Crown Colony in August 1861 with the Lagos Treaty of Cession. British missionaries expanded their operations and traveled further inland. In 1864, Samuel Ajayi Crowther became the first African bishop of the Anglican Church.
In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received recognition from other European nations at the Berlin Conference. The following year, it chartered the Royal Niger Company under the leadership of Sir George Taubman Goldie. In 1900 the company’s territory came under the control of the British government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. On 1 January 1901, Nigeria became a British protectorate, and part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the independent kingdoms of what would become Nigeria fought a number of conflicts against the British Empire’s efforts to expand its territory. By war, the British conquered Benin in 1897, and, in the Anglo-Aro War (1901ÔÇô1902), defeated other opponents. The restraint or conquest of these states opened up the Niger area to British rule.
Postage stamp with portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
In 1914, the British formally united the Niger area as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos Colony. Inhabitants of the southern region sustained more interaction, economic and cultural, with the British and other Europeans owing to the coastal economy.
Christian missions established Western educational institutions in the Protectorates. Under Britain’s policy of indirect rule and validation of Islamic tradition, the Crown did not encourage the operation of Christian missions in the northern, Islamic part of the country. Some children of the southern elite went to Great Britain to pursue higher education. By independence in 1960, regional differences in modern educational access were marked. The legacy, though less pronounced, continues to the present-day. Imbalances between North and South were expressed in Nigeria’s political life as well. For instance, northern Nigeria did not outlaw slavery until 1936 whilst in other parts of Nigeria slavery was abolished soon after colonialism.
Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. By the middle of the 20th century, a great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa. Nigeria achieved independence in 1960.
First Republic (1960ÔÇô1966)
Nigeria gained partial independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960. Nigeria’s government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian-dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe. Azikiwe became Nigeria’s maiden Governor-General in 1960. The opposition comprised the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo. The cultural and political differences between Nigeria’s dominant ethnic groups ÔÇô the Hausa (‘Northerners’), Igbo (‘Easterners’) and Yoruba (‘Westerners’) ÔÇô were sharp.
An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while Northern Cameroons chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part. In 1963, the nation established a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as its first president. When elections were held in 1965, the Nigerian National Democratic Party came to power in Nigeria’s Western Region.
Civil war (1967ÔÇô1970)
Main article: Nigerian Civil War
The Republic of Biafra in June 1967, when it declared its independence from the rest of Nigeria
The disquilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led, in 1966, to back-to-back military coups. The first coup was in January 1966 and was led by Igbo soldiers under Majors Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The coup plotters succeeded in murdering Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Premier Ahmadu Bello of the Northern Region and Premier Ladoke Akintola of the Western Region. But, the coup plotters struggled to form a central government. President Nwafor Orizu handed over government control to the Army, then under the command of another Igbo officer, General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi.
Later, the counter-coup of 1966, supported primarily by Northern military officers, facilitated the rise of Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon to head of state. Tension rose between North and South; Igbos in Northern cities suffered persecution and many fled to the Eastern Region.
In May 1967, the Eastern Region declared independence as a state called the Republic of Biafra, under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu. The Nigerian Civil War began as the official Nigerian government side (predominated by soldiers from the North and West) attacked Biafra (Southeastern) on 6 July 1967 at Garkem. The 30┬ámonth war, with a long siege of Biafra and its isolation from trade and supplies, ended in January 1970. Estimates of the number of dead in the former Eastern Region are between 1 and 3 million people, from warfare, disease, and starvation, during the 30-month civil war.
France, Egypt, the Soviet Union, Britain, Israel, and others were deeply involved in the civil war behind the scenes. Britain and the Soviet Union were the main military backers of the Nigerian government while France and others aided the Biafrans. Nigeria used Egyptian pilots for their air force.
Military juntas (1970ÔÇô1999)
Main article: Nigerian military juntas of 1966ÔÇô1979 and 1983ÔÇô1998
Olusegun Obasanjo was a military president who ruled the country from 1976 to 1979.
During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria joined OPEC and the huge revenue generated made the economy richer. Despite huge revenues from oil production and sale, the military administration did little to improve the standard of living of the population, help small and medium businesses, or invest in infrastructure. As oil revenues fuelled the rise of federal subventions to states, the federal government became the centre of political struggle and the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns. It did not develop other sources of the economy for economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria.
Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy when Olusegun Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. The Shagari government became viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society. The military coup of Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the regime’s fraudulent re-election in 1984 was generally viewed as a positive development. Buhari promised major reforms, but his government fared little better than its predecessor. His regime was overthrown by another military coup in 1985.
The new head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, declared himself president and commander in chief of the armed forces and the ruling Supreme Military Council. He set 1990 as the official deadline for a return to democratic governance. Babangida’s tenure was marked by a flurry of political activity: he instituted the International Monetary Fund‘s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) to aid in the repayment of the country’s crushing international debt, which most federal revenue was dedicated to servicing. He enrolled Nigeria in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which aggravated religious tensions in the country.
After Babangida survived an abortive coup, he pushed back the promised return to democracy to 1992. Free and fair elections were finally held on 12 June 1993, with a presidential victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. Babangida annulled the elections, leading to mass civilian violent protests which effectively shut down the country for weeks. Babangida finally kept his promise to relinquish office to a civilian-run government, but not before appointing Ernest Shonekan as head of the interim government. Babangida’s regime has been considered the most corrupt, and responsible for creating a culture of corruption in Nigeria.
Shonekan’s caretaker regime was overwhelmed in late 1993 by the military coup of General Sani Abacha. Abacha used violence on a wide scale to suppress the continuing civilian unrest. He shifted money to offshore accounts in various western European banks and voided coup plots by bribing army generals. Several hundred million dollars in accounts traced to him were discovered in 1999. The regime came to an end in 1998 when the dictator was found dead amid questionable circumstances.
His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, adopted a new constitution on 5 May 1999, which provided for multiparty elections. On 29 May 1999 Abubakar transferred power to the winner of the elections, Obasanjo, who had since retired from the military.
Bida Emirate durbar festival, 2001
Nigeria regained democracy in 1999 when it elected Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military head of state, as the new President of Nigeria. This ended almost 33 years of military rule (from 1966 until 1999), excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979 and 1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d’├®tat and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966ÔÇô1979 and 1983ÔÇô1998. Although the elections which brought Obasanjo to power in 1999 and again in 2003 were condemned as unfree and unfair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and to hasten development.
Ethnic violence for control over the oil-producing Niger Delta region and inadequate infrastructures are some of the issues in the country. Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came into power in the general election of 2007. The international community has been observing Nigerian elections to encourage a free and fair process, and condemned this one as being severely flawed.
Yar’Adua died on 5 May 2010. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar’Adua’s replacement on 6 May 2010, becoming Nigeria’s 14th Head of State, while his vice-president, Namadi Sambo, an architect and former Kaduna State governor, was chosen on 18 May 2010, by the National Assembly. His confirmation followed President Jonathan’s nomination of Sambo to that position.
Goodluck Jonathan served as Nigeria’s president till 16 April 2011, when a new presidential election in Nigeria was conducted. Jonathan of the PDP was declared the winner on 19 April 2011, having won the election with a total of 22,495,187 of the 39,469,484 votes cast, to stand ahead of Muhammadu Buhari from the main opposition party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which won 12,214,853 of the total votes cast. The international media reported the elections as having run smoothly with relatively little violence or voter fraud, in contrast to previous elections.
In the March 2015 election, Muhammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan by roughly 2 million votes. Observers generally praised the election as being fair. Jonathan was generally praised for conceding defeat and limiting the risk of unrest.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Nigeria
Nigerian National Assembly, Abuja
Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president. It is influenced by the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. The president presides as both Head of State and head of the national executive; the leader is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two 4-year terms.
The president’s power is checked by a Senate and a House of Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109-seat body with three members from each state and one from the capital region of Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The House contains 360 seats, with the number of seats per state is determined by population.
Ethnocentrism, tribalism, religious persecution, and prebendalism have affected Nigerian politics both prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin-selective altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics, resulting in tribalist efforts to concentrate Federal power to a particular region of their interests. Nationalism has also led to active secessionist movements such as MASSOB, Nationalist movements such as Oodua Peoples Congress, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and a civil war. Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) have maintained historical preeminence in Nigerian politics; competition amongst these three groups has fuelled corruption and graft.
Because of the above issues, Nigeria’s political parties are pan-national and secular in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities). The major political parties at present include the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria, which maintains 223 seats in the House and 76 in the Senate (61.9% and 69.7% respectively); the opposition formerly All Nigeria People’s Party now All Progressives Congress has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). About twenty minor opposition parties are registered.
The immediate past president, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged fraud and other electoral “lapses” but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address in 2007, he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor, they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years.
|National symbols of Nigeria|
|Emblem||Coat of arms of Nigeria|
|Anthem||“Arise, O Compatriots“|
|Bird||Black Crowned Crane|
As in many other African societies, prebendalism and high rates of corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria. All major parties have practised vote rigging and other means of coercion in order to remain competitive. In 1983, the policy institute at Kuru concluded that only the 1959 and 1979 elections to that time were conducted with minimal vote rigging.
Main article: Law of Nigeria
There are three distinct systems of law in Nigeria:
- Common law, derived from its British colonial past, and a development of its own after independence;
- Customary law, derived from indigenous traditional norms and practice, including the dispute resolution meetings of pre-colonial Yorubaland secret societies and the ß║©╠Çkpß║╣╠Ç and ß╗î╠Çkß╗ì╠ü┼äkß╗ì╠Ç of Igboland and Ibibioland;
- Sharia law, used only in the predominantly Muslim northern states of the country. It is an Islamic legal system that had been used long before the colonial administration. In late 1999, Zamfara emphasized its use, with eleven other northern states following suit. These states are Kano, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Jigawa, Yobe, and Kebbi.
Main article: Foreign relations of Nigeria
Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made African unity the centrepiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid government in South Africa. One notable exception to the African focus was Nigeria’s close relationship developed with Israel throughout the 1960s. The latter nation sponsored and oversaw the construction of Nigeria’s parliament buildings.
Nigeria’s foreign policy was tested in the 1970s after the country emerged united from its own civil war. It supported movements against white minority governments in the Southern Africa sub-region. Nigeria backed the African National Congress (ANC) by taking a committed tough line with regard to the South African government and their military actions in southern Africa. Nigeria was also a founding member of the Organisation for African Unity (now the African Union), and has tremendous influence in West Africa and Africa on the whole. Nigeria has additionally founded regional cooperative efforts in West Africa, functioning as standard-bearer for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and ECOMOG, economic and military organisations, respectively.
With this African-centred stance, Nigeria readily sent troops to the Congo at the behest of the United Nations shortly after independence (and has maintained membership since that time). Nigeria also supported several Pan African and pro-self government causes in the 1970s, including garnering support for Angola‘s MPLA, SWAPO in Namibia, and aiding opposition to the minority governments of Portuguese Mozambique, and Rhodesia.
Nigeria retains membership in the Non-Aligned Movement. In late November 2006, it organised an Africa-South America Summit in Abuja to promote what some attendees termed “South-South” linkages on a variety of fronts. Nigeria is also a member of the International Criminal Court, and the Commonwealth of Nations. It was temporarily expelled from the latter in 1995 when ruled by the Abacha regime.
Nigeria has remained a key player in the international oil industry since the 1970s, and maintains membership in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which it joined in July 1971. Its status as a major petroleum producer figures prominently in its sometimes volatile international relations with both developed countries, notably the United States, and the developing countries of China, Jamaica, and Ghana and Kenya in Africa.
Millions of Nigerians have emigrated at times of economic hardship, primarily to Europe, North America and Australia. It is estimated that over a million Nigerians have emigrated to the United States and constitute the Nigerian American populace. Individuals in many such Diasporic communities have joined the “Egbe Omo Yoruba” society, a national association of Yoruba descendants in North America.
See also: Military of Nigeria
Ship House, Defense Headquarters
The Nigerian Military are charged with protecting The Federal Republic of Nigeria, promoting Nigeria’s global security interests, and supporting peacekeeping efforts especially in West Africa. This is in support of the doctrine sometimes called Pax Nigeriana.
The Nigerian Military consist of an army, a navy, and an air force. The military in Nigeria have played a major role in the country’s history since independence. Various juntas have seized control of the country and ruled it through most of its history. Its last period of rule ended in 1999 following the sudden death of former dictator Sani Abacha in 1998. His successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar, handed over power to the democratically elected government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
As Africa’s most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as a peacekeeping force on the continent. Since 1995, the Nigerian military, through ECOMOG mandates, have been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997ÔÇô1999), Sierra Leone 1997ÔÇô1999. Under an African Union mandate, it has stationed forces in Sudan‘s Darfur region to try to establish peace.
Main article: Geography of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria, showing state boundaries, cities, and waterways.
Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768┬ákm2 (356,669┬ásq┬ámi), making it the world’s 32nd-largest country (after Tanzania). It is comparable in size to Venezuela, and is about twice the size of the U.S. state of California. It shares a 4,047-kilometre (2,515┬ámi) border with Benin (773┬ákm), Niger (1497┬ákm), Chad (87┬ákm), Cameroon (1690┬ákm), and has a coastline of at least 853┬ákm. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4┬░ and 14┬░N, and longitudes 2┬░ and 15┬░E.
The Zuma Rock near Suleja
The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419┬ám (7,936┬áft). The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue, which converge and empty into the Niger Delta. This is one of the world’s largest river deltas, and the location of a large area of Central African Mangroves.
Nigeria has a varied landscape. The far south is defined by its tropical rainforest climate, where annual rainfall is 60 to 80 inches (1,500 to 2,000┬ámm) a year. In the southeast stands the Obudu Plateau. Coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast. This forest zone’s most southerly portion is defined as “salt water swamp,” also known as a mangrove swamp because of the large amount of mangroves in the area. North of this is fresh water swamp, containing different vegetation from the salt water swamp, and north of that is rain forest.
Nigeria’s most expansive topographical region is that of the valleys of the Niger and Benue river valleys (which merge into each other and form a “y” shape). To the southwest of the Niger is “rugged” highland. To the southeast of the Benue are hills and mountains, which form the Mambilla Plateau, the highest plateau in Nigeria. This plateau extends through the border with Cameroon, where the montane land is part of the Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon.
The area near the border with Cameroon close to the coast is rich rainforest and part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests ecoregion, an important centre for biodiversity. It is habitat for the drill monkey, which is found in the wild only in this area and across the border in Cameroon. The areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, also in this forest, are believed to contain the world’s largest diversity of butterflies. The area of southern Nigeria between the Niger and the Cross Rivers has lost most of its forest because of development and harvesting by increased population, with it being replaced by grassland (see Cross-Niger transition forests).
Everything in between the far south and the far north is savannah (insignificant tree cover, with grasses and flowers located between trees). Rainfall is more limited, to between 500 and 1,500 millimetres (20 and 60┬áin) per year. The savannah zone’s three categories are Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, Sudan savannah, and Sahel savannah. Guinean forest-savanna mosaic is plains of tall grass interrupted by trees. Sudan savannah is similar but with shorter grasses and shorter trees. Sahel savannah consists of patches of grass and sand, found in the northeast. In the Sahel region, rain is less than 500 millimetres (20┬áin) per year and the Sahara Desert is encroaching. In the dry north-east corner of the country lies Lake Chad, which Nigeria shares with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Waste management including sewage treatment, the linked processes of deforestation and soil degradation, and climate change or global warming are the major environmental problems in Nigeria. Waste management presents problems in a mega city like Lagos and other major Nigerian cities which are linked with economic development, population growth and the inability of municipal councils to manage the resulting rise in industrial and domestic waste. This huge waste management problem is also attributable to unsustainable environmental management lifestyles of Kubwa Community in the Federal Capital Territory, where there are habits of indiscriminate disposal of waste, dumping of waste along or into the canals, sewerage systems that are channels for water flows, etc.
Haphazard industrial planning, increased urbanisation, poverty and lack of competence of the municipal government are seen as the major reasons for high levels of waste pollution in major Nigerian cities. Some of the ‘solutions’ have been disastrous to the environment, resulting in untreated waste being dumped in places where it can pollute waterways and groundwater.
In 2005 Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In 2005 12.2%, the equivalent of 11,089,000 hectares had been forested in Nigeria. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest every year equal to an average annual deforestation rate of 2.38%. Between 1990 and 2005, in total Nigeria lost 35.7% of its forest cover, or around 6,145,000 hectares.
Main article: Subdivisions of Nigeria
Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory, which are further sub-divided into 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The plethora of states, of which there were only three at independence, reflect the country’s tumultuous history and the difficulties of managing such a heterogeneous national entity at all levels of government. In some contexts, the states are aggregated into six geopolitical zones: North West, North East, North Central, South East, South South, and South West.
Nigeria has six cities with a population of over 1┬ámillion people (from largest to smallest: Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Benin City). Lagos is the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of over 8┬ámillion in its urban area alone. However, these figures are regularly disputed in Nigeria.
|A clickable map of Nigeria exhibiting its 36 states and the federal capital territory.
Main article: Economy of Nigeria
Wuse district, Abuja
Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market, and has already reached lower middle income status according to the World Bank, with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in Africa.
Nigeria was ranked 30th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) in 2012. Nigeria is the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies a fifth of its oil (11% of oil imports). It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the US of any country worldwide. Nigeria is the 50th-largest export market for US goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the US. The United States is the country’s largest foreign investor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected economic growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. The IMF further projects an 8% growth in the Nigerian economy in 2011.
February 2011: According to Citigroup, Nigeria will get the highest average GDP growth in the world between 2010ÔÇô2050. Nigeria is one of two countries from Africa among 11 Global Growth Generators countries.
Previously, economic development had been hindered by years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement. The restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reforms have successfully put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full economic potential. As of 2014 it is the largest economy in Africa, having overtaken South Africa.
During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria accumulated a significant foreign debt to finance major infrastructural investments. With the fall of oil prices during the 1980s oil glut Nigeria struggled to keep up with its loan payments and eventually defaulted on its principal debt repayments, limiting repayment to the interest portion of the loans. Arrears and penalty interest accumulated on the unpaid principal which increased the size of the debt.
After negotiations by the Nigeria authorities, in October 2005 Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors reached an agreement in which Nigeria repurchased its debt at a discount of approximately 60%. Nigeria used part of its oil profits to pay the residual 40%, freeing up at least $1.15┬ábillion annually for poverty reduction programmes. Nigeria made history in April 2006 by becoming the first African Country to completely pay off its debt (estimated $30┬ábillion) owed to the Paris Club.
Further information: Agriculture in Nigeria
Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams.
Prior to the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria was self-sufficient in food. Agriculture has failed to keep pace with Nigeria’s rapid population growth, and Nigeria now relies upon food imports to sustain itself.
The usage of inorganic fertilizers was promoted by Nigerian government in the 1970s.
Further information: Petroleum industry in Nigeria
The gates of the oil refinery in Port Harcourt.
Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. (The country joined OPEC in 1971). Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. However, agitation for better resource control in the Niger Delta, its main oil producing region, has led to disruptions in oil production and prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.
The Niger Delta Nembe Creek Oil field was discovered in 1973 and produces from middle Miocene deltaic sandstone–shale in an anticline structural trap at a depth of 2ÔÇô4┬ákm. In June 2013, the company announced a strategic review of its operations in Nigeria, hinting that assets could be divested. While many international oil companies have operated there for decades, by 2014 most were making moves to divest their interests, citing a range of issues including oil theft. In August 2014, Shell Oil Company said it was finalizing its interests in four Nigerian oil fields.
Next to petrodollars, the second biggest source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria are remittances sent home by Nigerians living abroad. In 2014, 17.5 million Nigerians resided in foreign countries, with the UK and the USA having more than 2 million Nigerians each.
According to the International Organization for Migration, Nigeria witnessed a dramatic increase in remittances sent home from overseas Nigerians, going from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to 17.9 billion in 2007. The United States accounts for the largest portion of official remittances, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain and France. On the African continent, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Libya and South Africa are important source countries of remittance flows to Nigeria, while China is the biggest remittance-sending country in Asia.
Nigeria has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world, major emerging market operators (like MTN, Etisalat, Zain and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. The government has recently begun expanding this infrastructure to space based communications. Nigeria has a space satellite which is monitored at the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Headquarters in Abuja.
Nigeria has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks.
Further information: Mining industry of Nigeria
Nigeria also has a wide array of underexploited mineral resources which include natural gas, coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc. Despite huge deposits of these natural resources, the mining industry in Nigeria is still in its infancy.
Nigeria has a manufacturing industry which includes leather and textiles (centred Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), Nigeria currently has an indigenous auto manufacturing company; Innoson Motors located in Nnewi. It produces Buses and SUVs.car manufacturing (for the French car manufacturer Peugeot as well as for the English truck manufacturer Bedford, now a subsidiary of General Motors), t-shirts, plastics and processed food.
Nigeria in recent years has been embracing industrialization, It currently has an indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Motors (IVM) which manufactures Rapid Transit Buses, Trucks and SUVs with an upcoming introduction of Cars. Nigeria also has few Electronic manufacturers like Zinox, the first Branded Nigerian Computer and Electronic gadgets (like tablet PCs) manufacturers. In 2013, Nigeria introduced a policy regarding import duty on vehicles to encourage local manufacturing companies in the country. In this regard, some foreign vehicle manufacturing companies like Nissan have made known their plans to have manufacturing plants in Nigeria. Ogun is considered to be the current Nigeria’s industrial hub, as most factories are located in Ogun and more companies are moving there, followed by Lagos.
The Nigerian government has commissioned the overseas production and launch of four satellites. The Nigeriasat-1 was the first satellite to be built under the Nigerian government sponsorship. The satellite was launched from Russia on 27 September 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was part of the world-wide Disaster Monitoring Constellation System. The primary objectives of the Nigeriasat-1 were: to give early warning signals of environmental disaster; to help detect and control desertification in the northern part of Nigeria; to assist in demographic planning; to establish the relationship between malaria vectors and the environment that breeds malaria and to give early warning signals on future outbreaks of meningitis using remote sensing technology; to provide the technology needed to bring education to all parts of the country through distant learning; and to aid in conflict resolution and border disputes by mapping out state and International borders.
NigeriaSat-2, Nigeria’s second satellite, was built as a high-resolution earth satellite by Surrey Space Technology Limited, a United Kingdom-based satellite technology company. It has 2.5-metre resolution panchromatic (very high resolution), 5-metre multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green and red bands), and 32-metre multispectral (medium resolution, NIR red, green and red bands) antennas, with a ground receiving station in Abuja. The NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft alone was built at a cost of over ┬ú35 million. This satellite was launched into orbit from a military base in China.
NigComSat-1, a Nigerian satellite built in 2004, was Nigeria’s third satellite and Africa’s first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The spacecraft was operated by NigComSat and the Nigerian Space Agency, NASRDA. On 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power because of an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus, and carries a variety of transponders: 4 C-band; 14 Ku-band; 8 Ka-band; and 2 L-band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and the Ka-band transponders would also cover Italy.
On 10 November 2008 (0900 GMT), the satellite was reportedly switched off for analysis and to avoid a possible collision with other satellites. According to Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, it was put into “emergency mode operation in order to effect mitigation and repairs”. The satellite eventually failed after losing power on 11 November 2008.
On 24 March 2009, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NigComSat Ltd. and CGWIC signed another contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R was also a DFH-4 satellite, and the replacement for the failed NigComSat-1 was successfully launched into orbit by China in Xichang on December 19, 2011. The satellite according to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan which was paid for by the insurance policy on NigComSat-1 which de-orbited in 2009, would have a positive impact on national development in various sectors such as communications, internet services, health, agriculture, environmental protection and national security.
Main article: Demographics of Nigeria
Population density in Nigeria
|Population in Nigeria|
Population in Nigeria increased from 1990 to 2008 by 57 million a 60% growth rate. Almost half of the country’s population is 14 years old or younger. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and accounts for about 18% of the continent’s total population, however, exactly how populous is a subject of speculation.
The United Nations estimates that the population in 2009 was at 154,729,000, distributed as 51.7% rural and 48.3% urban, and with a population density of 167.5 people per square kilometre. National census results in the past few decades have been disputed. The results of the most recent census were released in December 2006 and gave a population of 140,003,542. The only breakdown available was by gender: males numbered 71,709,859, females numbered 68,293,08. On June 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that Nigerians should limit their number of children.
According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world’s total population increase from 2005ÔÇô2050. By 2100 the UN estimates that the Nigerian population will be between 505 million and 1.03 billion people (middle estimate: 730 million). In 1950, Nigeria had only 33 million people.
One in four Africans is a Nigerian. Presently, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world. 2006 estimates claim 42.3% of the population is between 0ÔÇô14 years of age, while 54.6% is between 15ÔÇô65; the birth rate is significantly higher than the death rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000┬ápeople respectively.
Nigeria’s largest city is Lagos. Lagos has grown from about 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million today, and the Nigerian government estimates that city will have expanded to 25 million residents by 2015.
|A Hausa harpist||Igbo men||Yoruba drummers|
Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The largest ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Fulani, accounting for more than 70% of the population, while the Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gwari, Itsekiri, Jukun, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise between 25 and 30%; other minorities make up the remaining 5%.
The middle belt of Nigeria is known for its diversity of ethnic groups, including the Pyem, Goemai, and Kofyar. The official population count of each of Nigeria’s ethnicities has always remained controversial and disputed as members of different ethnic groups believe the census is rigged to give a particular group (usually believed to be northern groups) numerical superiority.
There are small minorities of British, American, East Indian, Chinese (est. 50,000), white Zimbabwean, Japanese, Greek, Syrian and Lebanese immigrants in Nigeria. Immigrants also include those from other West African or East African nations. These minorities mostly reside in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja, or in the Niger Delta as employees for the major oil companies. A number of Cubans settled in Nigeria as political refugees following the Cuban Revolution.
In the middle of the 19th century, a number of ex-slaves of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian descent and emigrants from Sierra Leone established communities in Lagos and other regions of Nigeria. Many ex-slaves came to Nigeria following the emancipation of slaves in the Americas. Many of the immigrants, sometimes called Saros (immigrants from Sierra Leone) and Amaro (ex-slaves from Brazil) later became prominent merchants and missionaries in these cities.
Main article: Languages of Nigeria
Women in north Nigeria
There are 521 languages that have been spoken in Nigeria (nine of which are now extinct).
In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country, owing to the influence of British colonisation that ended in 1960.
Many French speakers from surrounding countries have influenced the English spoken in the border regions of Nigeria and some Nigerian citizens have become fluent enough in French to work in the surrounding countries. The French spoken in Nigeria may be mixed with some native languages but is mostly spoken like the French spoken in Benin. French may also be mixed with English as it is in Cameroon. Most of the population speaks English and their native language.
The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of languages of Africa: the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Igbo, Yoruba and Fulfulde; Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily in Borno and Yobe State, is part of the Nilo-Saharan family; and Hausa is an Afro-Asiatic language.
Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English as the official language is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English as a first language is used only by a small minority of the country’s urban elite, and it is not spoken at all in some rural areas. Hausa is the most widely spoken of the 3 main languages spoken in Nigeria itself (Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba) but unlike the Yorubas and Igbos, the Hausas tend not to travel far outside Nigeria itself.
With the majority of Nigeria’s populace in the rural areas, the major languages of communication in the country remain indigenous languages. Some of the largest of these, notably Yoruba and Igbo, have derived standardised languages from a number of different dialects and are widely spoken by those ethnic groups. Nigerian Pidgin English, often known simply as ‘Pidgin‘ or ‘Broken’ (Broken English), is also a popular lingua franca, though with varying regional influences on dialect and slang. The pidgin English or Nigerian English is widely spoken within the Niger Delta Regions, predominately in Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Agenebode, Ewu, and Benin City.
Religion in Nigeria (2011)[
Animist and Others (1.4%)
Nigeria is a religiously diverse society, with Islam and Christianity being the most widely professed religions. According to recent estimates, 50% of Nigeria’s population adheres to Islam (mainly Sunni). Christianity is practiced by 48% of the population (74% Protestant, 25% Catholic, 1% other Christian). Adherents of Animism and other religions collectively represent 1.4% of the population.
All religions represented in Nigeria were practiced in every major city in 1990. Islam dominated the north and had a number of supporters in the South Western, Yoruba part of the country. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. Protestantism and local syncretic Christianity are also in evidence in Yoruba areas, while Catholicism dominates the Igbo and closely related areas. Both Protestantism and Catholicism dominated in the Ibibio, Annang, and the Efik kiosa lands.
The contested 1963 census indicated that 47% of Nigerians were Muslim, 35% Christian, and 18% members of local indigenous congregations. If accurate, this indicated a sharp increase since 1953 in the number of Christians (up 13%); a slight decline among those professing indigenous beliefs, compared with 20%; and only a modest (4%) increase of Muslims.
The vast majority of Muslims in Nigeria are Sunni belonging to Maliki school of jurisprudence; however, a sizeable minority also belongs to Shafi madhhab. A large number of Sunni Muslims are members of Sufi brotherhoods. Most Sufis follow the Qadiriyya, Tijaniyyah and/or the Mouride movements. A significant Shia minority exists (see Shia in Nigeria). Some northern states have incorporated Sharia law into their previously secular legal systems, which has brought about some controversy. Kano State has sought to incorporate Sharia law into its constitution. The majority of Quranists follow the Kalo Kato or Quraniyyun movement. There are also Ahmadiyya and Mahdiyya minorities.
According to a 2001 report of The World Factbook by CIA, about 50% of Nigeria’s population was Muslim, 40% were Christians and 10% adhered to local religions. Other sources give higher estimates for the country’s Christian population. A 2012 report on religion and public life by the Pew Research Center stated that in 2010, 49.3┬ápercent of Nigeria’s population was Christian, 48.8┬ápercent was Muslim, and 1.9┬ápercent were followers of indigenous and other religions, or unaffiliated.
The 2010 census of Association of Religion Data Archives has also reported that 46.5┬ápercent of the total population was Christian, slightly larger than the Muslim population (45.5┬ápercent), while 7.7┬ápercent were members of other religious groups. However, these estimates should be taken with caution because sample data is mostly collected from major urban areas in the south, which are predominantly Christian.
Among Christians, the Pew Research survey found that 74% were Protestant, 25% were Catholic, and 1% belonged to other Christian denominations, including a small Orthodox Christian community. In terms of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, the Hausa ethnic group (predominant in the north) was found to be 95% Muslim and 5% Christian, the Yoruba tribe (predominant in the west) was 55% Muslim, 35% Christian and 10% adherents of other religions, while the Igbos (predominant in the east) and the Ijaw (south) were 98% Christian, with 2% practicing traditional religions. The middle belt of Nigeria contains the largest number of minority ethnic groups in Nigeria, who were found to be mostly Christians and members of traditional religions, with a small proportion of Muslims.
Leading Protestant churches in the country include the Church of Nigeria of the Anglican Communion, the Assemblies of God Church, the Nigerian Baptist Convention and The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations Since the 1990s, there has been significant growth in many other churches, particularly those of Evangelical theology. These include the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners’ Chapel, Christ Apostolic Church (the first Aladura Movement in Nigeria), Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Evangelical Church of West Africa, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, Christ Embassy, The Synagogue Church Of All Nations. In addition, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Aladura Church, the Seventh-day Adventist and various indigenous churches have also experienced growth.
The Yoruba area contains a large Anglican population, while Igboland is predominantly Catholic and the Edo area is composed predominantly of members of the Assemblies of God, which was introduced into Nigeria by Augustus Ehurie Wogu and his associates at Old Umuahia.
Further, Nigeria has become an African hub for the Grail Movement and the Hare Krishnas, and the largest temple of the Eckankar religion is in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with a total capacity of 10,000.
Further information: Health in Nigeria
A hospital in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital
Health care delivery in Nigeria is a concurrent responsibility of the three tiers of government in the country, and the private sector. Nigeria has been reorganizing its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987, which formally promoted community-based methods of increasing accessibility of drugs and health care services to the population, in part by implementing user fees. The new strategy dramatically increased accessibility through community-based healthcare reform, resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services. A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost.
The HIV prevalence at Nigerian prenatal clinics (2001)
HIV/AIDS rate in Nigeria is much lower compared to the other African nations such as Kenya or South Africa whose prevalence (percentage) rates are in the double digits. As of 2012, the HIV prevalence rate among adults ages 15ÔÇô49 was just 3.1 percent. As of 2014, Life expectancy in Nigeria is 52.62 years on average according to CIA, and just over half the population have access to potable water and appropriate sanitation; As of 2010, the Infant mortality is 8.4 deaths per 1000 live births.
Nigeria was the only country in Africa to have never eradicated polio, which it periodically exported to other African countries; Polio was cut 98% between 2009 and 2010. However, a major breakthrough came in December 2014, when it was reported that Nigeria hadn’t recorded a polio case in 6 months, and on its way to be declared Polio free.  In 2012, a new bone marrow donor program was launched by the University of Nigeria to help people with leukemia, lymphoma, or sickle cell disease to find a compatible donor for a life-saving bone marrow transplant, which cures them of their conditions. Nigeria became the second African country to have successfully carried out this surgery. In the 2014 ebola outbreak, Nigeria was the first country to effectively contain and eliminate the Ebola threat that was ravaging three other countries in the West African region, the Nigerian unique method of contact tracing employed by Nigeria became an effective method later used by countries, such as the united States, when ebola threats were discovered.
The Nigerian health care system is continuously faced with a shortage of doctors known as ‘brain drain‘, because of emigration by skilled Nigerian doctors to North America and Europe. In 1995, it was estimated that 21,000 Nigerian doctors were practising in the United States alone, which is about the same as the number of doctors working in the Nigerian public service. Retaining these expensively trained professionals has been identified as one of the goals of the government.
Main article: Education in Nigeria
Children at school in Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Education in Nigeria is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for state-controlled public education and state schools at a regional level. The education system is divided into Kindergarten, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. After the 1970s oil boom, tertiary education was improved so that it would reach every subregion of Nigeria. 68% of the Nigerian population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).
Nigeria provides free, government-supported education, but attendance is not compulsory at any level, and certain groups, such as nomads and the handicapped, are under-served. The education system consists of six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, three years of senior secondary school, and four, five or six years of university education leading to a bachelor’s degree.
Nigeria is home to a substantial network of organised crime, active especially in drug trafficking. Nigerian criminal groups are heavily involved in drug trafficking, shipping heroin from Asian countries to Europe and America; and cocaine from South America to Europe and South Africa. . The various Nigerian Confraternities or “campus cults” are active in both organised crime and in political violence as well as providing a network of corruption within Nigeria. As confraternities have extensive connections with political and military figures, they offer excellent alumni networking opportunities. The Supreme Vikings Confraternity, for example, boasts that twelve members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are cult members. On lower levels of society, there are the “area boys“, organised gangs mostly active in Lagos who specialise in mugging and small-scale drug dealing. According to official statistics, gang violence in Lagos resulted in 273 civilians and 84 policemen killed in the period of August 2000 to May 2001.
Internationally, Nigeria is infamous for a form of bank fraud dubbed 419, a type of advance fee fraud (named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code) along with the “Nigerian scam“, a form of confidence trick practiced by individuals and criminal syndicates. These scams involve a complicit Nigerian bank (the laws being set up loosely to allow it) and a scammer who claims to have money he needs to obtain from that bank. The victim is talked into exchanging bank account information on the premise that the money will be transferred to him, and then he’ll get to keep a cut. In reality, money is taken out instead, and/or large fees (which seem small in comparison with the imaginary wealth he awaits) are deducted. In 2003, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (or EFCC) was created, ostensibly to combat this and other forms of organised financial crime.
There is also some major piracy in Nigeria, with attacks directed at all types of vessels. Consistent with the rise of Nigeria as an increasingly dangerous hot spot, 28 of the 30 seafarers kidnapped as of JanuaryÔÇôJune 2013 were in Nigeria. Additionally, the single death to date in 2013 occurred in Nigeria.
Nigeria has also been pervaded by political corruption. It was ranked 143 out of 182 countries in Transparency International‘s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index; however, it improved to 136th position in 2014. More than $400 billion were stolen from the treasury by Nigeria’s leaders between 1960 and 1999. In late 2013, Nigeria’s then central bank governor Lamido Sanusi informed President Goodluck Jonathan that the state oil company, NNPC had failed to remit US$20 billion of oil revenues, which it owed the state. Jonathan however dismissed the claim and replaced Sanusi for his mismanagement of the central bank’s budget. A Senate committee also found SanusiÔÇÖs account to be lacking substance. After the conclusion of the NNPC’s account Audit, it was announced in January 2015 that NNPC’s non-remitted revenue is actually US$1.48billion, which it needs to refund back to the Government.
Main article: Culture of Nigeria
Main article: Nigerian literature
Nigerian citizens have authored many influential works of post-colonial literature in the English language. Nigeria’s best-known writers are Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in Literature, and Chinua Achebe, best known for the novel, Things Fall Apart and his controversial critique of Joseph Conrad.
Other Nigerian writers and poets who are well known internationally include John Pepper Clark, Ben Okri, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta, Helon Habila, T. M. Aluko, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Daniel O. Fagunwa, Femi Osofisan and Ken Saro Wiwa, who was executed in 1995 by the military regime. Nigeria has the second largest newspaper market in Africa (after Egypt) with an estimated circulation of several million copies daily in 2003.
Music and film
Nigeria has had a huge role in the development of various genres of African music, including West African Highlife, Afrobeat, and Palm Wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques that have been linked to the Congo, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and worldwide.
Many late 20th century musicians such as Fela Kuti have famously fused cultural elements of various indigenous music with American Jazz and Soul to form Afrobeat which has in turn influenced Hip hop music. JuJu music which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Ad├®, is also from Nigeria. There is also fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, created and popularised by Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
The is also the Afan Music invented and popularised by the Ewuborn poet and musician Umuobuarie Igberaese. There is a budding hip hop movement in Nigeria. Kennis Music, the self-proclaimed number-one record label in Africa, and one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels, has a roster almost entirely dominated by hip hop artists.
Notable musicians from Nigeria include: Sade Adu, King Sunny Ad├®, Onyeka Onwenu, Dele Sosimi, Adewale Ayuba, Ezebuiro Obinna, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Bennie King, Ebenezer Obey, Umobuarie Igberaese, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Dr. Alban, Wasiu Alabi, Bola Abimbola, Zaki Adze, Tuface Idibia, Aß╣úa, Nneka, Wale, P Square and D’Banj.
An Eyo Iga Olowe Salaye masquerade jumping
The Nigerian film industry is known as Nollywood (a portmanteau of Nigeria and Hollywood) and is now the 2nd-largest producer of movies in the world. Nigerian film studios are based in Lagos and Enugu, forming a major portion of the local economy of these cities. Nigerian cinema is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of both value and the number of movies produced per year. Although Nigerian films have been produced since the 1960s, the country’s film industry has been aided by the rise of affordable digital filming and editing technologies.
Main article: Cuisine of Nigeria
Nigerian cuisine, like West African cuisine in general, is known for its richness and variety. Many different spices, herbs and flavourings are used in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.
Football is largely considered the Nigeria’s national sport and the country has its own Premier League of football. Nigeria’s national football team, known as the “Super Eagles”, has made the World Cup on five occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, and most recently in 2014. In April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013, and have also hosted the U-17 & U-20 World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) becoming the first African football team to win gold in Olympic Football.
The nation’s cadet team from Japan ’93 produced some international players notably Nwankwo Kanu, a two-time African Footballer of the year who won the European Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam and later played with Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth. Other players that graduated from the junior teams are Nduka Ugbade, Jonathan Akpoborie, Victor Ikpeba, Celestine Babayaro, Wilson Oruma and Taye Taiwo. Some other famous Nigerian footballers include John Obi Mikel, Obafemi Martins, Vincent Enyeama, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Rashidi Yekini, Peter Odemwingie and Jay-Jay Okocha.
According to the official May 2010 FIFA World Rankings, Nigeria was the second top-ranked football nation in Africa and the 21st highest in the world. Nigeria is also involved in other sports such as basketball, cricket and track and field. Boxing is also an important sport in Nigeria; Dick Tiger and Samuel Peter are both former World Champions.
Nigeria’s national basketball team made the headlines internationally when it qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics as it beat heavily favoured world elite teams such as Greece and Lithuania. Nigeria has been home to numerous internationally recognised basketball players in the world’s top leagues in America, Europe and Asia. These players include NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon or Solomon Alabi, Yinka Dare, Obinna Ekezie, Festus Ezeli and Olumide Oyedeji.
Despite its vast government revenue from the mining of petroleum, Nigeria is faced by a number of societal issues, owing primarily to a history of inefficiency in its governance.
Main article: Human rights in Nigeria
Nigeria’s human rights record remains poor; According to the US Department of State, the most significant human rights problems are: use of excessive force by security forces; impunity for abuses by security forces; arbitrary arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial corruption and executive influence on the judiciary; rape, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and suspects; harsh and lifeÔÇæthreatening prison and detention center conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labour, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation (FGM); domestic violence; discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, region and religion.
Child marriage remains common in Northern Nigeria. Under the Shari’a penal code that applies to Muslims in twelve northern states, offences such as alcohol consumption, homosexuality, infidelity and theft carry harsh sentences, including amputation, lashing, stoning and long prison terms.
Under a law signed early 2014, same-sex couples who marry face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps gay couples marry will be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. The bill also punishes the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly” with ten years in prison. Another portion of the bill mandates 10 years in prison for those found guilty of organising, operating or supporting gay clubs, organisations and meetings.
Strife and sectarian violence
Nigerian states that implement some form of sharia law (in green)
Because of its multitude of diverse, sometimes competing ethno-linguistic groups, Nigeria prior to independence has been faced with sectarian tensions and violence. This is particularly a major issue in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, where both state and civilian forces employ varying methods of coercion in attempts gain control over regional petroleum resources. Some of the ethnic groups like the Ogoni, have experienced severe environmental degradation due to petroleum extraction.
Since the end of the civil war in 1970, some ethnic violence has persisted. There has subsequently been a period of relative harmony since the Federal Government introduced tough new measures against religious violence in all affected parts of the country.
The 2002 Miss World pageant was moved from Abuja to London in the wake of violent protests in the Northern part of the country that left more than 100┬ápeople dead and over 500 injured. The rioting erupted after Muslims in the country reacted in anger to comments made by a newspaper reporter. Rioters in Kaduna killed an estimated 105 men, women, and children with a further 521 injured taken to hospital.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014 claimed that Boko Haram attacks have left at least 12,000 people dead and 8,000 people crippled. In May 2014 Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger joined Nigeria in a united effort to combat Boko Haram in the aftermath of the 2014 Chibok kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls.