Nigeria /naɪˈdʒɪəriə/, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country 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 on the Atlantic Ocean. The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
Nigeria is roughly split half and half between Muslims in the North and Christians in the South; a very small minority practice traditional religion. Since 2002 there have been a spate of clashes, particularly in the North of the country, between government forces and the Islamists Boko Haram, militant jihadists who seek to establish sharia law.
The people of Nigeria have an extensive history. Archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE. The area around the Benue and Cross River is thought to be the original homeland of the Bantu migrants who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BC and the 2nd millennium. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. The British colonised Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, setting up administrative structures and law while recognizing traditional chiefs. Nigeria became independent again in 1960. Several years later, it had civil war as Biafra tried to establish independence. Military governments in times of crisis have alternated with democratically elected governments.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the seventh most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country. It is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Nok people of central Nigeria produced the earliest terracotta sculptures found in the country. In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating back to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.
Also in the North, at the beginning of the 19th century under Usman dan Fodio, the Fulani led the centralized Fulani Empire, which continued until 1903 when the Fulani population and land were divided into various European colonies. Between 1750 and 1900, one to two-thirds of the population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves.
The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th century respectively. Yoruba mythology states that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it pre-dates any other civilization. The oldest signs of human settlement dates back to the 9th century. Ifẹ produced terracotta and bronze figures, and Ọyọ once extended from western Nigeria to Togo. The Kingdom of Benin is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin's power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people started in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. It is the oldest kingdom in Nigeria. 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; they trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. The oldest pieces of bronzes made out of the lost-wax process in West Africa were from Igbo Ukwu, a city under Nri influence.
The people traded overland with traders from North Africa for centuries. In the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin trade in Nigeria, in the port they named Lagos and in Calabar. The Europeans traded goods with the peoples of the coast. Soon they also negotiated for a portion of the existing African slave trade. Traditionally, peoples captured in war were made slaves by the conquerors. Usually they were taken back to the conquerors' territory, put to work and sometimes acculturated and eventually absorbed into the other culture. When the Europeans entered the trade, they transported slaves mostly to the Americas to work as laborers. Particularly in what became the United States, slavery became a permanent racial caste to which people of African descent were confined. The demands of the slave trade produced a greater market in slaves than had existed before. Nigerian ethnic groups were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean as part of the African diaspora of slavery.
The slave trade was joined by Great Britain and France. The colonial era is considered to date from 1800, when Great Britain did With rising anti-slavery sentiment in Great Britain, it abolished its international slave trade in 1807 together with the United States. 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; sometimes it would take the freed slaves to Sierra Leone, its colony in West Africa, rather than return the people to the risk of renewed slavery in other coastal states.
In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received recognition from other European nations. 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, part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time. The independent kingdoms of what later became Nigeria fought many wars against the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries trying to regain independence. By war the British conquered Benin in 1897, and in the Anglo-Aro War from 1901—1902 defeated other opponents. The restraint or complete destruction of these states opened up the Niger area to British rule.
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 provinces and Lagos Colony. The people of the South, with more interaction with the British and other Europeans due to the coastal economy, adopted Western education and developed a modern economy more rapidly than in the north. Many of its elite's sons went to Great Britain for education. The regional differences continue to be expressed in Nigeria's political life as well. For instance, northern Nigeria did not outlaw slavery until 1936.
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, the great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa. Nigeria became independent in 1960.
On 1 October 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. 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, who became Nigeria's maiden Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo. The cultural and political differences among Nigeria's dominant ethnic groups: the Hausa ('Northerners'), Igbo ('Easterners') and Yoruba ('Westerners'), 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 Cameroon chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part. The nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself 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.
The disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. It was partially successful; the coup plotters murdered Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Premier Ahmadu Bello of the Northern Region and Premier Ladoke Akintola of the Western Region. Despite this, they could not set up a central government. President Nwafor Orizu was then pressured to hand over government to the Nigeria Army, under the command of General JTU Aguyi-Ironsi.
The coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and Northerners who favoured the NPC, it was engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. This sequence of events led to an increase in ethnic tension and violence. The Northern coup, motivated by ethnic and religious reasons, resulted in the deaths of many military officers and civilians, especially those of Igbo descent.
The violence against the Igbo increased their desire for autonomy. By May 1967, the Eastern Region voted to declare independence as a state called the Republic of Biafra, under the leadership of Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu. The Nigerian Civil War began as the Nigerian (Western and Northern) side attacked Biafra (South-eastern) on 6 July 1967 at Garkem. The 30 month 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 .
During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria joined OPEC, and the huge revenue generated made the economy richer, although the military administration did nothing to improve the standard of living of the population, or to help the small and medium businesses, or even invest in the infrastructure. As oil revenues fueled 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 created a dangerous situation as it became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns; it did not build economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria.
Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy when 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 by most of the population. 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. When free and fair elections were finally held on 12 June 1993, Babangida declared that the results showing a presidential victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola were null and void. Mass civilian violence erupted in protest, which effectively shut down the country for weeks and forced Babangida to keep his promise to relinquish office to a civilian-run government. Babangida's regime has been considered the most corrupt, and responsible for creating a culture of corruption in Nigeria.
Ernest Shonekan's caretaker civilian regime was overwhelmed in late 1993 by the military coup of General Sani Abacha. He oversaw brutal rule using 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. Abacha's death yielded an opportunity for return to civilian rule.
Nigeria regained democracy in 1999 when it elected Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military head of state, as the new President of Nigeria ending 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'état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966–1979 and 1983–1998. 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 over the oil producing Niger Delta region and inadequate infrastructures are some of the current issues in the country. Umaru Yar'Adua of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) came into power in the general election of 2007 – an election that was witnessed and condemned by the international community 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, a former Kaduna state governor, Namadi Sambo, an architect, was chosen on 18 May 2010, by the National Assembly following President Goodluck Jonathan's nomination for Sambo to be his Vice President.
Goodluck Jonathan served as Nigeria's president till 16 April 2011, when a new presidential election in Nigeria was conducted. Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP was declared the winner on 19 April 2011, having won the election by 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.
Boko Haram is an Islamist movement that seeks to abolish the secular system of government and establish Sharia law in the country. Different regions of Nigeria have seen clashes between Christians and Muslims.
Government and politics
Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with overtones of the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. The current president of Nigeria is Goodluck Jonathan, who succeeded Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to the office in 2010. The president presides as both Head of State and head of the national executive and is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two four-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 and the number of seats per state is determined by population.
Ethnocentrism, tribalism, religious persecution, and prebendalism have played a visible role in Nigerian politics both prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin-selective altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics and has spurned various attempts by tribalists 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 current political parties are pan-national and irreligious 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 All Nigeria People's Party has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties 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 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.
Like in many other African societies, prebendalism and extremely excessive corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria, as vote rigging and other means of coercion are practised by all major parties in order to remain competitive. In 1983, it was adjudged by the policy institute at Kuru that only the 1959 and 1979 elections witnessed minimal rigging.
There are four distinct systems of law in Nigeria:
- English law which is derived from its colonial past with Britain;
- Common law, a development of its post colonial independence;
- Customary law which is derived from indigenous traditional norms and practice, including the dispute resolution meetings of pre-colonial Yorubaland secret societies and the Èkpè and Okónkò of Igboland and Ibibioland;
- Sharia law, used only in the predominantly Muslim north of the country. It is an Islamic legal system which had been used long before the colonial administration in Nigeria but recently politicised and spearheaded in Zamfara in late 1999 and eleven other states followed suit. These states are Kano, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Jigawa, Yobe, and Kebbi.
The country has a judicial branch, the highest court of which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made the liberation and restoration of the dignity of Africa the centrepiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. One notable exception to the African focus of Nigeria's foreign policy was the close relationship the country enjoyed with Israel throughout the 1960s, with the latter country sponsoring and overseeing the construction of Nigeria's parliament buildings.
Nigeria's foreign policy was soon tested in the 1970s after the country emerged united from its own civil war and quickly committed itself to the liberation struggles going on in the Southern Africa sub-region. Though Nigeria never sent an expeditionary force in that struggle, it offered more than rhetoric to the African National Congress (ANC) by taking a committed tough line with regard to the racist regime and their incursions in southern Africa, in addition to expediting large sums to aid anti-colonial struggles. 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 organizations 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 anti-colonial struggles in Mozambique, and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) military and economically.
Nigeria retains membership in the Non-Aligned Movement, and in late November 2006 organized 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, from which it was temporarily expelled in 1995 under 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 vicissitudinous international relations with both developed countries, notably the United States and more recently China and developing countries, notably Ghana, Jamaica and Kenya.
Millions of Nigerians have emigrated at times of economic hardship to Europe, North America and Australia among others. It is estimated that over a million Nigerians have emigrated to the United States and constitute the Nigerian American populace. Of such Diasporic communities include the "Egbe Omo Yoruba" society.
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.
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, with his successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar, handing over power to the democratically elected government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
Taking advantage of its role as Africa's most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as an African peacekeeping force. Since 1995, the Nigerian military through ECOMOG mandates have been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997–1999), Sierra Leone 1997–1999, and presently in Sudan's Darfur region under an African Union mandate.
Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi), making it the world's 32nd-largest country (after Tanzania). It is comparable in size to Venezuela, and is about twice the size of California. It shares a 4,047 kilometres (2,515 mi) border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km), Cameroon (1690 km), and has a coastline of at least 853 km. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4° and 14°N, and longitudes 2° and 15°E.
The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft). The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue River which converge and empty into the Niger Delta, 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 (1,524 to 2,032 mm) 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 there is "rugged" highland, and to the southeast of the Benue are hills and mountains which forms the Mambilla Plateau,the highest Plateau in Nigeria.This plateau extends to the border with Cameroon, this montane land is part of the Bamenda Highlands in 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 including the drill monkey which is only found in the wild in this area and across the border in Cameroon. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, also in this forest, contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The area of southern Nigeria between the Niger and the Cross Rivers has seen its forest more or less disappear to be 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), and rainfall is between 20 and 60 inches (508 and 1,524 mm) per year. The savannah zone's three categories are Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, plains of tall grass which are interrupted by trees and the most common across the country: Sudan savannah, similar but with "shorter grasses and shorter trees; and Sahel savannah, comprised patches of grass and sand, found in the northeast. In the Sahel region, rain is less than 20 inches (508 mm) 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.
Nigeria's Delta region, home of the large oil industry, experiences serious oil spills and other environmental problems, which has caused conflict.
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.
Haphazard industrial planning, increased urbanization, 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 terms of global warming, Africans contribute only about one metric ton of carbon dioxide per person per year. It is perceived by many climate change experts that food production and security in the northern Sahel region of the country will suffer as semi-arid areas will have more dry periods in the future.
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.
Nigeria has six cities with a population of over 1 million 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 million in its urban area alone. Population of Nigeria's cities over a million are listed below
Population of major cities
However, these figures are regularly disputed in Nigeria.
Federal Capital Territory: Abuja
Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market, and has already reached middle income status according to the Worldbank, 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 is ranked 31st in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2011. 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 U.S. of any country worldwide. Nigeria is currently the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the U.S. 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 a 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 2010–2050. 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. It is now the second largest economy in Africa (following South Africa), and the largest economy in the West Africa Region.
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.
However, 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 billion 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 billion) owed to the Paris Club.
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 currently prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.
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.
The country 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.
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.
Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria. At one time, Nigeria was the world's largest exporter of groundnuts, cocoa, and palm oil and a significant producer of coconuts, citrus fruits, maize, pearl millet, cassava, yams and sugar cane. About 60% of Nigerians work in the agricultural sector, and Nigeria has vast areas of underutilized arable land.
It also has a manufacturing industry which includes leather and textiles (centred Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), 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.
Science and technology
Four satellites have been launched by the Nigerian government into outer space. 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 £35 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 due to 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 a further contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R was also a DFH-4 satellite, and is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 as a replacement for the failed NigComSat-1.
On 19 December 2011,a new Nigerian communications satellite was lunched into orbit by China in Xichang.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.
Population in Nigeria increased from 1990 to 2008 with 57 million and 60 % growth in population. 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 kilometer. 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 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 2005–2050. 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.
According to current data, one out of every four Africans is Nigerian. Presently, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world, and even conservative estimates conclude that more than 20% of the world's black population lives in Nigeria. 2006 estimates claim 42.3% of the population is between 0–14 years of age, while 54.6% is between 15–65; the birth rate is significantly higher than the death rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000 people respectively.
Health, health care, and general living conditions in Nigeria are poor. Life expectancy is 47 years (average male/female) and just over half the population has access to potable water and appropriate sanitation; the percentage is of children under five has gone up rather than down between 1990 and 2003 and infant mortality is 97.1 deaths per 1000 live births. 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. In 2003, the HIV prevalence rate among 20 to 29 year-olds was 5.6%. Nigeria suffers from periodic outbreaks of cholera, malaria, and sleeping sickness. It is the only country in Africa to have never eradicated polio, which it periodically exports to other African countries. A 2004 vaccination drive, spearheaded by the W.H.O. to combat polio and malaria, met with some opposition in the north, but polio was cut 98% between 2009 and 2010.
Education is in a state of neglect. After the 1970s oil boom, tertiary education was improved so that it would reach every subregion of Nigeria. Education is provided free by the government, but the attendance rate for secondary education is only 29% (32% for males, 27% for females). The education system has been described as "dysfunctional" largely because of decaying institutional infrastructure. 68% of the population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).
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.
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 Fulani/Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, accounting for 62% of population, while the Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gwari, Itsekiri, Jukun, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise 33%; 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.
The number of languages currently estimated and catalogued in Nigeria is 521. This number includes 510 living languages, two second languages without native speakers and nine extinct languages. 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. The choice of English as the official language was partially related to the fact that a part of the Nigerian population spoke English as a result of British colonization that ended in 1960.
The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of African languages: the majority are Niger–Congo languages, such as Yoruba and Igbo; the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is part of the Nilo-Saharan family. 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 three 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 standardized 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.
Nigeria is home to a variety of religions which tend to vary regionally. This situation accentuates regional and ethnic distinctions and has often been seen as a source of sectarian conflict amongst the population. Even though, Nigeria is apparently divided equally between Islam and Christianity between north and south, it is evident that across Nigeria there is widespread belief, albeit suppressed for political reasons, in traditional religious practices.
According to a 2003 report, 50.4% of Nigeria's population are Muslims, 48.2% are Christians and 1.4% adhere to other religions. Among Christians, 27.8% are Catholic, 31.5% are Protestant and 40.7% belong to other Christian denominations. The core north is largely Muslim, there are large numbers of both Muslims and Christians in the Middle Belt, including the Federal Capital Territory. In the west of the country, especially in the Yorubaland, the population is said to be evenly divided between Muslims and Christians, while in the southeastern regions are predominantly Christians with widespread traditional beliefs, Catholics, Anglicans, and Methodists are the majority with few traditional beliefs, while the Niger Delta region is mainly Christian.
The majority of Nigerian Muslims are Sunni, but a significant Shia and Sufi minority exists (see Shia in Nigeria) and a small minority of Ahmadiyya. 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.
Christian Nigerians are about evenly split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Leading Protestant churches are the Church of Nigeria, of the Anglican communion, Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Nigerian Baptist Convention and The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations. The Yoruba area contains a large Anglican population, while Igboland is predominantly Catholic and the Edo area is predominantly Assemblies of God which was introduced into Nigeria by Augustus Ehurie Wogu and his associates at Old Umuahia.
Across Yorubaland in the west many people are adherents to Yorubo/Irunmole spirituality with its philosophy of divine destiny that all can become Orisha (ori, spiritual head; sha, is chosen: to be one with Olodumare (oni odu, the God source of all energy; ma re, enlighthens / triumphs).
Other minority religious and spiritual groups in Nigeria include Hinduism,Judaism, The Bahá’í Faith, and Chrislam (a syncretic faith melding elements of Christianity and Islam). 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.
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, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 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 a role in the development of West African highlife, afrobeat, and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo, Brazil, Cuba, and elsewhere.
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.JuJu music which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Adé, is also from Nigeria. There is also fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, created and popularized by Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. The is also the Afan Music invented and popularized 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. Some famous musicians that come from Nigeria are Dele Sosimi, Adewale Ayuba, Ezebuiro Obinna, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Bennie King, Ebenezer Obey, Umobuarie Igberaese, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Dr. Alban, Sade Adu, Wasiu Alabi, Bola Abimbola,Zaki Adze, Tuface Idibia, D'Banj and P Square.
In November 2008, Nigeria's music scene (and that of Africa) received international attention when MTV hosted the continent's first African music awards show in Abuja.
The Nigerian video-film industry is known as Nollywood, which is now the second-largest producer of movies in the world. Many of the film studios are based in Lagos and Enugu, and the industry is now a very lucrative income for these cities.
T.B. Joshua's Emmanuel TV, originating from Nigeria, is also one of the most viewed television stations across Africa.
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.
Association football is 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 four occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, and most recently in 2010. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and 1994, and also hosted the Junior World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina).
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 (Italy), Arsenal F.C. (London, UK), West Bromwich Albion (UK) and Portsmouth F.C. (UK). Other players that graduated from the Junior teams are Celestine Babayaro (of Newcastle United, UK), Wilson Oruma and Taye Taiwo (of Marseille, France).
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.
Despite its vast government revenue from the mining of petroleum, Nigeria is faced by a number of societal issues due primarily to a history of inefficiency in its governance.
Nigeria's human rights record remains poor and government officials at all levels continue to commit serious abuses.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the most significant human rights problems are: extrajudicial killings and 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 life‑threatening prison and detention center conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labor, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation (FGM); domestic violence; discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, region and religion; restrictions on freedom of assembly, movement, press, speech and religion; infringement of privacy rights; and the abridgement of the right of citizens to change the government.
Under the Shari'a penal code that applies to Muslims in twelve northern states, offenses such as alcohol consumption, homosexuality, infidelity and theft carry harsh sentences, including amputation, lashing, stoning and long prison terms.
Strife and sectarian violence
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.
In 2002, the 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 people 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.
In 2010, more than 500 people were killed by religious violence in Jos.
Nigeria has been reorganizing its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987 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 Nigerian health care system is continuously faced with a shortage of doctors known as 'brain drain' due to the fact that many highly skilled Nigerian doctors emigrate to North America and Europe. In 1995, it was estimated that 21,000 Nigerian doctors were practicing in the United States alone, which 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.
According to 2009 estimates, HIV prevalence is about 3.6% of the adult population in Nigeria. The 2011 UNAIDS Report indicates that Nigeria has the second highest number of new HIV infections in the world and lacks the necessary HIV-related investments to combat the disease.
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 years of university education leading to a bachelor's degree. The rate of secondary school attendance is 32% for males and 27% for females. In 2004 the Nigerian National Planning Commission described the country's education system as "dysfunctional." Reasons for this characterization included decaying institutions and ill-prepared graduates.
Nigeria is home to a substantial network of organized 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 organized 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", organized gangs mostly active in Lagos who specialize 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 crime 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. In 2003, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (or EFCC) was created to combat this and other forms of organized financial crime.
There is also some piracy in Nigeria, with attacks mainly directed at smaller ships shuttling employees and materials belonging to the oil companies with any involvement in oil exploration in the Niger Delta. From 1 January 2007 to 29 October 2007, twenty-six pirate attacks were recorded.
Nigeria is also pervaded by political corruption. It is ranked 143 out of 182 countries in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.
- Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, an audio documentary produced by Amy Goodman first aired in 1998 on Democracy Now!
- Sweet Crude, a documentary film produced and directed by Sandy Cioffi about Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta
- Poison Fire', a documentary exposing oil and gas abuses in Nigeria, featuring Friends of the Earth Nigeria volunteers, which premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
- Nollywood Babylon, a 2008 documentary by Montrealers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal about the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood. It premiered at the Festival de nouveau cinéma de Montréal 2008.
- Outline of Nigeria
- Index of Nigeria-related articles
Media related to Nigeria at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Nigeria entry at The World Factbook
- Nigeria from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Nigeria at the Open Directory Project
- Nigeria profile from the BBC News
- Wikimedia Atlas of Nigeria
- Nigeria travel guide from Wikitravel
- Know More About Nigeria
- Key Development Forecasts for Nigeria from International Futures
Coordinates: 8°N 10°E
This entry has been automagically sourced from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under CC-BY-SA. Visit
Nigeria on Wikipedia to correct or update this entry.