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Federal Republic of Nigeria
Flag of Nigeria Coat of arms of Nigeria
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress"
Anthem: Arise O Compatriots, Nigeria's Call Obey
Location of Nigeria
Capital Abuja
9°10′N 7°10′E
Largest city Lagos
Official languages English
Government Presidential Federal republic
 -  President Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ (PDP)
 -  Vice President Atiku Abubakar (AC)
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Declared and recognized October 1, 1960 
 -  Republic declared October 1, 1963 
 -  Total 923,768 km² (31st)
356,667 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.4
 -  2005 estimate 133,530,0001 (9th)
 -  2006 census 140,003,542 ( NOT APPROVED & preliminary)[1] 
 -  Density 145 /km² (71st)
374 /sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
 -  Total $175.5 billion (47th)
 -  Per capita $1,188 (165th)
Gini? (2003) 43.7 (medium
HDI (2006) 0.448 (low) (159th)
Currency Naira (₦) (NGN)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .ng
Calling code +234
1 Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa and the most populous country in Africa. Nigeria shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, Niger in the north, and borders the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Since 1991, its capital has been the centrally-located city of Abuja; previously, the Nigerian government was headquartered in the coastal city Lagos.[2]

The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BC.[3] The Benue-Cross River area 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 AD.

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom after decades of colonial rule, and, at present consists of 36 states and the federal capital territory. Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 after a sixteen-year interruption; from 1966 until 1999, Nigeria had been ruled (except the short-lived second republic, 1979-1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d'état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998.



Main article: History of Nigeria
See also: Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998

More than 2,000 years ago the Nok people in central Nigeria produced sculptures that have been discovered by archaeologists.[4] In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina has recorded history which dates back to around AD 999. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa and harvested pinto beans.

The Yoruba kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the western block of the country were founded about 700-900 and 1400 respectively. Yoruba mythology believes that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it predates any other civilization. Ifẹ produced the terra cotta and bronze heads, the Ọyọ extended as far as modern Togo. Another prominent kingdom in south western Nigeria is the Kingdom of Benin whose power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. There dominance reached as far as the well known city of Lagos which is also called "Eko" by the indigenes.

Newly independent 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 Yorubas and led by Obafemi Awolowo.[5] The nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as the first president. When elections came about in 1965, the AG was outmaneuvered for control of Nigeria's Western Region by the Nigerian National Democratic Party, an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba elements backed heavily by the Federal Government amid dubious electoral circumstances. This left the Igbo NCNC to coalesce with the remnants of the AG in a weak progressive alliance.

Map of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria

This disequilibrium in power led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups by nationalists and a counter-coup by ethnic irredentists. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna & Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, it was partially succesful - the coupist overthrew the unpopular government but could not install their choice, jailed opposition leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, General Johnson Aguiyi-ironsi, then head of the army was invited by the rump of the Balewa regime to take over the affairs of the country as head of state. This coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. The Northern coup motivated by ethnic and religious reasons was a bloodbath of both military officers and civilians, especially of Igbo extraction. The genocide against Igbos increased their desire for autonomy and protection from the military's wrath. By May 1967, the Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with the wishes of the people. The Nigerian side attacked Biafra on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signaling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended on January 1970.[6] Following the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the defeated southeast was now conquered territory for the federal military regime, which changed heads of state twice as Murtala Mohammed staged a bloodless coup against Gowon; Olusegun Obansanjo succeeded the former after an assassination. During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria helped initiate the founding of OPEC and billions of dollars generated by production in the oil-rich Niger Delta flowed into the coffers of the Nigerian state. However, increasing corruption and graft at all levels of government squandered most of these earnings. As oil production rose, the Nigerian economy and government grew increasingly dependent on the revenue it generated, while the simultaneous drop in agricultural production precipitated food shortages.[7] Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy beginning in 1979 when Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. The Shagari government was viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society, so when the regime was overthrown by the military coup of Mohammadu Buhari shortly after the regime's fraudulent re-election in 1984, it was generally viewed as a positive development by most of the population.[8] Buhari promised major reforms but his government proved little better than its predecessor, and his regime was overthrown via yet another military coup in 1985.[9] The new head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, promptly declared himself President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces and the ruling Supreme Military Council and also 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 also inflamed religious tensions throughout the nation and particularly the south by enrolling Nigeria in the Organization of the Islamic Conference,[10] he survived an abortive coup and pushed back the promised return to democracy to 1992. When free and fair elections were finally held in 1993, Babangida declared the results showing a presidential victory for M.K.O. Abiola null and void, sparking mass civilian violence in protest which effectively shut the country down for weeks and forced Babangida to resign.[11] Babangida's regime is adjudged to be at the apogee of corruption in the history of the nation as it was during his time that corruption became officially diluted in Nigeria.[12]

Olusegun Obasanjo of the People's Democratic Party is the current president of Nigeria
Olusegun Obasanjo of the People's Democratic Party is the current president of Nigeria

Babangida's caretaker regime headed by Ernest Shonekan survived only until late 1993 when General Sani Abacha took power in another military coup. Abacha proved to be perhaps Nigeria's most brutal ruler and employed violence on a wide scale to suppress the continuing pandemic of civilian unrest. Abacha was not only brutal but very corrupt.[13] While Babaginda encouraged his friends, family and himself to steal money, Abacha made corruption a family affair. Money had been found in various western European countries banks traced to him. He avoided coup plots by bribing army generals. Several hundred millions dollars in accounts traced to him were unearthed in 1999.[14] The regime of terror would come to an end in 1998 when the dictator was found dead amid dubious circumstances. Abacha's death finally yielded an opportunity for return to civilian rule and Nigeria elected Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba and former military head of state, as the new president. Although the elections which brought Obasanjo to power in 1999 and again in 2003 were condemned as anything but free and fair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and to hasten development at all levels. This is despite continuing calls for a Sovereign National Conference to discern the genuine will of the people, which the president has deftly sidestepped for eight years, as well as widespread disputes and ethnic violence over the oil producing land of the Niger Delta. While Obasanjo has shown willingness to fight corruption, he has been accused by others of the same.

Government and politics


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Main article: Politics of Nigeria
See also: Government of Nigeria
See also: Federal Ministries of Nigeria

Nigeria is a Federal Republic modeled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and overtones of the Westminster (UK) model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses in the bicameral legislative branch.

The current president of Nigeria is Olusegun Obasanjo who was elected in 1999 following the restoration of democracy after nearly two decades of outright military dictatorship. The president presides as both Chief of State and Head of Government 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.

Just like race has played a role in all Western democracies Ethnocentricism, sectarianism (especially religious), and prebendalism have played a dominant role in Nigerian politics since and even prior to independence in 1960.[citation needed] Nigeria's three largest ethnic groups have maintained historical preeminence in Nigerian politics; competition amongst these three groups, the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo, has fueled corruption and graft.[citation needed]

Due to the above issues, Nigeria's current political parties are declaredly pan-national and irreligious in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities).[citation needed] 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 (54.5% and 53.7% respectively) and is led by the current President Olusegun Obasanjo; the opposition All Nigeria People's Party under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (27.4% and 27.9%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties registered.

Like in many other African societies, Prebendalism and corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria, as vote rigging and other means of coercion are practiced 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.[15]

Republicanism in Nigeria


There are four distinct systems of law in Nigeria:

There is a Judicial branch with a Supreme Court which is regarded as the highest court of the land.

Administrative divisions

Main article: States 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.


  1. Abia
  2. Adamawa
  3. Akwa Ibom
  4. Anambra
  5. Bauchi
  6. Bayelsa
  7. Benue
  8. Borno
  9. Cross River
  10. Delta
  11. Ebonyi
  12. Ẹdo
  1. Ekiti
  2. Enụgụ
  3. Gombe
  4. Imo
  5. Jigawa
  6. Kaduna
  7. Kano
  8. Katsina
  9. Kebbi
  10. Kogi
  11. Kwara
  12. Lagos
  1. Nassarawa
  2. Niger
  3. Ogun
  4. Ondo
  5. Ọsun
  6. Ọyọ
  7. Plateau
  8. Rivers
  9. Sokoto
  10. Taraba
  11. Yobe
  12. Zamfara

Federal Capital Territory:

  1. Abuja

Nigeria has at least 6 cities with a population of over 1 million people (from largest to smallest: Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt,and Benin City), including Lagos, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa with a population of over 10 million for the urban area alone.

See also: List of cities in Nigeria

Foreign relations and military

Foreign relations

Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made the liberation and restoration of the dignity of Africa the centerpiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa;[16] 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 Organization 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 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 indepedence (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 her 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.[17] 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.[18]

Military of Nigeria

Main article: Military of Nigeria
Nigerian troops
Nigerian troops

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 dictator Sani Abacha in 1998.

Taking advantage of its role of sub-saharan 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,[19] and presently in Sudan's Darfur region under an African Union mandate.

The Nigerian military leadership have been crediting with destroying the Nigerian nation through this coups that have always been supported by the western nations at the expense of the masses of Nigeria.

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services total approximately 115,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 99,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, amour division, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards and other regimental size units (e.g. artillery brigade). It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia, former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian Navy (7,000 members) is equipped with frigates, fast attack craft, corvettes, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000 members) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, a lot are currently not operational, but there is an ongoing policy of reorganization, and the provision of a very professional armed forces with high capability. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities.

Nigeria has continued a strict policy of diversification in her military procurement from various countries. After the imposition of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria turned to the People's Republic of China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of Nigeria
Satellite image of Nigeria, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library
Satellite image of Nigeria, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library
Map of vegetation in Nigeria
Map of vegetation in Nigeria

Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria has a total area of 356,669 mi² (923,768 km²[2]);Its size makes 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 2,515-mile (4,047-km) border with Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 7,936 feet (2,419 m).

Nigeria has a varied landscape. From the Obudu Hills in the southeast through the beaches in the south, the rainforest, the Lagos estuary and savanna in the middle and southwest of the country and the Sahel and the encroaching Sahara in the extreme north.

Nigeria's main rivers are the Niger and the Benue which converge and empty into the Niger Delta, the world's largest river deltas.

Nigeria is also an important center for biodiversity. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The drill monkey is only found in the wild in Southeast Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon.


Main article: Economy of Nigeria

Years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement have hobbled economic activity and output in Nigeria and continue to do so, despite the restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reform. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Bank, Nigerian GDP at purchasing power parity was only at $170.7 billion as of FY 2005. The GDP per head is at $692. [3]

Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of the GDP. It is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves and the country was also a founding member of OPEC. However, due to crumbling infrastructure, ongoing civil strife in the Niger Delta- its main oil producing region- and corruption, oil production and export is not at 100% capacity.

Mineral resources that are present in Nigeria but not yet fully exploited are coal and tin. Other natural resources in the country include iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, and arable land.[20] Despite huge deposits of these natural resources, the mining industry in Nigeria is almost non-existent. About 60% of Nigerians are employed in the agricultural sector. Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria. Perhaps, one of the worst undesirable effects of the discovery of oil was the decline of agricultural sector. So tragic was this neglect that Nigeria, which in the 1960s grew 98% of his own food and was a net food exporter, now must import much of the same cash crops it was formerly famous for as the biggest exporter. Agricultural products include groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, coconut, citrus fruits, maize, millet, cassava, yams and sugar cane. It also has a booming leather and textile industry, with industries located in Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos.

Like many Third World nations, Nigeria has accumulated a significant foreign debt. However many of the projects financed by these debts were inefficient, bedevilled by corruption or failed to live up to expectations. Nigeria defaulted on its debt as arrears and penalty interest accumulated and increased the size of the debt. However, after a long campaign by the Nigeria authorities, in October 2005 Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors reached an agreement that will see Nigeria's debt reduced by approximately 60%. Nigeria will use part of its oil windfall to pay the residual 40%. This deal will free up at least $1.15 billion annually for poverty reduction programmes. As of April 2006, Nigeria became the first African Country to fully pay off her debt (estimated $30billion) owed to the Paris Club.

The currency unit of Nigeria is the Nigerian Naira.

Nigeria also has significant production and manufacturing facilities such as factories for Peugeot the French car marker, Bedford the English truck manufacturer, now a subsidiary of General Motors, and also manufactures t-shirts and processed food.


Population density in Nigeria
Population density in Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa but exactly how populous is a subject of speculation. The United Nations estimates that the population in 2004 was at 131,530,000 [4], with the population distributed as 48.3% Urban and 51.7% rural and population density at 139 people per square km. National census results in the past few decades have been disputed. The results of the most recent census by the Government of Nigeria have been released 29 December 2006. The census gave a population of 140.003.542. The only breakdown available was Total: 140.003.542 Men: 71.709.859 Women: 68.293.083

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 will be one of the countries in the world that will account for most of the world's total population increase by 2050. [5] According to current data, one out of every four Africans are Nigerian. [6] Presently, Nigeria is the ninth 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.[21]

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.[21] 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. Nigeria, like many developing countries, also suffers from a polio crisis as well as periodic outbreaks of cholera, malaria, and sleeping sickness. As of 2004, there has been a vaccination drive, spearheaded by the W.H.O., to combat polio and malaria that has been met with controversy in some regions.[22]

Education is also in a state of neglect, though after the oil boom on the oil price in the early 1970s, tertiary education was improved so it would reach every subregion of Nigeria. Education is provided free by the government but schooling, but the attendance rate for secondary education is only 29% (average male 32%/female 27%). The education system has been described as "dysfunctional" largely due to decaying institutional infrastructure. 68% of the population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).[21]

See also: Education in Nigeria
See also: List of Nigerian universities

Ethno-linguistic groups

Main article: Ethnic groups of Nigeria
Ethno-linguistic map of Nigeria
Ethno-linguistic map of Nigeria

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 Yoruba, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo (Ibo), accounting for 68% of population, while the Edo, Ijaw (10%), Kanuri, Ibibio, Nupe and Tiv comprise 27%; other minorities make up the remaining 7 percent.[23] The middle belt of Nigeria is known for its diversity of ethnic groups, including the Pyem, Goemai, and Kofyar. Other ethnic groups include the Ham.

There are small minorities of English, Americans, East Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Syrian, Lebanese and refugees and immigrants 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 Nigeria as political refugees following the Cuban Revolution. A number of them include Afro-Cubans and mixed-raced Cubans.[2]


Main article: Languages of Nigeria

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 9 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 Nigerian population spoke English as a result of British colonial occupation 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, Igbo, the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is a member of the Nilo-Saharan family. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English, being the official language, is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English, however, remains an exclusive preserve of a small minority of the country's urban elite, and is not spoken in rural areas. With the majority of Nigeria's populace in the rural areas, the major languages of communication in the country remain tribal 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. Hausa is a lingua franca throughout much of West Africa, and serves this function in Northern Nigeria as well, particularly amongst the Muslim population. Nigerian Pidgin English, often known simply as 'Pidgin' or 'Brokan' (Broken English), is also as a popular lingua franca, though with varying regional influences on dialect and slang.


Main article: Culture of Nigeria


See also: Nigerian literature

Nigeria has a rich literary history, both prior to British imperialism and after, as Nigerians have authored several works of post-colonial literature in the English language. The first African Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka is Nigeria's best-known writer and playwright. Other Nigerian writers and poets who are well known on the international stage include Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Ben Okri, Sonny Oti 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[7], [8]


See also: Music of Nigeria
See also: Cinema of Nigeria
Femi Kuti, son of Fela Kuti, is one of the major performers of modern Afrobeat music
Femi Kuti, son of Fela Kuti, is one of the major performers of modern Afrobeat music

Nigerian music includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments and songs. As a result, there are many different types of music that come from Nigeria. 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 music.[24] JuJu music which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Ade, is also from Nigeria. There is also fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, created and popularized by the one and only Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Of recent, a budding hip hop movement has surfaced. World famous musicians that come from Nigeria are Fela Kuti, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Sade Adu. Nigeria has been called "the heart of African music" because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo, Brazil, Cuba and elsewhere.

The Nigerian Film Industry also known as Nollywood is famous throughout Africa. Many of the film studios are based in Lagos and Abuja and the industry is now a very lucrative income for these cities.


Main article: Islam in Nigeria
Main article: Religion in Nigeria

Nigeria has a variety of religions which tend to vary regionally, this situation accentuates regional and ethnic distinctions and has often been seen as a major source of sectarian conflict amongst the population. The two main religions are Islam and Christianity which is concentrated in the southeast portion of the country. Traditional religious belief systems are also widely practiced. Islam dominates in the north of the country with some northern states having incorporated Shari'a law amidst controversy.[25]


Main article: Football in Nigeria

Like many nations football is Nigeria's national sport. There is also a local Premier League of football. Nigeria's national football team, known as the Super Eagles, has made the World Cup on three occasions 1994, 1998, and 2002, 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 Brazil) and have reached the finals of the U-20 World Championship in 2003. According to the official November 2006 FIFA World Rankings, Nigeria is currently fifth-ranked football nation in Africa and the 36th highest in the world.


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 chilli peppers. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.[26]

An incomplete list of examples of Nigerian dishes:

  • Amala is a thick smooth paste or porridge made from yam flour.
  • Groundnut Stew is perhaps the jewel in the crown of Nigerian cooking, with groundnuts, tomato and onion as the base, it can be infinitely varied with chicken, beef or fish and different leaf vegetables for subtle flavours.
  • Draw soup is made from okra or melon seeds cooked until they 'thicken.'
  • Eba like amala is a thick porridge or paste but made from cassava (manioc).
  • Egusi soup is thickened with ground melon seeds and contains leaf vegetables, other vegetables, seasonings, and meat.
  • Fried plantain or 'dodo' is a side dish of plantains or bananas fried in palm oil.
  • Fufu is a thick and very smooth paste made from yams or cocoyam, but any starchy staple can be used such as potato, cassava, plantains, maize.
  • Iru is fermented locust beans used as a condiment in cooking and is typically added to egusi soup and ogbono soup.
  • Jollof rice consists of rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper and a variety of vegetables and meats, and can constitute a complete banquet on a plate.
  • Moimoi is a steamed bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed beans, onions and fresh black pepper wrapped in a moimoi leaf (like a banana leaf).
  • Ogbono soup is made with ground ogbono seeds, with leaf vegetables, other vegetables, seasonings, and meat.
  • Suya is a meat kebab coated with groundnuts (peanuts) and chilli pepper.

Societal issues

Despite its vast government revenue from the mining of petroleum, Nigeria is beset by a number of societal problems due primarily to a history of inept governance. Some of these problems are listed below.

Human Rights

Main article: Gay rights in Nigeria

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria as it runs counter the country's deeply ingrained cultural and religious mores. Gay sex is punishable by imprisonment in the south and possibly death in the Muslim north.

On February 14, 2007 The National Assembly held public hearings on a bill to ban gay marriage and criminalize virtually all forms of gay expression. The bill reads:

Any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a term of five years imprisonment

Environmental degradation

Nigeria has one of the developing world's worst environmental records. Oil spills in dense areas are not uncommon, and raw sewage is a frequent problem in all major cities.

Strife and sectarian violence

See also: Conflict in the Niger Delta

Due to its multitude of diverse, sometimes competing ethno-linguistic groups, Nigeria has been beset since prior to independence with sectarian tensions and violence. This is particularly true 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. The civilian population, and especially certain ethnic groups like the Ogoni, have experienced severe environmental degradation due to petroleum extraction, but when these groups have attempted to protest these injustices, they have been met with repressive measures by Nigerian government and military forces. As a result, strife and deterioration in this region continues as of 2006.

There are also significant tensions on a national scale, especially between the primarily Muslim, highly conservative northern population and the Christian population from the Southeastern part of the country.

Since the end of the civil war in 1970, ethnic and religious violence has continued. Violence between Muslims and Christians occurred until early 2004. 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, organizers of the Miss World Pageant announced that they would move the pageant from the Nigerian capital, 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 a newspaper suggested Muhammad would have approved of the Miss World beauty contest for personal reasons. Muslim rioters in Kaduna killed an estimated 105 men, women, and children with a further 521 injured taken to hospital. Angry mobs in the mainly Muslim city 600 kilometres (375 miles) northwest of Lagos burnt churches and rampaged through the streets, stabbing, bludgeoning, and burning bystanders to death.[27]

Health issues

Nigeria has been reorganizing its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987 formally promoted a community-based methods of increasing accessibily of drugs and health care services to the population, in part by implementing user fees.[28] 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.[29]

National well-being

In 2003, Nigerians were reported to be the happiest people in a scientific survey carried out in 65 nations in 1999-2000.[30] The research was reported by one of the world's top science magazines, New Scientist, and was picked up by a number of news outlets. See Nigeria tops happiness survey. The report considered that the country's family life and culture were more important than its problems and material wealth in determining happiness.

Advance fee fraud

Many nationals of Nigeria are members of 419 Advance fee fraud rings and implement various schemes to con foreigners of their money. The scam is commonly known as the "Nigerian scam" for this reason.[9].


  1. ^ "Nigeria: Census 2006 Puts Nigerians At 140 Million",, 30 December 2006
  2. ^ a b CIA - The World Factbook-- Nigeria. Retrieved June 29, 2006.
  3. ^ McIntosh, Susan Keech, Current directions in west African prehistory. Palo Alto, Calif.: Annual Reviews Inc., 1981. 215-258 p.: ill.
  4. ^ Shaw, Thurstan, Nigeria: Its Archaeology and early history. Retrieved Feb 22, 2007.
  5. ^ Udofia , Nigerian Political Parties: Their Role in Modernizing the political System, 1920-1966, Journal of Black Studies, June 1981. Retrieved Feb 22, 2007.
  6. ^ "Background Paper on Nigeria and Biafra, Declassified Documents reference System
  7. ^ Watts Michael, State, Oil and Agriculture in Nigeria, Berkeley, 1987. Retrieved Feb 22, 2007.
  8. ^ Nigeria, Military Faces Daunting Challenges, AP Press International, March 3, 1984. Retrieved Feb 22, 2007.
  9. ^ Nigeria stays calms as leader toppled in bloodless coup, The Globe and Mail, August, 28 1985. Retrieved Feb 22, 2007.
  10. ^ Nigeria's oic membership tensions relaxed, Xinhua General news agency, Feb 27, 1986.
  11. ^ Bilski Andrew, "Broken Promises" Maclean, September 6, 1993.
  12. ^ Diamond, larry, Kirk-Greene Anthoiny, Oyeleye Oyediran, Transition without End: Nigerian Politics and Civil Society Under Babangida.
  13. ^ "Nigeria: Who's who is Military Plots", Africa Confidential July 2001, Vol 42, No 15.
  14. ^ "Nigerian Lawyer: Abacha accounts apparently in Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, and Germany", AP press, January 10, 2000.
  15. ^ Jibrin Ibrahim, Legislation and the Electoral Process: The Third Term Agenda and the Future of Nigerian Democracy. Paper for Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Nigeria Roundtable, 2006.
  16. ^ "Collins Edomaruse, HOW OBASANJO CUT UK, US TO SIZE", BY ANDREW YOUNG, This Day (Nigeria) - , July 20, 2006.
  17. ^ See, e.g., the African Union website, at
  18. ^ Shaw Timothy, The State of Nigeria: Oil Prices Power Bases and Foreign Policy, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol 18, no 2, 1984.
  19. ^ Ed O'Loughlin, Nigerians outshine the British brass, The Independent (London), March 11, 1998.
  20. ^ .
  21. ^ a b c United States Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. Country Profile-Nigeria (2006).
  22. ^ "Nigerian state thwarts polio push", BBC News, March 22, 2004. Retrieved on 2006-09-07.
  23. ^ Geographica: The complete Atlas of the world, "Nigeria", (Random House, 2002).
  24. ^ Adams, S. Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York; This Is Lagos: Yabis Night, Music and Fela: Skoto Gallery, New York, New York [Exhibit]. African Arts v. 37 no. 1 (Spring 2004 Country
  25. ^ Owobi Angrew, Tiptoeing Through A Constitutional Minefield: The Great Sharia Controversy in Nigeria, Journal Of African law, Vol 48, No 2, 2002.
  26. ^ H.O. Anthonio & M. Isoun: "Nigerian Cookbook". Macmillan, Lagos, 1982.
  27. ^ James Astill, The truth behind the Miss World riots: The unrest in Nigeria was more about old grudges than a beauty contest - and it has left deep wounds, The Guardian (London), November 30, 2002
  28. ^ User fees for health: a background. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.
  29. ^ Effect of the Bamako-Initiative drug revolving fund on availability and rational use of essential drugs in primary health care facilities in south-east Nigeria. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.
  30. ^ BBC: Nigeria tops happiness survey, Thursday, 2 October, 2003. Website accessed 26 March 2007.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
1999 Constitution
Consulates and embassies
Non-Nigerian overviews

See Also

History Timeline | Kingdoms and Empires (Oyo | Benin | Fulani | Kanem-Bornu) | Northern Nigeria | Southern Nigeria | Economic history | Civil War | Foreign relations | Military | Postal | Nigerian archaeology
Politics 1st Republic | 2nd Republic | 3rd Republic | 4th Republic | Constitution | Political parties (PDP | ANPP | AD) | Elections
Government Executive branch ( President & Vice-President | Cabinet (Federal Executive Council)) | Legislative branch (National Assembly: House of Representatives | Senate) | Judicial branch ( Supreme Court) | Law enforcement | Military | Federal Parastatals
Geography Adamawa Plateau | Jos Plateau | Niger Delta | Niger River | Mountains | Islands | Rivers | States | Cities | Local Government Areas | Regions
Economy Agriculture | Companies | Nigerian Naira | Petroleum in Nigeria | Central Bank of Nigeria | Stock Exchange
Society Demographics | Languages | Religion | Media | Education (Universities) | Holidays
Culture Nigerian Pidgin English | Sport | Igbo mythology | | Yoruba Mythology | Art and Entertainment [ Music ( Jùjú | Afrobeat | Hip Hop) | Cinema | Literature (Poets) | Cuisine | Dance | Architecture
National Symbols Flag of Nigeria | Coat of Arms of Nigeria | Seal of the President of Nigeria | Seal of the Vice-President of Nigeria | National Anthem | Presidential Villa (Aso Rock)
Other Communications | Transportation (Highways | Airports) | List of Nigerians | Tourism | Conflict in the Niger Delta | Corruption in Nigeria | Ethnic Organizations (MASSOB | MOSOP | Oodua Republic Front) | Ethnic groups | Crime