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Nigeria is a country in West Africa. Major cities include the capital Abuja, Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Port Harcourt.

Federal Republic of Nigeria
coat of arms
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Peace and Unity, Strength and Progress
Official language English
Capital Abuja
President Olusegun Obasanjo
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 31st
923,768 km²
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 9th
129,934,911 (July 2002 est.)
 - Date
From the United Kingdom
October 1, 1960
Currency Naira
Time zone UTC +1
National anthem Arise Oh Compatriots, Nigeria's Call Obey
Internet TLD.NG
Calling Code234

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 States
4 Geography
5 Cities
6 Economy
7 Demographics
8 Culture
9 Miscellaneous topics
10 External Links


Main article: History of Nigeria

The Kanem-Bornu Empire near Lake Chad dominated northern Nigeria for over 600 years, prospering as a terminal of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people. In the early 19th century, Usman dan Fodio brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an Islamic empire centered in Sokoto.

The kingdoms of Oyo in the southwest, and Benin in the southeast both devoloped elaborate systems of political organization in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Ife and Benin are noted for their prized artistic works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass.

In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade replaced slave trade in the 19th century.

The Royal Niger Company was chartered by the British government in 1886. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901, and a colony in 1914. In response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism following World War II, the British moved the colony towards self-government on a federal basis.

Nigeria was granted full independence in 1960, as a federation of three regions, each retaining a substantial measure of self-government.

In 1966, two succesive coups by different groups of army officers brought the country under military rule. The leaders of the second coup tried to increase the power of the federal government, and replaced the regional governments with 12 state governments. The Igbos, the dominant ethnic group in the eastern region, declared independence as the Republic of Biafra in 1967, leading to a bloody civil war which ended with their defeat in 1970.

In 1975, a bloodless coup brought Murtala Ramat Mohammed to power, who promised a return to civilian rule. However, he was killed in an abortive coup, and succeeded by his chief of staff, Olusegun Obasanjo. A new constitution was drafted in 1977, and elections were held in 1979, which were won by Shehu Shagari.

Nigeria returned to military government in 1983, by a coup which established the Supreme Military Council as the country's new ruling body. After elections in 1993 which were canceled by the military government, General Sani Abacha took power. When he died suddenly in 1998 Abdulsalami Abubakar became leader of the SMC, now known as the Provisional Ruling Council. He lifted the suspension of the 1979 constitution, and in 1999, Nigeria elected Olusegun Obasanjo as President in its first elections in 16 years. Obsanjo and his party also won the turbulent elections of 2003.


Main article: Politics of Nigeria

Nigeria is a Federal Republic, currently undergoing a transition from military to civilian rule.


Main article: States of Nigeria

Nigeria is divided into 36 states and 1 territory:

  • Abia
  • Adamawa
  • Akwa Ibom
  • Anambra
  • Bauchi
  • Bayelsa
  • Benue
  • Borno
  • Cross River
  • Delta
  • Ebonyi
  • Edo
  • Ekiti
  • Enugu
  • Gombe
  • Imo
  • Jigawa
  • Kaduna
  • Kano
  • Katsina
  • Kebbi
  • Kogi
  • Kwara
  • Lagos
  • Nassarawa
  • Niger
  • Ogun
  • Ondo
  • Osun
  • Oyo
  • Plateau
  • Rivers
  • Sokoto
  • Taraba
  • Yobe
  • Zamfara
  • Abuja Federal Capital Territory


Main article: Geography of Nigeria

Nigeria is located on the Gulf of Guinea. Its major cities are located in southern lowlands. The central part of the country contains hills and plateaus. The north consists of arid plains. It's neighboring countries are Benin, Niger,Chad and Cameroon.

Forest and woodland occurs chiefly in the southern third of the country, which is affected by seasonal rains from the Atlantic which occur from June to September. As one progresses northward the country becomes drier and the vegetation more savannah in type. The northern third of the country forms part of the semi-arid sahel region on the fringes of the Sahara desert.

Nigeria is divided roughly in three by the rivers Niger and Benue, which flow through the country from north-east and north-west to meet roughly in the centre of the country near the new capital city of Abuja. From here the united rivers flow south to the sea at the Niger delta.


The principal cities of Nigeria are:
  • Kaduna
  • Katsina
  • Lagos
  • Makurdi
  • Maiduguri
  • Onitsha
  • Oshogbo
  • Oyo
  • Port Harcourt
  • Sokoto


Main article: Economy of Nigeria

The oil-rich Nigerian economy, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management, is undergoing substantial economic reform under the new civilian administration. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of budgetary revenues. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now must import food.


Main article: Demographics of Nigeria

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for approximately one-quarter of West Africa's people. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri.

The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest. Over half of the Yorubas are Christian and about a quarter are Muslim, with the remainder following mostly traditional beliefs. The predominantly Christian Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast. Roman Catholics are the largest denomination, but Pentecostal and other Evangelical denominations are also strong. The Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw (the country's fourth-largest ethnic group) communities also comprise a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo are the most widely used Nigerian languages.


Main article: Culture of Nigeria

DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
October 1Independence Day

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

Countries of the world  |  Africa