Nigeria is a West African country. Situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, the country owes its name to the fact that it is crossed by the Niger River, which flows into an extensive delta. It occupies an area of 923 768 km2. Nigeria is bordered by Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east and southeast, and Benin in the west and is bordered by the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The capital is Abuja. The largest cities are Lagos, with 8 682 200 residents (2003), Kano (3,412,900 residents), Ibadan (3,201,500 residents) and Kaduna (1,563,300 residents).
The relief of Nigeria is, in general, characterized by the predominance of plateaus with altitudes between 600 and 1200 meters, divided by small plains where its main rivers, Niger and Benué run. These two rivers come together in the center of the country, flowing into the Gulf of Guinea. The entire Nigerian coast is made up of sandy plains.
Nigeria’s climate varies from equatorial, on the south coast, to dry tropical, in the northern regions.
Nigeria’s economy depends to a large extent on revenues from oil exploration. The country is the main African producer of oil and has been a member of OPEC since 1975. Tin and lime stone are also extracted in large quantities, and the production of natural gas is developing at a rapid pace. However, manufacturing industries remain underdeveloped.
The development of rubber plantations, while making Nigeria a major producer (60% of all African production), poses environmental problems, given the extent of the forested area. The cocoa sector, which is also responsible for deforestation, is experiencing difficulties that translate into unemployment. Among the agricultural products destined for domestic consumption, cassava, yam, sorghum, corn, rice and peanuts stand out. Nigeria’s main trading partners are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Spain and France.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 0.3.
Nigeria is the most populous African country: in 2006 it had 131 859 731 residents, equivalent to a population density of 139.4 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are respectively 40.43% and 16.94%. Average life expectancy is 47.08 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.463 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.450 (2001). It is estimated that, by 2025, the population will be about 204,000,000 residents.
The Nigerian population is made up of more than 200 ethnicities, which is due to the geographical location of Nigeria at the meeting point of several transcontinental migratory routes, with the most important ethnic groups being the Hausa (21%), the Yoruba (21%), the Ibos (18%), Fulas (11%), Ibibio (6%) and Kanuri (4%).
As can be deduced by the number of ethnicities residing in Nigeria, the initial history of this country is written by the influence of several peoples. Thus, between 500 a. C. and 200 d. C., Nigeria had in the Nok people (established at the confluence of the Niger and Benué rivers) its first properly structured civilization. In the 11th century, the Kanem empire was formed, which included the province of Bornu and the territories to the east and west of Lake Chad, and which resulted from the migrations of the Kanuri (Bornu), Hausa and Fulas peoples towards the North. This empire would dismember in the 14th century, surviving only the region of Bornu as a kingdom. By this time Islam had already been introduced in Nigeria (13th century), and this fact would favor the appearance, in the beginning of the 19th century, of another empire, the Fulas empire. For Nigeria democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.
Although the Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Nigerian coast, in the 15th century, it was the British who settled in the territory. English interest in Nigeria began in the 17th century, when the slave trade flourished. With the end of this trade in 1807, curiously imposed by England, this country sent a squadron to the Gulf of Guinea to enforce that decree, and it was not long before English merchants began to approach the Nigerian coast in search of marketable products. Thus, the British presence officially began with the control of Lagos in 1861. In 1866, Nigeria became an English colony, assuming the status of Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914.
The origin of federalism in Nigeria dates back to 1939, when the western and eastern administrative regions were created, and 1954, when a third region, the northern one, was created. The ten years prior to the declaration of independence, on October 1, 1960, were marked by several constitutional initiatives subordinate to Nigerian autonomy with independence goals. Of these, the Lyttelton Constitution stands out, which managed to take into account the existing imbalances at various levels between the regions. But it was these imbalances that were the cause of the military coup d’état that took place on January 15, 1966 (with the territory already divided into 12 states), led by General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, who, for trying to dissolve federalism, would be assassinated at July 29 of that year.
Ethnic conflicts led to civil war when, on May 30, 1967, the leader of the eastern region declared independence from the Republic of Biafra. But despite the recognition and support given by some African states to the new republic, the truth is that on January 15, 1970, a delegation from Biafra formally surrendered to the Nigerian government in Lagos.
General Gowon, when communicating the postponement of the entry into force of a civil administration, caused his deposition, carried out on July 29, 1975 by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed, who would be assassinated on February 13, 1976, the year in which the number of states in the territory increased to 19 (in 1991, this number increased to 30).
The Second Republic, established on October 1, 1979, has also lived in permanent government instability. After the overthrow of the first elected President of the Second Republic, Shehu Shagari, by a military coup on December 31, 1993, another coup occurred on August 27, 1985, led by General Ibrahim Babangida, who ruled the country until 1993, the year in which, after having annulled the presidential elections, he was overthrown by the military, and General Sani Abacha came to power.
Abacha’s policy was guided by political authoritarianism, repressing and outlawing any pro-democracy movement, of which Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 elections, which was annulled stood out. When Abiola proclaimed himself on June 11, 1994 and before a crowd of 3000 people, president, head of the armed forces and leader of the government, he immediately caused a violent government reaction culminating in Abiola’s arrest on June 23, which was later convicted of treason. This decision by the Abuja High Court has led to numerous popular uprisings which, together with strikes carried out in oil exploration, have undermined the already weak Nigerian economy. This picture of social and political instability remained until September of that year, when the leaders of the oil workers’ unions decided to end the strike. On September 6, Abacha decreed absolute powers for his regime, denying any right of jurisdiction by the courts over his government.
After sixteen years of military rule, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the 1999 and 2003 elections, with President Olusegun Obasanjo who, in his second term, promised to strengthen democracy and promote political stability and economic growth.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Nigeria, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Nigeria. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Nigeria
View the shaded relief and political maps of this Western African country, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon. See the maps of Kaduna and Lagos.
Nigeria – InfoPlease.com Map
View a medium-sized professional graphical map of Nigeria and easily locate towns, cities and parklands.
Nigeria – National Geographic Map Machine
Satellite imaging and political map-making combine to create a zoomable map of this west African country, and it’s cities, rivers and topography.
Nigeria – Shell Maps
Oil company with a large presence in the country provides a series of maps focusing on the Niger Delta, oil regions and ethnic areas.
Nigeria – University of Texas Library
Check out city maps of Kaduna and Lagos, along with maps that cover the entire country.