Federal Republic of Nigeria
Hausa: Jamhuriyar Taraiyar Nijeriya
Igbo: Ȯha nke Ohaneze Naíjíríà
Yoruba: Orílẹ̀-èdè Olómìnira Àpapọ̀ ilẹ̀ Nàìjíríà
Flag of Nigeria NigeriaSeal
Motto: "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress"
Anthem: Arise, O Compatriots


Location of Nigeria
Capital. Abuja
Largest City. Lagos
Official languages English
Recognized regional languages Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba
Demonym Nigerian
Plural Nigerians
- President
Federal Presidential Republic
Akinade Onibiyo
- Declared and recognized

October 1, 1960
- Total

923,768 km2
- 2012 estimate
- Total
- Per capita
$3.043 trillion (₦486.228 trillion)
$17,891 (₦2,858,087)
GDP (nominal)
- Total
- Per capita
$3.345 trillion (₦534.522 trillion)
$19,668 (₦3,141,963)
Gini Green Arrow Up Darker 39.7 (high)
HDI (2011) Green Arrow Up Darker .727 (high)
Naria (NGN) (₦)
Date Formats DD-MM-YYYY
Drives on the Right
Internet TLD(s) .ng
Calling code +234

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic comprising thirty-six 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. In terms of religion Nigeria is mainly composed people who practice traditional religion.

The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined by Flora Shaw, the future wife of Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, in the late 19th century.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, in which the majority of the population is black. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. It is the third largest economy in Africa, it is also the largest exporter of oil in Africa and is a regional power that is also the hegemon in West Africa.



The Nok people of central Nigeria produced the earliest terracotta sculptures ever to be found in the country. A Nok sculpture resident at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts portrays a sitting dignitary wearing a "Shepherds Crook" on the right arm, and a "hinged flail" on the left. These are symbols of authority associated with ancient Egyptian pharaohs, and the god Osiris, and suggests that an ancient Egyptian style of social structure, and perhaps religion, existed in the area of modern Nigeria during the late Pharonic period.

In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina had recorded history dating back to around 999. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa. 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, between one to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves.

The Yoruba kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the southwestern block of Nigeria became prominent around 700—900 and 1400 respectively. However, Yoruba mythology states that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it predates any other civilization. Ifẹ also produced terra cotta 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 (a Bini name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further.

In southeastern Nigeria the Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people flourished from the controversial date of around the 10th century until 1911, making it the oldest kingdom in Nigeria. The Nri Kingdom was ruled by the Eze Nri. 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, who trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure, Eri.


Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin trade in Nigeria in the port they named Lagos and in Calabar. The Europeans traded with the ethnicities of the coast and also negotiated a trade in slaves, to the detriment and profit of many Nigerian ethnicities. Consequently many of the citizens of the former slave nations of the British Empire are descended from a Nigerian ethnic group. Britain abolished its slave trade in 1807 and, following the Napoleonic Wars, established the West Africa Squadron in an attempt to halt the international traffic in slaves.

In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received international recognition and in the following year the Royal Niger Company was chartered 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 January 1, 1901 Nigeria became a British protectorate, part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time. Many wars against subjugation had been fought by the states of what later became Nigeria against the British Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Notably of those were the British Conquest of Benin in 1897 and the Anglo-Aro War from 1901—1902. The restraint or complete destruction of these states opened up the Niger area to British rule.

In 1914, the Niger area was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Slavery was not finally outlawed in northern Nigeria 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.


On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new monarchy incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations. 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 the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo. The cultural and political differences between Nigeria's dominant ethnicities, 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 came about in 1965, the AG was outmanoeuvred 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.


Nigeria is a Federal Republic with executive power exercised by the president in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. The current president of Nigeria is Nadi Sambo. The president may stay in office for as long as he or she wants.

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 and serve for as long as the president is in office. 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 1961. 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 under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari 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.


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 10 million in its urban area alone. Population of Nigeria's cities over a million include Lagos (7,937,932), Kano (3,848,885), Ibadan (3,078,400), Kaduna (1,652,844), Port Harcourt (1,320,214), Benin City (1,051,600), Maiduguri (1,044,497) and Zaria (1,018,827), however, these figures are regularly disputed in Nigeria.


A map of states in Nigeria.


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


Main article: Nigerian Security Forces



The Obudju Plateau in Nigeria.

Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi),[48] 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. 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 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.

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 stand 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. To the north is the Sahel with its almost desert-like climate, where 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.


Ever scince 1965, Nigeria has been keeping up with the increasing demand of its people. In 1967 Umpuki Unlimited was founded as a mining company trying to find resources in Nigeria. In 1969, they hit a jackpot of emeralds in southern Nigeria. They found over $72 billion U.S. dollars of emeralds and have sold about $30 billion away to purchasers around the world already. When this happend, the Government of Nigeria tried to increase the sales tax of emeralds, making them $1,000 at the least. People still, however, bought them, and with this the government gained $6 billion bollars, not as much as hoped for. Then in 1974, by the same company hit another huge deposit, but this one was even larger. It consisted of over $121 billion dollars worth of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. With all of this money at hand the government created NAG, The Nigerian Association of Gems, to manage the massive deposits, and then the government went on a "shopping spree" of national improvements. These improvements meant better living, and more tourists for Nigeria. By 1980 most people had air conditioning, a car, and lived in a community with relatively low crime. Most schools by the 1990s, had up-to-date textbooks, and hot lunches served daily.

In 1997, the country found wide-spread deposits of gold, silver, and rubies. And recently urainium was found so the government experimented with nuclear fission, and thus created a lasting power supply. The GDP as of 2012 currently stands at $3.345 trillion dollars because of increased mineral sales and oil exploration, along with the rapid expansion of other sectors of the economy. Thanks to the quickly and tactiful thinking of Nigerian leaders, Nigeria has been able to meet global demands, and reap the benefits from the efforts of the people. Nigeria's economic growth has mirrored that of China's, in which billions in foreign investment have transformed the nation from a backwater, into a modern first world nation. Only the occasional blight from one of Nigeria's neighbors has disturbed this development, such as the war on drug cartels from Benin, and the civil wars in Mali, Chad, and the Ivory Coast.


Science & Technology

Space Program


Nigeria has launched six satellites into space. The first satellite, the Nigeriasat-1, was launched from Abuja Space Center on 27 September 2003. The primary objectives of the Nigeriasat-1 are:

  • To give early warning signals of environmental disaster.
  • To help 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.
  • To aid in conflict resolution and border disputes by mapping out state and International borders.

Nigeriasat-2, Nigeria's second satellite, is a high-resolution earth satellite built by Unlimited Nigerian Space satellite technology company, it was launched from Abuja Space Center.

Nigeriasat-2 has 2.5 metres resolution panchromatic (very high resolution), 5 metres multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green & red bands) and 32 metres multispectral (medium resolution, NIR red, green & red bands) with ground receiving station in Abuja. The NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft alone was build at a cost of over ₭35 million.


NigComSat-1 a Nigerian Satellite built in 2004 is Nigeria's third satellite and Africa's first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Bantu-I carrier rocket, from the River Crossing Satellite Launch Center. The spacecraft was operated by the Nigerian Space Agency.

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