Key Facts About Nigeria
- Official Name: Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Land Area: 923,768.00km2
- Population: Over 225,000,000
- Most Populous State: Kano
- Official Language: English
- Independence Day: October 1st 1960
- Currency: Naira & Kobo
- Vegetation: Forest, Grassland & Semi Arid
- Mineral Resources: Coal, Petroleum, Tin & Columbine
- Manufacturing: Tyre, Cement & Bisuits
- Timezone: GMT +1
- Geographical Divisions: 36 States & FCT
- Number of LGAs: 774 Local Govt. Areas
- Federal Capital: Abuja (12 Dec. 1991)
Nigeria, also known by its official name, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is located in West Africa. Its location in the Atlantic Ocean provides a buffer zone between the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea. With approximately 225 million people calling its 923,769 square kilometres (356,669 square miles) home, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the sixth-most populous in the world. To the north is Niger, to the northeast is Chad, to the east is Cameroon, and to the west is Benin. Nigeria is a federal republic made up of a total of 36 states, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory, where Abuja, the country’s capital, can be found. Lagos is Nigeria’s largest city and the second-largest metropolitan area in Africa.
The Niger River, which flows through Nigeria, is the inspiration for the country’s name. British writer Flora Shaw, who later married British colonial official Frederick Lugard, came up with the term on January 8, 1897. As a result of its proximity to the Niger River, the adjacent Republic of Niger was given its name. The name Niger is of mysterious origin; it was first used to refer to the middle section of the Niger River. Before European colonisation in the 19th century, the name egerew n-igerewen was used by the Tuareg people who lived in the middle reaches of the river near Timbuktu.
Since the second millennium BC, Nigeria has been home to numerous indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms, with the first internal unification occurring during the Nok civilisation in the fifteenth century BC. British colonisation in the 19th century laid the groundwork for the modern state. It merged the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 to form its present-day territory under Lord Lugard. The British established administrative and legal structures in Nigeria and ruled indirectly through traditional chiefdoms. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its formal independence and federated into a nation. A civil war raged from 1967 to 1970. Then the country went through a series of military dictatorships and civilian governments elected through democratic processes until finally settling into a stable democracy after the presidential election of 1999. The presidential race in the general election held in 2015 was historic in that it was the first time an incumbent president would not be re-elected.
Nigeria is a multinational state and home to over 250 unique ethnic groups who collectively identify with over 500 languages. These people also come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. With almost 60% of the population, Nigeria is home to three major ethnic groups: the Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the west, and the Igbo in the east. English was selected as the official language to foster national cohesion through language. Because of its constitutional protection of religious liberty, Nigeria is home to a significant Muslim population and a substantial Christian community. Muslims make up the majority in the north, while Christians dominate the south; indigenous religions, such as those practised by the Igbo and Yoruba peoples, constitute a small but significant minority.
Nigeria is a significant player on the African continent and a rising power on the global stage. The economy of Nigeria is the largest in Africa, the world’s 31st largest in terms of nominal GDP, and the world’s 26th largest when adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). The World Bank classifies Nigeria as an emerging market due to its massive population and economy, earning it the nickname “the Giant of Africa.” However, it is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world and has a very poor Human Development Index ranking. Nigeria is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Nonaligned Movement, the Economic Community of West African States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is also one of the Next Eleven economies and a part of the informal MINT group of countries.