Federal Republic of Nigeria as a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 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 Federal Republic of Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
In terms of religion, Federal Republic of Nigeria is roughly split half and half between Muslims in the North and Christians in the South; a very small minority practice traditional religion.
The people of Nigeria have an extensive history. Archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE. The area around the Benue and Cross River 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. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. The British colonised Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, setting up administrative structures and law while recognizing traditional chiefs. Federal Republic of Nigeria became independent again in 1960. Several years later, it had civil war as Biafra tried to establish independence. Military governments in times of crisis have alternated with democratically elected governments.
Federal Republic of Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the seventh most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country. It is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Federal Republic of Nigeria is located in Western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria has a total area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometres); about 5,000 square miles (13,100 square km) is water. Its size makes it the world’s 32nd largest country. 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 miles (4,047 kilometres) border with Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419m.
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 the southwest of the country and 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, one of the worlds 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 also only found in the wild Southern Eastern border areas with Cameroon. The Jos Plateau and Mambilla offer temperatures equivalent to winter-time in Europe.
Federal Republic of Nigeria is a leading petroleum producer and exporter. It is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter. Nigeria also has one of the world’s largest proven natural gas and petroleum reserves and is a founding member of OPEC.
Mineral resources that are present in Nigeria but are not yet fully exploited include coal, tin, iron, limestone, quartz, lead, zinc, and gold. About 60% of Nigerians are employed in the agricultural sector. 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 most industries located in Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha and Lagos.
The currency unit of Nigeria is the Nigerian Naira.
Nigeria also has significant production and manufacturing facilities such as factories for Peugeot and Bedford now a subsidiary of General Motors.
Nigeria’s steel rolling mills are located in Aladja, Ajaokuta and Oshogbo while there are glass making factories in Delta and Ondo States.
In view of the abundant reserves of limestone, all the geo-political regions of the country have cement production plants.
Government and Politics
Nigeria is a Federal Republic with 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. Its system of government is modelled after United States type of government with the Executive power vested on the President. There are overtones of the Westminister model in the composition and management of its upper and lower houses. The principle of separation of power is evident in the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary which are separate but inter-dependent arms of government. Nigeria has very strong political and administrative Institutions which enhance the efficient day-to-day running of government.
People and Culture
Federal Republic of Nigeria has a very rich literary history, prior to British imperialism and after. Nigerians have authored several works of post-colonial literature in English language. The second African Nobel Laureate in literature, 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. Nigeria has the second largest newspaper market in Africa (after Egypt) with an estimated circulation of several million copies daily in 2003.
Nigerian music includes many kinds of folk and pop music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with its own techniques, instruments and songs. As a result, there are varieties 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. Juju music which is percussion music fused with traditional music from Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey is also from Nigeria.
There is also a budding hip hop movement. World famous musicians that come from Nigeria include Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Lagbaja, Sade etc. 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 rythms with techniques imported from 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, Onitsha, Aba and Abuja and the industry is now a very lucrative income earner for these cities. As opposed to cinemas, the industry relies heavily on selling VCD’s or what are often known as home movies. The movies are normally based on domestic issues and day-to-day experiences.