Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” due to its large population and economy. Located on the West coast of the continent, bordering 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 in the Atlantic Ocean. It comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located. Lagos, the former capital, retains its standing as the country’s leading commercial and industrial city. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country. With approximately 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. The country also has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million children under age 18.
Nigeria has been home to a number of kingdoms and tribal states over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914.
UNESCO Heritage sites in Nigeria includes:
1. Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove
The dense forests are one of the final remnants of high forests in southern Nigeria. It is the last sacred grove of the Yoruba culture
2. Sukur Cultural Landscape
The site features the Palace of the Hidi, terraced fields, and the remains of a former iron industry.
The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.
Nigeria became an independent federation on October 1st. 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until 1999, with Major-General Muhammadu Buhari seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1983. His regime was overthrown by another military coup in 1985. Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came into power in the general election of 2007 beating Olusegun Obasanjo, the former military head of state. Yar’Adua died on 5 May 2010. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar’Adua’s replacement on 6 May 2010. The 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair when Goodluck Jonathan won. In the March 2015 election, Muhammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan, the first opposition candidate to do so. Observers generally praised the election as being fair. Jonathan was generally praised for conceding defeat and limiting the risk of unrest. One high profile incident in 2014 was the kidnapping of two hundred school girls by Boo Haram.
Resource extraction is the most important and the fastest-growing sector of the economy, reflecting the rise to prominence of crude oil output.
Nigeria is biggest oil producer on the continent and the 13th largest producer in the world with daily production reaching about 1.9 million barrels. Nigeria also has the second largest proven oil reserves and the 10th largest in the world. The petroleum industry remains dominant, and crude petroleum continues to account for virtually all export earnings. The most economically valuable minerals are crude oil, natural gas, coal, tin, and columbite (an iron-bearing mineral that accompanies tin). Petroleum, first discovered in 1956, is the most important source of government revenue and foreign exchange—its share of the gross domestic product rose from virtually nothing in the 1950s to about two-fifths in the late 1990s. Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market, and has already reached lower middle income status according to the World Bank, with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in the continent. Nigeria also has a thriving movie industry – Nollywood, emerging as a cultural phenomenon across the continent and around the world.
The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. The country’s official language is English.
The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Famous artists includes: P-Square, YCee, WizKid, Runtown, Seyi Shay, Niniola to name a few.
Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise Nigeria.
- Coconut rice is rice made with coconut milk
- Jollof rice is made with tomato and pepper base
- Fried rice is typically mixed with an assortment of eggs, vegetables, and meat, poultry or prawns.
- Bean and plantain pottage
- Chin chin
- Ogbono or apon
- Moin moin