Formal Name: Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Short Form: Nigeria.
Term for Nationals: Nigerian(s).
Date of Independence: October 1, 1960.
Size: 923,768 square kilometers.
Boundaries: Southern limits set by Gulf of Guinea (bights of
Benin and Biafra); inland frontiers shared with Cameroon (east), Chad
(northeast), Niger (north), and Benin (west). No demarcation reached regarding
Nigeria-Chad-Niger- Cameroon boundary in Lake Chad, leading to disputes.
Topography: Five major geographic divisions: low coastal
zone along Gulf of Guinea; succeeded northward by hills and low plateaus;
Niger-Benue river valley; broad stepped plateau stretching to northern border
with highest elevations over 1,200 meters; mountainous zone along eastern
border, which includes country's highest point (2,042 meters).
Climate: Tropical with variations governed by interaction of
moist southwest monsoon and dry northeast winds. Mean maximum temperatures of
30-32ºC (south), 33-35ºC (north). High humidity in south February-November,
June-September in north; low humidity during dry season. Annual rainfall
decreases northward; about 2,000 millimeters in coastal zone (Niger Delta
averages over 3,550 millimeters); 500 to 750 millimeters in north.
Population: Population and growth estimates varied widely.
World Bank estimated 1990 population at 119 million; however, 1991 preliminary
census figures published in 1992 gave population total of 88.5 million. Growth
rate in 1990 estimated about 3.3 percent; 28 percent of population urban in
Ethnic Groups: 250 to 400 or more recognized groups, many
divided into subgroups of considerable social and political importance. Most
important ethnolinguistic categories: Hausa and Fulani in north, Yoruba in
southwest, and Igbo in southeast, all internally subdivided. Next major groups:
Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Ijaw.
Languages: Number of languages estimated at 350 to 400, many
with dialects. Most important: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Hausa major language in
north. English official language used in government, large-scale business, mass
media, and education beyond primary school. Several other languages also
recognized for primary education. Classical Arabic of religious significance in
Religion: In last officially accepted census (1963), about
47 percent of population self-identified as Muslims (chiefly adherents of Sunni
Islam), nearly 35 percent as Christians, and more than 18 percent as other
(almost entirely adherents of indigenous religions). Majority of north Muslim;
south mainly non-Muslim, primarily Christian; middle belt mixed faiths.
Mission-related Christian churches (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and
others), African independent churches, and Aladura Church present.
Education: Universal primary education (six-year program)
responsibility of state and local governments. Great increase in enrollments
(about 12 million in government primary schools, additional millions in Muslim
and Christian private schools in 1985). Responsibility for secondary education
shared by federal and state governments; also some private schools; 3.7 million
in government secondary schools in 1985. In 1990 between 150,000 and 200,000 in
thirty-five colleges, universities, and higher technical schools.
Health: Major prevalent diseases included cerebrospinal
meningitis, yellow fever, Lassa fever, acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS), malaria, guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and malnutrition
among young children. Medical establishments owned by federal, state, and local
governments and private groups. Shortage of medical facilities and physicians in
rural areas. Primary Health Care Plan launched in late 1980s, including expanded
Gross National Product (GNP): US$30.0 billion, 1989; US$230
per capita, 1990.
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing: Agriculture represented
39.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1988. In 1990, 34 million
hectares, or 42 percent of arable land under cultivation; 18 million hectares of
pastureland; 20 million hectares of forests. 1991 drought forced substantial
increase in food imports. Cash crops: cocoa, palm oil, rubber, cotton, peanuts.
Major food crops: cassava, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, sorghum, millet, corn,
rice. Livestock: cattle, goats, sheep, horses, camels, pigs, poultry,
representing 2.0 percent of GDP. Forests used extensively, and government
engaged in afforestation projects. Fisheries catch did not meet domestic needs;
modernization projects underway.
Industry: Constituted 10.0 percent of GDP in 1988. Primary
processing industries: palm oil, peanuts, rubber, petroleum, wood, hides and
skins. Manufacturing industries: food products, textiles, cement, building
materials, footwear, chemical products, ceramics, small appliances.
Mining, Petroleum, and Energy: Main items mined: coal, tin,
columbite for domestic use. Nigeria world's sixth largest oil exporter; domestic
consumption 250,000 barrels per day; 11 percent of extracted oil refined
domestically. Natural gas constituted more than 20 percent of commercial energy
sources in 1990. Emphasis on expanding hydroelectric power (14 percent of energy
consumed in 1980s) and oil- and gas-generated electricity.
Exports: Petroleum, cocoa.
Imports: Machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals,
manufactured goods, food, live animals.
Major Trading Partners: United States, Britain, other
European Economic Community countries, Japan, Canada. Nigeria had negative trade
Currency: Naira (N); 1 naira = 100 kobo; average exchange
rate in 1990: N8.04 per US$1.00.
Roads: In 1990, 108,000 kilometers of roads, of which 30,000
kilometers paved, 25,000 kilometers gravel; rest unimproved earth. Most state
capitals and large towns accessible by paved road.
Railroads: In 1990, 3,500 kilometers of narrow-gauge (1.067
meter) track. Nigerian Railway Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1988 and
system in serious operational difficulties.
Civil Aviation: Three airports handled international
flights: Murtala Muhammad International at Lagos, Aminu Kano International at
Kano, and Port Harcourt. Twenty-nine other airports with paved runways. Nigeria
Airways parastatal with domestic and international flights.
Ports: Three major complexes: Lagos (including Apapa and Tin
Can Island), which handled majority of cargo, Delta (including Warri and Sapele
on Niger River), and Rivers (including Port Harcourt); Calabar (on Cross River),
major eastern port. Crude oil exported through Bonny, near Port Harcourt, and
Burutu, near Warri.
Communications: Telecommunications being expanded in 1990;
domestic satellite system linked all major urban areas; good international
telecommunications system. Also 65 AM radio stations and various television