Nigeria, officially known as the Federal republic of Nigeria is the most populous black country in Africa. It is currently the seventh most populous country in the world, boasting a population of 150 million people, comprising of 250 ethnic groups sand 4000 dialects.In size, it is more than 2 ½ times the size of California and covers a total area of 577,355 sq miles.
The country comprises of 36 states and it 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 map below shows Nigeria and the different states.
Nigeria has a rich and extensive history and the major ethnic groups are Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Igala, Kanuri, Tiv, Ibiobio, Ijaw, Edo, Efik, Urhobo, Edoma, Itsekiri. According to archaeological findings, human habitation in Nigeria dates back to 9000 BCE and scholars believer that the Bantu migrants ,who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BC and the 2nd millennium, originally had their homeland in Nigeria.
The Origin of the name ‘Nigeria’.
The name ‘Nigeria’ was coined by Flora Shaw ,the future wife of Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, a British Colonial administrator and Governor-General of Nigeria from 1914-1919. She was inspired by the Niger River which runs through the country. Other proposed name then was Nigerland but Nigeria was later chosen meaning ‘NIGER AREA’.
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about 4,180 km (2,600 mi). Its drainage basin is 2,117,700 km2 (817,600 sq mi) in area. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River (also known as the Zaïre River). Its main tributary is the Benue River.
Religion in Nigeria
Nigeria is roughly split half and half between Muslims in the North and Christians in the South; a very small minority practice traditional religion. Since 2002 there have been a spate of clashes, particularly in the North of the country, between government forces and the Islamists Boko Haram, militant jihadists who seek to establish sharia law.
Sharia law is one of the four distinct systems of law in Nigeria. The other three are Common law, customary law, and English law. English law was derived from its colonial past with Britain, while customary law was derived from indeginous traditional norms and practice, including the dispute resolution meetings of pre-colonial Yorubaland secret societies and the Èkpè and Okónkò of Igboland and Ibibioland;
Sharia law is an Islamic legal system used only in the predominantly Muslim north of the country. The states which practice Sharia law includes Zamfara , Kano, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Jigawa, Yobe, and Kebbi.
The country also has a Judicial branch, with highest court in Nigeria being the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Flag of Nigeria and the Country’s Coat of Arms
The Flag of Nigeria , designed in 1959, was first officially hoisted on October 1, 1960 when the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The design of the flag was an adaptation of the wining entry by, Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi. He was a student of Norwich Technical College, England when he saw the advertisement in the national daily that entries were being accepted for the design of a new National Flag for Nigeria. Akinkunmi quickly prepared his entry and sent it to Lagos where it was eventually picked in 1958 as the best.
His original entry had a red sun with streaming rays placed at the top of the white stripe. The two unique sea-green bands represent the forests and abundant natural wealth of Nigeria while the white band represents peace. The red sun with streaming rays was removed by the judges and the flag has not been altered since.
Akinkunmi has received numerous awards from both individuals and organizations, and presently lives in Ibadan.
Flag of Nigeria Nigerian Coat of arms
Population Density of Nigeria
According to current data, one out of every four Africans is Nigerian. And even conservative estimates conclude that more than 20% of the world’s black population lives in Nigeria. 2006 estimates claim 42.3% of the population is between 0–14 years of age, while 54.6% is between 15–65; the birth rate is significantly higher than the death rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000 people respectively.
The country has steadily grown in population from 55.1 Million to over 150million in 2012. According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world’s total population increase from 2005–2050. By 2100 the UN estimates that the Nigerian population will be between 505 million and 1.03 billion people (middle estimate: 730 million). In 1950, Nigeria had only 33 million people. Please see the map below showing the population density in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s largest city is Lagos. Lagos has grown from about 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million today, and the Nigerian government estimates that city will have expanded to 25 million residents. It is the second fastest growing city in Africa and the seventh fastest in the world.
Education and Health Care.
Health care, and general living conditions in Nigeria is not great. Life expectancy has been reported to be about 47 years (average male/female) and just over half the population has access to portable water and appropriate sanitation. HIV/AIDS rate in Nigeria is much lower compared to the other African nations such as Kenya or South Africa whose prevalence (percentage) rates are in the double digits. Polio was cut by 98% in the Country between 2009 and 2010.
The education system has been described as “dysfunctional” largely because of decaying institutional infrastructure. 68% of the population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).
Six Nigerian universities recently made the list of the top 100 universities in Africa as assessed by a 4icu.org , an international higher education search engine and directory reviewing accredited universities and colleges in the world. 4icu.org includes 11,000 colleges and universities, ranked by web popularity, in 200 countries. The six Nigerian Universities that appear in the top 100 are the university of Ibadan at 23nd position, university of Ilorin 34th, University of Benin 40th Position, Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy Ife 44th Position, Ahmadu Belo Universiy Zaria 62nd and University of Jos 70th Position. No Nigeria private university or college made the list.
Petroleum: Nigeria’s Economic Bedrock
Oil is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, accounting for more than 80 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings. Nigeria’s proven oil reserves are estimated by the U.S. United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) at between 16 and 22 billion barrels (3.5×109 m3) but other sources claim there could be as much as 35.3 billion barrels (5.61×109 m3). Its reserves make Nigeria the tenth most petroleum-rich nation, and by the far the most affluent in Africa. In mid-2001 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m³) per day.
Nigeria also has vast largely unexplored natural gas reserves, the world’s fifth largest. Dozens of European and American businesses are currently exploring joint venture businesses in gas production. But Nigerians themselves now realize the danger of over-dependence on the oil sector. In the past few years, deliberate attempts have been made to concentrate on agriculture and encourage manufacturing. Various schemes have been established to assist farmers at every level, resulting in impressive cutbacks in Nigeria’s food import bills while changes in Nigeria’s industrial policy are encouraging foreign participation in manufacturing.
Nigeria’s petroleum is classified mostly as “light” and “sweet”, as the oil is largely free of sulphur. Nigeria is the largest producer of sweet oil in OPEC. This sweet oil is similar in composition to petroleum extracted from the North Sea. This crude oil is known as “Bonny light”. Names of other Nigerian crudes, all of which are named according to export terminal, are Qua Ibo, Escravos blend, Brass river, Forcados, and Pennington Anfan.