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Quick Facts
Governmentrepublic transitioning from military to civilian rule
Currencynaira (NGN)
Areatotal: 923,768 sq km
water: 13,000 sq km
land: 910,768 sq km
LanguageEnglish (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
ReligionMuslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%

Nigeria is a country in equatorial west Africa. It is the continent's most populous nation. It has a southern coastline on the Gulf of Guinea, and has Benin to the west, Cameroon to the southeast, Chad to the northeast, and Niger to the north.

Nigeria is troubled by flares of violence as it tries to rebuild after sixteen years of military rule.

Map of Nigeria


Administrative divisions 
36 states and 1 territory*; Abia, Abuja Federal Capital Territory*, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara


Other destinations



Varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north. Natural hazards include periodic droughts and flooding.


Southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north. The Niger river enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea.

Highest point 
Chappal Waddi 2,419 m


Nigeria is a former British colony and a member of the British commonwealth.

1 October 1960 (from UK)
National holiday 
Independence Day (National Day), 1 October (1960)

On 12 December 1991 the capital was officially transferred from Lagos to Abuja; most federal government offices have now made the move to Abuja

Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in May 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, the OBASANJO administration must defuse longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, if it is to build a sound foundation for economic growth and political stability.

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Get around


English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani







Stay safe

Swan water is the safe drinking water to look for aprox 80 naira for a big bottle. The cheap "pure water" sold in plastic bags is cheaper but not as "pure" as SWAN.

Stay healthy

As in all African countries, the infection rate of AIDS/HIV is high. Do not risk unprotected sex.



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Geographic coordinates 
10 00 N, 8 00 E
total: 923,768 sq km
water: 13,000 sq km
land: 910,768 sq km
Area - comparative 
slightly more than twice the size of California
853 km
Natural resources 
natural gas, petroleum, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, arable land
Land use 
arable land: 30.96%
permanent crops: 2.79%
other: 66.25% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
2,330 sq km (1998 est.)
Environment - current issues 
soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution - water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization


Population growth rate 
2.54% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
39.22 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
14.1 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
72.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 50.59 years
female: 50.6 years (2002 est.)
male: 50.58 years
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
5.06% (1999 est.)
noun: Nigerian(s)
adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic groups 
Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.1%
male: 67.3%
female: 47.3% (1995 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: Federal Republic of Nigeria
conventional short form: Nigeria
Government type 
republic transitioning from military to civilian rule
Legal system 
based on English common law, Islamic Shariah law (only in some northern states), and traditional law
18 years of age; universal
Flag description 
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green


Economy - overview 
The oil-rich Nigerian economy, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management, is undergoing substantial economic reform under the new civilian administration. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of budgetary revenues. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has failed to keep up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now must import food. Following the signing of an IMF stand-by agreement in August 2000, Nigeria received a debt-restructuring deal from the Paris Club and a $1 billion credit from the IMF, both contingent on economic reforms. The agreement was allowed to expire by the IMF in November 2001, however, and Nigeria appears unlikely to receive substantial multilateral assistance in 2002. Nonetheless, increases in foreign oil investment and oil production should push growth over 4% in 2002.
Population below poverty line 
45% (2000 est.)
Labor force 
66 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
agriculture 70%, industry 10%, services 20% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate 
0.28% 28% (1992 est.) (1992 est.)
crude oil, coal, tin, columbite, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, wood, hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel
Electricity - production 
15.9 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 64%
hydro: 36%
Agriculture - products 
cocoa, peanuts, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish
Exports - commodities 
petroleum and petroleum products 95%, cocoa, rubber
Imports - commodities 
machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals
naira (NGN)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
nairas per US dollar - 115 (January 2002), 101.697 (2000), 92.338 (1999), 21.886 (1998), 21.886 (1997)
Fiscal year 
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
500,000 (2000 est)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
200,000 (2001)
Telephone system 
general assessment: an inadequate system, further limited by poor maintenance; major expansion is required and a start has been made
domestic: intercity traffic is carried by coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, a domestic communications satellite system with 19 earth stations, and a coastal submarine cable; mobile cellular facilities and the Internet are available
international: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean); coaxial submarine cable SAFE (South African Far East)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 83, FM 36, shortwave 11 (2001)
23.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
3 (the government controls 2 of the broadcasting stations and 15 repeater stations) (2002)
6.9 million (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
11 (2000)
Internet users 
100,000 (2000)


total: 3,557 km
narrow gauge: 3,505 km 1.067-m gauge
standard gauge: 52 km 1.435-m gauge
note: years of neglect of both the rolling stock and the right-of-way have seriously reduced the capacity and utility of the system; a project to restore Nigeria's railways is now underway (2001)
total: 193,200 km
paved: 59,892 km (including 1,194 km of expressways)
note: many of the roads reported as paved may be graveled; because of poor maintenance and years of heavy freight traffic - in part the result of the failure of the railroad system - much of the road system is barely usable (2001)
unpaved: 133,308 km
8,575 km
note: consisting of the Niger and Benue rivers and smaller rivers and creeks
crude oil 2,042 km; petroleum products 3,000 km; natural gas 500 km
70 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 36
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 18 (2002)
1 (2002)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
Nigeria disputes several villages with Benin along the Okpara River, and only 35 km of their common boundary are demarcated; the Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint remains undemarcated; Lake Chad Basin Commission urges signatories Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to ratify delimitation treaty over lake region, the site of continuing armed clashes; oral arguments on the land and maritime boundary disputes between Cameroon and Nigeria were presented to the ICJ; disputes center around Bakasi Peninsula, where armed clashes continue, Bouram Island on Lake Chad, and the maritime boundary and economic zone dispute in the Gulf of Guinea, which also involves Equatorial Guinea; Nigeria requests and Chad rejects redemarcation of boundary, which lacks clear demarcation in sections and has caused several cross-border incidents
Illicit drugs 
a transit point for heroin and cocaine intended for European, East Asian, and North American markets; safehaven for Nigerian narcotraffickers operating worldwide; major money-laundering center; massive corruption and criminal activity, along with unwillingness of the government to address the deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering regime make money laundering a major problem