OFFICIAL NAME: Federal Republic of Nigeria
CAPITAL: Abuja (formerly Lagos)
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Democratic Federal Republic
AREA: 923,768 Sq Km (356,669 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 111,464,300
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Nigeria is located in West Africa.
It is bound by Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Chad
to the northeast, Cameroon to the east and the Gulf of Guinea
to the south. The country has four geographical regions
from south to north. (1.) A coastal belt of mangrove swamps.
(2.) Undulating plains and scattered hills covered in tropical
rain forests. (3.) A central plateau with open woodland
and savannah. (4.) A semi-desert in the extreme north which
is also known as the High Plains of Hausaland. The principal
rivers are the Niger and Benue. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Lagos 1,347,000, Ibadan 1,265,000, Kano 699,900, Ogbomosho
660,600, Oshogbo 441,600, Ilorin 430,600 (1992). Land Use;
forested 12%, pastures 44%, agricultural-cultivated 36%,
other 8% (1993).
CLIMATE: Nigeria has a tropical climate with two seasons. A wet
season form April to October and a dry season from November to March with
the wettest month June. Average annual precipitation varies from 1,770
mm (70 inches) in the west to 4,310 mm (170 inches) along the east coast,
and to 470 mm (50 inches) in the central areas. The prevailing winds are
the rain bearing south westerlies and the hot dry and dust laden Harmattan
from the Sahara Desert in the northeast. Average temperature ranges are
from 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees Celsius (90
degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: Nigeria has an estimated 250 ethnic groups with the Hausa,
Fulani, Yoruba and Ibos groups accounting for 60% of the population. The
non-African ethnic minorities account for a total of 27,000 and include
the British, Indians, Lebanese and Americans.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 134 persons per sq km
(347 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 35.2% urban, 64.8% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 49.5% male, 50.5% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
48.8 years male, 52.2 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 47% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 14% 30 to 44, 8% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 49.8 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 15.6 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 34.2 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 105.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Around 45% of the population are Muslim while 49%
are Christians, of which Roman Catholics account for 12%, Protestants for
26% and African Christians for 11%. The remainder following local native
LANGUAGES: The official language is English which is spoken by
only 5% of the population. The national languages most widely used are
Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 15 or over 29,538,200 or 50.7% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: On Oct. 1, 1960 Nigeria became
an independent nation and the following year the northern part of Cameroon,
which was a UN Trust Territory, was incorporated into Nigeria. In Jan.
1966 military leaders led by Maj.Gen. Ironsi overthrew Nigeria's government
and executed many of the political leaders. In July 1966 a countercoup
overthrew Maj.Gen. Ironsi who was also killed in the offensive. In May
1967 Nigeria's eastern region declared itself an independent republic called
Biafra, led by Lt.Col. Odemegwu Ojukwu, which resulted in a full scale
civil war between Biafra and the rest of Nigeria. In 1970 Lt.Col. Ojukwu
surrendered and the civil war came to an end with Gen. Gowon in power.
In July 1975 Gen. Gowon was ousted in a bloodless coup led by Brig. Murtala
Mohammed, who embarked on a program to return civil rule. In Feb. 1976
Brig. Mohammed was killed in an abortive military coup by junior officers.
Mohammed was succeeded by Gen. Obasanjo who continued Mohammed's program
and in Sept. 1978 he legalized political parties. In Aug. 1979 the National
Party of Nigeria (NPN) won elections and Alhaji Shehu Shagari became President.
In 1983 Pres. Shagari was re-elected and on Dec. 31, 1983 the military
led by Maj.Gen. Mohammed Buhari ousted the government and established himself
as head of the Supreme Military Council. In Aug. 1985 Buhari was replaced
by Maj.Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who promised a return to civil rule. In May
1989 political parties were again legalized. In April 1990 there was an
unsuccessful coup attempt which resulted in the execution of 42 soldiers.
In Sept. 1990 Pres. Babangida began major restructuring of the armed forces,
as part of his promise to demilitarize the government and return the government
to civilian rule. In Mar. 1991 there were several weeks of protests and
riots by Shiite Muslims in Katsina state, who demanded the establishment
of Islamic law, which resulted in the deaths of some 250 people, mostly
Muslims. In June 1991 Nigeria hosted the Organization of African Unity
(OAU) summit and Pres. Babangida was elected chairman of the OAU for 1991-1992.
On July 1, 1991 a British journalist was expelled from the country after
criticizing the government's expenditure. In Oct. 1991 further religious
riots escalated in Kano state, in the north, resulting in a further 100
deaths as the Army moved in. In Nov. 1991 the government order citizens
to stay at home and closed borders in an attempt to carry out an accurate
census. On Jan. 13, 1992 a new National Council of Ministers was sworn
in after the government decided to reduce the number of ministries from
27 to 20 and on Jan. 24, 1992 the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced
a schedule for elections with the legislative in Nov. 1992, although later
brought forward to July and the presidential in Dec. 1992. Also in Jan.
1992 further riots erupted in Katsina state resulting in the arrest of
263 Islamic fundamentalists and the death of 10 people. In March 1992 ethnic
violence over farming rights erupted in Taraba state between the Jukun
and Tiv tribal groups resulting in 100 deaths. On July 4, 1992 legislative
elections resulted in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) winning the majority
of seats in both houses of the National Assembly closely followed by the
National Republican Convention (NRC). On Aug. 7, 1992 the NEC annulled
the first round of presidential primaries due to widespread allegations
of irregularities and corruption while later rounds were also suspended.
On Jan. 4, 1993 the Transitional Council and the National Defense and Security
Council (NDSC) were inaugurated with Gen. Babangida as President of the
NDSC. Also in Jan. 1993 the NEC continued its process of screening presidential
candidates and by April 1993 the SDP had chosen Moshood Kashimawo Olawale
Abiola and the NRC selected Bashir Othma Tofa as their respective candidates.
In June 1992 Abiola emerged as the clear winner of the presidential elections,
although the results were later postponed and then subsequently leaked
by the Campaign for Democracy indicating that Abiola had won in 19 of the
30 states. On June 23, 1993 the NDSC annulled the election results that
led to condemnation by the US and British government as well as the restriction
of aid. and Pres. Babangida issued regulations that banned the SDP and
NRC presidential candidates from taking part in new elections. Following
which strikes and civil disobedience occurred in Lagos before security
forces restored order. On July 6, 1993 the NDSC issued an ultimatum to
the SDP and NRC to participate in an interim national government or face
new elections with both parties agreeing to participate in an interim government.
On July 31, Pres. Babangida announced the interim government would be inaugurated
on Aug. 27, 1993. On Aug. 26, 1993 Pres. Babangida stepped down as President
and was succeeded by Ernest Shonekan. Also in Aug. 1993 protests and strikes
against the NDSC brought the country to a standstill and on Nov. 17, 1993
the military led by Gen. Sani Abacha seized control of the interim government
and disbanded it while Gen. Babangida left for Egypt. Gen. Abacha established
a Provisional Ruling Council and promised to led the country into a multiparty
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Naira (N) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $32,517,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $29,496,000,000 (1994). Imports; N 143,151,200,000 (1992).
Exports; N 205,613,100,000 (1992). Tourism Receipts; USD $31,000,000 (1993).
Balance of Trade; N 69,145,000,000 (1993). Economically Active Population;
30,765,500 or 31.1% of total population (1986). Unemployed; 4.0% (1992).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the UK,
Germany, the USA, Japan and France.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cassava, Coal, Cocoa, Cotton, Ground Nuts,
Iron Ore, Livestock, Maize, Millet, Oil and Natural Gas, Palm Kernels,
Rice, Rubber, Sorghum, Timber, Tin, Yams.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Fertilizers, Food Processing,
Lumber, Mining, Motor Vehicle Assembly, Oil and Natural Gas Processing
and Refining, Petrochemicals, Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Crude Oil and Refined Products, Hides, Natural Gas,
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 3,505 km (2,178 mi) (1987),
passenger-km 3,808,277,000 (2,366,353,000 passenger-mi) (1987), cargo ton-km
827,400,000 (566,686,000 short ton-mi) (1985). Roads; length 124,000 km
(77,050 mi) (1984). Vehicles; cars 773,000 (1989), trucks and buses 606,000
(1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 249 (1990), deadweight tonnage 726,948
(1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 256,247,000 (159,224,000 passenger-mi)
(1990), cargo ton-km 30,588,000 (20,950,000 short ton-mi) (1990).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 23 with a total circulation
for 11 of 1,140,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 18,000,000 (1994). Television;
receivers 6,100,000 (1994). Telephones; units 342,300 (1993).
MILITARY: 77,100 (1995) total active duty personnel with 80.4%
army, 7.3% navy and 12.3% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 0.6% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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