Nigeria officially named the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The country 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 lies on the Gulf of Guinea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south.

Background History

British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa's most populous country grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country's history and the elections of 2011 were generally regarded as credible. In January 2014, Nigeria assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term.



Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • conventional short form: Nigeria


  • name: Abuja
  • geographic coordinates: 9 05 N, 7 32 E
  • time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 1 October 1960 (from the UK)

Government Type:

  • Federal Republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari (since 29 May 2015); Vice President Oluyemi "Yemi" Osinbajo (since 29 May 2015)
  • head of government: President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari (since 29 May 2015); Vice President Oluyemi "Yemi" Osinbajo (since 29 May 2015)
  • cabinet: Federal Executive Council
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28-29 March 2015 (next to be held in February 2019)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate and House of Representatives

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court; Federal Court of Appeal


People & Society


  • 177,155,754 (global rank: 8)
  • growth rate: 2.47% (global rank: 33)


  • noun: Nigerian(s)
  • adjective: Nigerian

Major Cities:

  • Lagos 12.614 million; Kano 3.508 million; Ibadan 3.085 million; Abuja (capital) 2.301 million; Port Harcourt 2.227 million; Benin City 1.453 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • 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%


  • English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 52.62 years (global rank: 213)
  • male: 51.63 years
  • female: 53.66 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 74.09 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 10)
  • male: 79.02 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 68.87 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 3.17% (2013 est.) (global rank: 19)
  • people living with AIDS: 3,228,600 (2013 est.) (global rank: 3)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 51.1%
  • male: 61.3%
  • female: 41.4%



Overview: Following an April 2014 statistical "rebasing" exercise, Nigeria has emerged as Africa's largest economy, with 2014 GDP estimated at US $479 billion. Oil has been a dominant source of government revenues since the 1970s. Regulatory constraints and security risks have limited new investment in oil and natural gas, and Nigeria's oil production contracted in 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Nigerian economy has continued to grow at a rapid 6-8% per annum (pre-rebasing), driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services, and the medium-term outlook for Nigeria is good, assuming oil output stabilizes and oil prices remain strong. Fiscal authorities pursued countercyclical policies in 2011-2013, significantly reducing the budget deficit. Monetary policy has also been contractionary. Following the 2008-9 global financial crises, the banking sector was effectively recapitalized and regulation enhanced. Despite its strong fundamentals, oil-rich Nigeria has been hobbled by inadequate power supply, lack of infrastructure, delays in the passage of legislative reforms, an inefficient property registration system, restrictive trade policies, an inconsistent regulatory environment, a slow and ineffective judicial system, unreliable dispute resolution mechanisms, insecurity, and pervasive corruption. Economic diversification and strong growth have not translated into a significant decline in poverty levels - over 62% of Nigeria's 170 million people live in extreme poverty. President Jonathan has established an economic team that includes experienced and reputable members and has announced plans to increase transparency, continue to diversify production, and further improve fiscal management. The government is working to develop stronger public-private partnerships for roads, agriculture, and power.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $1.058 trillion (global rank: 21)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $6,100 (global rank: 159)
  • real growth rate: 7% (global rank: 19)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 20.6%, industry: 25.6%, services: 53.8%


  • currency: Nairas (NGN)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 157.3


  • population below poverty line: 70%
  • unemployment rate: 23.9%

Agricultural Products:

  • cocoa, peanuts, cotton, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish


  • crude oil, coal, tin, columbite; rubber products, wood; hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel

Exports Commodities:

  • petroleum and petroleum products 95%, cocoa, rubber

Imports Commodities:

  • machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals




  • Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon


  • total: 923,768 sq km (global rank: 32)
  • land: 910,768 sq km
  • water: 13,000 sq km
  • comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California


  • varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north

Land Use:

  • arable land: 38.43%
  • permanent crops: 7.36%
  • other: 54.21%

Natural Resources:

  • natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land

Current Environmental 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


Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: Joint Border Commission with Cameroon reviewed 2002 ICJ ruling on the entire boundary and bilaterally resolved differences, including June 2006 Greentree Agreement that immediately cedes sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with a phaseout of Nigerian control within two years while resolving patriation issues; the ICJ ruled on an equidistance settlement of Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea, but imprecisely defined coordinates in the ICJ decision and a sovereignty dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River all contribute to the delay in implementation; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries; location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved
  • internally displaced persons: 1,538,982 (Boko Haram attacks and counterinsurgency efforts in northern Nigeria; communal violence between Christians and Muslims in the middle belt region, political violence; flooding; forced evictions; cattle rustling; competition for resources)
  • illicit drugs: a transit point for heroin and cocaine intended for European, East Asian, and North American markets; consumer of amphetamines; safe haven for Nigerian narcotraffickers operating worldwide; major money-laundering center; massive corruption and criminal activity; Nigeria has improved some anti-money-laundering controls, resulting in its removal from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) Noncooperative Countries and Territories List in June 2006; Nigeria's anti-money-laundering regime continues to be monitored by FATF

Published: Thursday, October 01, 2015