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.


Country Name:

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


  • name: Abuja
  • population: 1,857,000
  • 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 Goodluck Jonathan (since 5 May 2010)
  • head of government: President Goodluck Jonathan (since 5 May 2010)
  • cabinet: Federal Executive Council
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 16 April 2011 (next to be held in April 2015)

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


  • 170,123,740 (global rank: 7)
  • growth rate: 2.553% (global rank: 27)


  • noun: Nigerian(s)
  • adjective: Nigerian

Major Cities:

  • Lagos 10.203 million; Kano 3.304 million; Ibadan 2.762 million; Abuja (capital) 1.857 million; Kaduna 1.519 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: 52.05 years (global rank: 211)
  • male: 48.95 years
  • female: 55.33 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 74.36 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 16)
  • male: 79.44 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 68.97 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 3.6% (2009 est.) (global rank: 17)
  • people living with AIDS: 3.3 million (2009 est.) (global rank: 2)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 68%
  • male: 75.7%
  • female: 60.6%


Overview: Oil-rich Nigeria has been hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macroeconomic management but in 2008 began pursuing economic reforms. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from its overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 80% of budgetary revenues. 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. Nigeria pulled out of its IMF program in April 2002, after failing to meet spending and exchange rate targets, making it ineligible for additional debt forgiveness from the Paris Club. In November 2005, Abuja won Paris Club approval for a debt-relief deal that eliminated $18 billion of debt in exchange for $12 billion in payments - a total package worth $30 billion of Nigeria's total $37 billion external debt. Since 2008 the government has begun to show the political will to implement the market-oriented reforms urged by the IMF, such as modernizing the banking system, removing subsidies , and resolving regional disputes over the distribution of earnings from the oil industry. GDP rose strongly in 2007-11 because of growth in non-oil sectors and robust global crude oil prices . President JONATHAN has established an economic team that includes experienced and reputable members and has announced plans to increase transparency, diversify economic growth, and improve fiscal management. Lack of infrastructure and slow implementation of reforms are key impediments to growth. The government is working toward developing stronger public-private partnerships for roads, agriculture, and power. Nigeria's financial sector was hurt by the global financial and economic crises, but the Central Bank governor has taken measures to restructure and strengthen the sector to include imposing mandatory higher minimum capital requirements.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $414.5 billion (global rank: 31)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $2,600 (global rank: 174)
  • real growth rate: 6.9% (global rank: 28)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 35.4%, industry: 33.6%, services: 31%


  • currency: Nairas (NGN)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 152.7


  • population below poverty line: 70%
  • unemployment rate: 21%

Agricultural Products:

  • cocoa, peanuts, cotton, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (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: 33.02%
  • permanent crops: 3.14%
  • other: 63.84%

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 phase-out 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
  • refugees (country of origin): 5,778 (Liberia)
  • internally displaced persons: undetermined (communal violence between Christians and Muslims since President Obasanjo's election in 1999; displacement is mostly short-term)
  • 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: Monday, September 08, 2008