Nigeria Country Facts

Nigeria-mapCountry: Federal Republic of Nigeria

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. After independence in 1960, politics were marked by coups and mostly military rule, until the death of a military head of state in 1998 allowed for a political transition. In 1999, a new constitution was adopted and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of institutionalizing democracy and reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement. 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. The 2015 election is considered the most well run in Nigeria since the return to civilian rule, with the umbrella opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, defeating the long-ruling People’s Democratic Party that had governed since 1999.” (CIA-World Fact Book 2016)

Geography: Nigeria is in Western Africa and shares borders with Niger to the north; Chad to the northeast; Cameroon to the east; and Benin to the west. The southern part of Nigeria borders the Atlantic Ocean – Gulf of Guinea. The coastal region in the south consists of lagoons, sandy beaches and swamps which merge into a rainforest. Central Nigeria is savannah, open woodland, and plateaus. The northern part of the country is desert and semi-desert. Northern Nigeria is the southern extent of the Sahara.

Area: 923,768 sq km; about six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California.

Population: 186,053,386 (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 2.44% (2016 est.)

Fertility Rate: 5.13 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate: 71.2 deaths/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth: 53.4 years

HIV/AIDS Adult Prevalence Rate: 3.17% (2014 est.)

Literacy: 59.6% (age > 15) (2015 est.)

Language: English is the official language. Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo) are the three main languages spoken. There are over 400 other languages spoken in the country.

Capital: Abuja

Government: Federal Presidential Republic.

Climate: varies; The southern coast is hot and humid with a rainy season from March to November. During the dry season, the Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. The north’s rainy season is from July to September. Nights can be cold in December and January.

Religion: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10% : Muslims are in the majority in the north and west of the country; while in the south, Christians form the majority of the population.

Currency: Naira (NGN)

GDP-per capita: $6100 (in 2015 US dollars) (2015 est)

Labor Force: agriculture 70%, industry 10%, services 20% (1999 est.)

Natural Resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, arable land

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


(Information obtained from the World Fact Book 2016 and other sources)