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You are in:  Nations > Africa > Nigeria
Nigeria*Nigeria flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Abuja
Area: 923,768 sq km; 356,669 sq miles
Population: 117,170,948 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 42 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 58 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Oil, cocoa, rubber

Industry: Crude oil, mining (coal, tin, columbite); primary processing industries: palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, wood, hides and skins; manufacturing industries: textiles, cement, building materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, printing, ceramics, steel

Agriculture: Cash crops: cacao, peanuts, palm oil, rubber; food crops-maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava, yams; livestock: cattle, sheep, goats, pigs

Currency: 1 naira (N), consisting of 100 kobo

Natural resources: Petroleum, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, natural gas


The people

Ethnic: Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Ibos 71 per cent, Other groups 29 per cent

Language: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Fulfulde, other indigenous languages. English is the official language in Nigeria, although less than half the population is fluent in it. Many Nigerians consider English to be a foreign language, but Pidgin English is often used in casual conversation. Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo are widely spoken and each ethnic group also has its own distinct language. Educated Nigerians are often fluent in several languages.

Religion: Muslim 50 per cent, Christian 40 per cent, Indigenous beliefs 10 per cent. Nigeria is divided between the predominantly Muslim North and the Christian south. Half of the population is Muslim and 40 per cent are Christian. Nigerian groups following traditional African belief systems account for the remaining 10 per cent and are spread throughout the country. Many Christians and Muslims also incorporate some traditional worship practices and beliefs into their daily lives.


The history

Independence: 1 October 1960 (from the United Kingdom)

Government: A new constitution took effect in May 1999, when Nigeria completed its transition from military to civilian rule with the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Written by the outgoing military Government, the new constitution was Nigeria's fourth since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. The document limits the country's President to two four-year terms, but leaves the structure of the Nigerian legislature unchanged. The constitution is believed to adopt the provisions of the 1979 constitution, with some amendments. In the 1979 constitution, the Government was to have been modelled on a modern democratic republic, with a President, a bicameral legislature and an independent supreme court.

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