Overview on Nigeria
Nigeria; officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria is one of the 16 West African nations.
The West Africa region has 16 sovereign states and Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands in the Atlantic Ocean which are part of British Overseas Territories. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of almost 200 million people. It is therefore referred to as the “Giant of Africa” due to its high population and economic might.
Nigeria’s highest point; Chappal Waddi at 2419 meters above sea level is near its eastern border with Cameroon. Chappal Waddi is part of the Barmend –Adamawa mountain ranges which also includes the Mandara Mountains of Nigeria and Cameroon. Its lowest point is the Atlantic coast at 0 meters above sea level.
Nigeria derives its name from Africa’s third-largest river; River Niger.
Nigeria is both Africa’s and West Africa’s economic engine and powerhouse. It is a federal-state made of 36 states and one Federal Capital Territory; Abuja. Nigeria together with Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia were the only British Colonies in West Africa. However, Liberia is considered as one of the two countries in Africa that were never colonized. The other country that was not colonized is Eastern Africa’s Ethiopia.
Nigeria is located in the Guinea Region in the south and the Sahel region in the north and has an Atlantic coastline at the Gulf of Guinea, Bight of Bonny (Biafra).
The country was home to many pre-colonial kingdoms including Benin. However, the modern boundaries of the country were a creation of the European colonization process which started after the 1884 Berlin Conference which signaled the start for Partition and Scramble for Africa.
The British first divided the country into two; Southern Nigeria Protectorate which today mostly inhabited by Christians and Northern Nigeria Protectorate which is mostly Muslim. The merging of the northern and the southern protectorates was done in 1914. The British colonial system in Nigeria, just as it was in all other African colonies was through the indirect rule of puppet traditional chieftains.
It gained its independence on the 1st of October 1963, under the leadership of Nnamdi Azikiwe, a Christian from the eastern Igbo tribe. This would bring political turmoil and animosity between the Muslim north and the Christian south culminating in the Nigeria Civil war; the Biafra War and a series of despotic military overthrow and rulers.
Nigeria is one of the largest countries in West Africa and the entire continent in general. With an area of 923,768 square kilometers or 356 square miles, it’s the world’s 32nd largest country and Africa’s 14th largest slightly smaller than East Africa’s Tanzania.
According to 2018 population estimates it has a population of 198 million people and this makes it the world’s seventh most populous nation. Nigeria last carried a census in 2006 and back then its population was 140,431, 790 which means that the last 12 years have seen its population increase by more than 58 million people.
Based on 2018 estimates Nigeria has a population density of 215 people per square kilometers or 556.8 persons square mile making it the world’s 65th most densely populated nation. Most of the people live in the central, southern, eastern, and western parts.
Nigeria is an economic powerhouse, and based on the 2018 GDP Purchasing Power Parity, it had a $ 1.69 trillion making it the world’s 23rd largest economy and Africa’s largest. This is equivalent to per capita of $6,030 which drops it to world’s 129th.
2018 estimates puts its nominal GDP at $ 397.472, making it’s the world’s 31st while using the same figures it’s per capital is $ 2,050 ranking at position 137 globally. Nigeria’s 2010 Gini index was 43.0 which is considered medium, while its 2017 Human development Index stood at 0.532 which is low making it rank at position 157 on earth.
Nigeria’s capital city is Abuja, but its largest city is Lagos, a sea port at the Gulf of Guinea. Its official language is English, thanks to its British colonial history and its currency is known and Nigeria Naira (NGN). Pidgin English is the locally spoken language in most informal setting. There are many other African languages spoken in this Africa’s most populated country.