Facts and Figures About Nigeria
Nigeria Population: About 150 million
Nigeria Ethnic Groups: More than 250, 4000 dialects
Nigeria Size: 577,355 sq miles; that is two and a half times the size of California.
Number of States: 36 plus Abuja, the Federal Capital territory
Major Ethnic Groups: Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Igala, Kanuri, Tiv, Ibiobio, Ijaw, Edo, Efik, Urhobo, Edoma, Itsekiri.
The story of Nigeria a former British colony is a selfless history of leadership in many areas. Nigeria’s citizens are, not surprising, serving as the epitome of this leadership globally in the sciences, arts, humanities, sports, diplomacy etc.
Nigeria is a massive country of almost 100 million people comprising 250 ethnic groups speaking 4000 dialects. In size, it is more than two and half times the size of California. The diversity of Nigeria is reflected in its rainbow of creeds and complexions, views and counterviews, stretching from the fringes of the desert in the North to the Atlantic waters in the South.
With one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, Nigerians are their own harshest critics, loudly establishing organs to make sure they are heard. The country has the largest and most vocal press in Africa, publishing views and opinions freely expressed. However, while debates are impassioned and views varied, Nigerians largely remain united in a single, unswerving thread: ONE NIGERIA. It is this oneness that has been the guiding posts of Nigeria since independence even as it embarked upon state creation exercises in a bid to perfect its federal structure.
Nigerians have often lost their patience, but not their way, or faith, the one that reminds them that clouds may often overrun the skies; they cannot control it; that beyond the eclipse, light awaits.
Facts About Nigeria
1. Nigeria was a former British colony, was amalgamated in 1914, got her independence on the 1st of October 1960, which serves as her national day till date.
2. Abuja is the political capital of Nigeria while Lagos is the former capital of Nigeria and is now the commercial capital. It is the fastest growing city in the world and the UN projects that it would be the 3rd largest city in the world by 2010 with a projected population of 20.2 million.
3. Naira and Kobo are the currency used in Nigeria.
4. Nigeria’s flag consists of three vertical strips of green white and green. The green strips represent the agricultural potential of the country white the white strip represents peace.
5. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with petroleum accounting for 95 percent of its export income.
Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest petroleum exporter.
Nigeria has the 10th largest proven reserves of petroleum, in the world.
6. Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa. Approximately 1 out of every 2 West Africans, 1 out of every 4 Africans, and 1 out of every 5 persons of African origin is a Nigerian, that also makes it eight most populous country in the world.
7. “Nollywood” is the term used to describe the Nigerian Film industry, a new exciting phenomenon that has taken Africa by storm. Reputedly the 3rd largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood, it has grown from almost nothing to a $250 million industry in 13 years and in the process making stars out of people like Genevieve Nnaji, Regina Askia, Nkem Owoh, Richard Mofe Damijo and others.
More Facts on Nigeria.
8. Although Nigeria is generally considered to be a hot tropical country, the highlands around Jos in central Nigeria have a very temperate weather with an average temperature of 20o C.
9. The largest National Park in Nigeria is the Gashaka Gumpti National Park. It is 6,670 sq. Km (about 10 times the size of Singapore) and is in the Adamawa state of Nigeria in the north east of Nigeria.
10. One of Nigeria’s most famous musician is the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938 – 1997) popularly known as ‘Fela’. A Pioneer of a unique fusion of Jazz and West African Highlife music dubbed Afrobeat, Fela was a prolific song writer and a spectacular stage performer. Some of his productions include: Shakara, Gentleman, Zombie, Suffering and smiling and Palaver
11. The playwright and social critic Wole Soyinka is Nigeria’s only Nobel Prize winner. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. A prolific and perspective writer, his works include Kongi’s Harvest, Death and the King’s Horsemen, Ake : the Years of Childhood and The Man Died : Prison Notes.
12. The oldest university in Nigeria is the University of Ibadan, which was founded in 1948 as a college of the University of London. It became an independent University in 1962.
Nigeria’s Leadership in Global Peacekeeping
Since joining the United Nations in 1960, Nigeria has consistently committed itself to the cause of peacekeeping and peacemaking. She sent her first troops to participate in the UN peace mission in the Congo, only days after its independence. In World Citizen, a former advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, Prof. Ruth Morgenthau says of Nigeria “is among the most committed countries to maintaining the degree of international order that the present UN decision making process permits.”
Today, Nigeria leads the world in international peacekeeping. Of the 80 countries contributing troops to over 20 global operations, Nigeria has more than 6,500 men keeping the peace outside its borders in places such as Bosnia Herzgovena, Iraq, Kuwait, Western Sahara, Liberia, Angola, Rwanda. Nigerian troops have also served in Somalia, Mozambique and Cambodia, The Congo, Chad, Lebanon, India, Pakistan (Kashmir). The key thing in global peacekeeping are the men and women risking their lives in the interest of peace. Nigeria has more of those people than any other country in the world.
Nigeria: Leadership in Education
There are more than 18 million students in Nigerian schools at all levels. That is more than the total human population of South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania and the school population of France, Britain and Spain.
The country adopted a 6-3-3-4 educational policy in 1982. The policy requires six years primary education, a two-tier (3-year junior, 3-year senior) secondary education and four years of University education. There are 31 universities in Nigeria today.
Apart from fully funding primary education all around the country, the government also runs secondary schools, and funds technical colleges, polytechnics and universities in all 30 states of Nigeria. In addition, there are hundreds of privately-owned schools duly approved by government for the benefit of those who prefer to send their children to private schools.
While literacy rate stands at about 50 per cent, one of the highest in Africa, the goal of Nigeria is to eradicate illiteracy in the shortest time possible.
Nigeria: A Leader in Global Sports
Nigeria has made its mark in global sports competition. Its national soccer team, the Super Eagles, is adjudged the best in Africa and one of the best ten in the world. Nigeria won the first World Cup in the under-16 category in China in 1985 and came second in the same category two years later in Canada.
Its Under-20 soccer team won the bronze medal in the Junior World Cup competition in the Soviet Union in 1985 and the silver medal in Saudi Arabia in 1989. In the 1994 World Cup competition, Nigeria led its group to qualify for the second round.
In professional boxing, Nigeria has produced three world champions (Hogan “Kid” Bassey (featherweight, 1957-1959); Dick Tiger, (middleweight, 1962-1963) and Massachusetts resident, Bash Ali (cruiserweight, 1987).
Nigeria’s athletes have also won Olympic medals in long jump, 400 x 4 relay and several other track and field events.
Dozens of Nigerians are today professional athletes in Europe and America. A Nigerian based in the US, Hakeem Olajuwon, is today roundly adjudged the best basketballer in the world.
Petroleum: Nigeria’s Economic Bedrock
Since 1908, when German engineers first drilled the first oil well in Nigeria, a buoyant, viable industry has sprung up. Oil is today the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development, accounting for more than 80 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings.
Nigeria’s oil reserves are the ninth largest in the world. In 1987, crude oil reserves totalled 16 billion barrels. It is projected that by 1997, the reserves could rise to 20 billion barrels. Nigeria is a member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. A Nigerian has been elected Secretary General of OPEC for a record sixth term.
Nigeria also has vast largely unexplored natural gas reserves, the world’s fifth largest. Dozens of European and American businesses are currently exploring joint venture businesses in gas production. But Nigerians themselves now realize the danger of over-dependence on the oil sector. In the past few years, deliberate attempts have been made to concentrate on agriculture and encourage manufacturing. Various schemes have been established to assist farmers at every level, resulting in impressive cutbacks in Nigeria’s food import bills while changes in Nigeria’s industrial policy are encouraging foreign participation in manufacturing.