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Nigeria Fact File

Nigeria Fact File

All you need to know about Nigeria at a glance

Official Name: Federal Republic of Nigeria

Capital: Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

Major Cities: Lagos, Abuja, Onitsha, Benin City, Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt

Official Language: English

Main Languages: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo

Demonym: Nigerian

National anthem: “Arise, O Compatriots”

Motto: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”

Government: Federal presidential republic

President: Muhammadu Buhari

Vice-President:  Oluyemi Osinbajo

Amalgamation: 1914

Declared independent from the United Kingdom: October 1, 1960

Republic Declared: October 1, 1963

Location: Located in West Africa bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon

Land Mass: 923,768 square kilometres (356,667 square miles)

Longest river: Niger (1126 kilometres within Nigeria)

Highest peak: Chappal Waddi (2418 metres)

Largest lake: Kainji Resevoir (1243 square kilometres)

Population: 2006 Census – 140,431,790

                     July 2014 Estimate (CIA Factbook) – 177,155,754

Number of States: 36

Currency: Naira, kobo

GDP: $522.6 billion (2013 - World Bank)

Main industries and resources: Petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, hydroelectric power, rubber, agriculture (cassava, groundnuts, maize, livestock, oil palm)

Religion: Muslim - 50%; Christian - 40%; indigenous beliefs - 10%

Largest ethnic groups: Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv

The most populous nation on the African continent, Nigeria is home to over 250 different ethnic groups speaking approximately 500 languages. With a long history of various civilisations dating back thousands of years (including the Nok Civilisation, Calabar Kingdom, and Sokoto Caliphate), the country was colonised by Britain during the late nineteenth century and united under its current borders in 1914. Its anti-colonial movement was championed by figures such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Obafemi Awolowo and the country gained its independence in 1960.

After the assassinations and imprisonment of several high-ranking government officials in January 1966, a three-year civil war which began in 1967 following the secession of the region of Biafra (the southeastern part of Nigeria) led to a series of military regimes interspersed by instances of democracy, most notably the June 1993 elections won by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and eventually annuled by the government of General Ibrahim Babangida. In 1999 following the death of General Sani Abacha, Nigeria returned to a democratic system, with former military ruler Olusegun Obasanjo becoming president. Its current president, Muhammadu Buhari, belongs to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is Nigeria's first candidate to defeat an incumbent president. The People's Democartic Party (PDP) is the country’s main opposition party.