Nigeria is one of the most fascinating countries in Africa. It may be popularly known as the most populous African country, the fastest growing economy across the continent, the country with the biggest city, etc. But it is also a lot of things. In Nigeria, you will come face to face with the most fascinating landforms, bodies of water, cultures, peoples, etc. Check out these fascinating facts about Nigeria:
Interesting Facts About the Location and Size of Nigeria
It will surprise you that even though Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world, it is not the largest country on the continent. Not even the fifth largest! In terms of size, Nigeria is hardly even the size of Algeria. It is about twice the size of California.
Nigeria has a total area of about 923,768 sq. km. From east to west, it extends 700 miles, and from north to south, it extends 650 miles and consists of deserts, plateaus, hills, rock formations, a Niger Delta, etc.
The country is located in the heart of West Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Guinea to the south. To the northeast, it is bordered by Chad. To the west, it is bordered by the French-speaking Benin Republic. And to the North West, it is bordered by Niger. It is bothered by one of the only bilingual countries in Africa to the east—the Cameroons.
The location of Nigeria makes it accessible from just about anywhere in West Africa. One can get to Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and even the Benin Republic by road.
Nigeria leverages its water boundaries so well and boasts of up to six seaports even though just one is functioning.
The biggest state in Nigeria, Niger State, is bigger than the entire country of Togo. And so is the second-biggest state, Borno. Over the years, there have been clashes between Boko Haram, a terrorist group, and the Nigerian military in Borno State.
Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital, is the smallest state in Nigeria, even though it is by far the most populated, having up to 15 million residents. Due to its population, Lagos State has the worst traffic in the country; sometimes, traffic can stretch up to one kilometer.
Interesting Facts About the History of Nigeria
Nigeria’s history dates back many years and includes the rise and fall of many empires. Some of the empires that first settled in Nigeria include The Songhai Empire, The Benin Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Kingdom of Nri, etc.
Nigeria saw European contact around the fifteen century, at the start of the Slave trade. These Europeans sold and bought enslaved people, transporting them on routes including the Trans-Saharan Route.
The British took over the control of Nigeria in 1861, controlling the economy and politics. In 1914, the area became a British colony following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates.
Sir Frederick Lugard, a British man, unified both protectorates to form Nigeria. He was the first Governor of the now unified Nigeria.
The name, Nigeria, was first suggested by a British journalist called Flora Shaw. Since Nigeria is the home of the great River Nigeria, she suggested that it be called ‘The Niger Area.’
Nigeria gained independence from Britain on the 1st of October, 1960, and had The Right Honorable Nnamdi Azikiwe as its first black leader.
The first Nigerian Anthem was written in the year 1960. But it had to be changed, to be replaced by the current anthem “Arise, O, Compatriots.” This new anthem was composed in 1978 by Mr. Ben Odiase.
Mr. Taiwo Akinwknmi designed the Nigerian flag. Green suggests fertile land. White suggests peace and unity.
One of the most historically profound events of modern-day Nigeria is the Nigerian Civil war. The war was fought between the Nigerian government and the Republic of Bia following intertribal conflicts. Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu led the State of Biafra. The war lasted for two years and six months, from July 1967 to January 1970. Nigeria emerged victor, dissolving the opposing State of Biafra.
It is said that during the war, 2 million Biafran civilians lost their lives due to starvation. Nigeria had cut off supplies to the Biafran region, leading to a short supply of food.
The current capital of Nigeria is Abuja, a centrally placed State where the country’s governing institutions are based.
Interesting Facts About Nigerian People (Population and Languages)
Nigeria is by far the most populous black nation in the world! And it is the seventh most populated in the world as a whole. The population of Lagos alone, Nigeria’s smallest state, is almost the entire population of the Benin Republic.
Nigeria’s population Numbers 212 million people, and the population has been growing steadily due to the high birth rate. In the year 2019, the following were postulated about the Nigeria population:
- A new child is born every four seconds.
- One person dies every 14 seconds.
- The population gains 1 person every 6 seconds.
- 50 percent of the Nigerian population live in urbanized areas of the country.
- 42.54 percent of the population is constituted by young people aged between 0 and 14.
There are more than 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. The largest is the Hausas, who inhabit the northern area of Nigeria, and the Igbo, who inhabit the southeast area. And the Yoruba, who inhibit the southwest.
Hausas constitute 30 percent of Nigeria’s population and speak a language called Hausa.
The Yorubas make up 15.5 percent and speak Yoruba. Yoruba isn’t only spoken in Nigeria. It is spoken in other countries, including Togo, Ghana, The Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, and even Brazil. The Igbos make up 15.2 of the country’s population.
Nigeria’s population also consists of Non-Africans. About 800,000 Indians live in Nigeria. About 100,000 who live here are from the US.
Nigeria is a religious country. There are three main religions here and they include Islam, Christianity, and Indigenous Africanism.
Islam is practiced by 45 percent of Nigeria. Christianity is practiced by just about the same number. 15 percent identify as Africanists, believing in African gods like Ogun, Amadioha, Anansa, etc.
The official language in Nigeria is the English Language, although most people communicate via Nigerian pidgin English, which has been made even more popular by Afrobeats.
Afrobeat is a genre of music that is similar to dancehall. It has a West African origin and is made by many Nigerian artists. Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afrobeat singer, is a grammy award winner. Wizkid, too. Other Nigerians who have won Grammy awards include Babatunde Olatunji and Sikiru Adepoju.
Nigeria is one of the faces of entertainment and pop culture in Africa.
Nigerians also make for good writers and have won many literary awards. Wole Soyinka, a writer and Nobel Laurette hails from Nigeria and is a Yoruba man.
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Interesting Facts About the Landforms of Nigeria and Tourists Attraction Sites
There are many landforms in Nigeria. But notable ones include:
- Jos Plateau: Jos plateau is located in a city called Jos, which is just around the center of Nigeria. Jos is the capital of Plateau state, which gets its name from this enormous landform. The Jos Plateau spans an area of about 8,000 sq. km. and is an average of 4,200ft tall.
- The climate around the Jos Plateau is cool and rainy. Jos Plateau is inhabited and safe for tourists.
- Olumo Rock: Olumo Rock is a mountain, sort of, in Abeokuta, a city in Ogun State. Olumo Rock gets its name from two words: Olu, translating god, and mo, translating moulded. The locals believe that Olumo Rock was moulded by god as a fortress for them to be hidden under during intertribal wars. Tourists are welcome to see the great Olumo rock and will be guided by tour guides as they explore the area.
- River Niger: River Niger is the second largest river in Africa and the river from which Nigeria got its name. River Niger extends about 4 180km and spans many countries. Nigeria gives rise to the Niger Delta, an area in Nigeria consisting of several states. The Niger Delta produces a lot of oil, on which the Nigerian economy thrives.
Other Interesting Facts About Nigeria
- Up to 75 percent of Nigeria’s population are active social media users. Some of the most common social media apps are Twitter and Facebook. Nigerian tweets have trended across the world a couple of times. The most recent is the #EndSars campaign, a campaign to end police brutality in Nigeria. The Nigerian government promised to take care of the issue and disband SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria but failed to do so. The campaign was done to end the continued extortions, rapes, tortures, and killings perpetrated by the members of SARS.
- There are more Muslims in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.
- The biggest church auditorium in the world, The Dunamis Church Int’l headquarters, is located in Nigeria.
- In Taraba state alone, there are more languages than they are in many countries in the world.
- One of the biggest movie industries in Africa is Nigerian Nollywood. Nollywood produces up to 200 films every week.
- In Cross River State, Nigeria, there are more butterfly varieties than there are anywhere else in the world.
- Ogun State, Nigeria, has 9 registered universities, all of which award degrees.
- Nigerian languages account for just about 7 percent of languages in the world.
- The 10th largest reserve of crude oil is in Nigeria.
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Photo by Obinna Okerekeocha on Unsplash