Country Profile: Nigeria

Africa's most populous country has had a chequered history since gaining independence from Britain in 1960.

    Nigeria has had a chequered history since gaining independence from Britain in 1960.

    Besides long stints of military rule, it has had to contend with rampant corruption - a scourge that Africa's most populous nation has failed to shrug off.

    Its society is also plagued by rivalry and tension between regions and ethno-religious groups.

    Despite the institution of a federal regime since independence,  the country has been under military rule longer than any other country.

    Democracy was finally restored in 1999  when Olusegun Obasanjo, a fomer military head of state, was elected president.

    Its currently in the midst of holding elections for virtually every tier of the government - a new president, 469 members of parliament, and 36 state governors.

    Though rich in oil - which provides 95 per cent of foreign exchange earnings and about 80 per cent of budgetary revenues - the country has been handicapped by political instability, graft, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macro-economic management.

    From 2008 though, Nigeria has been pursuing economic reforms.

    Independence: October 1, 1960 (from United Kingdom)

    Geography: Nigeria is located in West Africa, bordered by Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Cameroon to the east and the Atlantic Ocean.


    Population: 158.2 million (UN, 2010)

    Median age: 19.2 years

    Birth rate: 35.51 births/1, 000 population (2011 est)

    Death rate: 16.06 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth: 47.56 years

    Ethnic groups: Hausa and Fulani 29 per cent, Yoruba 21 per cent, Igbo (Ibo) 18 per cent, Ijaw 10 per cent, Kanuri 4 per cent, Ibibio 3.5 per cent, Tiv 2.5 per cent

    Religions: Muslim 50 per cent, Christian 40 per cent, indigenous beliefs 10 per cent

    Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages


    Industries: crude oil, coal, tin, columbite; rubber products, wood; hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products,
    footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel

    GDP: $212bn (2009)

    GDP/capita: $2,400 (2010 est.)

    Unemployment: 4.9 per cent (2007 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 70 per cent (2007 est.)

    Exchange rate: $206.7 billion (2010 est.)

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.