What do you know about Nigeria?
This article presents interesting facts about this African country, and will interest you to know that country’s name Nigeria was first coined by Lady Flora Shaw meaning ‘’Niger Area’’ because of the Niger River that passes through the country.
Nigeria one of Africa’s biggest countries:
A piece of trivia about Nigeria: It is Africa’s biggest country in terms of population and territory. It is believed to have over 186 million people living there (about double the population of Brazil), and it covers an area as big as Western Europe.
The country is made up of 36 states (provinces) that were formed after Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. Some of the states are traditionally quite small, such as Ondo and Osun States, which each have populations between 1.5 and 3 million people.
Nigeria’s geography includes mountainous areas close to the equator. The country’s most important rivers include the Niger River, which provides water to the country’s commercial and industrial centres. The Niger River cuts across the country, while the Benue River flows through Nigeria from north to south.
Other popular lakes in Nigeria include Lake Chad (which is as big as Greece) and Lake Dadin Kowa. In addition to these waterways, there are plenty of man-made canals that provide drinking water for people living in central areas of Nigeria.
Facts about Nigeria’s rivers:
The Niger River is the longest in Africa and probably the second in the world. It is 300km (180 miles) long, flowing through Nigeria from the northern to southern parts of the country. The river has a wide plain on its way through the country, which includes wide areas of farmland. The Benue River flows through several states and is dammed for irrigation purposes. Its total length is over 1,000km (620 miles).
The famous River Niger is so huge that it can be seen from the International Space Station, which orbits Earth at an altitude of 400km!
The Niger River Basin covers about 40% of Nigeria’s territory, while the Benue River Basin covers about 5%. However, Lake Chad has shrunk to a third of its original size. One theory suggests that this loss of water has been caused by agricultural practices and deforestation.
Nigeria is a fairly large country (it is as big as Western Europe in terms of area) with a range of different climates due to its size. The western part of the country is humid and tropical, including the coastal areas that have wet (rainy) and dry seasons. On the other hand, the northern part of Nigeria is dry tropical savannah, which includes grassland with trees scattered here and there. The climate varies within each region too. For example, it is warm in the south but colder in the north.
Commercial and Economic Life in Nigeria:
Nigeria has a lot of food, the most popular are maize (corn) and cassava. Like other countries in West Africa, Nigeria is a major producer and exporter of palm oil. After the discovery of crude oil in 1956, Nigeria has since pivoted its economy on the revenue derived from selling the crude oil among other natural resources. In the northern part of the country, Nigeria has an Afro-Asiatic language family that includes Sudanese Arabic and Hausa. In western Nigeria, it is part of the Niger-Congo language family that includes Yoruba and Pidgin English among others.
Nigeria however, has three major languages which are Hausa Yoruba and Igbo. Hausa is one of the famous Nigerian languages. This is a West African language that was spoken by the Sahel people, majorly residing in the northern part of Nigeria.
Nigeria has been recognized as an independent and sovereign nation since 1960. It is one of the few African countries that has always refused to be drawn into French and British colonialism, which was common across colonial Africa.
The country’s capital city, Abuja, was built in 1991 and is designed in a grid pattern. It covers an area twice the size of Washington D.C. The federal government moved there from Lagos because of security concerns due to a civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970 (Biafran War).
Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an international organization that recognizes the Queen of England as its head. Nigeria also has good relations with the USA and has participated in numerous US-sponsored military exercises.
Nigeria is home to approximately 20% of Africa’s oil reserves, and there is an oil refinery at Port Harcourt that processes around 5 million barrels of oil every day. In addition to the oil, there are large deposits of coal and natural gas in Nigeria too.