A changing legal imperative (the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed by Britain in 1807) and economic imperative (a desire for political and social stability) led most European powers to support the widespread cultivation of agricultural products, such as the palm, for use in European industry. The Atlantic slave trade was engaged in by European companies until it was outlawed in 1807. After that illegal smugglers purchased slaves along the coast by native slavers. Britain's West Africa Squadron sought to intercept the smugglers at sea. The rescued slaves were taken to Freetown, a colony in West Africa originally established by Lieutenant John Clarkson for the resettlement of slaves freed by Britain in North America after the American Revolutionary War.
Britain intervened in the Lagos kingship power struggle by bombarding Lagos in 1851, deposing the slave-trade-friendly Oba Kosoko, helping to install the amenable Oba Akitoye and signing the Treaty between Great Britain and Lagos on 1 January 1852. Britain annexed Lagos as a crown colony in August 1861 with the Lagos Treaty of Cession. British missionaries expanded their operations and travelled further inland. In 1864, Samuel Ajayi Crowther became the first African bishop of the Anglican Church.
In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received recognition from other European nations at the Berlin Conference. The following year, it chartered the Royal Niger Company under the leadership of Sir George Taubman Goldie. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the company had vastly succeeded in subjugating the independent southern kingdoms along the Niger River, the British conquered Benin in 1897, and, in the Anglo-Aro War (1901–1902), defeated other opponents. The defeat of these states opened up the Niger area to British rule. In 1900, the company's territory came under the direct control of the British government and established the Southern Nigeria Protectorate as a British protectorate and part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time.
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined on January 8, 1897, by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator. The neighbouring Niger takes its name from the same river. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied to only the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu before 19th-century European colonialism.
In 1903, the British victory in the Battle of Kano gave them a logistical edge in pacifying the heartland of the Sokoto Caliphate and parts of the former Bornu Empire. On 13 March 1903, at the grand market square of Sokoto, the last vizier of the caliphate officially conceded to British rule. The British appointed Muhammadu Attahiru II as the new caliph. Lugard abolished the caliphate but retained the title sultan as a symbolic position in the newly organized Northern Nigeria Protectorate. This remnant became known as "Sokoto Sultanate Council". In June 1903, the British defeated the remaining forces of Attahiru I and killed him; by 1906 resistance to British rule had ended.
In the north, the incessant fighting amongst the Hausa city-states and the decline of the Bornu Empire gave rise to the Fulani people gaining headway into the region. Until this point, the Fulani a nomadic ethnic group primarily traversed the semi-desert Sahelian region, north of Sudan, with cattle and avoided trade and intermingling with the Sudanic peoples. At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio led a successful jihad against the Hausa Kingdoms founding the centralised Sokoto Caliphate. The empire with Arabic as its official language grew rapidly under his rule and that of his descendants, who sent out invading armies in every direction. The vast landlocked empire connected the east with the western Sudan region and made inroads down south conquering parts of the Oyo Empire (modern-day Kwara), and advanced towards the Yoruba heartland of Ibadan, to reach the Atlantic Ocean. The territory controlled by the empire included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria. The sultan sent out emirs to establish a suzerainty over the conquered territories and promote Islamic civilization, the emirs in turn became increasingly rich and powerful through trade and slavery. By the 1890s, the largest slave population in the world, about two million, was concentrated in the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate. The use of slave labour was extensive, especially in agriculture. By the time of its break-up in 1903 into various European colonies, the Sokoto Caliphate was one of the largest pre-colonial African states.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost wax process were from Igbo-Ukwu, a city under Nri influence. The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively. The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife's current site date back to the 9th century, and its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures.
Nigeria has been home to several indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms since the second millennium BC, with the Nok civilization in the 15th century BC marking the first internal unification in the country. The modern state originated with British colonialization in the 19th century, taking its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Lugard. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms in the Nigeria region. Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970, followed by a succession of democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, until achieving a stable democracy in the 1999 presidential election; the 2015 election was the first time an incumbent president had lost re-election.
On 1 January 1914, the British formally united the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos Colony. Inhabitants of the southern region sustained more interaction, economic and cultural, with the British and other Europeans owing to the coastal economy. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. By the middle of the 20th century, a great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa.
Millions of Nigerians have emigrated during times of economic hardship, primarily to Europe, North America and Australia. It is estimated that over a million Nigerians have emigrated to the United States and constitute the Nigerian American populace. Individuals in many such Diasporic communities have joined the "Egbe Omo Yoruba" society, a national association of Yoruba descendants in North America. Nigeria's largest city is Lagos. Lagos has grown from about 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 13.4 million in 2017.
National census results in the past few decades have been disputed. The results of the most recent census were released in December 2006 and gave a population of 140,003,542. The only breakdown available was by gender: males numbered 71,709,859, females numbered 68,293,008. According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world's total population increase in 2005–2050. The UN estimates that by 2100 the Nigerian population will be between 505 million and 1.03 billion people (middle estimate: 730 million). In 1950, Nigeria had only 33 million people. In 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigerians should limit their number of children.
Nigeria gained a degree of self-rule in 1954, and full independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960, as the Federation of Nigeria with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as its prime minister, while retaining the British monarch, Elizabeth II, as nominal head of state and Queen of Nigeria. Azikiwe replaced the colonial governor-general in November 1960. At independence, the cultural and political differences were sharp among Nigeria's dominant ethnic groups: the Hausa in the north, Igbo in the east and Yoruba in the west.
521 languages have been spoken in Nigeria; nine of them are extinct. In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country, owing to the influence of British colonisation which ended in 1960. Many French speakers from surrounding countries have influenced the English spoken in the border regions of Nigeria and some Nigerian citizens have become fluent enough in French to work in the surrounding countries. The French spoken in Nigeria may be mixed with some native languages. French may also be mixed with English.
Christian missions established Western educational institutions in the protectorates. Under Britain's policy of indirect rule and validation of Islamic tradition, the Crown did not encourage the operation of Christian missions in the northern, Islamic part of the country. Some children of the southern elite went to Great Britain to pursue higher education. By independence in 1960, regional differences in modern educational access were marked. The legacy, though less pronounced, continues to the present day. Imbalances between north and south were expressed in Nigeria's political life as well. For instance, northern Nigeria did not outlaw slavery until 1936 whilst in other parts of Nigeria slavery was abolished soon after colonialism.
Ethnocentrism, tribalism, religious persecution, and prebendalism have plagued Nigerian politics both before and after independence in 1960. All major parties have practised vote-rigging and other means of coercion to remain competitive. In the period before 1983 election, a report prepared by the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies showed that only the 1959 and 1979 elections were held without systemic rigging. In 2012, Nigeria was estimated to have lost over $400 billion to corruption since independence. Kin-selective altruism is prevalent in Nigerian politics, resulting in tribalist efforts to concentrate Federal power to a particular region of their interests. Because of the above issues, Nigeria's political parties are pan-national and secular in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities). The two major political parties are the People's Democratic Party of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress, with twenty registered minor opposition parties.
Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made African unity the centrepiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid government in South Africa. One exception to the African focus was Nigeria's close relationship developed with Israel throughout the 1960s. Israel sponsored and oversaw the construction of Nigeria's parliament buildings.
In 1963, the nation established a federal republic, with Azikiwe as its first president. The disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led to two military coups in 1966. The first coup was in January 1966 and was led mostly by Igbo soldiers under Majors Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The coup plotters succeeded in assassinating Sir Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa alongside prominent leaders of the Northern Region and also Premier Samuel Akintola of the Western Region, but the coup plotters struggled to form a central government. Senate President Nwafor Orizu handed over government control to the Army, under the command of another Igbo officer, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. Later, the counter-coup of 1966, supported primarily by Northern military officers, facilitated the rise of Yakubu Gowon as military head of state. Tension rose between north and south; Igbos in northern cities suffered persecution and many fled to the Eastern Region.
In May 1967, Governor of the Eastern Region Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu declared the region independent from the federation as a state called the Republic of Biafra, under his leadership. This declaration precipitated the Nigerian Civil War, which began as the official Nigerian government side attacked Biafra on 6 July 1967, at Garkem. The 30-month war, with a long siege of Biafra and its isolation from trade and supplies, ended in January 1970. Estimates of the number of dead in the former Eastern Region during the 30-month civil war range from one to three million. France, Egypt, the Soviet Union, Britain, Israel, and others were deeply involved in the civil war behind the scenes. Britain and the Soviet Union were the main military backers of the Nigerian government, with Nigeria utilizing air support from Egyptian pilots provided by Gamal Abdel Nasser, while France and Israel aided the Biafrans. The Congolese government, under President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, took an early stand on the Biafran secession, voicing strong support for the Nigerian federal government and deploying thousands of troops to fight against the secessionists.
Nigeria has remained a key player in the international oil industry since the 1970s and maintains membership in OPEC, which it joined in July 1971. Its status as a major petroleum producer figures prominently in its sometimes volatile international relations with developed countries, notably the United States, and with developing countries.
The Niger Delta Nembe Creek oil field was discovered in 1973 and produces from middle Miocene deltaic sandstone-shale in an anticline structural trap at a depth of 2 to 4 kilometres (7,000 to 13,000 feet). In June 2013, Shell announced a strategic review of its operations in Nigeria, hinting that assets could be divested. While many international oil companies have operated there for decades, by 2014 most were making moves to divest their interests, citing a range of issues including oil theft. In August 2014, Shell said it was finalising its interests in four Nigerian oil fields.
Following the war, Nigeria enjoyed an oil boom in the 1970s, during which the country joined OPEC and received huge oil revenues. Despite these revenues, the military government did little to improve the standard of living of the population, help small and medium businesses, or invest in infrastructure. As oil revenues fueled the rise of federal subsidies to states, the federal government became the centre of political struggle and the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns. The coup in July 1975, led by Generals Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and Joseph Garba, ousted Gowon, who fled to Britain. The coup plotters wanted to replace Gowon's autocratic rule with a triumvirate of three brigadier generals whose decisions could be vetoed by a Supreme Military Council. For this triumvirate, they convinced General Murtala Muhammed to become military head of state, with General Olusegun Obasanjo as his second-in-command, and General Theophilus Danjuma as the third. Together, the triumvirate introduced austerity measures to stem inflation, established a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, replaced all military governors with new officers, and launched "Operation Deadwood" through which they fired 11,000 officials from the civil service.
Colonel Buka Suka Dimka launched a February 1976 coup attempt, during which General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated. Dimka lacked widespread support among the military, and his coup failed, forcing him to flee. After the coup attempt, General Olusegun Obasanjo was appointed military head of state. As head of state, Obasanjo vowed to continue Murtala's policies. Aware of the danger of alienating northern Nigerians, Obasanjo brought General Shehu Yar'Adua as his replacement and second-in-command as Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters completing the military triumvirate, with Obasanjo as head of state and General Theophilus Danjuma as Chief of Army Staff, the three went on to re-establish control over the military regime and organized the military's transfer of power programme: states creation and national delimitation, local government reforms and the constitutional drafting committee for a new republic.
In 1977, a constituent assembly was elected to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity was lifted. The military carefully planned the return to civilian rule putting in place measures to ensure that political parties had broader support than witnessed during the first republic. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was elected president. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly. On October 1, 1979, Shehu Shagari was sworn in as the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Obasanjo peacefully transferred power to Shagari, becoming the first head of state in Nigerian history to willingly step down.
Women face a large amount of inequality politically in Nigeria, being subjugated to a bias that is sexist and reinforced by socio-cultural, economic and oppressive ways. Women throughout the country were only politically emancipated in 1979. Yet husbands continue to dictate the votes for many women in Nigeria, which upholds the patriarchal system. Most workers in the informal sector are women. Women's representation in government since independence from Britain is very poor. Women have been reduced to sideline roles in appointive posts throughout all levels of government and still make up a tiny minority of elected officials. But nowadays with more education available to the public, Nigerian women are taking steps to have more active roles in the public, and with the help of different initiatives, more businesses are being started by women.
Football is largely considered Nigeria's national sport, and the country has its own Premier League of football. Nigeria's national football team, known as the "Super Eagles", has made the World Cup on six occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, and 2018. In April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest-ranking achieved by an African football team. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013, and have also hosted the U-17 & U-20 World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) becoming the first African football team to win gold in Olympic football.
The Shagari government became viewed as corrupt by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society. In 1983, the inspectors of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation began to notice "the slow poisoning of the waters of this country". In August 1983 Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence, and allegations of widespread vote-rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results. There were also uncertainties, such as in the first republic, that political leaders may be unable to govern properly.
The 1983 military coup d'état took place on New Year's Eve of that year. It was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military and led to the overthrow of the government and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as head of state. The military coup of Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the regime's re-election in 1984 was generally viewed as a positive development. Buhari promised major reforms, but his government fared little better than its predecessor. General Buhari was overthrown in a 1985 military coup d'état led by General Ibrahim Babangida, who established the Armed Forces Ruling Council and became military president and commander in chief of the armed forces. In 1986, he established the Nigerian Political Bureau which made recommendations for the transition to the Third Nigerian Republic. In 1989, Babangida started making plans for the transition to the Third Nigerian Republic. Babangida survived the 1990 Nigerian coup d'état attempt, then postponed a promised return to democracy to 1992.
He legalized the formation of political parties and formed the two-party system with the Social Democratic Party and National Republican Convention ahead of the 1992 general elections. He urged all Nigerians to join either of the parties, which Chief Bola Ige referred to as "two leper hands." The two-party state had been a Political Bureau recommendation. After a census was conducted, the National Electoral Commission announced on 24 January 1992, that both legislative elections to a bicameral National Assembly and a presidential election would be held later that year. The adopted process advocated that any candidate needed to pass through adoption for all elective positions from the local government, state government and federal government.
The 1993 presidential election held on 12 June, was the first since the military coup of 1983. The results, though not officially declared by the National Electoral Commission, showed the duo of Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe of the Social Democratic Party defeated Bashir Tofa and Sylvester Ugoh of the National Republican Convention by over 2.3 million votes. However, Babangida annulled the elections, leading to massive civilian protests that effectively shut down the country for weeks. In August 1993, Babangida finally kept his promise to relinquish power to a civilian government but not before appointing Ernest Shonekan head of the interim national government. Babangida's regime has been considered the most corrupt and responsible for creating a culture of corruption in Nigeria. Shonekan's interim government, the shortest in the political history of the country, was overthrown in a coup d'état of 1993 led by General Sani Abacha, who used military force on a wide scale to suppress the continuing civilian unrest.
In 1995, the government hanged environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa on trumped-up charges in the deaths of four Ogoni elders. Lawsuits under the American Alien Tort Statute against Royal Dutch Shell and Brian Anderson, the head of Shell's Nigerian operation, settled out of court with Shell continuing to deny liability. Several hundred million dollars in accounts traced to Abacha were discovered in 1999. The regime came to an end in 1998 when the dictator died in the villa. He looted money to offshore accounts in western European banks and defeated coup plots by arresting and bribing generals and politicians. His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, adopted a new constitution on May 5, 1999, which provided for multiparty elections.
Nigerian citizens have authored many influential works of post-colonial literature in the English language. Nigeria's best-known writers are Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in Literature, and Chinua Achebe, best known for the novel Things Fall Apart (1958) and his controversial critique of Joseph Conrad. Other Nigerian writers and poets who are well known internationally include John Pepper Clark, Ben Okri, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta, Helon Habila, T. M. Aluko, Isaac Delano, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Daniel O. Fagunwa, Femi Osofisan and Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed in 1995 by the military regime. Critically acclaimed writers of a younger generation include Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Chris Abani, Sefi Atta, Helon Habila, Helen Oyeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor, Kachi A. Ozumba, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and Chika Unigwe.
The Nigerian health care system is continuously faced with a shortage of doctors known as "brain drain", because of emigration by skilled Nigerian doctors to North America and Europe. In 1995, an estimated 21,000 Nigerian doctors were practising in the United States alone, which is about the same as the number of doctors working in the Nigerian public service. Retaining these expensively trained professionals has been identified as one of the goals of the government.
With this Africa-centered stance, Nigeria readily sent troops to the Congo at the behest of the United Nations shortly after independence (and has maintained membership since that time). Nigeria also supported several Pan-African and pro-self government causes in the 1970s, including garnering support for Angola's MPLA, SWAPO in Namibia, and aiding opposition to the minority governments of Portuguese Mozambique, and Rhodesia. Nigeria retains membership in the Non-Aligned Movement. In late November 2006, it organised an Africa-South America Summit in Abuja to promote what some attendees termed "South-South" linkages on a variety of fronts. Nigeria is also a member of the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth of Nations. It was temporarily expelled from the latter in 1995 when ruled by the Abacha regime.
The Nigerian military is charged with protecting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promoting Nigeria's global security interests, and supporting peacekeeping efforts, especially in West Africa. This is in support of the doctrine sometimes called Pax Nigeriana. The Nigerian Military consists of an army, a navy, and an air force. The military in Nigeria has played a major role in the country's history since independence. Various juntas have seized control of the country and ruled it through most of its history. Its last period of military rule ended in 1999 following the sudden death of Sani Abacha in 1998. His successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar, handed over power to the democratically elected government of Olusegun Obasanjo the next year.
On May 29, 1999, Abubakar transferred power to the winner of the 1999 presidential election, former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo as the second democratically elected civilian President of Nigeria heralding the beginning of the Fourth Nigerian Republic. This ended almost 33 years of military rule from 1966 until 1999, excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979 and 1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d'état and counter-coups.
Nigeria is home to a substantial network of organised crime, active especially in drug trafficking, shipping heroin from Asian countries to Europe and America; and cocaine from South America to Europe and South Africa. Various Nigerian confraternities or student "campus cults" are active in both organised crime and political violence as well as providing a network of corruption within Nigeria. As confraternities have extensive connections with political and military figures, they offer excellent alumni networking opportunities. The Supreme Vikings Confraternity, for example, boasts that twelve members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are cult members. In lower levels of society, there are the "area boys", organised gangs mostly active in Lagos who specialise in a mugging and small-scale drug dealing. Gang violence in Lagos resulted in 273 civilians and 84 policemen being killed from August 2000 to May 2001.
Nigeria has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks. Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world, with major emerging market operators (like MTN, 9mobile, Airtel and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. Nigeria's ICT sector has experienced a lot of growth, representing 10% of the nation's GDP in 2018 as compared to just 1% in 2001. Lagos is regarded as one of the largest technology hubs in Africa with its thriving tech ecosystem. Several startups like Paystack, Interswitch, Bolt and Piggyvest are leveraging technology to solve issues across different sectors.
Internationally, Nigeria is infamous for a form of bank fraud dubbed 419, a type of advance-fee scam (named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code) along with the "Nigerian scam", a form of confidence trick practised by individuals and criminal syndicates. These scams involve a complicit Nigerian bank (the laws being set up loosely to allow it) and a scammer who claims to have money he needs to obtain from that bank. The victim is talked into exchanging bank account information on the premise that the money will be transferred to them and they will get to keep a cut. In reality, money is taken out instead, or large fees (which seem small in comparison with the imaginary wealth to be gained) are deducted. In 2003, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was created to combat this and other forms of organised financial crime, and in some cases, it has succeeded in bringing the crime bosses to justice and even managing to return the stolen money to victims.
NigComSat-1 was the first Nigerian satellite built, was Nigeria's third satellite, and Africa's first communication satellite. It was launched in 2007 aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China. The spacecraft was operated by NigComSat and the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency. On 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power because of an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus and carries a variety of transponders: four C-band; fourteen Ku-band; eight Ka-band; and two L-band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and the Ka-band transponders would also cover Italy. The satellite was launched from Russia on 27 September 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was part of the worldwide Disaster Monitoring Constellation System. The primary objectives of the Nigeriasat-1 were: to give early warning signals of environmental disaster; to help detect and control desertification in the northern part of Nigeria; to assist in demographic planning; to establish the relationship between malaria vectors and the environment that breeds malaria and to give early warning signals on future outbreaks of meningitis using remote sensing technology; to provide the technology needed to bring education to all parts of the country through distant learning, and to aid in conflict resolution and border disputes by mapping out state and International borders.
Abuja is home to several parks and green areas. The largest, Millennium Park, was designed by architect Manfredi Nicoletti and officially opened in December 2003. After the re-modernization project achieved by the administration of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, Lagos is gradually becoming a major tourist destination. Lagos is currently taking steps to become a global city. The 2009 Eyo carnival (a yearly festival originating from Iperu Remo, Ogun State) was a step toward world city status. Currently, Lagos is primarily known as a business-oriented and fast-paced community. Lagos has become an important location for African and black cultural identity.
Many countries in Africa are affected by Invasive Alien Species (IAS). In 2004, the IUCN–World Conservation Union identified 81 IAS in South Africa, 49 in Mauritius, 37 in Algeria and Madagascar, 35 in Kenya, 28 in Egypt, 26 in Ghana and Zimbabwe, and 22 in Ethiopia. However, very little is known about IAS in Nigeria, with most technical reports and literature reporting fewer than 10 invasive plants in the country. Aside from plant invaders, Rattus rattus and Avian influenza virus were also considered IAS in Nigeria. The initial entry of IAS into Nigeria was mainly through exotic plant introductions by the colonial rulers either for forest tree plantations or for ornamental purposes. The entry of exotic plants into Nigeria during the post-independence era was encouraged by increasing economic activity, the commencement of commercial oil explorations, the introduction through ships, and the introduction of ornamental plants by commercial floriculturists.
In 2005, Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That year, 12.2%, the equivalent of 11,089,000 hectares had been forested in the country. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest every year equal to an average annual deforestation rate of 2.4%. Between 1990 and 2005, in total Nigeria lost 35.7% of its forest cover or around 6,145,000 hectares. Nigeria had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 6.2/10, ranking it 82nd globally out of 172 countries.
During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria accumulated a significant foreign debt to finance major infrastructural investments. With the fall of oil prices during the 1980s oil glut, Nigeria struggled to keep up with its loan payments and eventually defaulted on its principal debt repayments, limiting repayment to the interest portion of the loans. Arrears and penalty interest accumulated on the unpaid principal, which increased the size of the debt. After negotiations by the Nigerian authorities, in October 2005 Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors reached an agreement under which Nigeria repurchased its debt at a discount of approximately 60%. Nigeria used part of its oil profits to pay the residual 40%, freeing up at least $1.15 billion annually for poverty reduction programmes. Nigeria made history in April 2006 by becoming the first African country to completely pay off its debt (estimated $30 billion) owed to the Paris Club.
Although the elections that brought Obasanjo to power and for a second term in the 2003 presidential election were condemned as unfree and unfair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and hasten development. Ethnic violence for control over the oil-producing Niger Delta region and an insurgency in the northeast are some of the issues facing the country. Umaru Yar'Adua of the People's Democratic Party came into power in the general election of 2007. The international community, which had been observing Nigerian elections to encourage a free and fair process, condemned this one as being severely flawed. President Olusegun Obasanjo acknowledged fraud and other electoral "lapses" but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address in 2007, he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor, they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years. Yar'Adua died on May 5, 2010. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar'Adua's successor, becoming the 14th head of state. Jonathan went on to win the 2011 presidential election, with the international media reporting the elections as having run smoothly with relatively little violence or voter fraud, in contrast to previous elections.
Nigeria's primary energy consumption was about 108 Mtoe in 2011. Most of the energy comes from traditional biomass and waste, which account for 83% of total primary production. The rest is from fossil fuels (16%) and hydropower (1%). Since independence, Nigeria has tried to develop a domestic nuclear industry for energy. Since 2004, Nigeria has had a Chinese-origin research reactor at Ahmadu Bello University and has sought the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency to develop plans for up to 4,000 MWe of nuclear capacity by 2027 according to the National Program for the Deployment of Nuclear Power for Generation of Electricity. In 2007, President Umaru Yar'Adua urged the country to embrace nuclear power to meet its growing energy needs. In 2017, Nigeria signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Nigeria is a state party of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women It also has signed the Maputo Protocol, an international treaty on women's rights, and the African Union Women's Rights Framework. Discrimination based on sex is a significant human rights issue. Forced marriages are common. Child marriage remains common in Northern Nigeria; 39% of girls are married before age 15, although the Marriage Rights Act banning marriage of girls below 18 years old was introduced on a federal level in 2008. There is rampant polygamy in Northern Nigeria. Submission of the wife to her husband and domestic violence are common. Women have fewer land rights. Maternal mortality was at 814 per 100,000 live births in 2015. Female genital mutilation is common, although a ban was implemented in 2015. In Nigeria, at least half a million suffer from vaginal fistula, largely as a result of lack of medical care. Early marriages can result in the fistula.
Afan Music was invented and popularised by the Ewu-born poet and musician Umuobuarie Igberaese. There is a budding hip-hop movement in Nigeria. Kennis Music, the self-proclaimed number-one record label in Africa, and one of Nigeria's biggest record label have a roster almost entirely dominated by hip-hop artists. In November 2008, Nigeria's music scene (and that of Africa) received international attention when MTV hosted the continent's first African music awards show in Abuja. Additionally, the first music video played on MTV Base Africa (the 100th station on the MTV network) was Tuface Idibia's pan-African hit "African Queen".
NigeriaSat-2, Nigeria's second satellite, was built as a high-resolution earth satellite by Surrey Space Technology Limited, a United Kingdom-based satellite technology company. It has 2.5-metre resolution panchromatic (very high resolution), 5-metre multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green and red bands), and 32-metre multispectral (medium resolution, NIR red, green and red bands) antennas, with a ground receiving station in Abuja. The NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft alone was built at a cost of over £35 million. This satellite was launched into orbit by a military base in China. On 10 November 2008 (0900 GMT), the satellite was reportedly switched off for analysis and to avoid a possible collision with other satellites. According to Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, it was put into "emergency mode operation to effect mitigation and repairs". The satellite eventually failed after losing power on 11 November 2008. On 24 March 2009, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NigComSat Ltd. and CGWIC signed another contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R was also a DFH-4 satellite, and the replacement for the failed NigComSat-1 was successfully launched into orbit by China in Xichang on 19 December 2011. The satellite was stated to have a positive impact on national development in various sectors such as communications, internet services, health, agriculture, environmental protection and national security.
A 2012 report on religion and public life by the Pew Research Center stated that in 2010, 49.3 per cent of Nigeria's population was Christian, 48.8 per cent was Muslim, and 1.9 per cent were followers of indigenous and other religions or unaffiliated. However, in a report released by Pew Research Center in 2015, the Muslim population was estimated to be 50%, and by 2060, according to the report, Muslims will account for about 60% of the country. The 2010 census of Association of Religion Data Archives has also reported that 48.8% of the total population was Christian, slightly larger than the Muslim population of 43.4%, while 7.5% were members of other religions. However, these estimates should be taken with caution because sample data is mostly collected from major urban areas in the south, which are predominantly Christian.
Many festivals are held in Lagos; festivals vary in offerings each year and may be held in different months. Some of the festivals are Festac Food Fair held in Festac Town Annually, Eyo Festival, Lagos Black Heritage Carnival, Lagos Carnival, Eko International Film Festival, Lagos Seafood Festac Festival, LAGOS PHOTO Festival and the Lagos Jazz Series, which is a unique franchise for high-quality live music in all genres with a focus on jazz. Established in 2010, the event takes place over a 3 to 5 days period at selected high-quality outdoor venues. The music is as varied as the audience itself and features a diverse mix of musical genres from rhythm and blues to soul, Afrobeat, hip hop, bebop, and traditional jazz. The festivals provide entertainment of dance and song to add excitement to travellers during a stay in Lagos.
In 2012, a new bone marrow donor program was launched by the University of Nigeria to help people with leukaemia, lymphoma, or sickle cell disease to find a compatible donor for a life-saving bone marrow transplant, which cures them of their conditions. Nigeria became the second African country to have successfully carried out this surgery. In the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Nigeria was the first country to effectively contain and eliminate the Ebola threat that was ravaging three other countries in the West African region; the unique method of contact tracing employed by Nigeria became an effective method later used by countries such as the United States when Ebola threats were discovered.
Nigeria poverty rates have gone down significantly in the 2010s because of economic growth. The World Bank states Nigeria has had a 7.4% economic growth in July 2019 which has been their highest yet since the gross domestic product rate decreased to 2%. While as of May 4, 2020, 40% of Nigerians live in poverty, this number still shows the growth of the developing country, with a previously counted 61% of the population living in poverty in 2012. Having made their plans to reduce this number, Nigeria has presented a plan to the World Bank Group to lower this number tremendously. Government instability, which affects the rate at which citizens are employed, is the major reason for the poverty levels being higher in certain periods.
Nigeria has a few electronic manufacturers like Zinox, the first branded Nigerian computer, and manufacturers of electronic gadgets such as tablet PCs. In 2013, Nigeria introduced a policy regarding import duty on vehicles to encourage local manufacturing companies in the country. The city of Aba in the south-eastern part of the country is well known for handicrafts and shoes, known as "Aba made".
There is some piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, with attacks directed at all types of vessels. Consistent with the rise of Nigeria as an increasingly dangerous hot spot, 28 of the 30 seafarers kidnapped globally between January and June 2013 were in Nigeria.
The 2009 thriller film The Figurine heightened the media attention towards the New Nigerian Cinema revolution. The film was a critical and commercial success in Nigeria, and it was also screened in international film festivals. The 2010 film Ijé by Chineze Anyaene, overtook The Figurine to become the highest-grossing Nigerian film; a record it held for four years until it was overtaken in 2014 by Half of a Yellow Sun(2013). By 2016, this record was held by The Wedding Party, a film by Kemi Adetiba.
Nigeria has been pervaded by political corruption. Nigeria was ranked 136 out of 182 countries in Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. More than $400 billion were stolen from the treasury by Nigeria's leaders between 1960 and 1999. In 2015, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari said corrupt officials have stolen $150 billion from Nigeria in the last 10 years.
Nigeria made history by qualifying the first bobsled team for the Winter Olympics from Africa when their women's two-person team qualified for the bobsled competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. In the early 1990s, Scrabble was made an official sport in Nigeria. By the end of 2017, there were around 4,000 players in more than 100 clubs in the country. In 2015, Wellington Jighere became the first African player to win World Scrabble Championship. In 2018, the Nigerian Curling Federation was established to introduce a new sport to the country with the hope of getting the game to be a part of the curriculum at the elementary, high school, and university levels respectively. At the 2019 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Norway, Nigeria won their first international match beating France 8–5.
In April 2015, Nigeria began talks with Russia's state-owned Rosatom to collaborate on the design, construction and operation of four nuclear power plants by 2035, the first of which will be in operation by 2025. In June 2015, Nigeria selected two sites for the planned construction of the nuclear plants. Neither the Nigerian government nor Rosatom would disclose the specific locations of the sites, but it is believed that the nuclear plants will be sited in Akwa Ibom State and Kogi State. The sites are planned to house two plants each. In 2017 agreements were signed for the construction of the Itu nuclear power plant.
As Africa's most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as a peacekeeping force on the continent. Since 1995, the Nigerian military, through ECOMOG mandates, has been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997–1999), and Sierra Leone (1997–1999). Under an African Union mandate, it has stationed forces in Sudan's Darfur region to try to establish peace. The Nigerian military has been deployed across West Africa, curbing terrorism in countries like Mali, Senegal, Chad, and Cameroon, as well as dealing with the Mali War, and getting Yahya Jammeh out of power in 2017.
The United Nations estimates that the population of Nigeria in 2018 was at 195,874,685 , distributed as 51.7% rural and 48.3% urban, and with a population density of 167.5 people per square kilometre. Around 42.5% of the population were 14 years or younger, 19.6% were aged 15–24, 30.7% were aged 25–54, 4.0% were aged 55–64, and 3.1% were aged 65 years or older. The median age in 2017 was 18.4 years. Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world. The birth rate is 35.2-births/1,000 population and the death rate is 9.6 deaths/1,000 population as of 2017, while the total fertility rate is 5.07 children born/woman. Nigeria's population increased by 57 million from 1990 to 2008, a 60% growth rate in less than two decades. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and accounts for about 17% of the continent's total population as of 2017; however, exactly how populous is a subject of speculation.
Nigeria provides free, government-supported education, but attendance is not compulsory at any level, and certain groups, such as nomads and the handicapped, are under-served. The education system consists of six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, three years of senior secondary school, and four, five or six years of university education leading to a bachelor's degree. The government has majority control of university education. Tertiary education in Nigeria consists of universities (public and private), polytechnics, monotechnics, and colleges of education. The country has a total of 138 universities, with 40 federally owned, 39 state-owned, and 59 privately owned. Nigeria was ranked 117th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 114th in 2019.
Before the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria was self-sufficient in food. Agriculture has failed to keep pace with Nigeria's rapid population growth, and Nigeria now relies upon food imports to sustain itself. The Nigerian government promoted the use of inorganic fertilizers in the 1970s. In August 2019, Nigeria closed its border with Benin and other neighbouring countries to stop rice smuggling into the country as part of efforts to boost local production.
Continuing its Africa-centered foreign policy, Nigeria introduced the Idea of a single currency for West Africa known as the Eco under the presumption that it would be led by the naira, but on December 21, 2019; Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara along with Emmanuel Macron and multiple other UEMOA States, announced that they would merely rename the CFA franc instead of replacing the currency as originally intended. As of 2020, the Eco currency has been delayed to 2025.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics in 2020, Nigeria has about 136,203,231 internet users out of an estimated population of 205,886,311. This implies that as of 2020, 66 per cent of the Nigerian population are connected to the internet and using it actively. Although Nigerians are using the internet for educational, social networking, and entertainment purposes, the internet has also become a tool for mobilizing political protests in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian government has become threatened by how its citizens are using the internet to influence governance and political changes. Using various measures including but not limited to Illegal arrest, taking down of websites, passport seizures, and restricted access to bank accounts, the Nigerian Government punishes citizens for expressing themselves on the internet and working to stifle internet freedom.
Nigeria is also involved in other sports such as basketball, cricket and track and field. Boxing is also an important sport in Nigeria; Dick Tiger and Samuel Peter are both former World Champions. In March 2021, the global governing body FIBA ranked Nigeria as Africa's top men's basketball nation. Nigeria's national basketball team made the headlines internationally when it became the first African team to beat the United States men's national team. In earlier years, Nigeria qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics as it beat heavily favoured world elite teams such as Greece and Lithuania. Nigeria has been home to numerous internationally recognised basketball players in the world's top leagues in America, Europe and Asia. These players include Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, and later NBA draft picks Solomon Alabi, Yinka Dare, Obinna Ekezie, Festus Ezeli, Al-Farouq Aminu, Olumide Oyedeji and others. The Nigerian Premier League has become one of the biggest and most-watched basketball competitions in Africa. The games have aired on Kwese TV and have averaged a viewership of over a million people.