Major Problems Facing Nigeria Today

goodluck-jonathanThe Federal Republic of Nigeria remains the baby giant of Africa sitting very close to the soul of mama Africa about 10 degrees north of the equator just at the western coast. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is the most populous country in all of Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world today. Nigeria has a total land area of about 923,768 sq km (about 1.5 percent of which is covered by water) with about 853km of coastline. Just about 33.02% of the total land area remains arable (land good for farming). Nigeria shares borders with the People's Republic of Niger to the North, the Republics of Cameroon and Chad to the east and the People's Republic of Benin to the west. Nigeria also borders the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea) in the south.

Nigeria remains the most popular country in Africa today with an "estimated" population of about 178 million people (followed by Ethiopia the second most populous country in Africa with about 92 million people). Nigeria's population growth rate hovers around 2.6%. Nigeria comprises of 36 different states with Abuja (Abuja has a total land area of about 713 squared kilometers and a population of about 2 million people) being the federal capital of Nigeria. More than 50% of the total population of Nigeria live in urban areas in major towns and cities such as Lagos (the most populous city in Africa today).

Lagos City which used to be the capital of Nigeria from 1914 to 1991 remains the heart and soul of Nigeria with a population of about 11 million people. Kano (another major city in Nigeria today with a population of about 3.5 million people), Ibadan ( a major city with a population of about 3 million people), Kaduna (with a population of about 2 million people), etc. remain some of the major cities and towns in Nigeria today.  Nigeria comprises of about 250 different ethnic groups with Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Fulani being the most dominant ethnic groups both socially and politically. The Yorubas make up about 21% of the total population. The Igbos make up about 18% of the total population. The Hausa and Fulanis together make up about 29% of the total population. Other influential groups living in Nigeria today include the Ijaws who make up about 10% of the total population, the Kanuris (make up about 4% of the total population), the Ibibios (make up about 3.5% of the total population), and the Tivs (make up about 2.5% of the population). Islam remains the most dominant religion in Nigeria today with about 50% of the population being Muslims. Christians make up about 40% of the total population with indigenous believers forming the remaining 10%.

There are more than 550 different languages spoken in Nigeria today (Please note: according to history, Nigeria had about 1500 different ethnic languages most of which are dead due mostly to outside influence) with English being the official language and Pigdin (broken English) being the street language.

Nigeria has a literacy rate of about 61.3% for the total population with the female literacy rate hovering around 50.4%. In other words, just about 50.4% of the total population of females above the age 15 living in Nigeria today can read and write which is very bad compared to most other African countries today. Although just about 60% of the total population above age 15 can read and write English Language, almost the entire population do speak and understand pidgin (broken English) which helps a lot in communication especially on the streets.

Most African countries especially the English speaking countries like Ghana also do speak and understand pidgin which helps a lot in communication between these countries.

Nigeria is a very rich country in terms of natural resources (including natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land) and wildlife. Nigeria is an oil rich country (the leading exporter of oil in Africa today) and one of the leading oil exporters in the world today (the 6th leading oil exporter in the world today). Please note: The petroleum industry remains the largest industry and the main generator of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in Nigeria today.

Despite the abundance of natural resources and the beauty of Nigeria, Nigeria has the largest population of poor people in Africa today. Nigeria unlike countries like Ghana, Botswana, etc. suffers the most from population explosion.

CORRUPTION, poor management of funds, political instability and poor governance continue to tear Nigeria apart. Nigeria although not the "most" violent in Africa, remains the most corrupt country in Africa today with very high unemployment rates. Almost all political figures in Nigeria today engage themselves in corrupt activities leaving the average Nigerian with nothing but poverty and despair.

Although Nigeria has many graduates, most of them end up on the streets with nothing at all to do after college. Most of these unemployed graduates engage themselves in online internet scam and fraud (popularly known as 419 business) just to survive.

Between 50-60 percent of the total Nigerian population live below poverty line. Most people have given up on education because they find nothing useful to do with their degrees after college. These days you see children of school-going age roaming about on the streets doing petty trading.

About 3 to 5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria today with about 220,000 HIV/AIDS deaths recorded in 2009.  Most children on the streets have lost either one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Ethnic and religious conflicts especially between Muslims and Christians worsen the situation in certain parts of Nigeria today. Local terrorist groups such as the famous Boko Haram (which means western education is evil) continue to terrorize innocent people especially in the north.

Besides the deadly HIV/AIDS, the deadly malaria, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, etc. continue to threaten several lives in Nigeria today. According the World Health Organization, more than 26.7% of Nigerian children under the age 5 were underweight in 2008.

Environmental degradation (gradual deterioration of the environment) including soil degradation (caused mainly by oil spills especially in the Niger Delta areas. Oil spillage poisons food sources and water bodies in most of these areas), rapid deforestation, air and water pollution especially in urban areas, desertification (especially in the northern parts), rapid urbanization (which puts much pressure on available resources), etc. remain some of the major environmental issues facing Nigeria today.