The Federal Republic of Nigeria or "Nigeria" for short, remains the baby giant of Africa. Nigeria sits very close to the heart of Africa about 10 degrees north of the equator (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 by population size. Nigeria has an "estimated" population of 196 million people with the population growth rate hovering around 2.6%.
Nigeria has a total land area of about 923,768sq.km (about 1.5% of which is covered by water) with about 853km of coastline. Just about 33.02% of this total land area remains arable (land good for farming). Nigeria ranks 32nd in the world by total land area. Nigeria shares borders with the Republic of Niger to the North, the Republics of Cameroon and Chad to the east and the Republic of Benin to the west. Nigeria also borders the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea) to the south.
Nigeria comprises of 36 different states with Abuja (Abuja has a total land area of about 713sq.km and a population of about 2 million people) being the federal capital. Over 50% of Nigeria's total population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns 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 (Kano has a population of about 3.5 million people), Ibadan ( Ibadan has a population of about 3 million people), Kaduna (a population of about 2 million people), etc. 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 (about 4% of the total population), the Ibibios (about 3.5% of the total population), and the Tivs (about 2.5% of the population). Islam remains the most dominant religion in Nigeria today with roughly 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: Nigeria had about 1500 different ethnic languages not long ago. About 950 are "dead" due mostly to outside influence. English remains the official language of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On the streets however, "Pigdin" (broken English) remains quite popular. Almost the entire population do speak and understand the "pidgin" language (or broken English) which helps a lot in communication. Most other African countries especially the Anglophone countries like Ghana and Liberia, also do speak and understand "pidgin" which helps a lot.
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 can read and write in Nigeria today. Although this literacy rate is far better than in countries like Burkina Faso, this literacy rate falls far below expectations compared to countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, etc.
Nigeria is a very rich country in terms of human and natural resources. Nigeria is blessed with abundance of natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land, etc. Nigeria is a very "oil rich" country. In fact, Nigeria is the leading exporter of oil in Africa today and one of the leading oil exporters in the world (the 6th leading oil exporter in the world today). Nigeria's petroleum industry remains the largest industry and the main generator of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in Nigeria today.
Despite the abundance of human and natural resources, Nigeria remains one of the "poor" countries in the world today. Nigeria has the largest population of poor people in Africa today and suffers the most from population explosion.
Corruption, misappropriation of public funds, political instability and poor governance continue to tear Nigeria apart. Although not the "most" violent in Africa, Nigeria remains the most corrupt country in Africa today with a very high unemployment rate. Almost all political figures in Nigeria today are corrupt in one way or the other leaving the average Nigerian on the streets with nothing but poverty, anger 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 scams and other fraudulent activities (popularly known as the "419" business) just to survive. Between 40-55 percent of Nigeria's population lives below the international 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 street hawking.
According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria's HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate hovers around 3.17%. About 3.5 million people were living with the disease in 2014 with about 175,000 deaths recorded within the same year. Most children on the streets have lost either one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Also, Nigeria remains one of the malaria killing zones in Africa today. Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, etc. continue to threaten several lives in Nigeria today. According to the UNICEF, almost 30% of Nigeria's children under the age 5 are underweight. Malnutrition remains a major problem in Nigeria today and contributes to the deaths of about half a million children each year (about 1 in every 2 child deaths).
Soil degradation (caused mainly by agricultural and industrial runoffs. Oil spillage poisons food sources and water bodies especially in the Niger Delta areas), rampant deforestation, air and water pollution (caused mainly by improper sewage disposals, industrial runoffs, etc. especially in the urban areas), desertification (especially in the northern parts of the country), rapid urbanization (which puts much pressure on the available natural resources), etc. remain some of the major environmental challenges facing Nigeria today.
Several religious, ethnic and polical conflicts continue to tear Nigeria apart. The deadly Boko Haram and its crazy millitants continue to destroy several innocent lives and properties in Nigeria today. Despite president Buhari's numerous promises, Boko Haram continues to steal, rape, kill and destroy especially in the northern parts of the country. Religious tensions especially between Christians and Muslims in some parts of Nigeria leaves many people in fear and insecurity. Ethnic and political insurgent movements such as the Niger Delta Avengers movement or the NDA, separatist and seccessionist movements such as the Independent People Of Biafra or the IPOB movement and many others, continue to fuel tensions and clashes all across Nigeria.