Nigeria: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Nigeria.



Location--On the southern side of the West African bulge, with a 680-mi. southern coast along the Gulf of Guinea; to the north, Niger; to the northeast, Lake Chad; to the east, Cameroon; to the west, Dahomey.

How Created--The British began at the coast, through successive annexations inland, and combined a Crown Colony and 2 protectorates into one possession.

Size--356,699 sq. mi. (923,773 sq. km.).

Population--63.5 million: Hausa, 21.4%; Ibo, 17.9%; Yoruba, 17.8%; Fulani, 10.3%; Tiv, 5.6%; Kanuri, 4.9%; Ibibio, 4.7%; Edo, 3.6%; 200 other groups and unknown, 13.8% 47% Muslim, 35% Christian, 18% Animist.

Who Rules--The military, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and the Supreme Military Council.

Who REALLY Rules--The old colonial power, Great Britain, is still a close partner, and remains the main customer for Nigerian exports and the chief supplier of imported goods. Following the Nigerian "civil war" in 1967, the Soviet Union, which had provided strong support for the Federal Government, emerged a powerful ally, with a good hold on Nigeria's rich oil fields. British, American, and French banks help support the Nigerian economy.

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