Nigeria: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Nigeria, slaves and slavery, tribal war, sayings, government and exports, women in society



The 1st Nigerian slaves were sent to Haiti by the British captain Sir John Hawkins in 1562. Nearly 10 million slaves were eventually exported from Nigeria. Most of these were Ibos captured by the coastal Ijaw chiefs conducting inland raids. King Akitoye signed a slavery-abolition agreement in 1852, and when King Pepple was caught still in business 2 years later he was deposed and exiled. King Jaja was deported to England for slaving as late as 1887.

Old Nigerian saying: "Nigeria is a place where the best is impossible but where the worst never happens."

Chief Obafemi Awolowa: "West and east Nigeria are as different as Ireland from Germany. The north is as different from either as China."

In 1966 thousands of Ibos were killed by Hausas and over one million Ibos were driven from the northern region.

On May 30, 1967, Lieut. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, an Ibo, took control of the eastern region and declared it the Independent Republic of Biafra. The Federal Republic of Nigeria, aided by the United Arab Republic, Britain, Czechoslovakia, and the U.S.S.R., fought to keep the region. The Biafran rebels had the support of Portugal, France, and Israel. Foreign interest in the war was due to the fantastic oil wealth of the seceding region. Most of the non-Ibo tribes of the eastern region did not want to secede, and most of the Ibos themselves did not want to secede either, but the rebellious soldiers led by Ojukwu insisted on trying to break away from the federation, taking all the wealth of the eastern region with them. The people of the eastern region were trapped and at the mercy of the Ibo leaders, who treated them ruthlessly. When the federation set up a blockade to stop weapons from reaching the Biafrans, the International Red Cross offered to cross the blockade to bring first aid and food supplies to starving and wounded eastern region people. Ojukwu refused all aid, letting his people starve to death, in what many observers believed to be the most horrendous piece of propaganda ever employed--drumming up sympathy and support by allowing thousands of people to starve.

On January 12, 1970, the Biafran leaders surrendered and Ojukwu went into exile in the Ivory Coast.

Nigeria is the world's largest producer of palm kernels and palm oil, the world's largest exporter of peanuts, and a major supplier of cocoa, cotton, bananas, hides and skins, rubber, coffee, and ginger.

The women of the south control the markets and are a powerful political force. Women's trade cooperatives occupy modern office buildings in the large cities. Women own factories, are business executives, judges, doctors, educators. They are considered some of the most advanced women in Africa. The women of the north, however, are typically Muslim--uneducated, hardly exposed to "modern" ways. They rarely appear in public, and when they do are always completely covered to the eyes. The women of the northern Muslim tribes are the only adults in Nigeria who cannot vote.

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