Country of the World Niger

About the country Niger, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULERS

NIGER

NITTY-GRITTY

Lay of the Land: Landlocked in central West Africa. Largely one big plateau, the balloon-shaped country is dominated by the Sahara Desert, which gives way to arable soil in the south.

Size: 489,189 sq. mi. (1,267,000 sq. km.), about 5/6 the size of Alaska.

Population: 4.9 million.

Who Rules: A bloodless military coup in April, 1974, ended the 14-year rule of the moderate Niger Progressive party. All political parties are now banned; a military tribunal has replaced the Supreme Court. The 12-man Supreme Military Command, led by Lt. Col. Seyni Kountche, discharges all executive and legislative functions.

Who REALLY Rules: The ongoing drought in Niger, which shows no signs of letting up, promises to destroy any government that cannot come to grips with it. It contributed to the downfall of Niger's first president, Hamani Diori, in 1974, and it threatens Kountche as well.

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