Presidential Republic of Nigeria

The West African state on Niger is the most populous country in Africa. It mainly consists of wide plateaus and plateaus and lies entirely in the humid tropics. The predominant vegetation is therefore savannah.

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state. Social and religious conflicts between peoples have not let the country calm down since gaining independence in 1960.

Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria has rich oil reserves. The drop in oil prices and its dependence on oil exports have plunged the developing country into a persistent deep economic crisis.

Nigeria is located north of the equator in West Africa on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. In the west the country borders on Benin, in the north on Niger and Chad and in the east on Cameroon (Fig. 1).

Nigeria is almost three times the size of Germany.

The state capital has been Abuja since 1991, which replaced Lagos in this role.

Important data about the country

Surface: 923 768 km²
Population: 124 million (1999)
Population density: 117 residents / km²
Growth of population: 2.9% / year
Life expectancy:
(men / women)
49/52 years
Form of government: Presidential Federal Republic with 30 federal states
Population groups: African peoples of the Haussa 21%, Yoruba 21%, Ibo 18%, Fulani 11%, Ibibo 6% and several hundred other peoples and ethnic groups
Languages: English as the official language and numerous tribal languages
Religions: Muslims (45%), Catholics and Protestants 38%, other Christian religious communities 11%, natural religions
Climate: Tropical climate with decreasing rainfall towards the north and a longer dry season. Average temperatures in Lagos all year round around 27 °C.
Land use: Arable land 33.4%, forest 15.4%, pasture land 23%
Main export goods: Crude oil, natural gas, mineral oil products, cocoa, rubber, palm oil
Gross domestic product: US $ 92 billion (1998)
Economic sectors:
(share of GDP 1997)
Agriculture 34%, industry 43%, services 23%
Gross National Product: US $ 300 / residents (1998)

Natural space

Nigeria stretches for more than 1000 km from the Gulf of Guinea to the Chad Basin in the north. Except for the narrow coastal area, the natural space in Nigeria is characterized by highlands that extend over several climatic and vegetation zones.


Surface shape

The coastal low plain, rich in lagoons and swamps, extends to a swamp area more than 100 km wide on the widely diversified Niger Delta. The swamp area extends almost 200 km into the country. Inland, the lowlands merge into gently undulating hilly lands that rarely exceed 500 m in height. The hilly lands extend to the two broad and deep depressions in the middle of the country. They are traversed by the Niger and its tributary Benue, the two largest rivers in Nigeria. The central plateau landscape begins north of the river valleys of Niger and Benue with an average altitude of 1200 m.

The plateaus have the character of broad plateaus. Extinct volcanoes and individual island mountains rise up to almost 2000 m above these plateaus. Further to the northern national borders the plateaus drop to wide plains, in the north-west towards Niger to the plain of Sokoto, in the north-east towards Chad to the alluvial plain of Lake Chad.

The Lake Chad, which, however, belongs only to a small extent to Nigeria, is an endorheic, island-rich lake, which lies in the same basin of central Africa. The area of ​​the shallow, only 3 to 7 m deep lake varies depending on the rainfall between 12,000 and 26,000 km².


Nigeria lies entirely in the tropics and has a tropical climate, which is determined by the change of a longer rainy season in summer with a shorter dry season in winter.

However, the duration and intensity of the rainy season decrease towards the north. While up to 3000 mm of precipitation falls in the coastal areas from April to November, in the much shorter rainy season in the plains of the north it is at most 700 mm.

In addition, the Harmattan blows in the north during the dry season. This hot, dust-filled wind from the vastness of the Sahara parched the land completely.

The mean temperatures in the coastal region fluctuate only slightly over the course of the year between 26 and 29 °C, in the northern parts of the country, however, between 23 °C in winter and 33 °C in summer.


The flat, warm and humid coastline is accompanied by mangrove forests. Inland these pass into extensive swamps and tropical rainforests. The tropical precious woods that naturally grow here, such as mahogany, teak or abura, have been cut down for a long time. The rainforests themselves have also been largely replaced by palm plantations.

Further north follow savannas, first of all the extensive wet savannahs with umbrella acacias and gallery forests in the river plains of Niger and Benue.

With decreasing rainfall, the picture changes to dry savannah and in the plain on Lake Chad, which already belongs to the Sahel zone, to thorn bush savannah.


The developing country of Nigeria has experienced a hopeful, rapid economic upswing since the 1970’s thanks to its rich oil reserves.

However, due to the worldwide drop in oil prices in the 1980’s and the dependence on oil exports, the country was torn into a permanent economic crisis. The crisis finds expression in huge foreign debt, high inflation rates and the impoverishment of the population and has also contributed greatly to the destabilization of the political situation.


Although around 60% of the population work in agriculture, their share of the gross domestic product is only around a third. Today, Nigeria’s agriculture is mainly self-sufficient and is hardly able to meet the food needs of the growing population. As a result of this development, Nigeria lost its former role as a major food exporter. Only rubber and cocoa are important for export. Agriculture can be practiced on about a third of the country’s area. In the mid-1990’s, around 3% of this was used for agriculture and the rest as pastures. Cattle breeding is mainly practiced by nomads in the savannahs of the north.


In Nigeria’s industry, the extraction and processing of crude oil, and in recent years also natural gas, is of paramount importance.

From the start of oil production in 1958, Nigeria made the leap among the leading oil nations in just two decades. Despite falling prices, Nigeria still generated more than 90% of its export earnings from exporting crude oil in the mid-1990’s.

The natural gas, which is also abundant, has now rarely been flared, but exported as liquefied gas or used to generate electricity in Germany.

In addition, Nigeria has a number of other industries, for example the oil processing industry, the food industry, the production of steel, cement and fertilizers as well as the shoe and textile industry. The majority of the operations are concentrated in the Lagos metropolitan area.

The country has so far used its other mineral resources (Fig. 6) to a limited extent.


From 700: Haussa tribes immigrate to the north of Nigeria (arable farmers) and later turn to Islam.

From 1300: Fulani (cattle nomads) immigrate from the west.

From the 15th century: Development of trade relations between the coastal tribes and Portuguese traders and the start of the slave trade.

1841: Christian missions on the coast and Christian missionary work for the Ibo people.

1861: Lagos becomes a British crown colony. By the turn of the century, the Joruba (1886), Ibo (1898) and Fulbe and Haussa (1903) peoples were also subjected.

1914: The colonies of southern and northern Nigeria merge to form the British colony of Nigeria.

1960: the year the state became independent.

1960–1966: The years are marked by crises, unrest, military coups and tribal clashes.

1967–1970: The Eastern Region (Ibos) declares itself to be the “Republic of Biafra”, which is recaptured by the central government’s troops after two and a half years. After that, famines threaten the Ibos in particular.

1979: An elected government took over the business of government for a long time, but was overthrown by the military.

The country has not come to rest to this day. One reason is undoubtedly that business and politics are heavily influenced by foreign corporations, especially the oil multinationals. Another cause is the great social differences between rich and poor and between the population groups, which repeatedly lead to uprisings and prevent the country from stabilizing.

About the author