Nigerian, adj., n.
/nuy jear"ee euh/, n.
a republic in W Africa: member of the Commonwealth of Nations; formerly a British colony and protectorate. 107,129,469; 356,669 sq. mi. (923,773 sq. km). Cap.: Abuja. Official name, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

* * *


Introduction Nigeria
Background: Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, the OBASANJO administration must defuse longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, if it is to build a sound foundation for economic growth and political stability. Geography Nigeria -
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 923,768 sq km water: 13,000 sq km land: 910,768 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 4,047 km border countries: Benin 773 km, Cameroon 1,690 km, Chad 87 km, Niger 1,497 km
Coastline: 853 km
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north
Terrain: southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Chappal Waddi 2,419 m
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, arable land
Land use: arable land: 30.96% permanent crops: 2.79% other: 66.25% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,330 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; flooding Environment - current issues: soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution - water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the Niger enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea People Nigeria
Population: 129,934,911 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.6% (male 28,503,211; female 28,156,976) 15-64 years: 53.6% (male 35,418,119; female 34,179,802) 65 years and over: 2.8% (male 1,832,682; female 1,844,121) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.54% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 39.22 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 14.1 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/ female total population: 1.03 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 72.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 50.59 years female: 50.6 years (2002 est.) male: 50.58 years
Total fertility rate: 5.49 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 5.06% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 2.7 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 250,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Nigerian(s) adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic groups: Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 57.1% male: 67.3% female: 47.3% (1995 est.) Government Nigeria
Country name: conventional long form: Federal Republic of Nigeria conventional short form: Nigeria
Government type: republic transitioning from military to civilian rule
Capital: Abuja; note - on 12 December 1991 the capital was officially transferred from Lagos to Abuja; most federal government offices have now made the move to Abuja Administrative divisions: 36 states and 1 territory*; Abia, Abuja Federal Capital Territory*, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara
Independence: 1 October 1960 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day (National Day), 1 October (1960)
Constitution: new constitution adopted May 1999
Legal system: based on English common law, Islamic Shariah law (only in some northern states), and traditional law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Olusegun OBASANJO (since 29 May 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Olusegun OBASANJO (since 29 May 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Federal Executive Council elections: president is elected by popular vote for no more than two four-year terms; election last held 27 February 1999 (next to be held NA March 2003) election results: Olusegun OBASANJO elected president; percent of vote - Olusegun OBASANJO (PDP) 62.8%, Olu FALAE (APP-AD) 37.2%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly consists of Senate (109 seats, three from each state and one from the Federal Capital Territory; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and House of Representatives (360 seats, members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: Senate - last held 20-24 February 1999 (next to be held NA March 2003); House of Representatives - last held 20-24 February 1999 (next to be held NA March 2003) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PDP 58%, APP 23%, AD 19%; seats by party - PDP 67, APP 23, AD 19; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - PDP 58%, APP 30%, AD 12%; seats by party - PDP 221, APP 70, AD 69
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the President); Federal Court of Appeal (judges are appointed by the federal government on the advice of the Advisory Judicial Committee) Political parties and leaders: All People's Party or APP [leader NA]; Alliance for Democracy or AD [Alhaji Adamu ABDULKADIR]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Audu OGBEH] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO,
participation: G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNMOVIC, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jibril AMINU consulate(s) general: Atlanta and New York FAX: [1] (202) 775-1385 telephone: [1] (202) 986-8400 chancery: 1333 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Howard
US: Franklin JETER embassy: 7 Mambilla Drive, Abuja mailing address: P. O. Box 554, Lagos telephone: [234] (9) 523-0916/0906/ 5857/2235/2205 FAX: [234] (9) 523-0353
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green Economy Nigeria -
Economy - overview: The oil-rich Nigerian economy, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management, is undergoing substantial economic reform under the new civilian administration. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the capital- intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of budgetary revenues. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has failed to keep up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now must import food. Following the signing of an IMF stand-by agreement in August 2000, Nigeria received a debt-restructuring deal from the Paris Club and a $1 billion credit from the IMF, both contingent on economic reforms. The agreement was allowed to expire by the IMF in November 2001, however, and Nigeria appears unlikely to receive substantial multilateral assistance in 2002. Nonetheless, increases in foreign oil investment and oil production should push growth over 4% in 2002.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $105.9 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $840 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 39% industry: 33% services: 28% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 45% (2000 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.6%
percentage share: highest 10%: 40.8% (1996-97) Distribution of family income - Gini 50.6 (1996-97)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14.9% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 66 million (1999 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 70%, industry 10%, services 20% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 28% (1992 est.)
Budget: revenues: $3.4 billion expenditures: $3.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: crude oil, coal, tin, columbite, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, wood, hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel Industrial production growth rate: -0.3% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 15.9 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 64.15% hydro: 35.85% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 14.768 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 19 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: cocoa, peanuts, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish
Exports: $20.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products 95%, cocoa, rubber
Exports - partners: US 46%, Spain 11%, India 6%, France 5%, Brazil (2000)
Imports: $13.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals
Imports - partners: UK 11%, US 9%, France 9%, Germany 7%, China (2000)
Debt - external: $32 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: ODA $250 million (1998)
Currency: naira (NGN)
Currency code: NGN
Exchange rates: nairas per US dollar - 115 (January 2002), 101.697 (2000), 92.338 (1999), 21.886 (1998), 21.886 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Nigeria Telephones - main lines in use: 500,000 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 200,000 (2001)
Telephone system: general assessment: an inadequate system, further limited by poor maintenance; major expansion is required and a start has been made domestic: intercity traffic is carried by coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, a domestic communications satellite system with 19 earth stations, and a coastal submarine cable; mobile cellular facilities and the Internet are available international: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean); coaxial submarine cable SAFE (South African Far East) Radio broadcast stations: AM 83, FM 36, shortwave 11 (2001)
Radios: 23.5 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 3 (the government controls 2 broadcasting stations and 15 repeater stations) (2002)
Televisions: 6.9 million (1997)
Internet country code: .ng Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 11 (2000)
Internet users: 100,000 (1999) Transportation Nigeria
Railways: total: 3,557 km narrow gauge: 3,505 km 1.067-m gauge standard gauge: 52 km 1.435-m gauge note: years of neglect of both the rolling stock and the right-of-way have seriously reduced the capacity and utility of the system; a project to restore Nigeria's railways is now underway (2001)
Highways: total: 193,200 km paved: 59,892 km (including 1,194 km of expressways) note: many of the roads reported as paved may be graveled; because of poor maintenance and years of heavy freight traffic - in part the result of the failure of the railroad system - much of the road system is barely usable (2001) unpaved: 133,308 km
Waterways: 8,575 km note: consisting of the Niger and Benue rivers and smaller rivers and creeks
Pipelines: crude oil 2,042 km; petroleum products 3,000 km; natural gas 500 km
Ports and harbors: Calabar, Lagos, Onne, Port Harcourt, Sapele, Warri
Merchant marine: total: 43 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 331,094 GRT/614,171 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Bulgaria 1, Greece 1, Norway 1, Pakistan 1, Togo 1, United States 1 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 7, chemical tanker 4, petroleum tanker 29, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
Airports: 70 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 35 over 3,047 m: 7 2,438 to 3,047 m: 10 914 to 1,523 m: 7 under 914 m: 2 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 9 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 35 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 14 under 914 m: 18 (2001)
Heliports: 1 (2001) Military Nigeria
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Police Force Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 30,808,598 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 17,698,911 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching military males: 1,375,112 (2002 est.)
age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $374.9 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Nigeria Disputes - international: Nigeria disputes several villages with Benin along the Okpara River, and only 35 km of their common boundary are demarcated; the Benin- Niger-Nigeria tripoint remains undemarcated; Lake Chad Basin Commission urges signatories Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to ratify delimitation treaty over lake region, the site of continuing armed clashes; oral arguments on the land and maritime boundary disputes between Cameroon and Nigeria were presented to the ICJ; disputes center around Bakasi Peninsula, where armed clashes continue, Bouram Island on Lake Chad, and the maritime boundary and economic zone dispute in the Gulf of Guinea, which also involves Equatorial Guinea; Nigeria requests and Chad rejects redemarcation of boundary, which lacks clear demarcation in sections and has caused several cross-border incidents
Illicit drugs: a transit point for heroin and cocaine intended for European, East Asian, and North American markets; safehaven for Nigerian narcotraffickers operating worldwide

* * *

officially Federal Republic of Nigeria

Country, western Africa.

Area: 356,669 sq mi (923,773 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 129,935,000. Capital: Abuja. There are more than 250 ethnic groups, including Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo. Languages: English (official), Hausa. Religions: Islam, Christianity, traditional religions. Currency: naira. Nigeria consists of plateaus and the lowlands between them, which are major river basins fed especially by the Niger River. It has a developing, mixed economy based largely on petroleum production and agriculture. Manufacturing remains undeveloped. Services, trade, and transportation employ more than two-fifths of the workforce. Nigeria is a federal republic with two legislative bodies; its head of state and government is the president. Inhabited for thousands of years, the region was the centre of the Nok culture from 500 BC to AD 200 and of several precolonial empires, including Kanem-Bornu, Benin, and Oyo. There were also Hausa and Fulani states. Visited in the 15th century by Europeans, it became a centre for the slave trade. The area began to come under British control in 1861 and was entirely British-controlled by 1906. Nigeria gained independence in 1960 and became a republic in 1963, with Nnamdi Azikiwe as president. Ethnic strife soon led to military coups, and military groups ruled the country from 1966 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1999. Civil war between the federal government and the former eastern region, Biafra (1967–70), ended in Biafra's surrender after the death by starvation of perhaps a million Biafrans. In 1991 the capital was moved from Lagos to Abuja. The government's execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995 led to international sanctions, and civilian rule was finally reestablished in 1999. By far the most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria suffers from rapid population increase, political instability, foreign debt, slow economic growth, a high rate of violent crime, and rampant government corruption.

* * *

▪ 2009

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 146,255,000
Head of state and government:
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua

      During 2008 Nigeria's economy was severely affected by the global financial crisis that forced the central bank to revise financial policy and caused Nigerian industrialists to panic and begin withdrawals from their local and overseas accounts. The price of crude oil, the country's major export, underwent wild fluctuations—beginning the year at $95, peaking at $147 in July, and then plunging below $70 in October. Earlier in the year Nigeria's prospects had looked hopeful to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and realize its Vision 2020: the average growth rate was about 6.9%; external reserves amounted to about $63 billion; the naira (national currency) had appreciated significantly against leading currencies; and the non-oil sector showed strong performance. By mid-October, however, the government had completely depleted $14.6 billion in windfall oil profits. Meanwhile, fears that the world oil price might fall below Nigeria's benchmark figure of $62 a barrel necessitated a rethinking of budgetary priorities for 2009.

      Pres. Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, who had come to power in May 2007 after a flawed election in April, consolidated his position, though he was criticized for his gradual approach in implementing campaign promises and was nicknamed “Baba-go-slow.” In February his election as president was upheld by a tribunal, which freed him to assert his independence from former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Yar'Adua instituted a reform of the oil sector, tightened his grip on the military, and reduced corruption; he faced daunting problems, however, in repairing the electricity grid. In August worries about his health surfaced owing to his prolonged 19-day trip to Saudi Arabia for religious and medical reasons, but his vigorous return to public life allayed these fears.

       Transparency International (TI), a global watchdog organization in the fight against corruption, acknowledged “significant improvement” in Nigeria's status, moving it up on TI's corruption index from 147 (in 2007) to 121 of 180 countries (in 2008). The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was praised for some high-profile arrests but was also ridiculed as a tool for attacking the government's political enemies. The EFCC claimed that it had obtained about 250 convictions and recovered about $4 billion in confiscated assets and fines. Nevertheless, powerful interests obstructed its activities. Some state governors arrested under EFCC charges of corruption had also been generous contributors to Yar'Adua's presidential campaign. They joined other implicated members of the political elite to force the dismissal of the first EFCC director and turned the spotlight in the direction of former president Obasanjo and his family. In mid-October, however, the EFCC dismissed the charges against Obasanjo and 31 state governors for lack of sufficient evidence.

       Violence in the Niger delta surged to new levels, pushing the region to the verge of anarchy and resulting in the loss of billions of dollars in oil revenue. A volatile mix of armed militias, criminal gangs, unemployed youths, greedy politicians, corrupt police and military officers, and intransigent oil companies competed for a share in oil profits. In June and again in September, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) spearheaded two well-organized, sophisticated armed operations against the oil companies and the federal army, which succeeded in disrupting production and forcing Royal Dutch Shell to suspend production temporarily. In some areas oil production fell from 20% to 50% of capacity. Unilateral cease-fire declarations demonstrated the militants' strength and discipline and reinforced their demand to participate in a “stakeholders' summit” to discuss local autonomy and a more equitable distribution of oil revenue. Rather than address the socioeconomic roots of unrest, the Joint Task Force launched military attacks on rebel camps and arrested hundreds of suspected militants, while the Senate passed legislation criminalizing organized violence and acts of terrorism. Meanwhile, ordinary people lived in poverty on devastated land with little hope of relief in the near future.

LaRay Denzer

▪ 2008

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 144,077,000
Head of state and government:
Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and, from May 29, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua

      On May 29, 2007, a milestone was reached in Nigeria's history when outgoing Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, marking the first time that a civilian head of state had been succeeded by another civilian. The presidential election took place on April 21, a week after the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Yar'Adua, flag bearer of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), the victorious candidate, with a landslide 24.6 million votes. Former military head of state Muhammadu Buhari won 6.6 million votes, and Vice Pres. Atiku Abubakar took 2.6 million. The PDP won control of 28 of the 36 states, but Lagos, the largest city, remained under the domination of the opposition Alliance for Democracy (AD).

      Unfortunately, these elections fell far below the standards of democratic practice. Shortly before the state elections, the federal army killed at least 25 suspected Islamic militants in Kano. A few hours before voting began on April 21, there was an alleged attempt in Bayelsa state to assassinate Gov. Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP vice presidential candidate, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to bomb INEC's Abuja headquarters. On election day, fraud and thuggery occurred on a massive scale: some polling stations never opened; many opened late; there was a shortage of ballots; voters were often intimidated; and in some precincts the total vote exceeded the number of registered voters. A low turnout reflected popular skepticism of the political process. Observers from multiple international and national watchdog organizations lamented the widespread violence and malpractice, but the Economic Community of West African States representatives pronounced the elections as “fairly acceptable,” and other observers identified positive trends in the country's democratization process.

      Before inauguration day Yar'Adua sought reconciliation with the opposition parties (which had challenged the election in court) and Niger Delta groups (which had stepped up militant action in the oil-producing region). Yar'Adua inherited from Obasanjo a strong political economy that had achieved important successes in paying off the bulk of the country's international debt, extended democracy and the rule of law, restructured the civil service, and made a determined drive against corruption. Within his first 100 days of office, however, the new president broke ranks with his predecessor. He suspended or reversed some of Obasanjo's policies and last-minute decisions concerning privatization, redecriminalization of the currency, a raise in the fuel price, the dismissal of top civil servants, and taxation. Yar'Adua also announced an extensive review of legislation and appointed a new economic team.

 In the Niger Delta, the source of 90% of Nigeria's wealth, the security situation deteriorated. Local armed militia, backed by local inhabitants, seemed dangerously close to turning into an insurgency. In February the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a coalition of militant groups, released a proclamation threatening war. Kidnappings of foreign oil workers accelerated, with a new dimension of random abductions in the centre of Port Harcourt. After the elections militants in various places, claiming that victorious politicians had reneged on promised payments for their services as party thugs, seized 11 Ondo state officials and a number of relatives of politicians, including children and the elderly mothers of two governors. Meanwhile, their truce with the government fell apart in August when fighting broke out among rival gangs in Port Harcourt. Many were killed or wounded. To restore order the government mobilized the Joint Task Force into the region to round up the militants and destroy their strongholds; this was followed in October by a federal army operation in the Port Harcourt waterfront. Residents, however, were skeptical of a military solution and urged the development of effective economic reforms and poverty alleviation.

LaRay Denzer

▪ 2007

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 134,375,000
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      Record crude oil prices in 2006 helped Nigeria to become the first African state to pay off its debt to the Paris Club of rich lenders. Although Nigeria still owed about $5 billion to the World Bank and other private-sector lenders, a write-off of $18 billion in October 2005 and a final payment of $12 billion by Nigeria in April 2006 cleared the way for greater government spending on infrastructure, education, and health. Previous windfall profits had disappeared during military rule without benefiting national development or alleviating poverty. Debt repayment formed the basis of Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo's economic-reform plan, backed by tax reform and greater accountability. Nigeria was removed from an international credit blacklist and achieved credit ratings similar to emerging-market economies such as Turkey and Ukraine, which made the country more attractive to foreign investors.

      Progress in economic performance was closely connected to the government's anticorruption campaign, which succeeded in recovering more than $5 billion and significantly reduced Internet and international financial crime—notably the e-mail fraud scheme popularly known as “419.” The war against graft reached high up the ranks of Nigeria's political elite and had serious implications for the general election in 2007. In September the head of the anticorruption agency announced that almost all of the 36 state governors were being investigated for corruption, with indictments being prepared against 24 of them. The governors of Oyo, Ekiti, and Anambra states were impeached. In Anambra this led to the appointment of Virginia Etiaba as Nigeria's first woman governor. More important, the People's Democratic Party, the majority party, suspended Vice Pres. Atiku Abubakar for three months over allegations of corruption. Although he remained in office, his suspension disqualified him from nomination as a presidential candidate in the 2007 election. Critics believed that the anticorruption war was being used by Obasanjo as a political tool against his opponents who had worked against the president's bid for a third term of office; any official found guilty of corruption would be ineligible to stand as a candidate.

 The year saw an upsurge in armed conflict in the oil-producing communities of the Niger delta spearheaded by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which demanded greater control over the region's oil wealth. Since February, militants had carried out a wave of attacks on pipelines and other oil facilities, including kidnappings of foreign oil workers. Production was slashed by a fifth. In August, President Obasanjo ordered the military to crack down on delta militias, but this proved difficult as local militants put to great advantage their knowledge of the region's intricate network of creeks and swamps. Violence erupted again early in October with more abductions and at least two firefights with Nigerian troops, which allegedly resulted in the death of 17 soldiers. The troops reportedly retaliated by razing a delta village. The military denied the charges, but such reprisals by government troops in the area were not without precedent.

      The sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido, died on October 29 in an airplane crash near Abuja. He was the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria and Niger. His younger brother, Muhammadu Saʿad Abubakar, a professional soldier, was installed as his successor. This marked a significant generational shift in Islamic leadership in northern Nigeria.

      Internationally, Nigeria became a model for other African Union countries in its peaceful observance of international law. In March it arrested and repatriated Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia; Liberian officials handed him over to Sierra Leonean and UN authorities for trial on charges of war crimes. In August Nigeria ended a drawn-out borderlands conflict by ceding the disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon in accordance with a 2002 International Court of Justice ruling.

LaRay Denzer

▪ 2006

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 131,530,000
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      The year 2005 was critical for Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo's government as it sought to push through its reform program before the national focus turned to the 2007 electoral campaign. From February to July the National Political Reforms Conference deliberated on wide-ranging constitutional issues that included federalism versus regionalism, resource control and revenue allocation, rotation of the presidency, tenure of presidential and gubernatorial officials, creation of new states, the banning of former military rulers from contesting elections, and judicial immunity for some public-office holders. At times the debate was heated, and on the issues of resource control and revenue allocation, consensus could not be reached. The delegates from the oil-producing Niger Delta walked out in protest against the conference's decision that their region should receive only 17% of oil income; they had wanted their share to rise to 50% over five years.

      The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), set up in 2000, estimated that 45% of the nation's oil revenues were being either stolen or wasted. Intent on improving the situation, President Obasanjo intensified his anticorruption campaign. In the spring he dismissed two federal ministers, forced the Senate president to resign, publicly identified legislators known to have received huge bribes, and ordered the arrest of a former inspector of police on charges of financial misconduct. In a nationwide broadcast he announced that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission would undertake further investigations and arraignments without regard to who was involved—not even himself or his family. In August he imposed even more stringent measures against corrupt practices and ordered the monitoring of the movement and utilization of all state or federal funds at home and abroad. On August 3 the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Maryland home of Vice Pres. Atiku Abubakar, and on September 15 Bayelsa state Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London on charges of having laundered some £1.8 million (about $3.2 million). Alamieyeseigha later skipped bail and returned to Nigeria, where he was arrested again.

      The judicial system moved slowly, and no high-profile public officials were convicted for economic crimes during the year. Obasanjo's opponents questioned his sincerity and dismissed his drive against corrupt officials as hypocritical and motivated by a desire to undermine the political aspirations of his opponents, especially Vice President Abubakar, who was known to have ambitions to succeed Obasanjo in office in 2007. Abia state Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu publicly accused the president of taking bribes himself. In response Obasanjo instructed the EFCC to investigate the allegations and publish its findings. By September relations between the president and his vice president had broken down completely, and their feud threatened to split the ruling party.

 As world crude-oil prices rose over $60 a barrel, tensions in the Niger Delta increased. Local communities resented government policy on resource control and what they saw as high-handed oil-company practices. Federalists, led by Alamieyeseigha, and militants, led by militia leader Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who in 2004 had threatened war against the federal government, vied for public support. Several times during the summer, militant youth organized kidnappings of oil workers and shut down oil-extraction operations. After Alamieyeseigha was detained, the federal government quickly moved to arrest Dokubo-Asari on charges of treason. His followers retaliated by forcing the shutdown of two oil-flow stations, vowing to “kill every iota of oil operations in the Niger Delta” until he was freed. Although the government later reclaimed control of the stations, the situation remained volatile.

      Nigeria won its case for repatriation from Switzerland of $458 million that had been stolen by former head of state Gen. Sani Abacha. The country played important roles in the campaigns for debt relief for African nations presented to the Group of Eight powers and for African representation in the UN Security Council.

LaRay Denzer

▪ 2005

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 128,254,000
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      Several bouts of violence and civil unrest plagued Nigeria throughout 2004 and threatened to collapse the country's fragile democracy. The overwhelming victory by the ruling People's Democratic Party in the March municipal elections was marred by allegations of fraud and by violent clashes at polling stations that claimed some 50 lives. In April several military officers were arrested after a plan to oust Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo was foiled.

      During much of the year, religious violence preoccupied Nigeria, which had not experienced such heightened unrest since similar bouts of religious conflict occurred in 2001. During the first three months, 350 people were killed and thousands were displaced by the clashes. In May the government declared a state of emergency in Plateau state following religious-based violence that left more than 1,000 persons dead and 70,000 displaced. Christian militias in six Plateau villages attacked mosques and killed an estimated 600 people and left more than 1,000, mostly Muslims, wounded; the most horrific atrocities occurred in Yelwa. These attacks led to reprisals by Muslims in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city, where an estimated 600 people, predominately Christians, were killed. Moreover, many observers emphasized that the violence could not be attributed to religion alone and that the causes were complex. Land disputes between Tarok farmers and Fulani cattle herders were cited as one of the causes. Similar but smaller religious attacks occurred in early June in Numan, near the Cameroon border. Two police crackdowns on antigovernment protests in Abuja and Lagos led to the arrests of more than 200 demonstrators, including Nobel laureate playwright and novelist Wole Soyinka. More than 10,000 people had died in religious, ethnic, and political clashes since 1999, when Nigeria officially ended 15 years of military rule. In August Swiss authorities agreed to release $500 million of former dictator Sani Abacha's assets that were being held in a Swiss bank.

       Kano state was hit hard by a serious polio outbreak that swept across nine West and Central African countries and was believed to have originated in Nigeria. The Kano state government refused to participate in the immunization program led by the World Health Organization, citing that the shots were unsafe. The boycott resulted in 257 polio-afflicted Nigerian children's becoming paralyzed. (See Health: Sidebar (In Sight: A World Without Polio ).)

      Nigeria's oil-rich Niger delta was fraught with continued violence and targeted attacks on oil-production sites. Fighting between ethnic militias left more than 12 people dead in January, and at least 5 persons were killed in March. In September the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) threatened war on the Nigerian government and warned the oil companies that they should leave. The crisis deepened later that month when violence peaked in Port Harcourt, leaving close to 500 people dead. That same month 50 people were killed in a pipeline explosion near Lagos. In October union leaders staged a four-day oil strike that virtually shut down Lagos, and the NDPVF surrendered many weapons to the government as part of a money-for-guns exchange.

      Several foreign oil companies operating in Nigeria faced lawsuits and continued attacks, as a result of ongoing conflict over land and extraction rights. The U.S.-based oil multinational ChevronTexaco suspended operations in April after seven people, including two of its workers, were killed in an attack. Oil giant Shell, dogged by investigations after having admitted that it had falsified oil-reserve estimates, was sued by the Nigerian government for £840 million (about $1.55 billion) for the environmental damage it had caused in the Niger delta. The company had a bitter history in Nigeria owing to allegations of oil spills, security-force brutality, and corruption. American oil-services company Halliburton was under investigation as part of a $180 million bribery case that alleged that the company had funneled bribes to local officials from 1995 to 2000.

Mary F.E. Ebeling

▪ 2004

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 125,275,000
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      With the reelection of Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo in April 2003, Nigeria saw its first civilian transition of power since the country achieved independence in 1960. The polling for the presidential election was generally peaceful, despite fears of violence fueled by the March killing of Marshall Harry, one of Obasanjo's rivals. (In April Nigerian police determined that Marshall's murder was not a political assassination.) Numerous sources cited inconsistencies in the results of certain polling districts; however, European Union monitors later conceded that the end result was likely accurate. The main opposition candidate, former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, called the election “a joke” and immediately petitioned the Court of Appeal to nullify the results. Legal wrangling over the election continued throughout the rest of the year. President Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party (PDP) also gained eight governorships in the April elections. The only state lost by the PDP was the northern state of Kano, which, as per the general political trend in the north, elected a governor more willing to enforce Islamic Shariʿah law.

      At the outset of his second term, Obasanjo reduced petroleum subsidies, which led to a 54% rise in fuel prices for ordinary citizens. Trade unions responded with a general strike, crippling commerce in urban areas. The strike lasted nine days, until the government agreed to reduce the amount of the subsidy cut.

      The increasing role of conservative Islam in northern Nigerian politics continued to spawn controversy in 2003. In September governments and human rights organizations welcomed the news that Amina Lawal, a woman convicted of adultery in a Shariʿah court in 2002 and sentenced to death by stoning, had been acquitted by a court of appeals. In October three northern states halted a World Health Organization polio vaccination drive on the advice of influential Muslims. Some religious leaders claimed that vaccines from Western nations might be used to kill or sterilize Nigeria's Muslim population. The Nigerian government had the vaccine analyzed in November by a committee within the country and thereby set the stage for the resumption of inoculations.

      Nigeria's oil industry continued to be the centre of strife in 2003. The oil-rich Niger Delta region, a site of much turmoil since the mid-1990s, erupted into violence in the weeks before the April elections and again in August. The deadly clashes involved militias of Ijo and Itsekiri ethnic communities as well as Nigerian navy forces. Ijo youths targeted Itsekiri communities and petroleum industry installations in support of their struggle to obtain greater political representation. The Nigerian military intervened to restore calm and protect the region's oil interests. Certain armed groups targeted oil facilities directly, rupturing a major pipeline with explosives in April. Because of the violence, ChevronTexaco and Shell were forced to cut production dramatically in late March, which contributed to a worldwide rise in oil prices. In April striking oil workers held 97 American and British workers, along with 170 Nigerian workers, on offshore oil rigs for nearly two weeks. In June an accidental pipeline explosion in the state of Abia took the lives of more than 100 residents.

      In August Nigerian peacekeeping troops took to the streets of Monrovia, Liberia, to enforce a cease-fire in the civil war in that country. On August 11 Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor went into exile in the southern Nigerian city of Calabar, effectively ending the three-year-old Liberian civil war. In September and October the Nigerian government issued Taylor warnings amid allegations that he was ignoring the conditions of his asylum by remaining in contact with Liberian politicians. Meanwhile, Nigeria rejected UN and Interpol calls for the arrest of Taylor on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      On September 27 Nigeria became the first sub-Saharan African nation after South Africa to have its own satellite in orbit. Developed for the purpose of monitoring regional disasters, NigeriaSat-1 was built by 15 Nigerian engineers, with technical input from Surrey Satellite Technology in England.

Andrew Eisenberg

▪ 2003

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 129,935,000
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      Throughout 2002 Nigeria suffered from violence of many kinds, including communal clashes and religious, ethnic, or land disputes. Ethnic conflicts in Lagos in early February killed more than 100 people. In mid-March, disputes over land in southeastern Nigeria resulted in more than 40 deaths. Ethnic and religious clashes broke out periodically in northern states. Clashes between rival university cult groups at the University of Nigeria in southeastern Enugu state in mid-June left at least 12 students dead. Sporadic violence occurred here and there throughout the year, with a total death toll approaching 1,000. Some government officials blamed the disturbances on former military officers seeking to undermine democracy and prove that a civilian administration was incapable of providing security.

      In mid-March the federal government declared some of the most severe sentences imposed under Shariʿah, or Islamic law, unconstitutional. Twelve of 19 northern and central states had extended jurisdiction of Shariʿah to criminal matters and moral offenses, and these areas rejected the central government's declaration. Several people were to have been executed under Islamic law, but only one execution, the hanging of a man convicted of murder, actually took place in 2002. In Katsina state the execution of Amina Lawal, who had been condemned to death by stoning for adultery, was postponed after her trial and sentence drew international outrage. (See Crime and Law Enforcement: Special Report (Death Penalty on Trial ).) A second appeal in Lawal's case was pending.

      In April and again in August, because of ethnic violence and vigilantism the central government postponed local elections, which were finally set for spring of 2003. The House of Representatives called for the immediate resignation of Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo in August and, when he did not resign, issued a list of 17 charges against him, including corruption, breach of the constitution, and “inability to steer the ship of state”; he refuted all the allegations. Disturbances broke out, and troops were deployed, which resulted in hundreds of fatalities. Obasanjo announced that presidential elections would be held as scheduled in 2003.

      The oil-producing Niger delta region was again the focus of political protests in 2002. In April the Supreme Court awarded all offshore oil revenues to the central administration; this angered state governors in the region, who threatened to revolt and warned of potential violence throughout the country. A bill passed in October, however, stipulated that all oil-producing states would receive their 13% share of the oil revenues paid to the federal government. This placated the governors, but local residents protested that their share of the deal was only the industrial pollution, with none of the benefits. Rights groups also criticized the government for destroying the environment, crushing dissent, and avoiding sharing the profits with local residents. Disruptions of oil production and transport were common. For more than two weeks in July, two groupsof women attracted international attention by blockading and occupying oil pumping stations and terminals.

      On January 27 a fire and explosions at a large munitions dump at the Ikeja Military Cantonment north of Lagos killed more than 1,000 people, a number of whom drowned in a nearby canal while trying to escape the blasts. Many unexploded munitions remained. Despite government efforts to clean up the area, dozens of people were injured or killed over the following few months.

      Another aspect of the violence besetting the country was the activity of vigilante groups. These gangs operated openly—frequently with government support—engaging in extrajudicial killings, public burnings, mutilations, torture, and unlawful detention. Particularly noted for their brutality were the Bakassi Boys, who operated in the southeastern states and subjected those they caught to torture and mutilation, often killing suspected criminals rather than turning them over to the authorities. In August and September, under criticism from international groups and some government officials, the police tried to crack down on the Bakassi Boys in their strongholds of Abia and Anambra states. The federal government outlawed the group, but many vigilantes continued to act clandestinely.

Andrew F. Clark

▪ 2002

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 126,636,000
Abuja; judiciary and some ministries remain in Lagos, the former capital
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      Throughout 2001 Nigeria experienced ethnic and religious violence. In June and July battles between the Tiv minority and Hausa majority left approximately 50,000 people displaced in Nassarawa state. In August Christians and Muslims fought in Bauchi state over the state government's efforts to institute Shariʿah (Islamic law). Similar clashes in the central city of Jos claimed an estimated 1,000 lives in September. Violence flared in October between Muslims and Christians in Kano following Muslim protests against U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan. Official reports put the death toll at 18, though the unofficial tally reached more than 100.

      The oil-producing Niger Delta region was again the site of environmental problems and political conflicts. A blown-out well in the Yorla oil field released crude oil for nine days before being capped. Residents fled several surrounding villages as their crops were destroyed and drinking water was poisoned by the oil. Shell Oil Co. officials charged that they were prevented from taking adequate safety precautions by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), a group formed to protect the interests of the delta region's inhabitants. For its part MOSOP claimed that Shell failed to consult local people about the oil fields.

      In January the federal government asked the Supreme Court to clarify a constitutional provision allowing state governments to keep a portion of profits from oil produced in their territory. The federal government claimed the proceeds of offshore oil production, money that oil-producing states had attempted to keep. In July the court sided with the federal government. As a result, oil-producing states received 7.8% of the national oil revenue rather than the 13% they had claimed.

      In April Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo announced the simultaneous replacement of the heads of the army, navy, and air force. The move was widely interpreted as a result of Obasanjo's desire to remove Army Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen.Victor Malu from office. Malu caused controversy when he publicly criticized military training and cooperation arrangements between Nigeria and the U.S. The new top military men were Maj. Gen. Alexander Ogomudia for the army, Air Vice Marshal James Wuyep for the air force, and Rear Adm. Samuel Afolayan for the navy.

      The government continued to crack down on vigilante groups and ethnic militias. In March the police arrested Gilbert Okoye in connection with the murder of a politician in Anambra state. Okoye led the Anambra Vigilance Services, better known as the Bakassi Boys, a vigilante group that was revived in 2000 and supported by the Anambra government. That support ended amid criticism that the group killed suspected criminals instead of turning them over to the authorities. In April police in Lagos exchanged fire with members of the Oodua Peoples' Congress, a banned Yoruba militia. In late December unknown gunmen assassinated Attorney General and Justice Minister Bola Ige. The attack was blamed on a power struggle between political factions in Ige's home state of Osun.

      In September serious flooding struck northern parts of the country. The Taura dam in Jigawa state overflowed following heavy rains, killing more than 100 people and leaving 40,000 homeless. Another 60 lives were lost and 10,000 people rendered homeless by floods in nearby Kano state. Late in the year a cholera outbreak claimed as many as 700 lives.

      The Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission (HRVIC) continued to look into alleged abuses by the country's former military governments. In July Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, chairman of the HRVIC, called on three former military rulers to appear before the commission. The three, Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdulsalam Abubakar, all refused and challenged the commission summons in court. President Obasanjo appeared before the commission in September to answer charges stemming from his tenure as a military ruler in 1978.

Matthew A. Cenzer

▪ 2001

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 123,338,000
Abuja; judiciary and some ministries remain in Lagos, the former capital
Head of state and government:
President Olusegun Obasanjo

      During 2000 Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo took a variety of steps to secure Nigeria's transition to democracy. Chief among these were reform of the military and the curbing of government corruption. President Obasanjo, himself a former general, continued to force the retirement of officers who had held political positions under previous military governments. In June he signed an anticorruption law that provided a seven-year prison term for officials convicted of corruption. The law also provided for an independent prosecutor should the president or other senior officials be accused of corruption. In August the third-ranked person in government, Senate Pres. Chuba Okadigbo, was impeached following charges that he had been involved in corruption scandals.

      In September Obasanjo swore in members of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, a permanent watchdog group. They were charged with reviewing government contracts signed by the previous military administration and with trying to recover money stolen by former officials. Ongoing investigations had already located more than $1 billion looted by former president Sani Abacha and his family and associates. Some members of the legislature opposed the commission and the new law. They charged that in this and other actions, Obasanjo had centralized too much power in the hands of the executive at the expense of the legislature.

      On August 26 U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton arrived in Abuja for a two-day visit. He praised the country's commitment to democracy and pledged additional U.S. support. Coincident with Clinton's visit was the arrival of the first contingent of U.S. troops sent to train Nigerian soldiers for peacekeeping in Sierra Leone. Another promise of the visit was increased economic ties between the two countries. In one manifestation of this, an American company signed deals to rebuild Nigeria's electricity generation and distribution capabilities. Obasanjo's administration made the restoration of Nigeria's crumbling physical infrastructure a priority. In response to chronic electricity shortages in March, the president fired the entire board of the National Electric Power Authority and appointed a supervisory group that reported directly to him.

      Relations between Christians and Muslims remained tense as more northern states adopted the Shariʿah; by late 2000 nine states had adopted the Islamic legal code. Although Shariʿah applied only to Muslims, many Christians opposed its imposition. Riots between supporters and opponents of Shariʿah flared in Kaduna and other northern cities during February and March. Official figures put the death toll at 400, although unconfirmed reports claimed that as many as 1,000 died. In October rioting spread to Lagos, where more than 100 were killed. Throughout the year many Christians fled northern areas that had adopted the Shariʿah, while many Muslims moved into these same areas.

      Tensions also remained high in the Niger Delta region. Although it was the centre of the country's oil industry, the delta remained among the poorest areas of Nigeria. Late in 1999 Obasanjo had ordered a military crackdown on antigovernment activists there. In September he visited the area and pledged a more equitable distribution of the oil industry's wealth.

      During the year there were several serious oil-pipeline explosions in the southern part of the country. These blasts, which killed more than 300 people, were thought to have been caused by people trying to steal fuel by tapping into the pipes.

      In August the International Monetary Fund approved a $1 billion standby credit, and the World Bank took steps toward implementing a $3 billion loan. Both the IMF and the World Bank had frozen relations with Nigeria under the country's military rulers.

Matthew A. Cenzer

▪ 2000

923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 113,829,000
Abuja; judiciary and some ministries remain in Lagos, the former capital
Head of state and government:
Chairmen of the Provisional Ruling Council Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and, from May 29, President Olusegun Obasanjo

      In 1999 Nigeria underwent major political change. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, interim leader since the death of Sani Abacha in June 1998, oversaw the transition to a democratically elected government and the establishment of a new constitution. Three parties participated in the national elections: the centre-left People's Democratic Party (PDP), the Alliance for Democracy (AD), and the All People's Party (APP). The AD and the APP put forth a joint candidate for the presidential race, Olu Falae. The PDP candidate, Olusegun Obasanjo (see Biographies (Obasanjo, Olusegun )), defeated him in the general election, garnering 63% of the vote. Obasanjo had ruled Nigeria from 1976 to 1979 and was the first military leader in Africa to hand over power to an elected civilian government. He was arrested in 1995 for opposing military rule. Although he did not campaign in this election as a military candidate, supporters and opponents alike noted that Obasanjo had the support of the military. During the vote counting Falae declared the election a “farce,” accusing Obasanjo of massive fraud. International observers noted some irregularities but said that these were insufficient for recalling the election. In early April the Nigerian courts agreed, saying the election would stand.

      The PDP also won a majority of seats in the Chamber of Representatives (206 of 360) and in the Senate (59 of 109). In early June the legislature held session for the first time in 15 years. The new federal constitution authorized both a strong presidency and considerable authority to the states.

      Nigeria continued to face huge problems of corruption and civil violence. During his first months in office, Obasanjo focused on reordering the government. He named a Cabinet, dismissed large numbers of police officers and civil servants who had served under the military governments between 1985 and 1998, and sought to retrieve assets previously embezzled from the national government. In March former members of the Abacha regime returned $64 million to the government. Privatization of national companies that had been initiated by the Abubakar government continued under Obasanjo. The national airlines, fertilizer company, and refinery at Kaduna were all sold into the private sector in 1999.

      Bloody conflicts over land and resources continued in both the north and the south of the country. Hundreds of people were killed in a series of clashes in the oil-rich Niger River delta, where local communities were demanding a share of the wealth pumped from their soil and restitution for the pollution of their environment. Conflicts between the Yoruba and Hausa peoples erupted into riots on several occasions; in August military troops were sent to Kano, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed to stop the ethnic clashes. Internal conflicts occurred over the naming of a new emir in the north and over employment and land in the southeast. In October the northern state of Zamfara announced plans to adopt the Shariʿah (Islamic law) in January 2000. By year's end 1999 many of the strictures already had been put in place, and Christian Nigerians expressed concern over possible repercussions throughout the country.

      The political transition permitted Nigeria to refigure its relationship with other African nations. The first group of 500 Nigerian troops serving in the West African Peace Monitoring Group in Sierra Leone returned home in early September. Also in September, President Obasanjo attended the summit of the Organization of African Unity near Tripoli, Libya, to review the 36-year-old charter of the continental organization in light of the transitions to democracy in many African nations.

Jennifer A. Johnson-Kuhn

▪ 1999

      Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 110,532,000

      Capital: Abuja; judiciary and some ministries remain in Lagos, the former capital

      Head of state and government: Chairmen of the Provisional Ruling Council Gen. Sani Abacha and, from June 9, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar

      At the beginning of 1998, Nigeria teetered on a precipice. Gen. Sani Abacha, the country's head of state, maintained his iron grip on the government. The regime continued to arrest potential rivals and activists calling for democratic reforms, including former chief of general staff Lieut. Gen. Oladipo Diya and more than 20 others for allegedly planning a coup. To deflect growing opposition Abacha announced that democratic elections would be held on August 1. International observers and democracy activists in Nigeria denounced the proposal, noting that Abacha intended to remain in office by holding noncompetitive elections. The Nigerian government also tried to divert criticism by intervening in other West African countries. In February Nigerian troops routed a military-led rebel government in Sierra Leone and restored its exiled president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

      Economic woes reflected and contributed to political instability and repression. Nigeria's currency, the naira, plummeted, which required the government to intervene in foreign exchange markets. The country also suffered constant fuel, electricity, and water shortages. In response the government halted its public-investment program, which was intended to reduce unemployment and poverty as well as reverse the collapse of education and health systems. The government instead poured money into Abacha's upcoming presidential campaign.

      With no real reform in sight, anti-Abacha opposition intensified. A new opposition party emerged, the United Action for Democracy (UAD), which comprised 26 human rights and pro-democracy groups. The UAD called for a popular democratic government, the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners, and the immediate transfer of power from the military to a transitional government of national unity. The UAD insisted that the new government be headed by jailed leader Chief Moshood Abiola, the undeclared winner of the annulled presidential elections held in 1993. On March 3 the UAD organized a march in Lagos that was broken up by police using tear gas and clubs.

      At the end of April, Abacha took stronger measures to solidify his hold on power. General Diya and five others were sentenced to death, and the government stepped up its public relations campaign. Army officers were forced to wear Abacha lapel pins, and the presidential campaign handed out discounted television sets and sacks of rice. Abacha also arranged for the country's five legal political parties to endorse him as the sole presidential candidate. This maneuver prompted the vast majority of Nigerians to boycott elections for a national assembly. In May violent antigovernment protests broke out in Ibadan, Nigeria's second largest city, and 38 activists were arrested.

      On June 8 Abacha suddenly died of an apparent heart attack. (See OBITUARIES (Abacha, Sani ).) He was replaced by his chief of defense staff, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar. (See BIOGRAPHIES (Abubakar, Abdulsalam ).) Opposition leaders called for the regime to install Abiola as president of a transitional government. Instead, Abubakar released nine prominent political prisoners, including former head of state Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, but Abiola remained behind bars, and his health deteriorated rapidly. Several weeks later Abiola died, and violent demonstrations erupted in his native southwestern Nigeria. (See Obituaries (Abiola, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale ).)

      Abubakar implemented some important reforms. By the end of July, he had released scores of political prisoners and promised to disband the five parties set up by Abacha. He also announced that the military regime would hand over power to an elected government in May 1999 in "free and fair" elections. The presidential elections were set for February 1999.

      On October 17 a leaking state-owned gasoline pipeline exploded in the town of Jesse, and the resulting fireball killed at least 700 people. (See Disasters.)


▪ 1998

      Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 103,460,000

      Capital: Abuja; judiciary and some ministries remain in Lagos, the former capital

      Head of state and government: Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council Gen. Sani Abacha

      The first national conventions of the five political parties that had been granted legal status were held in November 1996. The parties elected their leaders as follows: Committee for National Consensus, Abel Ubeku; Democratic Party of Nigeria, Ali Ahmed; Grassroot Democratic Movement, Gambo Lawan; National Centre Party of Nigeria, Mugaji Abdulahi; and United Nigeria Congress Party, Isa Mohamed Argungu. In February 1997 Gen. Sani Abacha indicated that he might run for president in the 1998 elections; he claimed success in his efforts to restore civilian rule and economic stability. He also commented that other nations had been unfair in criticizing his government's attempts to comply with human rights reform.

      The first step in the return to civilian rule began in February with the registration of voters at more than 100,000 centres. Then on March 15 (three months behind schedule), local government elections were held, and in some areas the participation rate was an incredible 90%. These were the first elections in the process that was scheduled to culminate on Oct. 1, 1998, with the transfer of power to a civilian president. Some violence occurred, and at Onitsha police used tear gas to disperse 2,000 demonstrators. Periodically throughout the year, bomb explosions upset government hopes for a peaceful political transition. An explosion in Lagos on January 7 killed 2 soldiers and wounded 27 others, as well as 2 civilians; the bomb was detonated as an army bus passed a bus stop. Another bomb in Lagos during February injured five soldiers and three civilians. In May there were similar incidents in Lagos, Ibadan, and Onitsha. The government accused the opposition National Democratic Coalition, led by exiled author Wole Soyinka, of having staged the attacks. In March the government charged Soyinka and 14 others with treason, accusing them of responsibility for the bomb explosions and of waging war on General Abacha.

      The finance minister, Anthony Ani, presented the 1997 budget in mid-January. He doubled expenditure on the rural sector of the economy for the year. Of a total expenditure of 146 trillion naira, 32.4% was allotted to infrastructure, agriculture, water resources, and rural development, while education and health were also given increases. Defense spending, at 17.5 billion naira, rose in 1997 to 12% of the budget from 10.9% in 1996. The increases were made possible by a rise of $1 on a barrel of oil to $17 per barrel, which increased foreign exchange resources from $1,440,000,000 to $4,090,000,000. Oil production for 1997 was projected at 2,040,000 bbl per day, which was expected to provide revenue of more than $11 billion, up 13.5% over 1996.

      In April there were outbreaks of fighting in the Delta region near Warri between the Ijo and Itsekiri ethnic groups over a decision to remove municipal offices from an Ijo to an Itsekiri location. The unrest, which began in March, involved nearby Shell Oil Co. workers, nearly 100 of whom were held hostage by the combatants; this led to the shutdown of 11 oil wells, which caused Shell to lose 210,000 bbl per day of production. By the end of the month, the government had sent troops to the area to restore order; altogether the disturbances caused Shell to lose 1.5 million bbl of production. Lagos and the surrounding areas were affected by gasoline shortages during the first three weeks of April, and troops were sent to several gas stations to maintain order. Shell claimed that the shortages were not due to the regional disturbances but were the result of technical and distribution problems, and for a few weeks exports were halved from the normal 900,000 bbl per day.

      When the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) visited Nigeria in November 1996, it met Abacha but was not given access to imprisoned opposition leaders such as Moshood Abiola. Nigeria insisted that its suspension from the Commonwealth was unjustified. On November 17 Abacha dissolved his Cabinet and promised to release some political detainees. On December 21 the army announced that it had foiled an attempted coup against Abacha and had arrested his second in command, Lieut. Gen. Oladipo Diya.


      This article updates Nigeria, history of (Nigeria).

▪ 1997

      A republic and suspended member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria is located in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 103,912,000. Cap.: Abuja. Monetary unit: naira, with (Oct. 11, 1996) an official par value of 22 naira to U.S. $1 (free rate of 34.66 naira = £1 sterling); a truer value of the naira was on the free market, where 79.70 naira = U.S. $1 (125.55 naira = £ 1 sterling). Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1996, Gen. Sani Abacha.

      On Jan. 17, 1996, Ibrahim Abacha, the oldest son of the head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, was killed in a plane crash; his death led to the postponement of the budget. He was close to his father and was regarded by some as a restraint upon him. The delayed budget was presented by General Abacha on February 15. He reported that there had been a 2.7% level of growth in 1995 and that the fiscal deficit of 81 billion naira in 1994 had been converted into a small surplus of 1 billion naira in 1995. The 1996 target was for a 4.94% level of growth. Of the total expected revenues of 340 billion naira, 214 billion would come from the sale of oil.

      Political opposition to the military regime and moves toward a return to civilian politics became increasingly significant during 1996. The military accused foreign governments of supplying arms and financial assistance to its exiled opponents, and Wole Soyinka, the exiled winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature, was accused of involvement in bomb explosions in Kano and Kaduna during February because one of his books was found on the body of the Kaduna bomber (the only casualty). Following secret talks in Oslo and Johannesburg, S.Af., a new umbrella organization to oppose the regime was established on April 1; it was to be called the United Democratic Front of Nigeria, and its object was to work for the restoration of democracy and to enable opponents of the regime to speak with one voice.

      Local government elections were held in mid-March, but only five days of campaigning were allowed, and voters had to line up behind their chosen candidates. This was not seen as a move toward democracy, although many candidates ran for election, either for personal advancement or in order to deprive the military of the right to impose candidates. At the end of March, General Abacha dismissed the army and air force commanders; no reason was given. Then in April dozens of military officers were reported to have been "retired," a move that was interpreted as a purge of those who opposed Abacha. A move by Chief Moshood ("MKO") Abiola's lawyers to facilitate his treason trial was not allowed by the Federal High Court. On June 4 Kudirat Abiola, Chief Abiola's senior wife, was murdered; the government offered a 1 million naira reward for the killer and was clearly fearful it might be accused of the murder. Abiola was not allowed to attend his wife's funeral. Bombs aimed at government officials in November further added to the turmoil.

      On June 18 the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) published rules to govern the registration of political parties, and organizations seeking recognition were given until June 26 to obtain registration forms that had to be submitted by July 26. Twenty-three organizations did so. Subsequently, NECON announced the registration of five political associations for the next republic. These were: the United Nigeria Congress Party, the Committee for National Consensus, the National Centre Party of Nigeria, the Democratic Party of Nigeria, and the Grassroots Democratic Movement. When General Abacha addressed the nation on October 1, he announced the creation of 6 new states to bring the total to 36 and appealed to the five newly recognized political parties to be disciplined and orderly; he again insisted that the program for a return to democracy was on track.

      A UN fact-finding mission visited Nigeria at the end of March (at the request of the government) to evaluate progress toward democracy and to examine judicial procedures in the wake of the executions of nine members of the minority Ogoni ethnic group. A member of the mission was reported as saying that the "problems of human rights are terrible and the political problems are terrifying." (GUY ARNOLD)

      This article updates Nigeria, history of (Nigeria).

▪ 1996

      A republic and suspended member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria is located in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 95,434,000. Cap.: Abuja. Monetary unit: naira, with (Oct. 6, 1995) an official par value of 22 naira to U.S. $1 (free rate of 34.78 naira = £ 1 sterling); a truer value of the naira was on the free market, where 86.10 naira = U.S. $1 (136.11 naira = £ 1 sterling). Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1995, Gen. Sani Abacha.

      On Nov. 10, 1995, nine members of the minority Ogoni ethnic group, including playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa (see OBITUARIES (Saro-Wiwa, Kenule Beeson )), were hanged in Port Harcourt. Saro-Wiwa had been convicted by a secret tribunal on October 31 of ordering the murders of four political rivals at a 1994 political rally. He maintained that he was framed and that he and the other eight men were being executed because of their opposition to the nation's ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha, and to the policies of Nigeria's oil industry; most of the nation's oil came from the Ogoni region, and the impoverished Ogonis claimed that they were denied rights to oil revenues and that the area was suffering from high levels of pollution because of the oil operations.

      After the executions many countries, including the United States, recalled their ambassadors from Nigeria or otherwise expressed their displeasure—but stopped short of boycotting Nigerian oil. The Commonwealth of Nations suspended Nigeria's membership and said that the nation would be expelled from the organization if it did not end its military dictatorship and restore democracy within two years.

      In April the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) adopted a draft constitution. Among its provisions were a presidency that would rotate between north and south, the lifting of the ban on politics, and the formation of new political parties. The NCC, however, reneged on an earlier proposal that Nigeria revert to civilian rule in 1996; instead, it gave Abacha an open-ended term of office. In June Abacha lifted the ban on political activity but did not specify a timetable for the return to civilian rule. When pro-democracy groups demonstrated in June, the government met their activities with repression and many arrests. On June 18 a group of leading Nigerian intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, announced the formation of a 17-member National Liberation Council to create a government-in-exile.

      On March 6, amid rumours of a coup attempt, the government announced that numbers of officers and civilians had been arrested, but only on March 10 did the government report that there had been a plot and that 29 people, including the former vice president, retired brigadier general Shehu Yar'Adua, had been arrested. Four days later the former head of state, retired general Olusegun Obasanjo, was also arrested. Both had been campaigning openly for a return to civilian rule. Many observers believed that there had not been any coup attempt and that it had been invented as an excuse to eliminate opposition to the government. A report in The Observer (London) of April 16 claimed that 60 members of the armed forces had been shot in the wake of the alleged coup, though this was denied by the government. International concern over the fate of Obasanjo and Yar'Adua was expressed by the U.K., the European Union, and the U.S. In July South African Pres. Nelson Mandela sent his first vice president, Thabo Mbeki, to Nigeria to protest against Obasanjo's treatment.

      In April, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, representing President Mandela, visited Nigeria to plead for the release of Moshood ("MKO") Abiola, who had been in detention since June 1994. Abiola, however, remained in detention, despite telling Tutu that he would accept the bail terms that he had refused in August 1994, which would have included acceptance of the government decision to annul the presidential election of June 1993, in which he received the most votes. The government refused his offer.

      In a speech on the 35th anniversary of Nigeria's independence (October 1), General Abacha said that he would not permit a return to democracy for three years and that Abiola was to remain in prison. In deference to international appeals, however, he commuted sentences on 40 people charged with having plotted the alleged March coup. He announced that the Provisional Ruling Council would step down in 1998 following legislative and presidential elections. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Nigeria, history of (Nigeria).

▪ 1995

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria is located in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 93,471,000. Cap.: Abuja. Monetary unit: naira, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 22.00 naira to U.S. $1 (34.99 naira = £1 sterling). Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in 1994, Gen. Sani Abacha.

      On Jan. 10, 1994, Gen. Sani Abacha presented a budget in which he announced the abandonment of market reforms instituted in 1986. Interest rates were cut and foreign exchange controls imposed, while the exchange rate was fixed at 22 naira to the U.S. dollar. The measures ruled out a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund, whose previous agreement ended in 1992. Since then Nigeria had failed to service its international debts, adding $5 billion arrears of payments to $31 billion of previous debts. External debt servicing in 1994 (assuming debts were serviced) would cost $6 billion, equivalent to 97% of foreign exchange earnings. Industrial output stood at only 35% of capacity.

      Resentment against the military government grew steadily during the early months of 1994. On April 22, following the establishment on April 16 of nonelected local government caretaker committees to replace the local administrations previously headed by state governors, the government announced details of its political transition program. May 28 was scheduled for the election of delegates to the constitutional conference to be held between June 27 and October 27. Then, on November 28, the draft constitution would be submitted to the Federal Executive Council. The second phase of transition was scheduled for January 1995, when the ban on political activity would be lifted.

      On May 23 elections of delegates to the constitutional conference took place, but they were widely boycotted by the pro-democracy groups in action called for by the National Democratic Coalition. Abstentions were most frequent in the southwest and in Lagos. The boycott was part of a growing campaign to force the military to hand back power to Moshood ("MKO") Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 elections that the military had annulled. On May 31 the police issued a general statement to affirm that nongovernmental political activity was illegal, warning that the boycott was viewed by them as "designed to undermine the security of the government."

      On June 11, before a crowd of about 3,000, Abiola declared himself president, army chief, and head of government. He then went into hiding, touching off a nationwide hunt for him by the military; he was arrested on June 23, by which time he was calling for a national uprising to force the military to relinquish power and recognize the 1993 election results. On June 24 more than 1,000 demonstrators in Lagos were teargassed by the police when they marched to demand Abiola's release. On June 27, opening the constitutional conference, General Abacha pledged to restore democracy, though he gave no date for a transfer of power.

      By the beginning of July, the pro-democracy groups, supported by Nobel Prizewinning writer Wole Soyinka, had launched a war of attrition against the government. Abiola was charged with treason, and the High Court in Abuja refused him bail. The nation's oil workers then declared a 10-day strike in support of demands for Abiola's release. By mid-July the oil strike was crippling the country's leading industry, which was responsible for 98% of Nigeria's export earnings. The currency meanwhile had slumped to the rate of 53 naira to the U.S. dollar. Riots flared in Lagos, and 20 people were killed as the oil strike entered its third week and other economic activity came to a halt. At this time the overwhelming support for Abiola remained in the western part of the nation, which was dominated by Abiola's fellow Yorubas. In Lagos, Soyinka led a protest march that was halted by the police, causing the writer to throw away his medal for "national merit," one of Nigeria's highest awards.

      At the end of July, opponents of the government called for a general strike. On August 15 the military closed down the Guardian, Nigeria's leading newspaper, for suggesting that the military was divided on the issue of a return to civilian rule. Then the judge in the Abiola trial, Mohammed Mustapha, withdrew from the case. In a move to end the strike, the military fired the leaders of the two oil unions, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (Nupeng) and Pengassan, as well as the National Labour Congress and replaced them with military appointments. By mid-August, with the oil strike in its sixth week, unrest was spreading to the northern and eastern parts of the country, where support for Abiola was increasing. Abacha sacked a number of high-ranking military deemed not to be loyal and followed this by firing the heads of all state companies and their boards.

      A possible break in the opposition to the military came early in September when the sacked leaders of the oil unions decided to suspend the strike "in the interests of the suffering masses of Nigeria, the economy and the oil industry." On September 6 Abacha decreed that his regime had absolute power, denying the nation's courts any jurisdiction over his government. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Nigeria, history of (Nigeria).

▪ 1994

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria is located in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 91,549,000. Cap.: Abuja. Monetary unit: naira, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 29.78 naira to U.S. $1 (45.12 naira = £1 sterling). Head of state to Aug. 26, 1993: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (various titles); interim president from August 26 to November 17, Ernest Shonekan; chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council from November 17, Gen. Sani Abacha.

      On Jan. 4, 1993, the Transitional Council and the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) were inaugurated. They were scheduled to exist until August, when a democratically elected president would assume office. The chairman of the Transitional Council was Chief Ernest Adegunle Shonekan, but real power remained in the hands of Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as president of the NDSC. On January 5 the National Electoral Commission (NEC) barred all previous presidential candidates and all members of the two disbanded political parties from campaigning for the office, and then the process of screening some 250 presidential candidates began.

      At the end of March the Social Democratic Party (SDP) chose Moshood Kashimawo Olawale ("MKO") Abiola as its presidential candidate, and the National Republican Convention (NRC) selected Bashir Othma Tofa. The presidential elections were held as scheduled on June 12, and Abiola clearly emerged as the front-runner. However, an application to the High Court by the Association for a Better Nigeria called for a delay in elections while it filed suit to extend military rule. On June 16 publication of the results was postponed, but two days later the Campaign for Democracy (in Lagos), in defiance of the court order, released what it said were the election results, which gave Abiola an outright win in 19 of the 30 states. On June 23 the NDSC announced that the elections had been annulled "so as to protect our legal system and the judiciary from being ridiculed and politicized both nationally and internationally." The U.S. reacted by describing the annulment as "outrageous," on the grounds that the elections had been seen as free and without serious irregularities, and both the U.S. and Britain then restricted aid to Nigeria. Abiola proclaimed that he was the president of Nigeria and urged the country to back him against the military, while the Campaign for Democracy called for civil disobedience to force the NDSC to rescind its annulment. Babangida, however, issued regulations that banned both Abiola and his rival Tofa from taking part in a new election.

      Unrest followed, including a strike in Lagos and a week of civil disobedience, and tanks were called out before order was restored. On July 6 the government issued an ultimatum to the SDP and NRC either to agree to a nonelected interim national government or to face new elections. Both parties agreed to participate in an interim administration, though the SDP insisted that it should be headed by Abiola; he declined on the grounds that it would be no more than military rule by proxy.

      On July 16 the NEC announced plans for new elections, but these were abandoned almost at once, and on July 31 President Babangida announced that an interim government would take office on August 27. On August 26 Babangida "stepped down" as president and handed power over to a nonelected interim national government, dominated by handpicked Babangida loyalists, that was to run the country until March 31, 1994. Chief Shonekan was named head of this administration. Meanwhile, many in Nigeria demanded that power be given to Abiola, who, however, on August 4 had fled to London, from where he denounced the new arrangement. Protests and strikes in August brought Lagos and Ibadan to a standstill.

      On November 17 the military seized power again, this time in the person of the defense minister, Gen. Sani Abacha. He sent Shonekan packing and disbanded the federal and local governmental institutions established under Babangida, who left for Egypt. Abacha lifted curbs on the media and issued the usual round of promises about moves toward democracy. He established a Provisional Ruling Council, mostly made up of military men but with a few civilians, including one close ally of Abiola. The closest thing Nigeria had to a democratically elected head of state, Abiola was uncharacteristically silent about whether he would cooperate with the new regime. International reaction to the coup was almost uniformly negative, but Nigerians and their politicians were generally philosophical about the prospects for more military rule. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article Nigeria, history of (Nigeria).

* * *

Nigeria, flag of   country located on the western coast of Africa. Nigeria has a diverse geography, with climates ranging from arid to humid equatorial. However, Nigeria's most diverse feature is its people. Hundreds of languages are spoken in the country, including Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio, Tiv, and English. The country has abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas.

      The new national capital is Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory, which was created by decree in 1976. Lagos, the former capital, retains its standing as the country's leading commercial and industrial city.

      Modern Nigeria dates from 1914, when the British Protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were joined. The country became independent on Oct. 1, 1960, and in 1963 adopted a republican constitution but elected to stay a member of the Commonwealth. The First Republic was replaced by the military, which ruled for 13 years. The Second Republic lasted from 1979 to 1983, followed by another 15 years of military rule.

  Nigeria is bordered to the north by Niger, to the east by Chad and Cameroon, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea (Guinea, Gulf of) of the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by Benin. Nigeria is not only large in area—larger than the U.S. state of Texas—but also Africa's most populous country.

      In general, the topography of Nigeria consists of plains in the north and south interrupted by plateaus and hills in the centre of the country. The Sokoto Plains lie in the northwestern corner of the country, while the Borno Plains in the northeastern corner extend as far as the Lake Chad (Chad, Lake) basin. The Lake Chad basin and the coastal areas, including the Niger River delta and the western parts of the Sokoto region in the far northwest, are underlain by soft, geologically young sedimentary rocks. Gently undulating plains, which become waterlogged during the rainy season, are found in these areas. The characteristic landforms of the plateaus are high plains with broad, shallow valleys dotted with numerous hills or isolated mountains, called inselbergs; the underlying rocks are crystalline, although sandstones appear in river areas. The Jos Plateau rises almost in the centre of the country; it consists of extensive lava surfaces dotted with numerous extinct volcanoes. Other eroded surfaces, such as the Udi-Nsukka escarpment (see Udi-Nsukka Plateau), rise abruptly above the plains at elevations of at least 1,000 feet (300 metres). The most mountainous area is along the southeastern border with Cameroon, where the Cameroon Highlands rise to the highest points in the country, Chappal Waddi (7,936 feet [2,419 metres]) in the Gotel Mountains and Mount Dimlang (6,699 feet [2,042 metres]) in the Shebshi Mountains.

      The major drainage areas in Nigeria are the Niger-Benue basin, the Lake Chad basin, and the Gulf of Guinea basin. The Niger River, for which the country is named, and the Benue (Benue River), its largest tributary, are the principal rivers. The Niger has many rapids and waterfalls, but the Benue is not interrupted by either and is navigable throughout its length, except during the dry season. Rivers draining the area north of the Niger-Benue trough include the Sokoto (Sokoto River), the Kaduna (Kaduna River), the Gongola (Gongola River), and the rivers draining into Lake Chad (Chad, Lake). The coastal areas are drained by short rivers that flow into the Gulf of Guinea. River basin development projects have created many large man-made lakes, including Lake Kainji (Kainji Lake) on the Niger and Lake Bakolori on the Rima River.

      The Niger delta is a vast low-lying region through which the waters of the Niger River drain into the Gulf of Guinea. Characteristic landforms in this region include oxbow lakes (oxbow lake), river meander belts (see meander), and prominent levees. Large freshwater swamps give way to brackish mangrove thickets near the seacoast.

      Soils in Nigeria, and in Africa generally, are usually of a poorer quality than those in other regions of the world. However, over the centuries Nigerians have utilized agricultural techniques such as slash and burn, intercropping, and the use of shallow planting implements to cope with the shortcomings of the soil. In the precolonial period the country normally produced enough agricultural commodities to feed its population, and it even maintained a surplus for export.

      Nigeria's major soil zones conform to geographic location. Loose sandy soils consisting of wind-borne deposits and riverine sands are found in the northern regions, although, in areas where there is a marked dry season, a dense surface layer of laterite develops, making these soils difficult to cultivate. The soils in the northern states of Kano and Sokoto, however, are not subject to leaching and are therefore easily farmed. South of Kano the mixed soils contain locally derived granite and loess (wind-borne deposits). The middle two-thirds of the country, the savanna regions, contain reddish, laterite soils; they are somewhat less fertile than those of the north because they are not subject to as much seasonal drying, nor do they receive the greater rainfall that occurs in the more southerly regions. The forest soils represent the third zone. There the vegetation provides humus and protects it from erosion by heavy rainfall. Although these soils can readily be leached and lose their fertility, they are the most productive agriculturally. Hydromorphic and organic soils, confined largely to areas underlain by sedimentary rocks along the coast and river floodplains, are the youngest soil types.

      Nigeria has a tropical climate with variable rainy and dry seasons, depending on location. It is hot and wet most of the year in the southeast but dry in the southwest and farther inland. A savanna climate, with marked wet and dry seasons, prevails in the north and west, while a steppe climate with little precipitation is found in the far north.

      In general, the length of the rainy season decreases from south to north. In the south the rainy season lasts from March to November, whereas in the far north it lasts only from mid-May to September. A marked interruption in the rains occurs during August in the south, resulting in a short dry season often referred to as the “August break.” Precipitation is heavier in the south, especially in the southeast, which receives more than 120 inches (3,000 mm) of rain a year, compared with about 70 inches (1,800 mm) in the southwest. Rainfall decreases progressively away from the coast; the far north receives no more than 20 inches (500 mm) a year.

      Temperature and humidity remain relatively constant throughout the year in the south, while the seasons vary considerably in the north; during the northern dry season the daily temperature range becomes great as well. On the coast the mean monthly maximum temperatures are steady throughout the year, remaining about 90 °F (32 °C) at Lagos and about 91 °F (33 °C) at Port Harcourt; the mean monthly minimum temperatures are approximately 72 °F (22 °C) for Lagos and 68 °F (20 °C) for Port Harcourt. In general, mean maximum temperatures are higher in the north, while mean minimum temperatures are lower. In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, for example, the mean monthly maximum temperature may exceed 100 °F (38 °C) during the hot months of April and May, while in the same season frosts may occur at night. The humidity generally is high in the north, but it falls during the harmattan (the hot, dry northeast trade wind), which blows for more than three months in the north but rarely for more than two weeks along the coast.

Plant and animal life
      The main vegetation patterns run in broad east-west belts, parallel to the Equator. Mangrove and freshwater swamps occur along the coast and in the Niger delta. A short way inland, the swamps give way to dense tropical rainforests. Economically valuable, the oil palm grows wild and is usually preserved when forest is cleared for cultivation. In the more densely populated parts of the southeast, the original forest vegetation has been replaced by open palm bush. In the southwest large areas of forest have been replaced by cacao and rubber plantations. Tropical grassland occupies the area north of the forest belt and is studded with baobab, tamarind, and locust bean trees. The savanna becomes more open in the far north and is characterized by scattered stunted trees and short grasses. Semidesert conditions exist in the Lake Chad region, where various species of acacia and the doum species of palm are common. Gallery forests (narrow forest zones along rivers) are also characteristic of the open savanna in the north. In densely populated areas of the savanna, such as those around the towns of Sokoto, Kano, and Katsina, the vegetation has been removed by continuous cropping, overgrazing, and bush burning. In the far northern areas the nearly total disappearance of plant life has facilitated a gradual southward advance of the Sahara.

      Camels, antelopes, hyenas, lions, baboons, and giraffes once inhabited the entire savanna region, and red river hogs, forest elephants, and chimpanzees lived in the rainforest belt. Animals found in both forest and savanna included leopards, golden cats, monkeys, gorillas, and wild pigs. Today these animals can be found only in such protected places as the Yankari National Park in Bauchi state, Gashaka Gumti National Park in Taraba state, Kainji Lake National Park in Kwara state (see Kainji Lake), and Cross River National Park in Cross River state. Rodents such as squirrels, porcupines, and cane rats constitute the largest family of mammals. The northern savanna abounds in guinea fowl. Other common birds include quail, vultures, kites, bustards, and gray parrots. The rivers contain crocodiles, hippopotamuses, and a great variety of fishes.

People (Nigeria)

Ethnic groups
      There are an estimated 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. Each inhabits a territory that it considers to be its own by right of first occupancy and inheritance. Individuals who are not members of a dominant group but who have lived and worked for several decades in the territory of the group are still considered to be aliens. In most rural areas, such aliens may not acquire outright title to land, yet considerable numbers of people have migrated from one ethnic territory to another in search of farmland. There are three major ethnic groups in the country: the Hausa- Fulani, the Yoruba, and the Igbo.

 The northern-dwelling Hausa, the most numerous group in the country, have become integrated with the smaller Fulani group, whose members conquered Hausaland in the early 19th century; the great majority of both are Muslims. Town-dwelling Fulani intermarry freely with the Hausa and other groups, and they continue to control the administration of the Hausa towns. The cattle-herding rural Fulani, who generally do not intermarry, speak the Fulani language, Fula, rather than Hausa.

 Another large and politically dominant group is the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. They consider the city of Ife (Ile-Ife) their ancestral home and the deity Oduduwa their progenitor. Most Yoruba are farmers but live in urban areas away from their rural farmland. Each Yoruba subgroup is ruled by a paramount chief, or oba, who is usually supported by a council of chiefs. The oni of Ife, who is the spiritual leader of the Yoruba, and the alafin of Oyo, who is their traditional political leader, are the most powerful rulers, and their influence is still acknowledged throughout the Yoruba areas.

      The third major ethnic group, the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria, lives in small decentralized and democratic settlements. The largest political unit is the village, which is ruled by a council of elders (chosen by merit, not heredity) rather than by a chief. A smaller proportion live in large towns and are culturally much closer to the Edo of neighbouring Benin City (in Edo state) than to the Igbo east of the lower Niger valley.

      Less numerous are the Ibibio, who live near the Igbo and share many of their cultural traits, and the Edo, who created the important precolonial kingdom of Benin. In the middle belt, where the greatest concentration of ethnic groups (more than 180) occurs, the Tiv and the Nupe are the largest groups. Both are settled cultivators, but, while Nupe society is hierarchical, that of the Tiv tends to be decentralized.

      The languages of Nigeria are classified into three broad linguistic groups: Niger-Congo (Niger-Congo languages), Nilo-Saharan (Nilo-Saharan languages), and Afro-Asiatic (Afro-Asiatic languages). The huge Niger-Congo (Niger-Congo languages) group is further subdivided into nine major branches, including the Kwa (Kwa languages) subgroup, spoken in the extreme southwestern corner of the country; the Ijoid (Ijoid languages) branch, spoken in the Niger Delta region; the Atlantic (Atlantic languages) subgroup, which most notably includes Fula; the extensive Benue-Congo (Benue-Congo languages) subgroup, which includes Tiv, Jukun, Edo, Igbo, Igala, Idoma, Nupe, Gwari, Yoruba (Yoruba language), and several languages of the Cross River basin such as Efik, Ibibio, Anang, and Ekoi; and the Adamawa-Ubangi languages, such as Awak, Waja, Waka, and Tula, spoken in northern Nigeria. The Nilo-Saharan group is represented in Nigeria principally by Kanuri (Kanuri language), although speakers of Bagirmi and Zerma are also present in the country. Afro-Asiatic (Afro-Asiatic languages) is a much larger linguistic group and comprises Hausa (Hausa language), Margi, and Bade, among others. Some peoples (such as the Fulani and the Tiv) are relatively recent immigrants, but, on the basis of modern linguistic research, it is thought that the great majority of Nigerian languages—specifically the Kwa subgroup—have been spoken in roughly the same locations for some 4,000 years.

      Hausa was an official language of the northern states from 1951 to 1967. It is the most widely spoken language, although English is the official language of Nigeria. In addition to English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, and English Creole are widely spoken. Many of the languages exist in written form.

 At the beginning of the 20th century, most Nigerians were followers of traditional religions, but British colonial policies discouraged this to such an extent that by the time of independence in 1960 the great majority of the people were classified as Muslims or Christians. At the beginning of the 21st century, more than two-fifths of the population was Muslim, slightly less than that was Christian, and about one-tenth claimed to follow traditional religions. However, many of those professing to be Muslims and Christians also openly performed certain rites or rituals of traditional religions that were no longer condemned as they had been during the colonial period. While a supreme god (called Olorun Olodumare in Yoruba, Chukwu in Igbo, Osalobua in Edo, and Abasi Ibom in Ibibio) is central to many of the traditional religions, the deity is worshipped through a number of intermediaries or lesser gods.

      Religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution, and Muslims and Christians live and work together, although there is continuing conflict between the two groups and between them and adherents of traditional religions. The greatest concentration of Muslims is in the northern states; there, three-fourths of the people profess the religion of Islam, which also is the dominant faith in a few of the southern states. Christians make up more than three-fourths of the population in the eastern states.

      The main established Christian groups are Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, and Baptists. A growing number of breakaway Christian churches, which embrace indigenous cultural traditions, are gaining popularity—a development perceived as a threat by the older established churches. The breakaway Christian churches often include drumming and dancing in their services, a practice since adopted by the established churches in an attempt to avoid losing members. Another issue has been how Islam and Christianity have chosen to incorporate the traditional practice of polygamy. Christianity has officially disallowed it, while Islam has allowed men to have up to four wives; however, breakaway Christian churches often have placed no limits on the practice.

Geographic regions
      Marked differences exist between north and south, not only in physical landscape, climate, and vegetation but also in the social organization, religion, literacy, and agricultural practices of the people. These differences form the basis of the division of Nigeria into three geographic regions: the south, or Guinea coastlands; the central region; and the north, or Nigerian Sudan.

      The south is the most economically developed part of Nigeria. Its forest resources are intensively exploited, and its tree crops are harvested on peasant farms and commercial plantations. All of the country's major industrial centres and oil fields, as well as its seaports, are concentrated in the region. Important cultural centres are also found in the south, such as those of the Yoruba in the western part of the region, the Edo in the region's midwestern section, and the Igbo-Ibibio in the east. Parts of the country's Igbo and Ibibio-inhabited areas are the most densely settled areas in sub-Saharan Africa. The Yoruba-inhabited areas where cacao is grown are also densely settled and attract many migrants from the congested Igbo and Ibibio-inhabited areas. The eastern Cross River area is virtually uninhabited owing to the poor soil and climate.

Central region
      The central region is the most sparsely settled and least developed part of Nigeria, comprising about two-fifths of the country's land area but supporting less than one-fifth of the total population. Small pockets of dense population occur in the tin fields of the Jos Plateau and in the southern Tiv-inhabited area. The remaining, and by far the greater, part of this region is virtually uninhabited owing to the poor soil and climate.

      Before 1970, large-scale development in this region, often referred to as the middle belt, was restricted to a few government-supported projects, such as the Kainji Dam and the Bacita sugar project (both in the northwestern part of the region) and a few industries in the towns of Jos and Kaduna (now the capitals of Plateau and Kaduna states, respectively). After the national administrative reorganization of 1975, this central region gained importance because 7 of the then 19 (now 36) state capitals, as well as the approximately 2,800-square-mile (7,250-square-km) Federal Capital Territory were located there. In addition, during the early 1980s a giant iron and steel complex was built at Ajaokuta, near Lokoja.

      The north, or Nigerian Sudan, underwent significant change in the beginning of the 20th century, when a new economic pattern was created by the construction of a railroad that connected the region to the country's coastal ports. Before then, the Nigerian Sudan was more outward oriented through regular trans-Saharan contacts with North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Except in the Lake Chad basin, where the Kanuri people established the state of Borno, the Nigerian Sudan has been dominated by a blend of the cultures of the Fulani and Hausa. The former are traditionally nomadic cattle herders, the latter settled cultivators; both groups are predominantly Muslim.

      Two regions of dense population are found in the extreme north: the Sokoto area and the Kano- Katsina area. The Kano concentration is based on intensive agriculture in an area of relatively fertile soils, but the densely settled areas around nearby Katsina have impoverished soils and do not produce enough food for the local population.

Settlement patterns
Rural settlement
      About half of the people live in rural areas. Densely populated settlements occur along the coast, in the Yoruba-inhabited area in the southwest, and in the Hausa- and Kanuri-inhabited areas of the far north. In parts of the Igbo and the Anang-Ibibio-inhabited areas in the southeast and the Tiv-inhabited areas in the central region, settlements consist of dispersed homesteads called compounds. Each compound houses a man, his immediate family, and some relatives. A number of compounds make up the village, usually inhabited by people claiming a common ancestor—often the founder of the village.

      In the eastern states, each village has a chief, or headman, who, as one of the oldest and most prosperous men in the community, rules by the consent of the people. In the Yoruba- and Edo-inhabited areas and in most parts of the northern states, the chief is chosen by, or with the consent of, the region's traditional ruler. A characteristic feature of village life is the age-grade system, in which people are grouped together with others of a similar age. This system was more important traditionally—serving to separate males into three-year groupings for purposes of labour and initiation—but its use has diminished.

Urban settlement
      Only the Yoruba, Hausa, Edo, Kanuri, and coastal peoples were town dwellers before the 20th century. The Yoruba long have been the most urbanized people in tropical Africa. Their towns, most of them several hundred years old, were originally administrative and trading centres, a function many have retained. About half the Yoruba now live in towns of more than 5,000, notably Ibadan, Ogbomosho, Abeokuta, Ife (Ile-Ife), and Oyo. Benin City, like Ibadan and Oyo, is a political as well as a cultural capital; its history dates back several centuries to when it was the centre of the historic state of Benin.

      The towns of Bonny, Opobo Town, Okrika, Buguma, Brass, Forcados, Creek Town, and Calabar grew from coastal fishing and salt-trading villages into towns as trade (first in slaves and later in agricultural goods) increased between the coastal peoples and Europeans. At the beginning of colonial rule, these port towns had a more cosmopolitan population than the Yoruba towns and the far north, but they were much smaller.

       Kano, Zaria, and Katsina, northern towns of the Nigerian Sudan, are much older than the Yoruba towns. Owing their existence to the trans-Saharan trade as well as to the agricultural wealth of the surrounding region, they were once walled cities. Today Kano, the most important of the ancient towns, contains separate quarters for Hausa-Fulani, southern Nigerians, and Europeans.

       Lagos, a cosmopolitan city consisting of islands and mainland areas, is the former capital of and the largest urban region in Nigeria. It was founded (probably through the expansion of the kingdom of Benin (Benin)) before the 15th century and had a population of about 250,000 when it was declared a British colony in 1861; that number increased to some 8,000,000 in the early 21st century. The creation of many states since 1967 diverted some of the industries and job-seeking migrants from Lagos to the new state capitals, especially the older and larger ones such as Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, and Enugu. Some small towns, notably Minna, Uyo, Makurdi, Maiduguri, and Bauchi, experienced remarkable growth in population and economy after becoming state capitals.

       Abuja, a planned city in the centre of the country, has been the official capital of Nigeria since 1991, although some government offices remain in Lagos, the former capital. The decision to create a new capital was made in the mid-1970s, and work on it began in the 1980s. The location was chosen so that no single ethnic group would be favoured over another, although one such group, the Gwari, was displaced by the construction.

Demographic trends
      Nigeria, like other developing countries, has birth and mortality rates that are higher than the world average. Since the mid-20th century, however, infant mortality has declined drastically, and life expectancy has increased; as a consequence, population growth has been rapid. In the early 21st century, almost three-fourths of the population was younger than age 30.

      There is considerable migration in Nigeria, especially between the north and the south. Large numbers of southern migrants have settled in the northern cities of Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, and Jos, while seasonal migrants have often moved from the northern Sokoto and Kano areas to southern areas where cacao is grown. A more significant number of people have migrated from the southeast to the more industrialized and urbanized western states of Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun or to the agricultural western states of Ondo and Edo.

      Before the end of the country's civil war in 1970, many Nigerians emigrated to work in Benin, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone. African migration into Nigeria began about 1972 and was officially encouraged in 1978 by the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), under which the citizens of member states were guaranteed free movement. In the early 1980s a downturn in the Nigerian economy and the alleged involvement of foreigners in religious riots prompted the government to reverse its immigration policy. By 1985 some 2.7 million aliens had been expelled; such measures, however, have not been repeated. The actions of the series of military governments in the 1980s and '90s caused many Nigerian citizens to immigrate to Europe and the United States.

 The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa. Since the late 1960s it has been based primarily on the petroleum industry. A series of world oil price increases from 1973 produced rapid economic growth in transportation, construction, manufacturing, and government services. Because this led to a great influx of rural people into the larger urban centres, agricultural production stagnated to such an extent that cash crops such as palm oil, peanuts (groundnuts), and cotton were no longer significant export commodities; in addition, from about 1975 Nigeria was forced to import such basic commodities as rice and cassava for domestic consumption. This system worked well as long as revenues from petroleum remained constant, but since the late 1970s the agricultural sector has been in continuing crisis because of the fluctuating world oil market and the country's rapid population growth. Although much of the population remained engaged in farming, too little food was produced, requiring increasingly costly imports. The various governments (most of them military-run) have dealt with this problem by banning agricultural imports and by focusing, albeit briefly, on various agricultural and indigenization plans.

      In the late 1990s the government began to privatize many state-run enterprises—especially in communications, power, and transportation—in order to enhance the quality of service and reduce dependence on the government. Most of the enterprises had been successfully privatized by the beginning of the 21st century, but a few remained in government hands.

      At the turn of the 21st century, Nigeria continued to face an unsteady revenue flow, which the government attempted to counter by borrowing from international sources, introducing various austerity measures, or doing both at the same time. As a result, an ever-increasing share of the national budget was needed for debt repayment, which, with corruption dominating government operations, meant that very little of Nigeria's income was being spent on the people and their needs. The country benefited from a 2005 debt-relief plan by which the majority of its debt to a group of creditor countries known as the Paris Club would be forgiven once it had repaid a certain amount; Nigeria successfully met this condition in 2006, becoming the first African country to settle its debt with the group. (For information on the role women have played in Nigeria's economy and culture, see Sidebar: Nigerian Women.)

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Nigeria has no shortage of arable land overall, but there is an extreme shortage of farmland in the most densely settled areas of the southeastern states and around Kano, Katsina, and Sokoto. This has forced large numbers of land-hungry Igbo, Ibibio, and Hausa people to migrate to other parts of the country. Often, however, cultural traditions, such as the prohibition against selling family land, have restricted access to farmland in some localities that appear to have abundant cultivable land, and, in the far north, desertification has severely limited the land area available for cultivation.

      About two-thirds of all Nigerians obtain a living from agricultural production. Most are small-scale subsistence farmers who produce only a little surplus for sale and who derive additional income from one or more cash crops and from the sale of local crafts. Farms are small, usually less than 2.5 acres (1 hectare) in the south and about 7.5 acres (3 hectares) in the open grassland areas of the north. Because the soil is not totally amenable to mechanized equipment, the hoe and matchet (machete) continue to be the dominant farm implements. The shortage of farmland in some localities and limited access to land in others are among the factors that restrict the size of farmland cultivated per family. Environmental deterioration, inferior storage facilities, a poor transport system, and a lack of investment capital contribute to low productivity and general stagnation in agriculture. With the population growing rapidly and urbanization accelerating, the food deficit continues to worsen despite government efforts to rectify the situation.

 Root crops—notably yams, taro, and cassava—are the main food crops in the south, while grains and legumes—such as sorghum, millet, cowpeas, and corn (maize)—are the staple crops of the drier north. Rice is also an important domestic crop. Trees—notably oil palm, cacao, and rubber trees—are the principal industrial crops of the south, while peanuts (groundnuts) and cotton are produced in the north. Small-scale farmers dominate the production of industrial crops, as they do with staple food crops. Cocoa beans, from the cacao tree, are the major agricultural export; production of other industrial crops has declined, owing to the general stagnation in agriculture.

      In 1982, in the first major step taken to halt the decline in industrial crop production, the government disbanded the produce marketing boards, which paid prices set by the government. Many farmers have since been motivated to cultivate tree crops, and the federal and state governments have established plantations of oil palm, rubber, and cacao. Programs to alleviate the food shortage have featured the direct purchase and distribution of foodstuffs by government agencies and the production by government parastatals of various staples on large commercial farms. The Operation Feed the Nation program of 1976–80 sought to increase local food production and thereby reduce imports. Citizens were encouraged to cultivate any empty plot of land, urban dwellers being encouraged to garden undeveloped building plots. Since 1980 agricultural policies have focused on the small farmer.

      The raising of sheep, pigs, and goats was underdeveloped at the beginning of the 21st century. The cattle-herding Fulani are still the main beef producers, although some of the cattle under the care of these nomads belong to settled farmers and city dwellers. However, the level of meat consumption in Nigeria, as in most African countries, does not approach that of the West.

      Nigeria's permanent forest reserves occupy less than one-fifth of the total land area. Outside these reserves, much of the forest cover has been destroyed through regular burning to prepare land for farming or to facilitate hunting. Forest destruction is most extensive in the more densely settled areas, such as the Niger delta, and in the drier savanna, where overgrazing, bush fires, and the great demand for fuelwood prevent normal regeneration of plants on fallow land. There are many large plantations of exotic species, such as gmelina and teak, established by the government to provide electric and telegraph poles and fuelwood. In the arid zone of Sokoto, Kano, and Borno states, forest belts have been established to help arrest the southward advance of the Sahara. Forest plantations have been established in many watersheds to protect water catchment areas of rivers and to reduce the incidence of soil erosion.

      Fishing has assumed greater importance as a food source following the loss of thousands of head of livestock during the recurring drought in the Sahel since the early 1970s. The domestic catch supplies more than half of the fish demand. Lake Chad and the southern coastal waters are the main sources of fish, but large quantities are caught every year in pools in seasonal rivers of the northern states.

Resources and power
      Nigeria has a variety of both renewable and nonrenewable resources, some of which have not yet been effectively tapped. Solar energy, probably the most extensive of the underutilized renewable resources, is likely to remain untapped for some time, and the vast reserves of natural gas produced with crude oil have yet to be fully exploited.

 Resource extraction is the most important and the fastest-growing sector of the economy, reflecting the rise to prominence of crude oil output. Nigeria has been a member of OPEC since 1971. There are oil refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. The petroleum industry remains dominant, and crude petroleum continues to account for virtually all export earnings. The most economically valuable minerals are crude oil, natural gas, coal, tin, and columbite (an iron-bearing mineral that accompanies tin). Petroleum, first discovered in 1956, is the most important source of government revenue and foreign exchange—its share of the gross domestic product rose from virtually nothing in the 1950s to about two-fifths in the late 1990s. Most of the oil output comes from onshore fields in the Niger delta, although an increasing proportion of the crude is produced at offshore locations. There are vast reserves of natural gas, but most of the gas produced is a by-product of crude oil; in the past this was burned off, as there was no market for it, but efforts have been made to utilize more of this commodity. Since 1984, oil companies have been required to reinject into the ground some of the natural gas produced in the course of pumping crude oil. Production has often been interrupted by protests, as the inhabitants of the oil-producing regions have demanded a larger share of the revenues.

      Nigeria possesses significant reserves of coal, but these deposits are being developed gradually. Coal is used by the railroad, by traditional metal industries, and by power plants to generate electricity. Coal mining, initially concentrated around the city of Enugu and its environs, began in 1915. It declined after the late 1950s with the discovery of oil but subsequently increased. Substantial coal reserves of varying quality can be found in south-central states in a band that stretches from Benin to Cameroon. Deposits discovered more recently in the southwestern part of the country at Lafia-Obi are being developed for the Ajaokuta steel complex.

      The Jos Plateau, where tin mining began in 1905, also contains columbite. By the early 21st century, the country's tin-smelting capacity had not been reached, a result of diminished world demand in the late 1980s; production of columbite has also declined since the mid-1970s.

      There are iron-ore deposits in the Lokoja area, which is close to the Ajaokuta steel complex in the lower Niger valley, and limestone occurs in many areas, where it is widely exploited for manufacturing cement and for use in the steel industry. Extensive iron-ore deposits found in Kwara state have been exploited since 1984. Construction of a plant to process the ore began in 1992 with the intention of supplying the Ajaokuta steel complex, whose river port was completed in 1995.

      Other mined minerals include gypsum, kaolin, rock salt, baryte, phosphates, gold, sapphires, topazes, and aquamarines. Uranium deposits discovered in the northeastern part of the country have not yet been exploited.

      About one-third of the country's power is provided by hydroelectricity, although this source has the potential to provide an even greater amount of power. The main sources of hydroelectric power are the dams at Kainji (Kainji Lake), Shiroro ( Niger state), and Jebba (Kwara state). Thermal plants fired with natural gas and coal are at Afam, Sapele, and Lagos and on the Oji River and supply about three-fifths of the country's power. Demand, however, always exceeds supply. Fuelwood (firewood and charcoal) is still an important energy source for domestic use.

      Revenue from mining has enabled the federal government to establish such capital-intensive industries as the Ajaokuta and Aladja steel mills, pulp and paper mills at Oku Iboku and Iwopin, petrochemical plants at Kaduna, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, and an aluminum smelter at Ikot Abasi. In the past, large-scale manufacturing—dominated by the production of textiles, tobacco, beverages, and cement—was controlled by foreign investors. The government's indigenization efforts have altered the ownership situation, although the management and effective control of most large factories have remained in the hands of expatriate representatives of multinational corporations. The greatest weakness of this sector has been its dependence on imported raw materials. That situation changed in 1987, when the import of a wide range of raw materials was prohibited, although the ban was later rescinded. Even so, imports were subject to some restrictions at the beginning of the 21st century, and manufacturers were encouraged to use raw materials from local sources. The highest concentration of large factories is in the Greater Lagos area. Each state capital has a number of large manufacturing industries, but a few major industries, such as paper mills and steel mills, are located in remote areas where new towns have grown up to serve the factories.

      Traditional industries carried out in homes or in makeshift workshops include the making of iron implements such as hoes and hatchets, door hinges, bolts, and dane guns (firearms of obsolete design, originally of European manufacture). Traditional soap- and salt-making workshops appeared in large numbers after the near collapse of the Nigerian economy in 1983, when most wage earners were unable to pay for factory-made soap and imported table salt. These industries continued after the economy recovered, but they were concentrated in rural areas. Pottery making and wood carving are widespread, as are canework and the making of bags and mats from raffia.

 The Central Bank of Nigeria issues the national currency, the naira, which has been devalued several times since 1980. The Central Bank has branches in all the state capitals and provides guidelines to all commercial and merchant banks in the country. In 1976 all foreign banks were compelled to sell 60 percent of their shares to Nigerians. Banks proliferated in the 1980s, after the financial sector was liberalized. Many of these banks proved unstable, however, and in 1995 the government was forced to rescue some of them. Soon after, the government began privatizing banks and closing those that had violated banking regulations. By the beginning of the 21st century, the country had some 100 banks and financial institutions, and branch locations were widespread. There are a stock exchange and a securities exchange commission in Lagos.

      The direction of domestic trade in staple foods is largely north-south between different ecological zones but also between major urban centres in the southeast and southwest. The southern states supply plantains, cassava, kola nuts, and fruit to the northern states, which in turn supply beans, onions, and livestock to the southern states. Yams from the central region are traded in the southern and the far northern cities. Women play a dominant role in marketing foodstuffs and manufactured goods in the southern states. Most of the food items and manufactured goods are sold in open market stalls, in small neighbourhood shops, and on the streets.

      There is very little trade between Nigeria and other African countries. The main markets for Nigerian exports—consisting mostly of crude oil, cocoa beans, and rubber—are the United States and the countries of the European Union (EU). The main imports are machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods (iron and steel products, textiles, and paper products), chemicals, and food, most of which come from the EU, China, and the United States.

      At independence Nigeria had accumulated a trade deficit, which resulted from the importation of large quantities of machinery and equipment. By the late 1960s it had a trade surplus, as revenue from crude oil exports allowed the country to import capital goods and industrial raw materials. Trade deficits returned beginning in mid-1970. Since then Nigeria's balance of trade has alternated between periods of deficits and of surpluses, driven by fluctuations in the global oil market and government decisions on how to spend its money. A trade surplus in 1980, for example, allowed work to continue on the new federal capital designate of Abuja, but by 1982 the surplus had become a deficit, and at the end of 1983 the country was virtually bankrupt. At the beginning of the 21st century, exports were greater than imports, but the interest on the country's external debt was so high that a truly favourable balance of trade (as opposed to one that existed on paper only) hinged at least partly on the effectiveness of debt relief.

      Nigeria has many attractions of interest to tourists. There are miles of coastal beaches, wildlife reserves, a variety of cultures, and many museums that house artistic treasures. However, the many decades Nigeria spent under military rule created a repressive environment not well suited to the tourist. Since the installation of the democratically elected government in 1999, the country has faced periods of ethnic violence, also not conducive to attracting a tourist clientele. Nevertheless, more than two million people visited the country annually in the early 2000s.

Labour and taxation
      Nigeria has a long history of labour movements and contains numerous unions. Under the various military governments, labour activity was sharply curtailed. After the democratic elections in 1999, however, labour movements were once again able to express their discontent, and various strikes took place at the end of the 20th century and into the beginning of the 21st.

      In the southern part of Nigeria, women perform the majority of the agricultural labour, and, in cities such as Lagos, women dominate the market activity as well. No legal barriers exclude women from universities and professions, particularly in the south. However, women in northern states, especially those following Islamic law ( Sharīʿah), have their activities more tightly controlled.

      The main sources of government finance consist of petroleum royalties and rents, import duties, and corporate income and value-added taxes.

Transportation and telecommunications
      Roads are the most important means of transportation in Nigeria, carrying more than four-fifths of all passenger and freight traffic. The general pattern of road transport, from north to south and from the interior to the southern seaports, dates to the colonial period, when raw materials were shipped to Britain and other western European countries, which returned them as finished goods. More roads were added in the 1970s and early '80s—an expressway running between Lagos and Ibadan opened in 1978, and a road between Benin (Benin City)- Shagamu and Port HarcourtEnugu was turned into a four-lane divided highway by 1981.

      Road traffic is heaviest in the cacao belt of southwestern Nigeria, the peanut and cotton belt of the Kano- Katsina region, the Jos Plateau tin fields, and the palm belt of southeastern Nigeria. These areas are served by a dense network of all-weather roads. The relatively unproductive and sparsely settled areas of the central region, the Cross River region, and the Lake Chad basin have tenuous road links that carry only a few trucks a day.

      Because the well-developed road system of the 1970s and '80s was not maintained, it became increasingly dangerous to use. Moreover, as a result of deteriorating road conditions, a trip from Benin City to Lagos in the early 21st century took twice as long as it did in 1980. Road safety standards also are poor; the accident rate is high; and, because of Nigeria's chronic economic problems, it is difficult to find spare parts to repair motor vehicles. Lagos has notorious traffic problems; its streets are packed with both pedestrians and vehicles that create traffic tie-ups called “go slows.” To ease the traffic problems, people often share taxis or ride in trucks.

      Now surpassed by roads, railroads were once the dominant transport system. Nigeria's railroads have proved incapable of transporting large cargoes such as peanuts and cotton from the north. In addition, passenger volume dropped significantly by the 1980s because the trains were slow (attributed largely to the narrow-gauge track) and service was poor. The railroad system has two single-track trunk lines: the eastern line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and the western line from Lagos to Kano. Branch lines connect the western trunk line to Kaura Namoda, Nguru, and Baro on the Niger. A newer railway line includes the Ajaokuta steel complex. Since 1960 tracks have been relaid with heavier rails to permit greater loads and higher speeds, signals have been improved to speed rail movements, and steam engines have been replaced by diesel locomotives. Beginning in the 1990s, there was expansion of the railway system, including the laying of new track between Warri and Ajaokuta and the addition of mass transit lines between Lagos and several cities to the west.

Shipping and air transport
      Creeks and rivers were historically the primary avenue of transportation. The most important waterways, the Niger (Niger River) and Benue (Benue River), were dredged in the 1990s because they were drying up; they still carry substantial quantities of goods. The Cross River is used to ship exports to the port at Calabar, but, like other rivers in Nigeria, it is not navigable during the dry season. Passenger and cargo boats operate on the lagoons and on the many creeks along the Nigerian coast from Lagos to the Cross River. Ports at Lagos and Port Harcourt, administered by the Nigerian Ports Authority since its establishment in 1954, are the main international seaports. Chronic congestion at these two ports was largely responsible for the authority's takeover in 1970 of the installation and administration of the smaller ports of Warri, Sapele, Koko, and Calabar. The Lagos port complex (including the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports) was subsequently expanded, and facilities in the smaller ports also were modernized and enlarged. Bonny and Burutu are the major ports for shipment of petroleum.

      Almost all the state capitals are served by air transport. There are smaller airfields in some provincial cities and in the oil-producing areas of the Niger delta and the Cross River estuary. Lagos, Kano, and Abuja handle most of the international air traffic. At the beginning of the 21st century, Nigeria had a notoriously poor aviation safety record.

      Mobile phone service has expanded considerably more quickly than land telephone services. Although telephone lines have existed in the major cities since the late 1970s, service was expensive and inadequate and was often cut off for no apparent reason. Use of cellular phones, on the other hand, has spread steadily since the late 1990s. Internet service began to expand rapidly at the beginning of the 21st century.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      Under the 1999 constitution, executive power is vested in a president who serves as both the head of state and chief executive, is directly elected to a four-year term, and nominates the vice president and members of the cabinet. The constitution provides for a bicameral National Assembly, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state elects 10 members to the House of Representatives for four-year terms; members of the Senate—three from each state and one from the Federal Capital Territory—also are elected to four-year terms.

Local government
      There are two tiers of government—state and local—below the federal level. The functions of the government at the local level were usurped by the state government until 1988, when the federal government decided to fund local government organizations directly and allowed them for the first time to function effectively.

 Nigeria is divided into 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory at Abuja; the constitution also includes a provision that more states can be created as needed. At independence the country was divided into three regions: Northern, Eastern, and Western. The Mid-West region was created out of the Western region in 1963. In 1967 Col. Yakubu Gowon (Gowon, Yakubu), then the military leader, turned the regions into 12 states: 6 in the north, 3 in the east, and 3 in the west. Gen. Murtala Mohammed created an additional 7 states in 1976. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (Babangida, Ibrahim) created 11 more states—2 in 1987 and 9 in 1991—for a total of 30. In 1996 Gen. Sani Abacha (Abacha, Sani) added 6 more states.

      The Nigerian legal and judicial system contains three codes of law: customary law, Nigerian statute law (following English law), and Sharīʿah (Islamic law). Customary laws, administered by native, or customary, courts, are usually presided over by traditional rulers, who generally hear cases about family problems such as divorce. Kadis (judges) apply Sharīʿah based on the Maliki Islamic code. Since 1999, several states have instituted Sharīʿah law. Although the states claim that the law applies only to Muslims, the minority non-Muslim population argues that it is affected by the law as well. Christian women, for example, must ride on female-only buses, and some states have banned females from participating in sports.

      Nigerian statute law includes much of the British colonial legislation, most of which has been revised. State legislatures may pass laws on matters that are not part of the Exclusive Legislative List, which includes such areas as defense, foreign policy, and mining—all of which are the province of the federal government. Federal law prevails whenever federal legislation conflicts with state legislation. In addition to Nigerian statutes, English law is used in the magistrates' and all higher courts. Each state has a High Court, which is presided over by a chief judge. The Supreme Court, headed by the chief justice of Nigeria, is the highest court.

Political process
      The constitution grants all citizens at least 18 years of age the right to vote. The Action Group (AG) and the Northern People's Congress (NPC) were the major Nigerian parties when the country became independent in 1960. However, their regional rather than national focus—the AG represented the west, the NPC the north, and the National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons the east—ultimately contributed to the outbreak of civil war by the mid-1960s and more than 20 years of military rule. Political parties were allowed briefly in 1993 and again starting from 1998, but only parties with national rather than regional representation were legal, such as the newly created People's Democratic Party (PDP), the Alliance for Democracy, and the All Nigeria People's Party.

      Women have participated in the government since the colonial period, especially in the south. Their political strength is rooted in the precolonial traditions among particular ethnic groups, such as the Igbo, which gave women the power to correct excessive male behaviour (known as “sitting on a man”). Igbo women, showing their strength, rioted in 1929 when they believed colonial officials were going to levy taxes on women. Yoruba market women exercised significant economic power, controlling the markets in such Yoruba cities as Lagos and Ibadan. Some ethnic groups, such as the Edo who constituted the kingdom of Benin, also gave important political power to women; the mother of the oba (king) played an important part in the precolonial state. Women such as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (the mother of the musician Fela and human rights activist and physician Beko) actively participated in the colonial struggle, and several women have held ministerial positions in the government. Although Nigerian women may wield influence and political power, particularly at the familial and local level, this has not always been reflected at the federal level: in the early 21st century, women made up less than 5 percent of the House of Representatives and the Senate. (For more information on the historical role of women in Nigerian politics and culture, see Sidebar: Nigerian Women.)

      The Nigeria Police Force, established by the federal constitution, is headed by the inspector general of police, who is appointed by the president. The general inefficiency of the force is attributable in part to the low level of education and the low morale of police recruits, who are poorly housed and very poorly paid, and to the lack of modern equipment. Corruption is widespread.

      The federal military includes army, navy, and air force contingents. Nigerian troops have participated in missions sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and by the United Nations (UN).

Health and welfare
      The concentration of people in the cities has created enormous sanitary problems, particularly improper sewage disposal, water shortages, and poor drainage. Large heaps of domestic refuse spill across narrow streets, causing traffic delays, while the dumping of garbage along streambeds constitutes a major health hazard and has contributed to the floods that have often plagued Ibadan, Lagos, and other cities during the rainy season. Malaria is still a major cause of death, and at the beginning of the 21st century AIDS was becoming increasingly significant in the country.

      Health conditions are particularly poor in the shantytown suburbs of Greater Lagos and other large cities, where domestic water supplies are obtained from wells that are often polluted by seepage from pit latrines. Rural communities also suffer from inadequate or impure water supplies. Some villagers have to walk as far as 6 miles (10 km) to the nearest water point—usually a stream. Because people wash clothes, bathe, and fish (sometimes using fish poison) in the same streams, the water drawn by people in villages farther downstream is often polluted. During the rainy season, wayside pits containing rainwater, often dug close to residential areas, are the main source of domestic water supplies. Cattle are often watered in the shallower pools, and this contributes to the high incidence of intestinal diseases and guinea worm in many rural areas.

      Medical and health services are the responsibility of the state governments, which maintain hospitals in the large cities and towns. Most of the state capitals have specialized hospitals, and many are home to a university teaching hospital. There are numerous private hospitals, clinics, and maternity centres. Medical services are inadequate, even in the five western states ( Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo) where a free health service scheme was introduced in 1979. Many hospitals do not have enough medical personnel, and drugs are scarce; often surgical patients must supply their own equipment for operations. Rural areas are extremely undersupplied.

      There is no nationwide health insurance scheme or social welfare system. Most commercial firms and factories provide free medical services for their employees and, in some cases, their immediate families. Civil servants are entitled to free medical care in government-financed hospitals. Most elderly Nigerians and the unemployed depend on the extended family, which serves as the traditional social welfare system.

      Overcrowding in the cities has caused slums to spread and shantytown suburbs to emerge in most of the larger urban centres. Most houses are built by individuals, and, because banks do not normally lend money for home construction, most of these individuals must rely on their savings. A federal housing program provides funds for the construction of low-cost housing for low- and middle-income workers in the state capitals, local government headquarters, and other large towns.

      House types vary by geographic location. In the coastal areas the walls and roofs are made from the raffia palm, which abounds in the region. Rectangular mud houses with mat roofs are found in the forest belt, although the houses of the more prosperous have corrugated iron roofs. In the savanna areas of the central region and in parts of the north, houses are round mud buildings roofed with sloping grass thatch, but flat mud roofs appear in the drier areas of the extreme north. Some mud houses are also covered with a layer of cement. Larger houses are designed around an open courtyard and traditionally contained barrels or cisterns in which rainwater could be collected.

      During the colonial period, British officials lived in segregated housing known as Government Reserve Areas (GRA). After independence GRA housing became very desirable among the African population.

      Great Britain (British Empire) did little to promote education during the colonial period. Until 1950 most schools were operated by Christian missionary bodies, which introduced Western-style education into Nigeria beginning in the mid-19th century. The British colonial government funded a few schools, although its policy was to give grants to mission schools rather than to expand its own system. In the northern, predominantly Muslim area, Western-style education was prohibited because the religious leaders did not want Christian missionaries interfering with Islam, and Islamic education was provided in traditional Islamic schools.

      Today primary education, free and compulsory, begins at age six and lasts for six years. Secondary education consists of two three-year cycles. Although federal and state governments have the major responsibility for education, other organizations, such as local governments and religious groups, may establish and administer primary and secondary schools. Most secondary schools, trade centres, technical institutes, teacher-training colleges, and colleges of education and of technology are controlled by the state governments.

      Nigeria has more than 50 universities and colleges that were widely dispersed throughout the country in an attempt to make higher education easily accessible. Most of the universities are federally controlled, and the language of instruction is English at all the universities and colleges. At the time of Nigeria's independence in 1960, there were only two established postsecondary institutions, both of which were located in the southwestern part of the country: University College at Ibadan (founded in 1948, now the University of Ibadan) and Yaba Higher College (founded in 1934, now Yaba College of Technology). Four more government-operated universities were established in the 1960s: University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1960), in the east; University of Ife (founded in 1961, now Obafemi Awolowo University) in the west; University of Northern Nigeria (founded in 1962, now Ahmadu Bello University) in the north; and University of Lagos (1962) in the south. In the 1970s and '80s the government attempted to found a university in every state, but, with the ever-increasing number of states, this practice was abandoned. Attempts by individuals and private organizations, including various Christian churches, to establish universities did not receive the approval of the federal Ministry of Education until the 1990s. Since then, several private postsecondary institutions have been established.

      Nigeria's educational system declined significantly in the 1980s and '90s. There was a shortage of qualified teachers, and the government was sometimes unable to pay them in a timely manner. Moreover, the number of schools did not increase proportionally with the population, and existing schools were not always properly maintained. This led to an increase in the number of private primary and secondary schools. Nigerian universities and colleges also often have inadequate space and resources, and semesters have been canceled owing to campus unrest for reasons ranging from students protesting tuition increases to teachers and staff striking for higher salaries and better working conditions. Governors of some states began to address these issues at the beginning of the 21st century.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      Nigeria's rich and varied cultural heritage derives from the mixture of its ethnic groups with Arabic and western European influences. The country combines traditional culture with international urban sophistication. Secret societies, such as Ekpo and Ekpe among the Igbo, were formerly used as instruments of government, while other institutions were associated with matrimony. According to the Fulani custom of sharo (test of young manhood), rival suitors underwent the ordeal of caning as a means of eliminating those who were less persistent. In Ibibio territory, girls approaching marriageable age were confined for several years in bride-fattening rooms before they were given to their husbands. A girl was well-fed during this confinement, with the intent of making her plump and therefore more attractive to her future husband; she would also receive instruction from older women on how to be a good wife. These and other customs were discouraged by colonial administrators and missionaries. Some of the more adaptable cultural institutions have been revived since independence; these include Ekpo and Ekong societies for young boys in parts of the southeast and the Ogboni society found in the Yoruba and Edo areas of southern Nigeria. (For information on the historical role of women in Nigerian society, see Sidebar: Nigerian Women.)

Daily life and social customs
      Nigeria's vibrant popular culture reflects great changes in inherited traditions and adaptations of imported ones. Establishments serving alcoholic beverages are found everywhere except where Islamic laws prohibit them. Hotels and nightclubs are part of the landscape of the larger cities. Movie theatres, showing mostly Indian and American films, are popular among the urban middle- and low-income groups. Radio, television, and other forms of home entertainment (e.g., recorded music and movies) have also grown in popularity, though their use is dependent on the availability of electricity.

 Whether in urban or rural areas, the family is the central institution. Families gather to celebrate births and weddings. Funerals are also times when the family gathers. Because so many Nigerians live outside the country, funerals for non-Muslims are often delayed for a month or more to allow all the family members to make plans to return home.

      Food is an important part of Nigerian life. Seafood, beef, poultry, and goat are the primary sources of protein. With so many different cultures and regions, food can vary greatly. In the southern areas a variety of soups containing a base of tomatoes, onions, red pepper, and palm oil are prepared with vegetables such as okra and meat or fish. Soups can be thickened by adding ground egusi (melon) seeds. Gari (ground cassava), iyan (yam paste), or plantains accompany the soup. Rice is eaten throughout the country, and in the north grains such as millet and wheat are a large part of the diet. Beans and root vegetables are ubiquitous. Many dishes are flavoured with onions, palm oil, and chilies.

      Nigerians celebrate several holidays throughout the year, including Independence Day (October 1), Workers Day (May 1), and various Christian and Islamic holidays.

The arts
 Nigeria has a rich artistic heritage, including both traditional and contemporary art forms. From the naturalistic statues produced at Ife (Ile-Ife) to the bronzes made for the king of Benin, Nigerian artists have crafted art that is world famous. The terra-cotta figurines of the Nok (Nok culture) are some of the earliest statues in existence from sub-Saharan Africa. Ekpe masks and ikenga (personal shrines) from the Igbo in eastern Nigeria and ibeji (twin) sculptures from the Yoruba in western Nigeria are just three examples of the art produced in pre-colonial Nigeria. While many artists still work in these traditions, more-contemporary artists, who combine African and Western traditions, also abound. One of the earliest of these was Ben Ewonwu, who painted in oils as well as producing sculptures; to commemorate the visit to Nigeria of Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1956, Ewonwu made a bronze statue of her, later displayed at the Nigerian House of Representatives in Lagos. Other Nigerian artists include the Nsukka group, formed at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka in the early 1970s, consisting of Uche Okeke, Chike Aniakor, Obiora Udechukwu, El Anatsui, Tayo Adenaike, Ada Udechukwu, and Olu Oguibe. The Oshogbo movement, founded in the early 1960s, includes the artists Muraina Oyelami, Twins Seven-Seven (Prince Taiwo Osuntoki), Bisi Fabunmi, Tijani Mayakiri, Rufus Ogundele, and Ademola Onibonokuta.

      Music and dance are integral to Nigerian culture, and each ethnic group has its own specialties. Traditional instruments include various types of flutes, trumpets, musical bows, xylophones, and wooden clappers, as well as many varieties of drums. Music is used to celebrate rulers and to accompany public assemblies, weddings and funerals, festivals, and storytelling. At one time the Edo of the kingdom of Benin distinguished between urban music that was performed at the palace and less complex music that was played in rural areas. Dance also has many varieties: Ishan stilt dancers in colourful costumes twist themselves in the air; one Tiv dance, called ajo, features male dancers who work in pairs, and another involves teams of women who perform a dance called icough while composing songs about current events. Dance for the Ubakala shows their value system, helps resolve conflicts, and also institutes change. Ekiti Yoruba dancers wear head masks so heavy that they can do only processional dances. The Hausa, who do not consider dancing to be an art, divide their dances into the categories of social dancing and ceremonial bòorii dances.

      Nigerian playwright and musician Hubert Ogunde (Ogunde, Hubert), founder of Nigeria's first professional theatrical company (the Ogunde Concert Party), incorporated traditional instruments into his musical dramas of the 1940s in an effort to revive interest in indigenous culture. After radio and television stations were established in all the state capitals, they began broadcasting programs featuring traditional music and dance, folk operas, and storytelling; these programs are now available in some 25 languages.

      Nigerian contemporary music, which combines Western popular music with indigenous forms, has been exported throughout the world and has had wide influence (see also African popular music). Notable musicians include King Sunny Ade, who performs a style called juju that combines the sounds of several guitars, vocals, and talking drums; and the politically charged Fela Anikulapo Kuti, whose music is characterized by short songs and extended instrumental pieces. Each musician has organized a large band with a horn section, a variety of drummers, and many guitar players.

 Nigerian literature is known throughout the world. Wole Soyinka (Soyinka, Wole), who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature, was the first black African to receive the award. Other Nigerian writers with a worldwide audience include Chinua Achebe (Achebe, Chinua), Buchi Emecheta (Emecheta, Buchi), Flora Nwapa (Nwapa, Flora), and Amos Tutuola (Tutuola, Amos).

Cultural institutions
      Nigeria has many national museums, generally found in large cities and state capitals. The National Library of Nigeria is located in Lagos, as is the National Theatre. The Institutes of African Studies, at the Universities of Ibadan and Nigeria (Nsukka), have done much to reawaken interest in traditional folk dancing and poetry.

      Physical features with cultural significance include the Sukur cultural landscape in Adamawa state, which provides a glimpse into the past of the Sukur people, and the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in Osun state, a forest that contains several shrines and artwork in honour of the Yoruba deity Osun. These places were designated UNESCO World Heritage sites (World Heritage site) in 1999 and 2005, respectively.

Sports and recreation
      In precolonial times the sport of wrestling was a vehicle for expressing individual and social identity, status, and prestige. British colonizers introduced other sports to Nigeria in the early 20th century; football (soccer), boxing, athletics (track and field), and tennis were spread through mission schools, railroad companies, the armed forces, and the colonial bureaucracy. After independence in 1960, the Nigerian government used domestic and international sporting events to foster a sense of national identity among the various ethnic groups and to gain global recognition.

      Football (football (soccer)) is a national obsession in Nigeria. The national team, the Super Eagles, led by such outstanding players as Nwanko Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, reached the World Cup finals in 1994, 1998, and 2002 and won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. Likewise, the national women's team has repeatedly reached the Women's World Cup finals. The acclaim won by many Nigerian footballers playing abroad was mirrored by Hakeem Olajuwan, who became a superstar in the National Basketball Association in the United States, sparking widespread interest in the sport in Nigeria by the end of the 20th century. Nigerian boxers have also achieved international success, most notably middleweight and light-heavyweight world champion Richard Ihetu, who fought as “Dick Tiger.” Nigerians have excelled in boxing and athletics in the Olympic Games, to which the country sent its first team in 1952, in Helsinki.

Media and publishing
      There are many dozens of daily, Sunday, and weekly newspapers in Nigeria, most of which are in English. The Nigerian Television Authority operates stations throughout the country, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria broadcasts in English as well as several African languages; there are also many privately owned television and radio stations.

Reuben Kenrick Udo Toyin O. Falola


Early Nigerian cultures
The Nok culture
      Evidence of human occupation in Nigeria dates back thousands of years. The oldest fossil remains found by archaeologists in the southwestern area of Iwo Eleru, near Akure, have been dated to about 9000 BC. There are isolated collections of ancient tools and artifacts of different periods of the Stone Age, but the oldest recognizable evidence of an organized society belongs to the Nok culture (c. 500 BC–c. AD 200).

 Named for the village of Nok, site of some of the finds, the ancient culture produced fine terra-cotta figurines, which were accidentally discovered by tin miners on the Jos Plateau in the 1930s. Initially Neolithic (Neolithic Period) (New Stone Age), the Nok culture made the transition to the Iron Age. Its people raised crops and cattle and seem to have paid particular attention to personal adornment, especially of the hair. Distinctive features of Nok art include naturalism, stylized treatment of the mouth and eyes, relative proportions of the human head, body, and feet, distortions of the human facial features, and treatment of animal forms. The spread of Nok-type figures in a wide area south of the Jos Plateau, covering southern Kaduna state southeastward to Katsina Ala, south of the Benue River, suggests a well-established culture that left traces still identifiable in the lives of the peoples of the area today. Many of the distinctive features of Nok art can also be traced in later developments of Nigerian art produced in such places as Igbo Ukwu, Ife (Ile-Ife), Esie, and Benin City.

Igbo Ukwu
      Bronzes, which have been dated to about the 9th century AD , were discovered in the 1930s and '40s at Igbo Ukwu, near the southwestern city of Onitsha. (See also African art (art, African).) They reveal not only a high artistic tradition but also a well-structured society with wide-ranging economic relationships. Of particular interest is the source of the copper and lead used to make the bronzes, which may have been Tadmekka in the Sahara, and of the coloured glass beads, some of which may have come from Venice and India, the latter via trade routes through Egypt, the Nile valley, and the Chad basin. It is believed that the bronzes were part of the furniture in the burial chamber of a high personage, possibly a forerunner of the eze nri, a priest-king, who held religious but not political power over large parts of the Igbo-inhabited region well into the 20th century.

Kingdoms and empires of precolonial Nigeria
      Many indigenous polities emerged in Nigeria before the British took control in the late 19th century. In the north there were several large and developed systems, including the Hausa states of Kano, Katsina, Zaria, and Gobir; Kanem-Borno (Kanem-Bornu); and the Jukun states of Kwararafa, Kona, Pinduga, and Wukari. Smaller kingdoms included those of the Igala, Nupe, and Ebira. Notable in the south were the Yoruba states of Ife and Oyo (Oyo empire), the Edo state of Benin, the Itsekiri state of Warri, the Efik state of Calabar, and the Ijo city-states of Nembe, Elem Kalabari, Bonny, and Okrika.

Kanem-Borno (Kanem-Bornu)
      The history of Borno antedates the 9th century, when Arabic writers in North Africa first noted the kingdom of Kanem, east of Lake Chad (Chad, Lake). The lake was then much larger than the present-day body of water, and its basin attracted settlements and encouraged exchange. A pastoral group, ancestors of the Kanuri, established a centralized state over those referred to collectively as the Sao. Initially, trading links extended to the Nile valley of Egypt. There is some evidence that Kanem had made contact with the Christian kingdoms of Nubia before it was overrun by Muslims, who gained a foothold in the ruling family of Kanem in the 11th century. From Kanem the rulers tried to dominate the areas south and west of the lake as well. By the 12th century they had been compelled by attacks from the Sao to move their capital to the region west of Lake Chad, and they gradually lost control of most of the original Kanem.

      For a long time, Borno was the dominant power in the central Sudan, including much of Hausaland. The Bayajidda legend, concerning a mythical Middle Eastern ancestor of the Hausa, seems to suggest that the rise of a centralized political system in Hausaland was influenced from Borno. Though the rulers of Borno embraced Islam, the structure of the monarchy remained traditional, with the queen mother and other female officials exercising considerable power. The selection of the monarch, the coronation rites, and other bases of royal authority were dictated by pre-Islamic beliefs. The princes and other members of the royal family were granted fiefs and posted away from the capital to govern frontier zones, while people of slave origin were preferred for the royal guard and palace officials.

Hausaland (Hausa states)
      For centuries the Hausa have occupied the northern plains beyond the Jos Plateau, which were a crossroads open not only to Borno but also to the states of Mali and Songhai (Songhai empire) in the western Sudan, the trans-Saharan routes to northern Africa, and various trade routes to the forest areas of Borgu, Oyo, and Benin. Perhaps because of this strategic location, the Hausa developed a number of centralized states—such as Daura, Katsina, Kano, Zaria, Gobir, and, later, Kebbi—each with a walled city, a market centre, and a monarchical system of government. Islam, which was introduced from the Mali empire in the 14th century, strengthened both the monarchical system and the commercial contacts, but it remained predominantly an urban religion until the beginning of the 19th century. Even within the walled cities, however, some pre-Islamic rites remained part of the ceremonies that sustained monarchical authority. A considerable rivalry existed between the different states over agricultural land and the control of trade and trade routes, and Hausaland was periodically conquered by powerful neighbours such as Borno and Songhai.

      Ife, which flourished between the 11th and 15th centuries, emerged as a major power in the forested areas west of the Niger (Niger River) and south of Hausaland. Some of the characteristic features of Yoruba culture emerged during that time: a monarchical system based on city-states and nucleated villages; a pantheon of gods, a few of which were recognized widely but with several local variations; and divination centred on the deity Ifa, with its corpus of sacred chants. Ife is best known for its potsherd pavements and for the great artistry of its terra-cottas and bronzes, especially the naturalism of many of its bronze figures. (See also African art (art, African).) Ife's influence on surrounding states is evident in the fact that all the monarchies of Yoruba states claim descent from Ife as a way of establishing legitimacy, sometimes borrowing regalia from Ife to use in coronation rites and sometimes sending remains of deceased rulers to Ife for burial.

      Oyo (Oyo empire), founded in the 14th century and located in the savanna to the north of the forest, gradually supplanted the older kingdom of Ife. After more than a century of struggle with nearby Borgu and Nupe, it established itself strategically as the emporium for exchanging goods from the north—rock salt, copper, textiles, leather goods, and horses—with products from the south—kola nuts, indigo, parrots, and cowries. By the 17th century it had built up a cavalry force with which it dominated people in western Yorubaland and in the dry gap to the coast; to the south, infestations of tsetse flies prevented kingdoms there from effectively utilizing horses.

      When the Portuguese arrived in the kingdom of Benin in the 15th century, they found a monarchy, dating back many centuries, with a complex structure of chiefs and palace officials presiding over a kingdom that was expanding in all directions. In time, Benin dominated not only the Edo-speaking peoples to the north and south but also the area eastward to the Niger and, along the coast, to Lagos (which the Edo now claim to have founded) and even into present-day Ghana. It also exerted considerable influence on eastern Yorubaland and maintained trading connections with Oyo. Benin art, which began to flourish in the 15th century, was characterized by naturalistic bronze sculptures and bronze door panels that covered the outside of the royal palace.

Igboland and the delta city-states
      Many Nigerian peoples did not develop centralized monarchical states. Of these, the Igbo were probably the most remarkable because of the size of their territory and the density of population. The Igbo characteristic decentralized society seems to have been a deliberate departure from the earlier traditions of Nri; monarchical institutions in such outlying cities as Asaba, Onitsha, and Aboh probably arose through the influence of the kingdoms of Igala and Benin. Igbo lineages were organized in self-contained villages or federations of village communities, with societies of elders and age grade associations sharing various governmental functions. The same was true of the Ijo of the Niger delta and peoples of the Cross River area, where secret societies also played a prominent role in administration. Monarchical structures began to emerge by the 18th century in response to the needs of the overseas trade.

      Initially, Portuguese contacts focused on Benin and Warri. By the 17th and 18th centuries, at the height of the slave trade, the delta city-states had become the principal outlets of that activity. Various coastal communities organized themselves as entrepôts of the slave trade, so that they would not also become its victims. Similarly, the Igbo, like the Benin and Yoruba kingdoms, supplied slaves to the coast, although Benin had largely ended its involvement in the Atlantic slave trade by the 18th century. The deleterious effect of the slave trade on the society and the economy was felt everywhere, but, in terms of loss of population, those who suffered most appear to have been the noncentralized peoples of the middle belt. The trade also caused severe economic and political dislocations, intercommunal rivalries, and the forced migrations of millions of people out of Nigeria.

      At the beginning of the 19th century, Islam was well established at all the major centres of the Hausa states and Borno. The etsu (ruler) of Nupe had accepted Islam, and a few teachers and itinerant preachers were also known in parts of the Oyo empire. A group of Muslim intellectuals, most of them Fulani (Fulani empire) led by Usman dan Fodio, were unhappy that in all these places the rulers allowed the practice of Islam to be mixed with aspects of traditional religion and that nowhere was Islamic law (the Sharīʿah) observed in full. After 20 years of writing, teaching, and preaching in Gobir and surrounding states, Shehu (meaning “chief” or “senior”) Usman (as he was now called) withdrew his followers to Gudu, where they formally proclaimed him amīr al-muʾminīn (“commander of the faithful”), pledged their loyalty, and prepared for war. In 1804 he called on his followers and all lovers of true Islam to rise up and overthrow the unjust rulers. He appealed to the masses of slaves and to the pastoral Fulani as oppressed people to join the revolt.

      The high degree of communication that existed at this time among the different peoples in the area that would become Nigeria was evidenced when the call to jihad (“struggle” or “battle”)—made in Gudu, in the northwest—had repercussions throughout the entire area comprising the present-day country. As a result of the considerable interaction along trade routes and rivers draining the northern plains to the Niger-Benue valley, through the delta, and across the coastal lagoons, the call to jihad was answered not only in the Hausa states, such as Kano, Katsina, and Zaria, but also in Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, and Adamawa and eventually in Nupe, Ilorin, and other places where there were pockets of Fulani scholars.

      Thus was created a caliphate, with its seat at the newly established town of Sokoto. Each emirate enjoyed autonomy but pledged loyalty to the amīr al-muʾminīn and made contributions for the upkeep of Sokoto. Disputes within or between emirates were referred to Sokoto for settlement by officials who traveled as often as possible to oversee developments. Usman himself retired in 1811 to concentrate on the intellectual direction of the movement, which followed the teachings of the Qadiri brotherhood and strict adherence to the Maliki code of laws. His brother Abdullahi and his son Muhammad Bello carried on the jihad and laid the basis of administration. When Usman died in 1817, Muhammad Bello succeeded him as amīr al-muʾminīn, while Abdullahi, as emir of Gwandu, was given charge of the western emirates, notably Nupe and Ilorin. In this way, all the Hausa states, parts of Borno, Nupe, Ilorin, and Fulani outposts in Bauchi and Adamawa were drawn into a single politico-religious system. The rulers of Borno invited Shehu (Sheikh) Muḥammad al-Amīn al-Kānemī, a distinguished scholar and statesman who disagreed with the Fulani view that jihad was an acceptable tool against backsliding Muslims, to lead their defense of Borno against the Fulani jihad. In the process Islam was revived in Borno, and the old Seyfawa dynasty was eventually replaced by that of Shehu Muḥammad al-Kānemī.

The collapse of Oyo
      Although the Fulani intrusion into Ilorin largely contributed to the collapse of the Oyo empire, it was not the only cause. Deep-seated conflicts arose between the alafin, or ruler, and his chiefs, including both provincial rulers and lineage chiefs and councillors at the capital. In spite of the external threat from the Fulani and others, the conflicts could not be resolved. Fulani ascendancy at Ilorin cut off the supply of horses to Oyo and made the defense of the capital untenable. Large groups of people from Oyo had to migrate southward, where they established a new capital (at present-day Oyo) and other centres such as Ibadan and Ijaye. This pressure, in turn, pushed the Egba farther south, where they founded the town of Abeokuta about 1830. The collapse of the Oyo empire unleashed a major redistribution of the Yoruba people and precipitated a series of Yoruba wars that lasted until 1886.

The arrival of the British (colonialism, Western)
      The Sokoto jihad and the Yoruba wars stimulated the slave trade at a time when the British were actively trying to stop it. Slaves formerly had been traded for European goods, especially guns and gunpowder, but now the British encouraged trade in palm oil in the Niger delta states, ostensibly to replace the trade in slaves. They later discovered that the demand for palm oil was in fact stimulating an internal slave trade, because slaves were largely responsible for collecting palm fruits, manufacturing palm oil, and transporting it to the coast, whether by canoe or by human porterage. The palm oil trade was also linked to the Sokoto jihad and the Yoruba wars, because many warriors recognized the importance of slaves not only as soldiers and producers of food to feed soldiers but additionally as producers of palm oil to trade for European dane guns and other goods.

      Many of the slaves exported in the 1820s and '30s were intercepted by the ships of the Royal Navy, emancipated, and deposited in Sierra Leone under missionary tutelage. Some of them began to migrate back from Sierra Leone in search of home and trade. They invited missionaries to follow them and, in the 1840s, made themselves available as agents who allowed missionaries and British traders to gain access to such places as Lagos, Abeokuta, Calabar, Lokoja, Onitsha, Brass, and Bonny. In 1841 the British tried to settle some Egba on a model farm in Lokoja, but the plan was aborted because the mortality rate among European officials was so high. It was also partly to protect the Egba that the British shelled Lagos in 1851, expelled Kosoko, the reigning oba, and restored his uncle, Akitoye, who appeared more willing to join in a campaign to abolish the slave trade. The British annexed Lagos in 1861 in order to protect Akitoye's son and successor, foil Kosoko's bid to return, and secure a base for further activities.

      The British were not yet willing to assume the expense of maintaining an administration in Nigeria. To reduce costs, Lagos was administered first from Freetown in Sierra Leone, along with Gold Coast forts such as Elmina, and later from Accra (in present-day Ghana); only in 1886 did Lagos became a separate colony. A consul was maintained at Fernando Po to oversee the lucrative palm oil trade in the region called the Oil Rivers. Missionaries were active: Presbyterians in Calabar and the Church Missionary Society (CMS), Methodists, and Baptists in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Oyo, and Ogbomoso. The CMS pioneered trade on the Niger (Niger River) by encouraging Scottish explorer and merchant Macgregor Laird (Laird, Macgregor) to run a monthly steamboat, which provided transportation for missionary agents and Sierra Leonean traders going up the Niger. In this way Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (Crowther, Samuel)—born in the Yoruba-inhabited area of Oshogbo and the first African ordained by the CMS—was able to establish mission stations at Onitsha, Lokoja, and Eggan and later at Brass and Bonny.

      By the 1870s the Niger trade was becoming profitable, and a few French companies took notice. French Roman Catholic missionaries, established in Ouidah (Whydah) (Ouidah), arrived in Lagos and considered missionary work on the Niger. The British responded to such evidence of rivalry by defending their right to free navigation on the river at the Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884–85 (Berlin West Africa Conference). At the same time, George Dashwood Goldie (Goldie, Sir George), a British businessman, bought out all French rivals and created the Royal Niger Company (chartered 1886) in order to control trade on the Niger and administer the immense territories of the Sokoto caliphate and Borno. In addition, two other protectorates were declared, one over the Oil Rivers and the other over the hinterland of Lagos, to establish a claim that these areas were also British “spheres of interest.”

      The boundaries of the two protectorates and the territories of the Royal Niger Company were difficult to define, but the tension was eased in 1894 when both entities were merged into the Niger Coast Protectorate. Rivalry between the Royal Niger Company and the Lagos Protectorate over the boundary between the emirate of Ilorin and the empire of Ibadan was resolved with the abrogation of the charter of the Royal Niger Company on Jan. 1, 1900, in return for wide mineral concessions.

      In the north Frederick Lugard (Lugard, F.D.), the first high commissioner of Northern Nigeria, was instrumental in subjugating the Fulani emirs. Some were deposed, some were defeated in battle, and others collaborated. By 1903 the conquest of the emirates was complete. The mud-walled city of Kano was captured in February, and, after a vigorous skirmish at Kotorkwashi, the sultan's capital, Sokoto, fell the next month. All the territories were now under British control, and the search for an identity began, first as Northern and Southern Nigeria and then with eventual amalgamation.

      The British penetration of Nigeria met with various forms of resistance throughout the country. In the south the British had to fight many wars, in particular the wars against the Ijebu (a Yoruba group) in 1892, the Aro of eastern Igboland, and, until 1914, the Aniocha of western Igboland. In the north many emirates did not take military action, but the deposed caliph, Atahiru I, rebelled in 1903. Many Muslims resorted to migration as a form of resistance, a tactic known as the hejira, in which those perceived as infidels are avoided.

      Resistance was strong in western Igboland, where a series of wars were waged against the British. The Ekumeku, who were well organized and whose leaders were joined in secrecy oaths, effectively utilized guerrilla tactics to attack the British. Their forces, which were drawn from hundreds of Igbo youth from all parts of the region, created many problems for the British, but the British used forceful tactics and heavy armaments (destroying homes, farms, and roads) to prevail. The Ekumeku, however, became a great source of Igbo nationalism.

J.F. Ade Ajayi Toyin O. Falola

Nigeria as a colony
      After the British government assumed direct control of the Royal Niger Company's territories, the northern areas were renamed the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, and the land in the Niger delta and along the lower reaches of the river was added to the Niger Coast Protectorate, which was renamed the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Lagos remained the capital of the south, with Zungeru the new capital of the north. On Jan. 1, 1914, following the recommendations of Sir Frederick Lugard (Lugard, F.D.), the two protectorates were amalgamated to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria under a single governor-general resident in Lagos. Between 1919 and 1954 the title reverted to governor.

      Following Lugard's success in the north, he set out the principles of the administrative system subsequently institutionalized as “indirect rule.” Essentially, local government was to be left in the hands of the traditional chiefs, subject to the guidance of European officers. Native institutions were utilized and interference with local customs kept to a minimum, although the British did not always understand the local customs. While this system had built-in contradictions, over the years the Nigerian system developed into a sophisticated form of local government, especially in the emirates and under the banner of “native administration,” which became the hallmark of British colonial rule in Africa.

      Many changes accompanied British rule: Western education, the English language, and Christianity spread during the period; new forms of money, transportation, and communication were developed; and the Nigerian economy became based on the export of cash crops. Areas with lucrative crops such as cacao and peanuts (groundnuts) profited, while many people in different parts of the country had to migrate to work elsewhere as tenant farmers or use their newly acquired education and skills to work in cities as wage earners, traders, and artisans. Two tiers of government emerged, central and local. The central government, presided over by the governor-general and accountable to the secretary for the colonies in London, was more powerful but distant from the people. Local administration, where the colonial citizens typically experienced colonial authority, was based on the policy of indirect rule first developed in the north.

      To prevent any united opposition to its authority, the British adopted a divide-and-rule policy, keeping Nigerian groups separate from one another as much as possible. Traditional authorities were co-opted in the north, where the spread of Western education by Christian missionaries was strongly resisted by Muslim leaders. In the south the British occasionally created a political hierarchy where there had been none before; in most cases they ruled through those who were most malleable, whether these people had held traditional positions of authority or not. Because Western education and Christianity spread rapidly in the south and not in the north, development was much slower in the north, and the growing disparity between north and south later caused political tensions.

      Further dislocation accompanied the outbreak of World War I. Locally this involved the immediate invasion of the German-held Kamerun ( Cameroon) by Nigerian forces, followed by a costly campaign that lasted until 1916. Later Nigerian troops were sent to East Africa. (During World War II they again served in East Africa, as well as in Burma [now Myanmar].) In 1922 Kamerun was divided under a League of Nations (Nations, League of) mandate between France and Britain, Britain administering its area within the government of Nigeria; after 1946 the mandated areas were redesignated as a United Nations (UN) trust territory.

      Although colonial rule appeared secure in the first two decades of the 20th century, the British struggled to keep control of their Nigerian colony and continued to do so until Nigeria became independent in 1960. The British, when faced with dissent, tended to grant political reforms in an effort to dispel the attractiveness of more-radical suggestions. Early on in colonial rule, for example, Nigerians protested the manner in which water rates and head taxes were collected. Nigerians also requested more political representation. The Nigerian Legislative Council was established in 1914 and was given limited jurisdiction; it was replaced in 1922 by a larger one that included elected members from Lagos and Calabar, although its powers also were limited and the northern provinces remained outside its control. A more representative system did not appear until 1946, when each geographic group of provinces had its own House of Assembly, with a majority of nonofficial (though not yet all elected) members; there were also a House of Chiefs and, in Lagos, a central Legislative Council. By 1919 the National Council of British West Africa, an organization consisting of elites across West Africa, was demanding that half the members of the Legislative Council be Africans; they also wanted a university in West Africa and more senior positions for Africans in the colonial civil service.

      Beginning in the 1920s, a number of Nigerians joined other blacks in various parts of the world to embark on the wider project of Pan-Africanism, which sought to liberate black people from racism and European domination. In 1923 Herbert Macaulay, the grandson of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, established the first Nigerian political party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party, which successfully contested three Lagos seats in the Legislative Council. Macaulay was despised by the British, but he came to be regarded as the “father of modern Nigerian nationalism.”

 After the 1930s, political activities focused primarily on ways to end British rule. A national party, the Nigerian Youth Movement, emerged in 1934, and its members won elections to the Legislative Council. After 1940, political activities were broadened to include more people. In 1944 Macaulay and Nnamdi Azikiwe (Azikiwe, Nnamdi), an Igbo who had been educated in the United States, united more than 40 different groups to establish the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). The forces unleashed against the British were now diverse, including soldiers who had served in World War II, the media, restless youth, market women, educated people, and farmers, all of whom became committed to the anticolonial movement. Political leaders resorted to the use of political parties and the media to mobilize millions of Nigerians against the continuation of British rule.

      The British answered this activity by attempting to create a more representational colonial system. The Macpherson constitution, promulgated in 1951, provided for a central House of Representatives, but friction between the central and regional legislatures, related to the question of where supreme party authority lay, soon caused a breakdown. In response to Azikiwe and other nationalists, the Lyttelton constitution of 1954 created a fully federal system, comprising the three geographic regions of Nigeria, the Southern Cameroons, and the Federal Territory of Lagos. Each region had a governor, premier, cabinet, legislature, and civil service, with the significantly weaker federal government represented in Lagos by a governor-general, bureaucracy, House of Representatives, and Senate.

 The southern protectorate was divided into two provinces in 1939—Western and Eastern—and in 1954 they, along with the northern protectorate, were renamed the Western, Eastern, and Northern regions as part of Nigeria's reconstruction into a federal state. Internal self-government was granted to the Western and Eastern regions in 1957. The Eastern region was dominated by Azikiwe and the Western one by Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Awolowo, Obafemi), a Yoruba lawyer who in 1950 founded the Action Group. Demanding immediate self-government, the Action Group was opposed by the Northern People's Congress (NPC), which was composed largely of northerners and headed by several leaders, including Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Balewa, Sir Abubakar Tafawa). At its own request the Northern region was not given internal self-government until 1959, because northerners feared that their region might lose its claim to an equal share in the operation and opportunities of the federal government if it was not given time to catch up with the educationally advanced south. Among the problems needing attention before the British would grant full independence was the minorities' fear of discrimination by a future government based on majority ethnic groups. After the Willink Commission examined and reported on this issue in 1958, independence was granted.

Independent Nigeria
 Nigeria was granted independence on Oct. 1, 1960. A new constitution established a federal system with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state. The NCNC, now headed by Azikiwe (who had taken control after Macaulay's death in 1946), formed a coalition with Balewa's NPC after neither party won a majority in the 1959 elections. Balewa continued to serve as the prime minister, a position he had held since 1957, while Azikiwe took the largely ceremonial position of president of the Senate. Following a UN-supervised referendum, the northern part of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons joined the Northern region in June 1961, while in October the Southern Cameroons united with Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. On Oct. 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic. Azikiwe became president of the country, although as prime minister Balewa was still more powerful.

      After a brief honeymoon period, Nigeria's long-standing regional stresses, caused by ethnic competitiveness, educational inequality, and economic imbalance, again came to the fore in the controversial census of 1962–63. In an attempt to stave off ethnic conflict, the Mid-West region was created in August 1963 by dividing the Western region. Despite this division, the country still was segmented into three large geographic regions, each of which was essentially controlled by an ethnic group: the west by the Yoruba, the east by the Igbo, and the north by the Hausa-Fulani. Conflicts were endemic, as regional leaders protected their privileges; the south complained of northern domination, and the north feared that the southern elite was bent on capturing power. In the west the government had fallen apart in 1962, and a boycott of the federal election of December 1964 brought the country to the brink of breakdown. The point of no return was reached in January 1966, when, after the collapse of order in the west following the fraudulent election of October 1965, a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the federal government, and Prime Minister Balewa and two of the regional premiers were murdered. A military administration was set up under Maj. Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, but his plan to abolish the regions and impose a unitary government met with anti-Igbo riots in the north. The military intervention worsened the political situation, as the army itself split along ethnic lines, its officers clashed over power, and the instigators and leaders of the January coup were accused of favouring Igbo domination. In July 1966 northern officers staged a countercoup, Aguiyi-Ironsi was assassinated, and Lieut. Col. (later Gen.) Yakubu Gowon (Gowon, Yakubu) came to power. The crisis was compounded by intercommunal clashes in the north and threats of secession in the south.

      Gowon's attempt to hold a conference to settle the constitutional future of Nigeria was abandoned after a series of ethnic massacres in October. A last-ditch effort to save the country was made in January 1967, when the Eastern delegation, led by Lieut. Col. (later Gen.) Odumegwu Ojukwu (Ojukwu, Odumegwu), agreed to meet the others on neutral ground at Aburi, Ghana, but the situation deteriorated after differences developed over the interpretation of the accord. In May the Eastern region's consultative assembly authorized Ojukwu to establish a sovereign republic, while, at the same time, the federal military government promulgated a decree dividing the four regions into 12 states, including 6 in the north and 3 in the east, in an attempt to break the power of the regions.

The civil war
      On May 30, 1967, Ojukwu declared the secession of the three states of the Eastern region under the name of the Republic of Biafra, which the federal government interpreted as an act of rebellion. Fighting broke out in early July and within weeks had escalated into a full-scale civil war. In August Biafran troops crossed the Niger (Niger River), seized Benin City, and were well on their way to Lagos before they were checked at Ore, a small town in Western state (now Ondo state). Shortly thereafter, federal troops entered Enugu, the provisional capital of Biafra, and penetrated the Igbo heartland. The next two years were marked by stiff resistance in the shrinking Biafran enclave and by heavy casualties among civilians as well as in both armies, all set within what threatened to be a military stalemate. Peacemaking attempts by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) remained ineffective, while Biafra began earning recognition from African states and securing aid from international organizations for what was by then a starving population.

      The final Biafran collapse began on Dec. 24, 1969, when federal troops launched a massive effort at a time when Biafra was short on ammunition, its people were desperate for food, and its leaders controlled only one-sixth of the territory that had formed the Biafran republic in 1967. Ojukwu fled to Côte d'Ivoire on Jan. 11, 1970, and a Biafran deputation formally surrendered in Lagos four days later.

      General Gowon was able, through his own personal magnetism, to reconcile the two sides so that the former Biafran states were integrated into the country once again and were not blamed for the war. The oil boom that followed the war allowed the federal government to finance development programs and consolidate its power. In 1974 Gowon postponed until 1976 the target date for a return to civilian rule, but he was overthrown in July 1975 and fled to Great Britain. The new head of state, Brig. Gen. Murtala Ramat Mohammed, initiated many changes during his brief time in office: he began the process of moving the federal capital to Abuja, addressed the issue of government inefficiency, and, most important, initiated the process for a return to civilian rule. He was assassinated in February 1976 during an unsuccessful coup attempt, and his top aide, Lieut. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (Obasanjo, Olusegun), became head of the government.

Anthony Hamilton Millard Kirk-Greene Toyin O. Falola

The Second Republic
      Obasanjo pursued Mohammed's desire to return the country to civilian rule. As a first step, a new constitution was promulgated that replaced the British-style parliamentary system with a presidential one. The president was invested with greater power but could assume office only after winning one-fourth of the votes in two-thirds of the states in the federation.

      Many political parties emerged, but only five were registered: the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the Unity Party of Nigeria, the People's Redemption Party (PRP), the Great Nigeria People's Party, and the Nigeria People's Party. All promised to improve education and social services, provide welfare, rebuild the economy and support private industry, and pursue a radical, anti-imperialist foreign policy. The PRP was notable for expressing socialist ideas and rhetoric. Shehu Shagari (Shagari, Shehu), the candidate of the dominant party, the right-wing NPN, narrowly won the 1979 presidential election, defeating Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

      The NPN's party leaders used political power as an opportunity to gain access to public treasuries and distribute privileges to their followers. Members of the public were angry, and many openly challenged the relevance of a democracy that could not produce leaders who would improve their lives and provide moral authority. Even in this climate, however, Shagari was reelected president in August–September 1983, although his landslide victory was attributed to gross voting irregularities. Shagari was not able to manage the political crisis that followed or to end Nigeria's continuing economic decline, and the military seized the opportunity to stage a coup on Dec. 31, 1983, that brought Maj. Gen. Muhammad Buhari (Buhari, Muhammad) to power.

Military regimes, 1983–99
      Buhari justified his coup and subsequent actions by citing the troubles of the Second Republic and the declining economy. The regime declared a “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI), which resulted in the arrest, detention, and jailing of a number of politicians. When the WAI was extended to journalists and others not responsible for the social decay and economic problems, the government's popularity began to wane. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (Babangida, Ibrahim) assumed power following a bloodless coup in August 1985.

      Babangida at first presented to the public and the media the image of an affectionate and considerate leader. He released political detainees and promised that public opinion would influence his decisions and those of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, the supreme governing body. The public, however, demanded an end to military rule. Babangida outwardly supported a return to civilian government but worked to undermine the process in order to retain power.

      A transition program was announced in 1986 that was to terminate in 1990 (later extended to 1993), and the military controlled the process. The government created two political parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Party (NRP), and produced their agendas for them; freely formed parties were not registered, and many politicians were banned from politics. The 1979 constitution was modified by a Constituent Assembly, and a series of elections were then held for local government councillors, state governors, and legislatures.

      Although Babangida voided presidential primary elections held in 1992, and all the candidates were banned from politics, a presidential election was slated for June 1993 between two pro-government candidates: Chief M.K.O. Abiola of the SDP and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the NRP. The Babangida government believed that the elections would never take place and felt that, even if they did, the north-south divide would lead to a stalemate, as Abiola came from the south and Tofa from the north. Contrary to government expectation, however, the election was held on schedule, and it was free, fair, and peaceful. Chief Abiola won, but Babangida annulled the results before they became official. This turned out to be a serious miscalculation that forced him out of power in August 1993, and an Interim National Government (ING) was instituted, led by Yoruba businessman Ernest Shonekan. The ING faced opposition from all sides, and Gen. Sani Abacha (Abacha, Sani), the defense minister under Babangida, overthrew it in November, reinstating military rule. Like Babangida, he promised a transition to civilian rule while pursuing the means to maintain power, but, unlike Babangida, he used excessive force to attain his ambition.

      If the political future of Nigeria appeared bright with the victory of Chief Abiola in June 1993, Abacha's seizure of power and subsequent rule reversed most of the gains that the country had made since 1960. At no time since the mid-1960s did so many question the existence of Nigeria as a political entity. When leading politicians did not call for the breakup of the country, they advocated a confederacy with a weakened centre and even a divided army and police force. Opposition forces called for a national conference to renegotiate the basis of Nigerian unity. The country's international image was damaged, as it suffered serious condemnation and isolation.

      The Abacha regime ignored due process of law, press freedom, individual liberty, and human rights. The government used violence as a weapon against its opponents and critics; when Abiola proclaimed himself president, he was arrested in June 1994 and died in jail in 1998. Trade union movements were suspended and protesters were killed, yet opposition to the government, particularly outside of the country, did not abate. Abacha and his loyalists again used the state as an instrument of personal gain.

      The decisive turning point in military disengagement came with Abacha's sudden death in June 1998. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, appointed to replace him, promised to transfer power to civilians. He freed political prisoners, ended the harassment of political opponents, and set forth a timetable for the transition to civilian rule. The country's international image improved, but economic performance remained sluggish.

Return to civilian rule
 After Abacha's death, political activity blossomed as numerous parties were formed. Of these, three emerged that were able to contest elections: the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the Alliance for Democracy, and the All People's Party. A series of elections were held in January–March 1999 in which councillors for local governments, legislatures for state and federal assemblies, and state governors were selected. The presidential election took place in February and was carefully monitored by an international team of observers that included former U.S. president Jimmy Carter (Carter, Jimmy). Olusegun Obasanjo (Obasanjo, Olusegun) of the PDP, who as head of state in 1976–79 had overseen the last transition from military rule, was declared the winner and was sworn in on May 29. A new constitution was also promulgated that month. Nigerians, tired of prolonged and crisis-prone military regimes, welcomed the change of government, as did the international community. In the first civilian-administered elections since the country achieved independence in 1960, Obasanjo was reelected in 2003, although there were widespread reports of voting irregularities.

 Although conditions in Nigeria were generally improved under Obasanjo, there was still considerable strife within the country. Ethnic conflict—previously kept in check during the periods of military rule—now erupted in various parts of Nigeria, and friction increased between Muslims and Christians when some of the northern and central states chose to adopt Islamic law (the Sharīʿah). Demonstrations were held to protest the government's oil policies and high fuel prices. Residents of the Niger delta also protested the operations of petroleum companies in their area, asserting that the companies exploited their land while not providing a reasonable share of the petroleum profits in return. Their protests evolved into coordinated militant action in 2006; the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was among the most active of such militant groups. Petroleum companies were targeted: their employees were kidnapped and refineries and pipelines were damaged as militants attempted to disrupt oil production and inflict economic loss.

      Obasanjo was also faced with resolving an ongoing border dispute with neighbouring Cameroon (Cameroon, history of) over rights to the Bakassi Peninsula, an oil-rich area to which both countries had strong cultural ties. Under the terms of a 2002 International Court of Justice ruling, the region was awarded to Cameroon, and Obasanjo was criticized by the international community when Nigeria did not immediately comply by withdrawing its troops from the area in the subsequent years. He also received much domestic criticism for contemplating withdrawal from the peninsula by those who questioned the fate of the large number of Nigerians living in the region and cited the long-standing cultural ties between the Bakassi Peninsula and Nigeria. Nevertheless, Obasanjo eventually honoured the terms of the ruling in 2006 when Nigeria relinquished its claim to the peninsula and withdrew its forces.

      The transfer of the peninsula to Cameroon was not without its problems, including the ongoing issue of resettling Nigerians displaced by the transfer and the dissatisfaction of those who remained but were now under Cameroonian rule. Still, the region experienced a relative peace until November 2007, when Cameroonian troops stationed in the area were killed by assailants who reportedly wore Nigerian military uniforms. Nigeria quickly asserted that its military was not involved in the incident and cited recent criminal activity in the Niger delta region, where military supplies—including uniforms—had been stolen; the actual identities of the assailants were not immediately known. Later that month Nigeria's Senate voted to void the agreement that had ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon. However, this action did not affect the actual status of the peninsula, and a ceremony held on Aug. 14, 2008, marked the completion of the peninsula's transfer from Nigeria to Cameroon.

      Meanwhile, Obasanjo was the subject of domestic and international criticism for his attempt to amend the constitution to allow him to stand for a third term as president; the proposed amendment was rejected by the Senate in 2006. With Obasanjo unable to contest the election, Umaru Yar'Adua was selected to stand as the PDP's candidate in the April 2007 presidential poll. He was declared the winner, but international observers strongly condemned the election as being marred by voting irregularities and fraud. Nonetheless, Yar'Adua was sworn in as president on May 29, 2007.

Toyin O. Falola Ed.

Additional Reading

A general overview is Harold D. Nelson (ed.), Nigeria, 4th ed. (1982). Reuben K. Udo, Geographical Regions of Nigeria (1970); K.M. Barbour et al., Nigeria in Maps (1982); and K.M. Buchanan and J.C. Pugh, Land and People in Nigeria (1955, reissued 1966), are standard geographic texts. Akin L. Mabogunje, Urbanization in Nigeria (1968), contains detailed studies of Lagos and Ibadan. W.T.W. Morgan, Nigeria (1983), is a good survey of the physical and cultural environment. Toyin Falola and S.A. Olanrewaju (eds.), Transport Systems in Nigeria (1986), presents information on the transport network; and Toyin Falola and Tola Pearce (eds.), Child Health in Nigeria: The Impact of a Depressed Economy (1994), is valuable on the health conditions. Ekpo Eyo, Two Thousand Years, Nigerian Art (1977), traces the development of this aspect of Nigeria's culture.Accounts of the economy up to World War II can be found in Daryll Forde and Richenda Scott, The Native Economies of Nigeria (1964); and Gerald K. Helleiner, Peasant Agriculture, Government, and Economic Growth in Nigeria (1966); while Susan M. Martin, Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic History of the Ngwa Region, South-eastern Nigeria, 1800–1980 (1988), continues the story to the oil boom. Two studies that cover the post-1940 era are R.O. Ekundare, An Economic History of Nigeria (1973); and Toyin Falola, Decolonization and Development Planning in Nigeria (1996); with Tom Forrest, Politics and Economic Development (1993), continuing the discussion into the early 1990s. Also useful are Scott R. Pearson, Petroleum and the Nigerian Economy (1970); Sayre P. Schatz, Nigerian Capitalism (1977); and, in the wider perspective of political economy, Gavin Williams (ed.), Nigeria (1976); and I. William Zartman (ed.), The Political Economy of Nigeria (1983).On politics, James S. Coleman, Nigeria: Background to Nationalism (1958); and Richard L. Sklar, Nigerian Political Parties (1963), are dated but remain indispensable. Also useful are K.W.J. Post, The Nigerian Federal Election of 1959 (1963); John P. Mackintosh (ed.), Nigerian Government and Politics: Prelude to the Revolution (1966); and Larry Diamond, Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria: The Failure of the First Republic (1988). Constitutional development can be followed in B.O. Nwabueze, A Constitutional History of Nigeria (1982). Studies of public administration include Billy Dudley, An Introduction to Nigerian Government and Politics (1982); and 'Ladipo Adamolekun, Politics and Administration in Nigeria (1986).

General overviews include Toyin Falola, The History of Nigeria (1999); Michael Crowder, The Story of Nigeria, 4th ed. rev. (1978); Obaro Ikime (ed.), Groundwork of Nigerian History (1980); Elizabeth Isichei, A History of Nigeria (1983); and Toyin Falola et. al., History of Nigeria, 3 vol. (1989–92). Regional and special studies include R.A. Adeleye, Power and Diplomacy in Northern Nigeria, 1804–1906: The Sokoto Caliphate and Its Enemies (1971); E.A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria, 1842–1914 (1966); A.E. Afigbo, The Warrant Chiefs: Indirect Rule in Southeastern Nigeria, 1891–1929 (1972); and G.O. Olusanya, The Second World War and Politics in Nigeria, 1939–1953 (1973). The colonial period is analyzed in Toyin Falola (ed.), Nigeria and Britain: Exploitation or Development (1987). The Biafran war is covered in John de St. Jorre, The Nigerian Civil War (1972). On the Second Republic, Richard A. Joseph, Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria (1987); Toyin Falola and Julius Ihonvbere, The Rise & Fall of Nigeria's Second Republic, 1979–84 (1985); Anthony Kirk-Greene and Douglas Rimmer, Nigeria Since 1970 (1981); William D. Graf, The Nigerian State (1988); Stephen Wright, Nigeria: Struggle for Stability and Status (1998); and Eghosa E. Osaghae, Nigeria Since Independence: Crippled Giant (1998), are very informative. See also A. Oyewole, Historical Dictionary of Nigeria (1987). More recent history is adequately covered in Toyin Falola and Pat Williams, Religious Impact on the Nation State: The Nigerian Predicament (1995); Toyin Falola and Hassan Matthew Kukah, Religious Militancy and Self Assertion: Islam and Politics in Nigeria (1996); and Toyin Falola, Religious Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies (1998).Toyin O. Falola

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nigéria — Nigeria  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Niger. Federal Republic of Nigeria (en) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • NIGERIA — La Fédération nigériane a survécu au double choc de la décolonisation et d’une guerre civile particulièrement meurtrière. C’est l’un des rares États africains dont les frontières délimitent un espace porteur de substantielles potentialités de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Nigeria —    Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is about equally divided between Muslims and Christians. Of 45 million Christians, Roman Catholics number 12 million, with the remainder divided among the numerous Protestant churches.    The first …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Nigerĭa — Nigerĭa, Name für die englisch afrikan. Besitzungen am Niger, umfaßt nach der 1900 angebahnten und 1903 zum Abschluß gekommenen Entwickelung außer Lagos das Gebiet der Royal Niger Company oder Nigergesellschaft (Nord oder Upper Nigeria) und das… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nigeria — Nigeria, bestehend aus Nord (Ober , Upper) und Süd (Nieder , Lower) N., brit. Kronkolonie und Interessensphäre am untern Niger [Karte: Afrika I], 866.000 (944.700) qkm 22,4 (nach neuern Angaben 12,4) Mill. E.; entstanden aus dem frühern… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nigeria — • A colony of British East Africa Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Nigeria — African nation, named for river NIGER (Cf. Niger), which runs through it, + IA (Cf. ia). Related: Nigerian …   Etymology dictionary

  • Nigeria — [nī jir′ē ə] country in WC Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea: formerly a British colony & protectorate, it became independent in 1960; a republic since 1963: member of the Commonwealth: 356,669 sq mi (923,769 sq km); pop. 88,515,000; cap. Abuja… …   English World dictionary

  • Nigeria — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Nigeria (disambiguation). Federal Republic of Nigeria Jamhuriyar Taraiyar Nijeriya …   Wikipedia

  • Nigeria — Federal Republic of Nigeria (engl.) Njíkötá Óchíchìiwù Naíjíríà (Igbo) Àpapọ̀ Olómìnira ilẹ̀ Nàìjíríà (Yoruba) جمهورية نيجيريا (Haussa) Republik Federaal bu Niiseriya (Fulfulde) Bundesrepublik Nigeria …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”