Welcome to Nigeria

A busy country

Children playing football, NigeriaWith the largest population in Africa, Nigeria is a busy and bustling country.

Its people are known for their ingenuity and optimism, even in the face of many difficulties. A country of extremes, home to both the rich and the very poor, it is known by many young Nigerians as 'Naija'. This term expresses the hope for change and a nation of which to be proud.

Find out more about Nigeria by clicking on the topic tiles and features.

Discover Nigeria

Most of Nigeria’s farming takes place on small plots of land of a few hectares – these smallholdings account for around 90% of the food output in the country.

Within its vast area, Nigeria has over 250 different ethnic groups, all with their own languages and heritage.

Nigerian children are mainly taught in the official language of English. However the main three local languages – Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo – are also included on the curriculum.

In northern Muslim regions, men often take more than wife. Polygamy is also practised in some traditional southern communities. Across Nigeria, children are regarded as a blessing and extended families can be very large.

To put a complete end to the slave trade (which Britain outlawed from 1807) and gain control of the region, the British began annexing parts of Nigeria, such as Lagos in 1861 and regions along the Niger River.

Over a quarter of deaths among under-fives are caused by malaria, which equates to around 250,000 young children dying of malaria each year.

Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer with an output of over 2 million barrels of crude each day. Despite its growing wealth and economy, poverty levels in Nigeria are on the rise. This is because the oil wealth is not trickling down into society at large.

Over a century ago, two-thirds of Nigeria was covered by rich tropical forest. But due to the pressures of a fast-growing population, Nigeria’s forests have been disappearing at one of the highest rates in the world.

Communications play a vital role in a vast and populous country like Nigeria. Radio, television and newspapers vie to keep people informed and there is a lively media scene in the country.