kids encyclopedia robot

Nigeria facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Federal Republic of Nigeria

  • Jamhuriyar Taraiyar Nijeriya  (Hausa)
  • Ọ̀hàńjíkọ̀ Ọ̀hànézè Naìjíríyà  (Igbo)
  • Orílẹ̀-èdè Olómìniira Aláàpapọ̀ Nàìjíríà  (Yoruba)
Coat of arms of Nigeria
Coat of arms
Motto: "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress"
Anthem: Arise, O Compatriots
Location of Nigeria shown in dark green
Location of Nigeria shown in dark green
Capital Abuja
Largest city Lagos
6°27′N 3°23′E / 6.450°N 3.383°E / 6.450; 3.383
Official languages English
Major languages
Other languages
Demonym(s) Nigerian
Government Federal presidential republic
Muhammadu Buhari
• Vice President
Yemi Osinbajo
Legislature National Assembly
House of Representatives
from the United Kingdom
• Unification of Southern and Northern Nigeria
• Declared and recognised
1 October 1960
• Republic declared
1 October 1963
• Current constitution
29 May 1999
• Total
923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi) (32nd)
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
182,202,000 (7th)
• 2006 census
• Density
188.9/km2 (489.2/sq mi) (71st)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$1,166 trillion (20th)
• Per capita
$6,351 (124th)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$484.895 billion (21st)
• Per capita
$2,640 (122nd)
Gini (2010)  43.0
HDI (2015) Increase 0.514
low · 152nd
Currency Naira (₦) (NGN)
Time zone UTC+1 (WAT)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (not observed)
Driving side right
Calling code +234
ISO 3166 code NG
Internet TLD .ng

Nigeria is a country in west Africa. It has a population of 154,729,000, which is more than any other country in Africa. The capital of Nigeria is Abuja. Nigeria is known for being a large country, and the most rich in Africa.


"Up-River Chiefs, Calabar", 19th century (imp-cswc-GB-237-CSWC47-LS2-037)
"Up-River Chiefs, Calabar", 19th century

From the 1500s to the 1800s, many people from the land now called Nigeria (and other parts of West Africa) were taken away and turned into slaves by Europeans, and they were sent to work in the Americas. These slaves were bought and sold in the Americas by Europeans who lived there. Today, many people related to those slaves still live in America, though they are no longer slaves. They are called African-Americans.

From 1901 to 1960, the United Kingdom ruled Nigeria. However, by 1960 the people wanted independence very much, and Britain finally let them have it. For some time after this, Nigeria was a dictatorship, where the leaders stayed in control even if the majority of people disliked them. At this time, Nigeria had a big war called the Biafra War with Christian Igbo people who wanted their own country in the East. They did not want to be a part of Nigeria, which was ruled by a Muslim, and they wanted their own country called "Biafra". They did not get their country, and hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

In 1999, Nigeria became a democracy, where people choose their leaders. After that, Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba Christian from the south, became President. In 2007, Umaru Yar'Adua, a Hausa Muslim, was elected to be the next President. Yar'Adua died in May, 2009. Goodluck Jonathan, the vice president, then became president.

Since 2002, there have been a battles in the north of the country. The battles are between government troops and the Islamist group Boko Haram. This group wants to have Sharia law for the country.


Nigeria has a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi). It is the world's 32nd-largest country. It shares a border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km) and Cameroon (1690 km). It has a coastline of at least 853 km.

Zuma rock
The Zuma Rock near Suleja

The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft). The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue River. They come together and empty into the Niger Delta, one of the world's largest river deltas. It is the location of a large area of Central African Mangroves.


Areas in abuja
Skyline of Nigerian capital, Abuja
Sleep time
Skyline of Central Business District, Abuja at night
Skyline of Lagos. Lagos is the largest city in Africa and Nigerian's economic hub

Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market. It has reached lower middle income status according to the World Bank, with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in Africa.

Nigeria is trying to reach the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is to end poverty in all its forms by 2030.


Farm Ploughing, Kwara State, Nigeria
Farm Ploughing in Kwara State

As of 2010, about 30% of Nigerians are employed in agriculture. Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria.

Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams. Cocoa is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner. Rubber is the second-largest non-oil foreign exchange earner.


Oando Head Office in Victoria Island, Lagos

Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. (The country joined OPEC in 1971). Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. However, agitation for better resource control in the Niger Delta, its main oil-producing region, has led to disruptions in oil production and prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.

Headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

The Niger Delta Nembe Creek Oil field was discovered in 1973 and produces from middle Miocene deltaic sandstone-shale in an anticline structural trap at a depth of 2 to 4 kilometres (1.2 to 2.5 miles). In June 2013, Shell announced a strategic review of its operations in Nigeria, hinting that assets could be divested. While many international oil companies have operated there for decades, by 2014 most were making moves to divest their interests, citing a range of issues including oil theft. In August 2014, Shell Oil Company said it was finalising its interests in four Nigerian oil fields.

Nigeria has a total of 159 oil fields and 1,481 wells in operation according to the Department of Petroleum Resources. The most productive region of the nation is the coastal Niger Delta Basin in the Niger Delta or "South-south" region which encompasses 78 of the 159 oil fields. Most of Nigeria's oil fields are small and scattered, and as of 1990, these small unproductive fields accounted for 62.1% of all Nigerian production. This contrasts with the sixteen largest fields which produced 37.9% of Nigeria's petroleum at that time.

Oil facility at Bonny Island, Rivers State


Topaz from the Jos Plateau in Plateau State

Nigeria also has a wide array of underexploited mineral resources which include natural gas, coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc. Despite huge deposits of these natural resources, the mining industry in Nigeria is still in its infancy.

Manufacturing and technology

Ajaokuta factory

Nigeria has a manufacturing industry that includes leather and textiles (centred on Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), Nigeria currently has an indigenous auto manufacturing company; Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing located in Nnewi. It produces Buses and manufacturing (for the French car manufacturer Peugeot as well as for the English truck manufacturer Bedford, now a subsidiary of General Motors), T-shirts, plastics and processed food.

Nigeria in recent years has been embracing industrialisation. It currently has an indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Motors, which manufactures Rapid Transit Buses, trucks and SUVs with an upcoming introduction of cars. Nigeria also has few Electronic manufacturers like Zinox, the first Branded Nigerian Computer and Electronic gadgets (like tablet PCs) manufacturers.

Government satellites

The Nigerian government has commissioned the overseas production and launch of four satellites. The Nigeriasat-1 was the first satellite to be built under the Nigerian government sponsorship. The satellite was launched from Russia on 27 September 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was part of the worldwide Disaster Monitoring Constellation System.

NigeriaSat-2, Nigeria's second satellite, was built as a high-resolution earth satellite by Surrey Space Technology Limited, a United Kingdom-based satellite technology company.

NigComSat-1, a Nigerian satellite built in 2004, was Nigeria's third satellite and Africa's first communication satellite.



Nigeria's population increased by 57 million from 1990 to 2008, a 60% growth rate in less than two decades. As of 2017, the population stood at 191 million. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and accounts for about 17% of the continent's total population as of 2017; however, exactly how populous is a subject of speculation.

Nigeria's largest city is Lagos. Lagos has grown from about 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 13.4 million in 2017.

Largest Cities in Nigeria, 2017
City Million
Lagos 13.463
Kanos 3.82
Ibadan 3.383
Abuja 2.919
Port Harcourt 2.343
Benin City 1.628

Ethnic groups

Hausa harpist.jpg Igbo hat and Isiagu.jpg Kwarastatedrummers.jpg
A Hausa harpist Igbo men Yoruba drummers

Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The largest ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Fulani, together accounting for more than 70% of the population, while the Urhobo-Isoko, Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gbagyi, Jukun, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise between 25 and 30%; other minorities make up the remaining 5%.

In the middle of the 19th century, a number of ex-slaves of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian descent and emigrants from Sierra Leone established communities in Lagos and other regions of Nigeria. Many ex-enslaved people came to Nigeria following the emancipation of slaves in the Americas. Many of the immigrants, sometimes called Saro (immigrants from Sierra Leone) and Amaro (ex-slaves from Brazil) later became prominent merchants and missionaries in these cities.

National Anthem Of Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are two national anthems. The first one is called "Nigeria We Hail Thee". The second and current national anthem is called "Arise O' Compatriots. The first one was written by Lilian Jean William and composed by Frances Berda. The second one was written by 5 people and was composed by the Police band. Arise O' Compatriots was first heard during Nigeria's independence.


Meridien Akwa Ibom park
Meridien Akwa Ibom golf course park
Yankari Elephants
African Bush Elephants in Yankari National Park, Bauchi State.

Tourism in Nigeria centers largely on events, due to the country's ample amount of ethnic groups, but also includes rain forests, savannah, waterfalls, and other natural attractions.

Jabi lake
Jabi lake
Lekki Beach in Lagos
Lekki Beach in Lagos

Abuja is home to several parks and green areas with the largest one being Millennium Park. Millennium Park was designed by architect Manfredi Nicoletti and was officially opened by the United Kingdom's Elizabeth II in December 2003. Another open area park is located in Lifecamp Gwarimpa; near the residence of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. The park is located on a slightly raised hilltop which contains sport facilities like Basketball and Badminton courts another park is the city park, it is located in wuse 2 and is home to numerous outdoor and indoor attractions such as a 4D cinema, astro-turf, lawn tennis court, paintball arena and a variety of restaurants.

The Peak of Obudu Mountain
The Peak of Obudu Mountain, Cross River State

Lagos, subsequent to the re-modernization project achieved by the previous administration of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, is gradually becoming a major tourist destination, being one of the largest cities in Africa and in the world. Lagos is currently taking steps to become a global city. The 2009 Eyo carnival (a yearly festival originated from Iperu Remo, Ogun State), which took place on 25 April, was a step toward world city status. Currently, Lagos is primarily known as a business-oriented and a fast-paced community.

Lagos has become an important location for African and "black" cultural identity. Lots of festivals are held in Lagos; festivals vary in offerings each year and may be held in different months. Some of the festivals are Festac Food Fairs held in Festac Town Annually, Eyo Festival, Lagos Black Heritage Carnival, Lagos Carnival, Eko International Film Festival, Lagos Seafood Festac Festival, LAGOS PHOTO Festival and the Lagos Jazz Series, which is a unique franchise for high-quality live music in all genres with a focus on jazz. Established in 2010, the event takes place over a 3–5 day period at selected high quality outdoor venues. The music is as varied as the audience itself and features a diverse mix of musical genres from rhythm and blues to soul, Afrobeat, hip hop, bebop, and traditional jazz. The festivals provide entertainment of dance and song to add excitement to travelers during a stay in Lagos.

Lagos has a number of sandy beaches by the Atlantic Ocean, including Elegushi Beach and Alpha Beach. Lagos also has a number of private beach resorts including Inagbe Grand Beach Resort and several others in the outskirts.

Lagos has a variety of hotels ranging from three star to five star hotels, with a mixture of local hotels such as Eko Hotels and Suites, Federal Palace Hotel and franchises of multinational chains such as Intercontinental Hotel, Sheraton and Four Points by Hilton. Other places of interest include the Tafawa Balewa Square, Festac town, The Nike Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos and the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos.

Obudu Mountain Resort is a ranch and resort on the Obudu Plateau in Cross River State. It was developed in 1951 by M. McCaughley, a Scot who first explored the mountain ranges in 1949. He camped on the mountaintop of the Oshie Ridge on the Sankwala Mountains for a month before returning with Mr. Hugh Jones, a fellow rancher, in 1951. Together with Dr. Crawfeild, they developed the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Although the ranch has been through troubles since, it has been rehabilitated to its former glory.

Mini fall
Mini waterfall at the grotto in Becheve Nature Reserve, a major attraction on Obudu Plateau
Kajuru Castle
Kajuru Castle, Kaduna built in 1978

Since 2005, a cable car climbing 870 metres (2,850 ft) from the base to the top of the plateau gives visitors a scenic view while bypassing the extremely winding road to the top.

The resort is found on the Obudu Plateau, close to the Cameroon border in the northeastern part of Cross River State, approximately 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of the town of Ogoja and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the town of Obudu in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State. It is about 30 minutes drive from Obudu town and is about a 332 kilometres (206 mi) drive from Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Charter air service is available to the Bebi Airport which lies between the village of Obudu and the resort.

The ranch has in recent times seen an influx of both Nigerian and international tourists because of the development of tourist facilities by Cross-River State Government, which has turned the ranch into a well known holiday and tourist resort center in Nigeria.



Sango priestress

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. The singer and social activist Fela Kuti was instrumental in Nigeria's musical development.

Traditional musicians use a number of diverse instruments, such as Gongon drums. The kora and the kakaki are also important.

Other traditional cultural expressions are found in the various masquerades of Nigeria, such as the Eyo masquerades, the Ekpe and Ekpo Masquerades of the Efik/Ibibio/Annang/Igbo peoples of coastal southeastern Nigeria, and the Northern Edo Masquerades. The most popular Yoruba manifestations of this custom are the Gelede masquerades.


A Plate of Pounded Yam (Iyan) served in Birmingham UK
A Plate of Pounded Yam (Iyan) and Egusi Soup with Tomatoes Stew.

Nigerian cuisine, like West African cuisine in general, is known for its richness and variety. Many different spices, herbs and flavourings are used in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.


A woman attends a health education session in northern Nigeria (8406369172)
Women in north Nigeria

Women wear long flowing robes and headscarves made from local markets who dye and weave the fabric locally.

Southern Nigerian women choose to wear western-style wear. People in urban regions of Nigeria dress in western style, the youth mainly wearing jeans and T-shirts.

Other Nigerian men and women typically wear a traditional style called Buba. For men the loose fitting shirt goes down to halfway down the thigh. For women, the loose fitting blouse goes down a little below the waist. Other clothing gear includes a gele, which is the woman's headgear. For men their traditional cap is called fila.

The dressing and colours of the garments can sometimes change according to the occasion to be attended.


Abuja Stadium 2
A friendly match between Nigeria and Algeria at the Abuja National Stadium, in 2004

Association football is Nigeria's national sport. The country has its own Premier League of football. Nigeria's Men's national football team, known as the Super Eagles, has made the World Cup five times. These were in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and most recently in 2014, where they were eliminated by the French National Team in the Round of 16. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994 and 2013. They also hosted the Junior World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Nigeria is also involved in other sports such as basketball, cricket, sprints and track and field. Boxing is also an important sport in Nigeria; Dick Tiger and Samuel Peter are both former World Champions.

Related pages

Images for kids

kids search engine
Nigeria Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.