Country profile: Nigeria
After lurching from one
military coup to another, Nigeria now has an elected leadership. But it
faces the growing challenge of preventing Africa's most populous
country from breaking apart along ethnic and religious lines.
Political liberalisation ushered in by the return to civilian rule in
1999 has allowed militants from religious and ethnic groups to express
their frustrations more freely, and with increasing violence.
Thousands of people have died over the past few years in communal
rivalry. Separatist aspirations have been growing, prompting reminders
of the bitter civil war over the breakaway Biafran republic in the late
Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated since the return to civilian rule
in 1999. President Yar'Adua is under pressure to fulfil promises to
Economy: Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer; more than half of its people live in poverty
International: Nigeria plays a prominent role
in African affairs; has withdrawn troops from oil-rich Bakassi
peninsula to settle border dispute with Cameroon
The imposition of Islamic law in several states has embedded
divisions and caused thousands of Christians to flee. Inter-faith
violence is said to be rooted in poverty, unemployment and the
competition for land.
The government is striving to boost the
economy, which experienced an oil boom in the 1970s and is once again
benefiting from high prices on the world market. But progress has been
undermined by corruption and mismanagement.
The former British colony is one of the world's largest oil producers, but the industry has produced unwanted side effects.
trade in stolen oil has fuelled violence and corruption in the Niger
delta - the home of the industry. Few Nigerians, including those in
oil-producing areas, have benefited from the oil wealth.
is keen to attract foreign investment but is hindered in this quest by
security concerns as well as by a shaky infrastructure troubled by
- Full name: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Population: 154.7 million (UN, 2009)
- Capital: Abuja
- Largest city: Lagos
- Area: 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq miles)
- Major languages: English (official), Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa
- Major religions: Islam, Christianity, indigenous beliefs
- Life expectancy: 47 years (men), 48 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 Nigerian naira = 100 kobo
- Main exports: Petroleum, petroleum products, cocoa, rubber
- GNI per capita: US $1,160 (World Bank, 2008)
- Internet domain: .ng
- International dialling code: +234
President: Umaru Yar'Adua
Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling
People's Democratic Party (PDP) won the presidency following the April
2007 elections which were condemned by local and foreign observers, who
alleged widespread vote-rigging.
He had served as governor of the remote northern Katsina state since
May 1999. A little-known figure in national politics, he was chosen by
outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo as his successor.
from a prominent political family. His father was a minister in the
first government after independence and his late elder brother was an
army general who served as deputy to President Olusegun Obasanjo when
he was Nigeria's military ruler during the 1970s.
When he was
elected governor of Katsina in 1999, he immediately declared his
assets. In his bid for the presidency he promised to fight corruption.
Yar'Adua's health has been the subject of media speculation and during
the election campaign he travelled to Germany for treatment.
He was born in 1951 and was a chemistry teacher until he went into business, then politics, in the 1980s.
Yar'Adua took over from Olusegun Obasanjo, whose election in 1999 came
at the end of a period of military rule. Mr Obasanjo won a second term
in 2003. A bid to keep him in office for a third term was blocked by
Mr Obasanjo began his first leadership stint in
1976 after the assassination of Brigadier Murtala Mohamed in a failed
coup. In 1979 he earned the distinction of becoming Africa's first
modern military leader to hand over power to civilian rule.
Nigeria's media scene is one of the most vibrant in Africa.
State-run radio and TV services reach virtually all parts of the
country and operate at a federal and regional level. All 36 states run
their own radio stations, and most of them operate TV services.
A lively press includes influential dailies and popular tabloids
Radio is the key source of information for many Nigerians.
International broadcasters, including the BBC, are widely listened to.
Rebroadcasts of foreign radio stations were banned in 2004.
Private radio and TV stations have been licensed, and there is substantial take-up of pay TV.
TV stations in particular are dogged by high costs and scarce
advertising revenues. Moreover, legislation requires that locally-made
material must comprise 60% of output. Viewing is concentrated in urban
There are more than 100 national and local newspapers
and publications, some of them state-owned. They include well-respected
dailies, tabloids and publications which champion the interests of
ethnic groups. The lively private press is often critical of the
Press freedom improved under former President Obasanjo, but restrictive decrees remain.
rights body Reporters Without Borders says Nigeria is often a violent
place for the press, with journalists suffering beatings, unfair
arrests and police raids.
By March 2008, 10 million Nigerians were online (ITU figure).
Television Authority (NTA) - state-run, operates scores of national and
regional stations; national services broadcast in English
- Degue Broadcasting Network (DBN) - private
- AIT - private, owned by DAAR Communications, broadcasting in Lagos and Abuja and via pan-African satellite service
- Minaj TV - private, serves eastern Nigeria and operates cable and satellite service
- Silverbird TV - private, serves Lagos, Port Harcourt
- Galaxy TV - private, serves western Nigeria
- Channels TV - private