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Nigeria is a west African nation, bordered by Benin to the west, Chad and Cameroon to the east, and Niger to the north. If you have research due on the country of Nigeria, have the writers at Paper Masters custom write your project to focus on any aspect of the African country you need.

Officially, it is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with a democratic government modeled after the United States. Its capital is Abuja, and its largest city is Lagos. Nigeria is rapidly developing nation, with both a large population and a significant economy, the "Giant of Africa," with the world's 20th largest economy.

The name Nigeria is derived from the Niger River, a named coined in the 19th century by British colonial officials, possibly a corruption of a Tuareg name for the river. From the 10th to the 20th century, the Igbo Kingdom of Nri flourished in Nigeria, displaced in 1911 by the British. British slavers, traders and colonizers had been penetrating the lower Nigeria for several centuries. In 1914, Britain organized the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. In 1960, Nigeria gained its independence and became part of the British Commonwealth.

A series of military coups in the 1960s led to civil war, followed by a military junta, which ruled from 1970 to 1999. It was that year that Nigeria elected its first president. Nigeria is also home to substantial oil reserves, and is a member of OPEC. Divisions between the Islamic north and the Christian south has led to sectarian violence, largely sponsored by the terrorist group Boko Haram.


There is a tremendous amount of diversity among the people of Nigeria. In fact, all of the native peoples of Africa are represented by the current citizens of Nigeria ("Nigeria, The People," par. 1). More than 250 ethnic groups reside in Nigeria. The three major groups that exist and they are as follows:

  1. The Hausa
  2. The Yoruba-speaking peoples
  3. The Igbo-speaking people

Smaller groups include the Ibibio, the Edo, the Tiv, and the Nupe. The ethnic groups of Nigeria appear to be separated by many cultural factors. These factors include area occupied or land ownership, language, religion, customs, and political ideology.

Each group is localized in that the people of a particular ethnicity live in a specific territory that they claim belongs to that ethnic group, rather than to Nigeria.Typically, individuals who are considered non-members are not permitted to own land in that region. Non-members are often thought of as aliens. Thus, individual groups maintain separation from other Nigerian groups through ownership of land. Since farmland is scarce in Nigeria, many groups have migrated from one territory to another, not surprisingly resulting in tension as ethnic groups become concerned over the ownership of their traditional lands.

The official language of Nigeria is English, which was adopted in 1963. This was the colonial language. Many Nigerians view the government with suspicion because it does not speak their native tongues. Unfortunately, this would be difficult for the Nigerian government to do so, since there are more than two hundred different languages spoken in Nigeria. It was not until 1980 that the languages associated with the three largest groups --the Hausa, the Igbo, and the Yoruba -- could be used for governmental transactions. Thus, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and television programs, which might be used to unify Nigeria, are useless because of the wide variety of languages spoken.

There are also a wide variety of religions that exist in Nigeria currently. The largest ethnic group, the Hausa, are predominantly Muslim. Additionally, there are large numbers of Christian groups, as well as various native religions.

In the early eighties, there were many Muslim riots and other manifestations of conflict referred to as the Maitatsine riots. These conflicts centered on the Muslim leader, Muhammadu Marwa, in the state of Kano. An Islamic scholar, he denounced "Islamic practice based on the Quran and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, and convinced his followers that his version of Islam was the only genuine one". Marwa promoted anti-state sentiment and forced recruitment with regard to believers. This resulted in a war that ultimately cost the lives of five thousand people.

There were additional problems with regard to this religious controversy. The state of Kano and the Nigerian government disagreed on how the situation would be handled. Eventually, two panels of inquiry were established which did little more than emphasize the problem.

After these riots, conflicts between Muslims and Christians developed. "Churches were burnt, several people killed, and hotels and other business premises belonging to [Christians] were destroyed." These conflicts spread to several Nigerian states.

There are also many cultural differences among these various ethnic groups that involve elaborate gift giving. Many have suggested that these cultural differences have resulted in the widespread corruption that currently in evidence in Nigeria. Additional problems exist with regard to the different traditions of political organizations within the various ethnic groups. Thus, some ethnic groups have different levels of leadership within their community. These organizations are based on traditions and have strong support from the locals. Typically, these are individuals "selected by consensus, who settle disputes, make rules and regulations, and enforce discipline in the communities or villages". When the Nigeria national government attempts to unify and standardize the political systems within the various states, the ethnic groups resist and conflict results.

Politicians typically manipulate all of these differences among the Nigerians in order to further their objectives and those of their party. Thus, it has been difficult for any type of legitimate government to survive. In fact, for the last fifteen years, Nigeria has been governed by three consecutive juntas. Consequently, there is little hope that Nigeria can continue on its present course. Unless politicians can put aside their ethnic differences, Nigeria may be vulnerable to colonization by a more powerful country.


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