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In 1914 the Protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria were amalgamated with the Colony (Lagos) by Lord Lugard to form what is now known as Nigeria.
Nigeria is famous for her huge population of about 140 million people - the largest national population on the African continent and the largest group of people on earth. This population is made up of about 250 pure ethnic groups. Three of them the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are the major groups and constitute over 40 per cent of the population. In fact, about 10 ethnic/ linguistic groups constitute more than 80% of the population: the other large groups are Tiv, Ibibio, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Gwari, Igala, Jukun, Idoma, Fulani, Itsekiri, Edo , Urhobo and Ijaw. The last census in 1991 indicates a population that is 51% male and 49% female.
Nigeria is situated in the West African sub-region and lies between longitudes 30 and 140 and latitudes 40 and 140. It has a landmass of 923,768 sq. km. It is bordered to the north by the Republics of Niger and Chad and to the west with the Republic of Benin. It shares the eastern borders with the Republic of Cameroon right down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean forming the southern limits of the Nigerian Territory . About 800km of coastline confers on the country the potentials of a maritime power. Arable land is in abundance in Nigeria for agricultural, industrial and commercial activities.
Forest and woodland are to be found mainly in the southern part of the country, which is affected by seasonal rains from the Atlantic that occur from April to October. As one progresses northward the country becomes drier and the vegetation more savannah in type. The Northern part of the country forms part of the semi-arid Sahel region on the fringes of the Sahara the world's largest desert (3,500,000 square miles) in northern Africa
Nigeria is divided roughly in three by the rivers Niger and Benue, which flow through the country from north-east and north-west to meet roughly in the centre of the country near the new capital Abuja. From here the united rivers flow south to the sea at the Niger delta area.
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Although Nigeria is wholly within the tropics, its climate varies from the tropical at the coast to sub-tropical further inland. There are two marked seasons: The rainy season lasting from April to October and the dry season from November to March. The maximum temperature in the coastal areas of the south can go up to 37?c while the absolute minimum temperature is 10?. The climate is drier further north where extremes of temperature range from 45? to 06? are common.
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The official language is English. There are 3 main indigenous languages spoken by the 3 predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria. These are Yorubas in the west, Hausa-Fulani in the North and the Igbos in the East.
There is also the "broken English" (Pidgin English) spoken and understood by almost all Nigerians. It is an admixture of the English Language and several indigenous Nigerian Languages. There also exist other ethnic groups' languages such as Efik, Ijaw, and Kanuri languages and over 374 dialects within the ethnic groups.
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Nigeria , in addition to her huge population, is endowed with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and forest resources. Her multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface and underground water resources and moderate climatic extremes, allow for production of diverse food and cash crops. Over 60 per cent of the population is involved in the production of the food crops such as cassava, maize, rice, yams, various beans and legumes, soya, sorghum, ginger, onions, tomatoes, melons and vegetable. The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm and rubber. Extractions from these for export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fibre and yarn. The rain forests have been well exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and popular species.
Oil and Gas, by value, are the most important minerals. They are exploited and produced in the Niger Delta basin and offshore on the continental shelf and in the deep-sea of the territorial waters. Nevertheless, there are significant non-oil mineral deposits on land many of which have been identified and evaluated: coal, bitumen, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, limestone, marble, columbite, baryte and gold.
The Nigerian Currency
The currency is expressed in Naira (N) and kobo (K). 100K equal One Naira (N1). The currency denominations are in N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1000.
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