NIGERIA: GENERAL INFORMATION
Nigeria is a Federal Republic consisting of 36 states, the Mayoralty of Abuja, (the federal capital) and 774 local governments. It has a landmass of 932,768 square kilometres and is bounded on the west by the Republic of Benin, north by Niger and Chad Republics, west by Republic of Cameroon and south by the Atlantic Ocean.
It obtained independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960.
Nigeria is in the GMT + 1-time zone, i.e. one hour ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.
Vegetation, Seasons and Climate
Nigeria lies between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer. Nigeria’s climate varies from tropical (at the coastal areas) to subtropical (in the northern areas).
The south is covered mostly with tropical rain forests and mangrove swamps towards the Niger Delta area. The vegetation thins towns the north, as it transitions from rain forest to Sahel savannah to the fringes of the Sahara desert.
There are two main seasons – the Dry season, lasting from November to March; and the Rainy season, from April to October. Temperatures at the coast rarely rise above 32ºC (89.6ºF), although humidity can be as high as 95%. The climate further north is drier with occasional sand storms, with temperatures ranging from 12ºC (53.6ºF) to 36ºC (96.8ºF). During the rainy season, tropical thunderstorms are a periodic occurrence, especially in the coastal areas, but it is generally a period of cooler temperatures and climate.
Nigeria is the most populous Black Country in the world, with a population of more than 140 Million (2006 Census figures). It is estimated that one out of every four blacks on the planet is a Nigerian. Nigeria is endowed with vast and abundant natural and human resources.
Nigerians belong to more than 250 people/ethnic groups or tribes. Within these ethnic or language groups, there are different dialects. Members of each group are normally concentrated in one geographical area. Nigerians crisscross the country and live in different parts of the country and speak the language of their host.
Consequently, you find across different towns and cities across Nigeria, a fair representation of most Nigerian tribes living there. They intermarry, learn the language of the host and ultimately adopt their place of abode as their permanent home. It is quite common to find these communities with their own chiefs and rulers, which are recognized by the host. No town more aptly demonstrates this than the city of Lagos, Nigeria�€™s commercial capital and former political capital (until 1991). Virtually every Nigerian tribe is represented in Lagos, making it Nigeria�€™s melting pot.
This is replicated in other towns and cities across Nigeria. Of all the Nigerian tribes or people groups, the Ibos are believed to be the most travelled. There is a joke that if you go to any village in Nigeria, and you find no Ibo there, then you better pack your bags and leave. An Ibo man must have been there before you and had reasons to evacuate. So the modern Nigerian is a man or woman of many ethnic groups and speaks many languages. The lingua franca in Nigeria is English.