Nigeria

3.4281705948331 (1782)
Posted by pompos 02/25/2009 @ 16:34

Tags : nigeria, africa, world

News headlines
Hostages seized in Nigerian Delta - BBC News
Nigerian oil militants say they have kidnapped at least 15 foreign hostages in the restive Niger Delta region. The kidnapping follows a clash between militants and soldiers in Delta state on Wednesday. A military spokesman confirmed two vessels had...
Nigeria Military Says Hijacked Tanker Is Owned By NNPC - Wall Street Journal
LONDON (Dow Jones)--The Nigerian army said Thursday a condensates tanker hijacked by militants belongs to state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC. "A suspected group of militants...in Delta State, has forcefully hijacked a NNPC-chartered...
Nigeria: BPE to Sell FG's Stakes in Nitel, Nicon - AllAfrica.com
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said Tuesday that it has concluded plans to sell government's stakes in six companies which include the nation's former telecommunication giant, the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (Nitel) and the National...
Nigerian Workers Protest Against Oil Sector Deregulation - Voice of America
By Gilbert da Costa Nigeria's main labor organization, the Nigeria Labor Congress, is staging a protest rally against the deregulation of the oil sector. The demonstration is being staged despite a government appeal to suspend it....
Nigeria: Reforms, Fiscal Discipline Attract International ... - AllAfrica.com
Johannesburg — NIGERIA had become an attractive international investment opportunity because economic reform and fiscal discipline had enabled it to weather oil price volatility and the effects on emerging markets of the global financial crisis....
Nigeria: Swine Flu Levelling Off, But Threat Remains - AllAfrica.com
Nigeria is not banning pork products, even as Health Minister Babatunde Osotimehin assures that there is increased surveillance, and government is providing information about the disease to the public and medical centers while making sure there are...
Nigeria: Poverty - for Better Or for Worse? - AllAfrica.com
Lagos — Officially, the poverty level in Nigeria is around 60 per cent of the population. However, many analysts believe the figure is much higher, especially considering the global effects of economic meltdown, even on a sub-Saharan 'giant' like...
Nigeria: Catholic Church Set to Build N5 Billion Retreat Centre ... - AllAfrica.com
Abuja — Catholic Family of Nigeria (CAFON) has concluded arrangement to build a retreat centre worth N5 billion for the Nigeria Police. Upon completion, the centre is expected to be commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI, who would be making his first...
Nigerians March Over Fuel Costs, Wages and Voting Reform - Wall Street Journal
By WILL CONNORS ABUJA, Nigeria -- Thousands of Nigerian workers marched through downtown Lagos on Wednesday, protesting a proposed end to fuel subsidies and calling for electoral reforms and an increase in the minimum wage in Africa's most populous...
Nigeria: Formulate National Strategic Action Plan On Anti ... - AllAfrica.com
It was attended by over 50 CSO activists from the Northern part of Nigeria and members of the media. Rafsanjani, in a welcome address, thanked participants for honouring the invitation, adding that the workshop was aimed at synergising efforts towards...

Nigeria national basketball team

World Map FIBA.svg

The Nigeria national basketball team is the national team of Nigeria and is generally considered one of the best in Africa along with Angola and Senegal. They are ranked 22nd in the world FIBA rankings .

The team joined FIBA in 1964.

Nigeria took part in the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan. They were drawn in Group A with Argentina, France, Lebanon, Serbia and Montenegro, and Venezuela. They finished third in Group A, then were narrowly defeated by Germany in the Round of 16. Overall they finished 14th.

Hakeem Olajuwon never played for the Nigeria team at senior level, and would eventually play for the United States after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1993.

To the top



Music of Nigeria

Coat of arms of Nigeria.png

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of Folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Little is known about the country's music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments.

Nigeria has been called "the heart of African music" because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo for the development of several popular styles that were unique to Nigeria, like apala, fuji, jùjú, highlife, and Yo-pop. Subsequently, Nigerian musicians created their own styles of United States hip hop music and Jamaican reggae. Nigeria's musical output has achieved international acclaim not only in the fields of folk and popular music, but also Western art music written by composers such as Fela Sowande.

Polyrhythms, in which two or more separate beats are played simultaneously, are a part of much of traditional African music; Nigeria is no exception. The African hemiola style, based on the asymmetric rhythm pattern is an important rhythmic technique throughout the continent. Nigerian music also uses ostinato rhythms, in which a rhythmic pattern is repeated despite changes in metre.

Nigeria has some of the most advanced recording studio technology in Africa, and provides robust commercial opportunities for music performers. Ronnie Graham, an historian who specialises in West Africa, has attributed the success of the Nigerian music industry to the country's culture—its "thirst for aesthetic and material success and a voracious appetite for life, love and music, a huge domestic market, big enough to sustain artists who sing in regional languages and experiment with indigenous styles". However, political corruption and rampant music piracy in Nigeria has hampered the industry's growth.

More than 250 ethnic groups are native to Nigeria, and many more have immigrated there in recent years; the largest ethnic groups are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. Traditional music from Nigeria and throughout Africa is almost always functional; in other words, it is performed to mark a ritual such as a wedding or funeral and not for pure entertainment or artistic enjoyment. Although some Nigerians, especially children and the elderly, play instruments for their own amusement, solo performance is otherwise rare. Music is closely linked to agriculture, and there are restrictions on, for example, which instruments can be played during different parts of the growing season.

Work songs are a common type of traditional Nigerian music. They help to keep the rhythm of workers in fields, river canoes and other fields. Women use complex rhythms in housekeeping tasks, such as pounding yams to highly ornamented music. In the northern regions, farmers work together on each other's farms and the host is expected to supply musicians for his neighbours.

The issue of musical composition is also highly variable. The Hwana, for example, believe that all songs are taught by the peoples' ancestors, while the Tiv give credit to named composers for almost all songs, and the Efik name individual composers only for secular songs. In many parts of Nigeria, musicians are allowed to say things in their lyrics that would otherwise be perceived as offensive.

The most common format for music in Nigeria is the call-and-response choir, in which a lead singer and a chorus interchange verses, sometimes accompanied by instruments that either shadow the lead text or repeat and ostinato vocal phrase. The southern area features complex rhythms and solo players using melody instruments, while the north more typically features polyphonic wind ensembles. The extreme north region is associated with monodic (i.e., single-line) music with an emphasis on drums, and tends to be more influenced by Islamic music.

Epic poetry is found in parts of Nigeria, and its performance is always viewed as musical in nature. Blind itinerant performers, sometimes accompanying themselves with a string instrument, are known for reciting long poems of unorthodox Islamic text among the Kanuri and Hausa. These, and other related traditions, may be descended from similar Maghrebian and European traditions. The Ozidi Saga found in the Niger Delta is a well-known epic that takes seven days to perform and utilises; a narrator, a chorus, percussion, mime and dance.

The people of the north are known for complex percussive music, the one-stringed goje fiddle, and a strong praise song vocal tradition. Under Muslim influence since the 14th century, Hausa music uses free-rhythmic improvisation and the Arabic scale, melding them with West African elements such as polyrhythms and call-and-response vocalisation. Music is used to celebrate births, marriages, circumcisions, and other important life events. Hausa ceremonial music (rokon fada) is well known in the area, and is dominated by families of praise singers, including, most famously, Narambad. The Hausa play percussion instruments such as the tambura drum and the royal, elongated kakaki trumpet which was originally used by the Songhai cavalry and was taken by the rising Hausa states as a symbol of military power" Kakaki trumpets can be more than two metres long, and can be easily broken down into three portable parts for easy transportation.

Rural Hausa music includes dances such as asauwara (for young females) and the spirit possession dance bòòríí. Hausa folk music has produced popular entertainers, including Dan Maraya (known for his one-stringed lute, the kontigi), Audo Yaron Goje, Muhamman Shata and Ibrahim Na Habu (known for his kukkuma fiddling).

The Hausa bòòríí cult is especially well known outside the country, and has been brought as far north as Tripoli, Libya by trans-Saharan trade. The bòòríí cult features a kind of hypnotic, trance-inducing music, played on the calabash, lute or fiddle. During ceremonies, women and other marginalised groups fall into trances and perform various dramatic behaviours, such as mimicking a pig or engaging in human sex. These people are said to be possessed by a character, each with its own litany (kírààrì). Similar trance cults (the so-called "mermaid cults"), can be found in the Niger Delta region yup.

The Igbo people live in the south-east of Nigeria, and play a wide variety of folk instruments. They are known for their ready adoption of foreign styles, and were an important part of Nigerian highlife. The most widespread instrument is the 13-stringed zither, called an obo. The Igbo also play slit drums, xylophones, flutes, lyres, udus and lutes, and more recently, imported European brass instruments.

Courtly music is played among the more traditional Igbo, maintain their royal traditions. The ufie (slit drum) is used to wake the chief and communicate meal times and other important information to him. Bell and drum ensembles are used to announce when the chief departs and returns to his village.

The Yoruba have an advanced drumming tradition, with a characteristic use of the dundun hourglass tension drums. Ensembles using the dundun play a type of music that is also called dundun. These ensembles consist of various sizes of tension drums, along with kettledrums (gudugudu). The leader of a dundun ensemble is the iyalu, who uses the drum to "talk" by imitating the tonality of Yoruba Much of Yoruba music is spiritual in nature, and is devoted to the Orisha of Yoruba mythology.

Yoruba music has become the most important component of modern Nigerian popular music, as a result of its early influence from European, Islamic and Brazilian forms. These influences stemmed from the importation of brass instruments, sheet music, Islamic percussion and styles brought by Brazilian merchants. In both the Nigeria's most populous city, Lagos, and the largest city of Ibadan, these multicultural traditions were brought together and became the root of Nigerian popular music. Modern styles such as Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister's fuji, Salawa Abeni's waka and Yusuf Olatunji's sakara are derived primarily from Yoruba traditional music.

Nigerian theatre makes extensive use of music. Often, this is simply traditional music used in a theatrical production without adaptation. However, there are also distinct styles of music used in Nigerian opera. Here, music is used to convey an impression of the dramatic action to the audience. Music is also used in literary drama, although its musical accompaniment is more sparingly used than in opera; again, music communicates the mood or tone of events to the audience. An example is John Pepper Clark's The Ozidi Saga, a play about murder and revenge, featuring both human and non-human actors. Each character in the play is associated with a personal theme song, which accompanies battles in which the character is involved.

Traditional Nigerian theatre includes puppet shows in Borno State and among the Ogoni and Tiv, and the ancient Yoruba Aláàrìnjó tradition, which may be descended from the Egúngún masquerade. With the influx of road-building colonial powers, these theatre groups spread across the country and their productions grew ever more elaborate. They now typically use European instruments, film extracts and recorded music.

In the past, both Hubert Ogunde and Ade Love, of blessed memories, produced soundtracks of their movies using very rich Yoruba language. Modern day Yoruba film and theater music composers among whom Tope Alabi is the flagbearer have variously accompanied dramatic actions with original music.

Children in Nigeria have many of their own traditions, usually singing games. These are most often call-and-response type songs, using archaic language. There are other songs, such as among the Tarok people that are sexually explicit and obscene, and are only performed far away from the home. Children also use instruments like un-pitched raft zithers (made from cornstalks) and drums made from tin cans, a pipe made from a pawpaw stem and a Jew's harp made from a sorghum stalk. Among the Hausa, children play a unique instrument in which they beat rhythms on the inflated stomach of a live, irritated pufferfish.

Although percussion instruments are omnipresent, Nigeria's traditional music uses a number of diverse instruments. Many, such as the xylophone, are an integral part of music across West Africa, while others are imports from the Muslims of the Maghreb, or from Southern or East Africa; other instruments have arrived from Europe or the Americas. Brass instruments and woodwinds were early imports that played a vital role in the development of Nigerian music, while the later importation of electric guitars spurred the popularisation of jùjú music.

The xylophone is a tuned idiophone, common throughout west and central Africa. In Nigeria, they are most common in the southern part of the country, and are of the central African model. Several people sometimes simultaneously play a single xylophone. The instruments are usually made of loose wood placed across banana logs. Pit- and box-resonated xylophones are also found. Ensembles of clay pots beaten with a soft pad are common; they are sometimes filled with water. Although normally tuned, untuned examples are sometimes used to produce a bass rhythm. Hollow logs are also used, split lengthways, with resonator holes at the end of the slit. They were traditionally used to communicate over great distances.

Various bells are a common part of royal regalia, and were used in secret societies. They are usually made of iron, or in Islamic orchestras of the north, of bronze. Struck gourds, placed on a cloth and struck with sticks, are a part of women's music, as well as the bòòríí cult dances. Sometimes, especially in the north, gourds are placed upside-down in water, with the pitch adjusted by the amount of air underneath it. In the south-west, a number of tuned gourds are played while floating in a trough.

Scrapers are common throughout the south. One of the most common types is a notched stick, played by dragging a shell across the stick at various speeds. It is used both as a women's court instrument and by children in teasing games. Among the Yoruba, an iron rod may be used as a replacement for a stick. Rattles are common, made of gourds containing seeds or stones are common, as are net-rattles, in which a string network of beads or shells encloses a gourd. Rattles are typically played in ritual or religious context, predominantly by women.

Drums of many kinds are the most common type of percussion instrument in Nigeria. They are traditionally made from a single piece of wood or spherical calabashes, but have more recently been made from oil drums. The hourglass drum is the most common shape, although there are also double-headed barrel drums, single-headed drums and conical drums. Frame drums are also found in Nigeria, but may be an importation from Brazil. An unusual percussion instrument is the udu, a kind of vessel drum.

The musical bow is found in Nigeria as a mouth-resonated cord, either plucked or struck. It is most common in the central part of the country, and is associated with agricultural songs and those expressing social concerns. Cereal stalks bound together and strings supported by two bridges are used to make a kind of raft-zither, played with the thumbs, typically for solo entertainment. The arched harp is found in the eastern part of the country, especially among the Tarok. It usually has five or six strings and pentatonic tuning. A bowl-resonated spike-fiddle with a lizard skin table is used in the northern region; it is an import from North Africa, and is similar to central Asian and Ethiopian forms. The Hausa and Kanuri peoples play a variety of spike-lutes.

A variety of brass and woodwind instruments are also found in Nigeria. These include long trumpets, frequently made of aluminium and played in pairs or ensembles of up to six, often accompanied by a shawm. Wooden trumpets, gourd trumpets, end-blown flutes, cruciform whistles, transverse clarinets and various kinds of horns are also found.

Many African countries have seen turbulence and violence during their forced transition from a diverse region of folk cultures to a group of modern nation states. Nigeria has experienced more difficulty than most African countries in forging a popular cultural identity from the diverse peoples of the countryside . From its beginnings in the streets of Lagos, popular music in Nigeria has long been an integral part of the field of African pop, bringing in influences and instruments from many ethnic groups, most prominently including the Yoruba.

The earliest styles of Nigerian popular music were palm-wine music and highlife, which spread in the 1920s among Nigeria and nearby countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. In Nigeria, palm-wine became the primary basis for jùjú, a genre that dominated popular music for many years. During this time, a few other styles such as apala, derived from traditional Yoruba music, also found a more limited audience. By the 1960s, Cuban, American and other styles of imported music were enjoying a large following, and musicians started to incorporate these influences into jùjú. The result was a profusion of new styles in the last few decades of the 20th century, including waka music, Yo-pop and Afrobeat.

By the start of the 20th century, Yoruba music had incorporated brass instruments, written notation, Islamic percussion and new Brazilian techniques, resulting in the Lagos-born palm-wine style. The term palm-wine is also used to describe related genres in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. these varieties are better-known than Nigerian palm-wine. However, palm-wine originally referred to a diverse set of styles played with string instruments, characteristically, guitars or banjos) with shakers and hand drums accompanying This urban style was frequently played in bars to accompany drinking (hence the name, which is derived from the alcoholic palm wine beverage).

The first stars of palm-wine had emerged by the 1920s, the most famous of whom was Baba Tunde King. King probably coined the word jùjú — a style of music he helped to create — in reference to the sound of a Brazilian tambourine; alternatively, the term may have developed as an expression of disdain by the colonial leaders (any native tradition was apt to be dismissed as 'mere joujou, French for "nonsense"). By the early 1930s, British record labels such as His Master's Voice had started to record palm-wine, and more celebrities emerged, including Ojoge Daniel, Tunde Nightingale and Speedy Araba. These artists, along with Tunde King, established the core of the style which was called jùjú, and remained one of the most popular genres in Nigeria throughout the 20th century.

Apala is a style of vocal and percussive Muslim Yoruba music. It emerged in the late 1930s as a means of rousing worshippers after the fasting of Ramadan. Under the influence of popular Afro-Cuban percussion, apala developed into a more polished style and attracted a large audience. The music required two or three talking drums (omele), a rattle (sekere), thumb piano (agidigbo) and a bell (agogo). Haruna Ishola was the most famous apala performer, and he later played an integral role in bringing apala to larger audiences as a part of fuji music.

Following World War II, Nigerian music started to take on new instruments and techniques, including electric instruments imported from the United States and Europe. Rock N' roll, soul, and later funk, became very popular in Nigeria, and elements of these genres were added to jùjú by artists such as IK Dairo. Meanwhile, highlife had been slowly gaining in popularity among the Igbo people, and their unique style soon found a national audience. At the same time, apala's Haruna Ishola was becoming one of the country's biggest stars. In the early to mid 1970s, three of the biggest names in Nigerian music history were at their peak: Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade, while the end of that decade saw the start of Yo-pop and Nigerian reggae.

Although popular styles such as highlife and jùjú were at the top of the Nigerian charts in the '60s, traditional music remained widespread. Traditional stars included the Hausa Dan Maraya, who was so well known that he was brought to the battlefield during the 1967 Nigerian Civil War to lift the morale of the federal troops.

Following World War II, Tunde Nightingale's s'o wa mbe style made him one of the first jùjú stars, and he introduced more Westernised pop influences to the genre. During the 1950s, recording technology grew more advanced, and the gangan talking drum, electric guitar and accordion were incorporated into jùjú. Much of this innovation was the work of IK Dairo & the Morning Star Orchestra (later IK Dairo & the Blue Spots), which formed in 1957. these performers brought jùjú from the rural poor to the urban cities of Nigeria and beyond. Dairo became perhaps the biggest star of African music by the '60s, recording numerous hit songs that spread his fame to as far away as Japan. In 1963, he became the only African musician ever honoured by receiving membership of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry in the United Kingdom.

Among the Igbo people, Ghanaian highlife became popular in the early 1950s, and other guitar-band styles from Cameroon and Zaire soon followed. The Ghanaian E. T. Mensah, easily the most popular highlife performer of the 1950s, toured Igbo-land frequently, drawing huge crowds of devoted fans. Bobby Benson & His Combo was the first Nigerian highlife band to find audiences across the country. Benson was followed by Jim Lawson & the Mayor's Dance Band, who achieved national fame in the mid-'70s, ending with Lawson's death in 1976. During the same period, other highlife performers were reaching their peak. These included Rocafil Jazz and Prince Nico Mbarga, whose "Sweet Mother" was a pan-African hit that sold more than 13 million copies, more than any other African single of any kind. Mbarga used English lyrics in a style that he dubbed panko, which incorporated "sophisticated rumba guitar-phrasing into the highlife idiom".

After the civil war in the 1960s, Igbo musicians were forced out of Lagos and returned to their homeland. The result was that highlife ceased to be a major part of mainstream Nigerian music, and was thought of as being something purely associated with the Igbos of the east. Highlife's popularity slowly dwindled among the Igbos, supplanted by jùjú and fuji. However, a few performers kept the style alive, such as Yoruba singer and trumpeter Victor Olaiya (the only Nigerian to ever earn a platinum record), Stephen Osita Osadebe, Sonny Okosun, Victor Uwaifo, and Orlando "Dr. Ganja" Owoh, whose distinctive toye style fused jùjú and highlife.

Apala, a traditional style from Ogun state, one of yoruba state in Nigeria, became very popular in the 1960s, led by performers like Haruna Ishola, Sefiu Ayan, Kasumu Adio, and Ayinla Omowura. Ishola, who was one of Nigeria's most consistent hit makers between 1955 and his death in 1983, recorded apala songs, which alternated between slow and emotional, and swift and energetic. His lyrics were a mixture of improvised praise and passages from the Quran, as well as traditional proverbs. His work became a formative influence on the developing fuji style.

The late 1960s saw the appearance of the first fuji bands. Fuji was named after Mount Fuji in Japan, purely for the sound of the word, according to Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Fuji was a synthesis of apala with the "ornamented, free-rhythmic" vocals of ajisari devotional musicians and was accompanied by the sakara, a tambourine-drum, and Hawaiian guitar. Among the genre's earliest stars were Haruna Ishola and Ayinla Omowura; Ishola released numerous hits from the late '50s to the early '80s, becoming one of the country's most famous performers. Fuji grew steadily more popular between the 1960s and '70s, becoming closely associated with Islam in the process.

Fuji has been described as jùjú without guitars; ironically, Ebenezer Obey once described jùjú as mambo with guitars. However, at its roots, fuji is a mixture of Muslim traditional were music'ajisari songs with "aspects of apala percussion and vocal songs and brooding, philosophical sakara music"; of these elements, apala is the fundamental basis of fuji The first stars of fuji were the rival bandleaders Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Ayinla Kollington Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister started his fuji career in the early 1970s with the Golden Fuji Group," although he had sung Muslim songs since he was 10 years old. He first changed his group's name to "Fuji Londoners" when he came back from a trip to London, England. After a very long time — with hits such as "Orilonise," Fuji Disco/Iku Baba Obey," "Oke Agba," "Aye," and "Suuru" — he later changed the group's name to "Supreme Fuji Commanders" with a bang!, "Orelope" that went platinum instantly. Ayinde's rival was Ayinla Kollington, "Baba Alatika," known for fast tempo and dance-able brand of fuji, who also recorded hit albums like "ko bo simi lo'run mo e, in the 80s he released "ijo yoyo, Lakukulala and American megastar" to mention few of his successful albums. With all due respect Ayinla Kollington is a coherent social commentator. He was followed in the 1980s by burgeoning stars such as Wasiu Ayinde Barrister.

Ebenezer Obey formed the International Brothers in 1964, and his band soon rivalled that of IK Dairo as the biggest Nigerian group. They played a form of bluesy, guitar-based and highlife-influenced jùjú that included complex talking drum-dominated percussion elements. Obey's lyrics addressed issues that appealed to urban listeners, and incorporated Yoruba traditions and his conservative Christian faith. His rival was King Sunny Ade, who emerged in the same period, forming the Green Spots in 1966 and then achieving some major hits with the African Beats after 1974's Esu Biri Ebo Mi. Ade and Obey raced to incorporate new influences into jùjú music and to gather new fans; Hawaiian slack-key, keyboards and background vocals were among the innovations added during this rapidly changing period. Ade added strong elements of Jamaican dub music, and introduced the practice of having the guitar play the rhythm and the drums play the melody During this period, jùjú songs changed from short pop songs to long tracks, often over 20 minutes in length. Bands increased from four performers in the original ensembles, to 10 with IK Dairo and more than 30 with Obey and Ade.

In the early 1980s, both Obey and Ade found larger audiences outside of Nigeria. In 1982, Ade was signed to Island Records, who hoped to replicate Bob Marley's success, and released Juju Music, which sold far beyond expectations in Europe and the United States. Obey released Current Affairs in 1980 on Virgin Records and became a brief star in the UK, but was not able to sustain his international career as long as Ade. Ade led a brief period of international fame for jùjú, which ended in 1985 when he lost his record contract after the commercial failure of Aura (recorded with Stevie Wonder) and his band walked out in the middle of a huge Japanese tour. Ade's brush with international renown brought a lot of attention from mainstream record companies, and helped to inspire the burgeoning world music industry. By the end of the 1980s, jùjú had lost out to other styles, like Yo-pop, gospel and reggae. In the 1990s, however, fuji and jùjú remained popular, as did waka music and Nigerian reggae. At the very end of the decade, hip hop music spread to the country after being a major part of music in neighboring regions like Senegal.

Two of the biggest stars of the '80s were Segun Adewale and Shina Peters, who started their careers performing in the mid-'70s with Prince Adekunle. They eventually left Adekunle and formed a brief partnership as Shina Adewale & the International Superstars before beginning solo careers. Adewale was the first of the two to gain success, when he became the most famous performer of Yo-pop.

The Yo-pop craze did not last for long, replaced by Shina Peters' Afro-juju style, which broke into the mainstream after the release of Afro-Juju Series 1 (1989). Afro-juju was a combination of Afrobeat and fuji, and it ignited such fervor among Shina's fans that the phenomenon was dubbed "Shinamania". Though he was awarded Juju Musician of the Year in 1990, Shina's follow-up, Shinamania sold respectively but was panned by critics. His success opened up the field to newcomers, however, leading to the success of Fabulous Olu Fajemirokun and Adewale Ayuba. The same period saw the rise of new styles like the funky juju pioneered by Dele Taiwo.

Afrobeat is a style most closely associated with Nigeria, though practitioners and fans are found throughout West Africa, and Afrobeat recordings are a prominent part of the world music category found throughout the developed world. It is a fusion of American funk music with elements of highlife, jazz and other styles of West African music. The most popular and well-known performer, indeed the most famous Nigerian musician in history, is undoubtedly Fela Kuti.

Fela Kuti began performing in 1961, but did not start playing in his distinctive Afrobeat style until his exposure to Sierra Leonean Afro-soul singer Geraldo Pino in 1963. Although Kuti is often credited as the only pioneer of Afrobeat, other musicians such as Orlando Julius Ekemode were also prominent in the early Afrobeat scene, where they combined highlife, jazz and funk. A brief period in the United States saw him exposed to the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers, an influence that he would come to express in his lyrics. After living in London briefly, he moved back to Lagos and opened a club, The Shrine, which was one of the most popular music spots in the city. He started recording with Africa '70, a huge band featuring drummer Tony Allen, who has since gone on to become a well-known musician in his own right. With Africa 70, Kuti recorded a series of hits, earning the ire of the government as he tackled such diverse issues as poverty, traffic and skin-bleaching. In 1985, Kuti was jailed for five years, but was released after only two years after international outcry and massive domestic protests. Upon release, Kuti continued to criticise the government in his songs, and became known for eccentric behaviour, such as suddenly divorcing all twenty-eight wives because "no man has the right to own a woman's vagina". His death from AIDS in 1997 sparked a period of national mourning that was unprecedented in documented Nigerian history.

In the 1980s, Afrobeat became affiliated with the burgeoning genre of world music. In Europe and North America, so-called "world music" acts came from all over the world and played in a multitude of styles. Fela Kuti and his Afrobeat followers were among the most famous of the musicians considered world music.

By the end of the '80s and early '90s, Afrobeat had diversified by taking in new influences from jazz and rock and roll. The ever-masked and enigmatic Lágbájá became one of the standard-bearers of the new wave of Afrobeat, especially after his 1996 LP C'est Une African Thing. Following a surprise appearance in place of his father, Fela, Femi Kuti garnered a large fan base that enabled him to tour across Europe.

The popular songstress Salawa Abeni had become nationally renowned after the release of Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed in 1976, which was the first Nigerian recording by a woman to sell more than a million copies. In the 1980s, she remained one of the nation's best-selling artists, creating her own unique variety of music called waka; she was so closely associated with the genre that a royal figure, the Alaafin of Oyo, Obalamidi Adeyemi, crowned her the "Queen of Waka Music" in 1992. Waka was a fusion of jùjú, fuji and traditional Yoruba music.

When talking about reggae music in Nigerian, this brand of music was started by a musician simple called "terakota". By the 80s there are Nigerian reggae stars like The Mandators, Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, whose 1988 cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", became an unprecedented success for reggae in Nigeria. Like many later Nigerian reggae stars, Fashek was a part of the long-running band The Mandators, who toured and recorded incessantly during the mid to late 1980s and early '90s. Later prominent reggae musicians included Jerri Jheto and Daddy Showkey.

Hip hop music was brought to Nigeria in the late 1980s, and grew steadily popular throughout the first part of the 1990s. The first acts included Sound on Sound, Emphasis, Ruff Rugged & Raw, SWAT ROOT, De Weez and Black Masquradaz. Moreover, mainstream success grew later in the decade, with attention brought by early hits like The Trybesmen's "Trybal Marks" (1999) and the trio The Remedies' "Judile" and "Sakoma". One of The Remedies, Tony Tetuila, went on to work with the Plantashun Boiz to great commercial acclaim. The 1999 founding of Paybacktyme Records helped redefined and establish a Nigerian hip hop scene. Also, the general rapid growth of the entertainment scene with support from the media helped popularise Hiphop music in Nigeria. Television Programmes like the MTN Y'ello show, Music Africa, and Soundcity played a major role especially with Presenters like Deji Falope whose fascination for diamond and platinum chains and earrings seem to more than subtly express the culture. Other prominent Nigerian hip-hop musicians include Ruggedman, former member of The Remedies Eedris Abdulkareem (who had a well-publicised spat with the American star 50 Cent), ANGEL k9 fulcanelly,FROM festac's finest, Deshola Idowu, JJC and the 419 Squad, Zdon Paporrella, Bolade Bentley, Shawl-x Ak., Twin-X, Illbliss, Thorobreds, Modenine and Terry tha Rapman, A2 BrothazZ.

Durbar festivals are held in many parts of south-west Nigeria; durbar is meant to honour the Emir during the culmination of the Islamic festivals Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, and Sallah for the well-known Katsina durbar, and is sometimes also used to honour visiting dignitaries IslamOnline. Although the principal attraction of the durbar festivals is displays of traditional horsemanship, performances by drummers, trumpeters and praise-singers are an important part of the celebration Africa Travel. Other holidays in which music plays an important role include drumming and dances performed at Christmas, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday Motherland Nigeria.

In the 20th century, Nigeria produced a number of classical composers; these include Fela Sowande, Joshua Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, and Godwin Sadoh. Sowande was a one of the first and most famous African composers in the Western classical tradition, and founder of the Nigerian art music tradition. Sowande was also an organist and jazz musician, a banana incorporating these and elements of Nigerian folk music into his work Africlassical.com.

To the top



Nigeria

Coat of arms of Nigeria

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south. The capital city is Abuja. The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.

The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE. The Benue-Cross River area is thought to be the original homeland of the Bantu migrants who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BCE and the 2nd millennium CE.

The name Nigeria was created from a portmanteau of the words Niger and Area, taken from the River Niger running through Nigeria. This name was coined by the future wife of the Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, during the early 20th century.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world with a population of over 140 million, therefore making it the most populous 'black' country in the world. It is a regional power, is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009.

The Nok people in central Nigeria produced terracotta sculptures that have been discovered by archaeologists. A Nok sculpture resident at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, portrays a sitting dignitary wearing a "Shepherds Crook" on the right arm, and a "hinged flail" on the left. These are symbols of authority associated with ancient Egyptian pharaohs, and the god Osiris, and suggests that an ancient Egyptian style of social structure, and perhaps religion, existed in the area of modern Nigeria during the late Pharonic period. In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina has recorded history which dates back to around CE 999. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.

The Yoruba people date their presence in the area of modern republics of Nigeria, Benin and Togo to about 8500 BCE. The kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the western block of Nigeria became prominent about 700-900 and 1400 respectively. However, the Yoruba mythology believes that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it predates any other civilization. Ifẹ produced the terra cotta and bronze heads, the Ọyọ extended as far as modern Togo. Another prominent kingdom in south western Nigeria was the Kingdom of Benin whose power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the well known city of Eko, later named Lagos by the Portuguese.

In southeastern Nigeria the Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people flourished from the controversial date of around the 10th century CE until 1911 CE. The Nri Kingdom was ruled by the Eze Nri. The city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan, who trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure, Eri.

Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin trade in Nigeria, and called the port Lagos after the Portuguese town of Lagos, in Algarve. This name stuck on with more European trade with the region. The Europeans traded with the ethnicities of the coast and also established a trade in slaves which affected many Nigerian ethnicities. Following the Napoleonic Wars, the British expanded trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885 British claims to a West African sphere of influence received international recognition and in the following year the Royal Niger Company was chartered under the leadership of Sir George Taubman Goldie. In 1900 the company's territory came under the control of the British government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. On January 1, 1901 Nigeria became a British protectorate, part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time.

In 1914, the area was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Slavery was not finally outlawed in northern Nigeria until 1936. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. By the middle of the 20th century, the great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa.

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new republic incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations. Newly independent Nigeria's government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People's Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria's maiden Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by Yoruba people and led by Obafemi Awolowo.

An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while northern Cameroon chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part. The nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as the first president. When elections came about in 1965, the AG was outmanoeuvred for control of Nigeria's Western Region by the Nigerian National Democratic Party, an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba elements backed heavily by the Federal Government amid dubious electoral circumstances.

This disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, it was partially successful - the coupists overthrew the embattled government but could not install their choice, jailed opposition leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, then head of the army was invited by the rump of the Balewa regime to take over the affairs of the country as head of state. This coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and Northerners who favoured the NPC, it was engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. This sequence of events led to an increase in ethnic tension and violence. The Northern coup, which was mostly motivated by ethnic and religious reasons was a bloodbath of both military officers and civilians, especially those of Igbo extraction.

The violence against the Igbo increased their desire for autonomy and protection from the military's wrath. By May 1967, the Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership of Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with the wishes of the people. The Nigerian Civil War began as the Nigerian (Western and Northern) side attacked Biafra (South-eastern) on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signalling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended on January 1970. Following the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the defeated southeast and indeed southern Nigeria was now conquered territory for the federal military regime, which changed heads of state twice as army officers staged a bloodless coup against Gowon and enthroned Murtala Mohammed; Olusegun Obansanjo succeeded the former after an assassination.

During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria joined OPEC and billions of dollars generated by production in the oil-rich Niger Delta flowed into the coffers of the Nigerian state. However, increasing corruption and graft at all levels of government squandered most of these earnings. The northern military clique benefited immensely from the oil boom to the detriment of the Nigerian people and economy. As oil revenues fuelled the rise of federal subventions to states and precariously to individuals, the Federal Government soon became the centre of political struggle and the centre became the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government created a dangerous situation as it became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns eschewing economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria.

Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy when Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. The Shagari government was viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society, so when the regime was overthrown by the military coup of Mohammadu Buhari shortly after the regime's fraudulent re-election in 1984, it was generally viewed as a positive development by most of the population. Buhari promised major reforms but his government fared little better than its predecessor, and his regime was overthrown by yet another military coup in 1985. The new head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, promptly declared himself President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces and the ruling Supreme Military Council and also set 1990 as the official deadline for a return to democratic governance. Babangida's tenure was marked by a flurry of political activity: he instituted the International Monetary Fund's Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) to aid in the repayment of the country's crushing international debt, which most federal revenue was dedicated to servicing. He also inflamed religious tensions in the nation and particularly the south by enrolling Nigeria in the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

After Babangida survived an abortive coup, he pushed back the promised return to democracy to 1992. When free and fair elections were finally held on the 12th of June, 1993, Babangida declared that the results showing a presidential victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola null and void, sparking mass civilian violence in protest which effectively shut down the country for weeks and forced Babangida to keep his shaky promise to relinquish office to a civilian run government. Babangida's regime is adjudged to be at the apogee of corruption in the history of the nation as it was during his time that corruption became officially diluted in Nigeria.

Babangida's caretaker regime headed by Ernest Shonekan survived only until late 1993 when General Sani Abacha took power in another military coup. Abacha proved to be perhaps Nigeria's most brutal ruler and employed violence on a wide scale to suppress the continuing pandemic of civilian unrest. Money had been found in various western European countries banks traced to him. He avoided coup plots by bribing army generals. Several hundred millions dollars in accounts traced to him were unearthed in 1999. The regime would come to an end in 1998 when the dictator was found dead amid dubious circumstances. Abacha's death yielded an opportunity for return to civilian rule.

Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 when it elected Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba and former military head of state, as the new President ending almost thirty three-years of military rule (between from 1966 until 1999) excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979-1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d'état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998.

Although the elections which brought Obasanjo to power in 1999 and again in 2003 were condemned as unfree and unfair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and to hasten development. While Obasanjo showed willingness to fight corruption, he was accused by others of the same.

Umaru Yar'Adua, of the People's Democratic Party, came into power in the general election of 2007 - an election that was witnessed and condemned by the international community as being massively flawed.

Ethnic violence over the oil producing Niger Delta region (see Conflict in the Niger Delta) and inadequate infrastructures are some of the current issues in the country.

Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with overtones of the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature.

The current president of Nigeria is Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who was elected in 2007. The president presides as both Chief of State and Head of Government and is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two four-year terms. The president's power is checked by a Senate and a House of Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109-seat body with three members from each state and one from the capital region of Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The House contains 360 seats and the number of seats per state is determined by population.

Ethnocentricism, tribalism, sectarianism (especially religious), and prebendalism have played a visible role in Nigerian politics both prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin-selective altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics and has spurned various attempts by tribalists to concentrate Federal power to a particular region of their interests. Nationalism has also led to active secessionist movements such as MASSOB, Nationalist movements such as Oodua Peoples Congress, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and a civil war. Nigeria's three largest ethnic groups have maintained historical preeminence in Nigerian politics; competition amongst these three groups, the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, has fuelled corruption and graft.

Due to the above issues, Nigeria's current political parties are pan-national and irreligious in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities). The major political parties at present include the ruling People's Democratic Party of Nigeria which maintains 223 seats in the House and 76 in the Senate (61.9% and 69.7% respectively) and is led by the current President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua; the opposition All Nigeria People's Party under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties registered. The outgoing president, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged fraud and other electoral "lapses" but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years.

Like in many other African societies, prebendalism and extremely excessive corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria, as vote rigging and other means of coercion are practised by all major parties in order to remain competitive. In 1983, it was adjudged by the policy institute at Kuru that only the 1959 and 1979 elections witnessed minimal rigging.

The country has a judicial branch, the highest court of which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made the liberation and restoration of the dignity of Africa the centrepiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. One notable exception to the African focus of Nigeria's foreign policy was the close relationship the country enjoyed with Israel throughout the 1960s, with the latter country sponsoring and overseeing the construction of Nigeria's parliament buildings.

Nigeria's foreign policy was soon tested in the 1970s after the country emerged united from its own civil war and quickly committed itself to the liberation struggles going on in the Southern Africa sub-region. Though Nigeria never sent an expeditionary force in that struggle, it offered more than rhetoric to the African National Congress (ANC) by taking a committed tough line with regard to the racist regime and their incursions in southern Africa, in addition to expediting large sums to aid anti-colonial struggles. Nigeria was also a founding member of the Organization for African Unity (now the African Union), and has tremendous influence in West Africa and Africa on the whole. Nigeria has additionally founded regional cooperative efforts in West Africa, functioning as standard-bearer for ECOWAS and ECOMOG, economic and military organizations respectively.

With this African-centred stance, Nigeria readily sent troops to the Congo at the behest of the United Nations shortly after independence (and has maintained membership since that time); Nigeria also supported several Pan African and pro-self government causes in the 1970s, including garnering support for Angola's MPLA, SWAPO in Namibia, and aiding anti-colonial struggles in Mozambique, and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) military and economically.

Nigeria retains membership in the Non-Aligned Movement, and in late November 2006 organized an Africa-South America Summit in Abuja to promote what some attendees termed "South-South" linkages on a variety of fronts. Nigeria is also a member of the International Criminal Court, and the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it was temporarily expelled in 1995 under the Abacha regime.

Nigeria has remained a key player in the international oil industry since the 1970s, and maintains membership in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC which it joined in July, 1971. Its status as a major petroleum producer figures prominently in its sometimes vicissitudinous international relations with both developed countries, notably the United States and more recently China and developing countries, notably Ghana, Jamaica and Kenya.

Millions of Nigerians have emigrated at times of economic hardship to Europe, North America and Australia among others. It is estimated that over a million Nigerians have emigrated to the United States and constitute the Nigerian American populace. Of such Diasporic communities include the "Egbe Omo Yoruba" society.

The Nigerian Military are charged with protecting The Federal Republic of Nigeria, promoting the Nigeria's global security interests, and supporting peacekeeping efforts especially in West Africa.

The Nigerian Military consist of an Army, a Navy and an Air Force. The military in Nigeria have played a major role in the country's history since independence. Various juntas have seized control of the country and ruled it through most of its history. Its last period of rule ended in 1999 following the sudden death of former dictator Sani Abacha in 1998, with his successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar handing over to the democratically elected government of Olesegun Obansanjor in 1999.

Taking advantage of its role of Africa's most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as an African peacekeeping force. Since 1995, the Nigerian military through ECOMOG mandates have been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997-1999), Sierra Leone 1997-1999, and presently in Sudan's Darfur region under an African Union mandate.

Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km² (356,669 mi²), making it the world's 32nd-largest country (after Tanzania). It is comparable in size to Venezuela, and is about twice the size of California. It shares a 4047 km (2515-mile) border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km), Cameroon (1690 km), and has a coastline of at least 853 km.

Nigeria has a varied landscape. From the Obudu Hills in the southeast through the beaches in the south, the rainforest, the Lagos estuary and savannah in the middle and southwest of the country and the Sahel to the encroaching Sahara in the extreme north. The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft).

Nigeria's main rivers are the Niger and the Benue which converge and empty into the Niger Delta, the world's largest river deltas.

Nigeria is also an important centre for biodiversity. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The drill monkey is only found in the wild in Southeast Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon.

Nigeria's most expansive topographical region is that of the valleys of the Niger and Benue River valleys (which merge into each other and form a "y" shape). Plains rise to the north of the valleys. To the southwest of the Niger there is "rugged" highland, and to the southeast of the Benue hills and mountains are found all the way to the border with Cameroon. Coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast.

When dividing Nigeria by climatic regions, three regions, the far south, the far north, and the rest of the country emerge. The far south is defined by its tropical rainforest climate, where annual rainfall is 60 to 80 inches a year. The far north is defined by its almost desert-like climate, where rain is less than 20 inches per year. The rest of the country, everything in between the far south and the far north, is savannah, and rainfall is between 20 and 60 inches per year.

Nigeria is covered by three types of vegetation: forests (where there is significant tree cover), savannah (insignificant tree cover, with grasses and flowers located between trees), and montane land. (The latter is the least common, and is mainly found in the mountains near the Cameroonian border.) Both the forest zone and the savannah zone are divided into three parts.

The forest zone's most southerly portion is defined as salt water swamp, also known as a mangrove swamp due to the large amount of mangroves in the area. North of this is fresh water swamp, containing different vegetation from the salt water swamp, and north of that is rain forest.

The savannah zone's three categories are divided into "Guinea savannah," the most common across the country, "Sudan savannah," and "Sahel savannah." Guinea savannah is made up of plains of tall grass which are interrupted by trees; Sudan savannah is similar but with "shorter grasses and shorter trees." Sahel savannah is comprised patches of grass and sand, and is found in the northeast.

Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory, which are further sub-divided into 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The plethora of states, of which there were only three at independence, reflect the country's tumultuous history and the difficulties of managing such a heterogeneous national entity at all levels of government.

Nigeria's Delta region, home of the large oil industry, experiences serious oil spills and other environmental problems. See Environmental issues in the Niger Delta for more details, and Conflict in the Niger Delta about strife which has arisen in connection with those issues.

Waste management including sewage treatment, the linked processes of deforestation and soil degradation, and climate change or global warming are the major environmental problems in Nigeria.

Waste management presents problems in a mega city like Lagos and other major Nigerian cities which are linked with economic development, population growth and the inability of municipal councils to manage the resulting rise in industrial and domestic waste. Haphazard industrial planning, increased urbanization, poverty and lack of competence of the municipal government are seen as the major reasons for high levels of waste pollution in major Nigerian cities. Some of the 'solutions' have been disastrous to the environment, resulting in untreated waste being dumped in places where it can pollute waterways and groundwater.

In terms of global warming, Africans contribute only about one metric ton of carbon dioxide per person per year. It is perceived by many climate change experts that food production and security in the northern sahel region of the country will suffer as semi-arid areas will have more dry periods in the future.

Nigeria is classified as an emerging market, and is rapidly approaching middle income status, with its abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in Africa. Nigeria is ranked 37th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2007. Nigeria is the United States' largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies a fifth of its oil (11% of oil imports). It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the U.S. of any country worldwide. Nigeria is currently the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the U.S. The United States is the country's largest foreign investor.

The bulk of economic activity is centred in 4 main cities: Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Abuja. Beyond these three economic centers, development is marginal.

Previously, economic development had been hindered by years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement, the restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reforms have successfully put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full economic potential as one of the Major Economies in Africa. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Bank, Nigerian GDP at purchasing power parity has nearly doubled from $170.7 billion in 2005 to 292.6 billion in 2007. The GDP per head has jumped from $692 per person in 2006 to $1,754 per person in 2007.

During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria accumulated a significant foreign debt to finance major infrastructural investments. With the fall of oil prices during the oil glutthe 1980s, Nigeria struggled to keep up with its loan payments and eventually defaulted on its principal debt repayments, limiting repayment to the interest portion of the loans. Arrears and penalty interest accumulated on the unpaid principal which increased the size of the debt. However, after negotiations by the Nigeria authorities, in October 2005 Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors reached an agreement in which Nigeria repurchased its debt at a discount of approximately 60%. Nigeria used part of its oil profits to pay the residual 40%, freeing up at least $1.15 billion annually for poverty reduction programmes. Nigeria made history in April 2006 by becoming the first African Country to completely pay off its debt (estimated $30 billion) owed to the Paris Club.

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 currently prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.

Nigeria has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world, major emerging market operators (like MTN, Etisalat, Zain and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. The government has recently begun expanding this infrastructure to space based communications. Nigeria has a space satellite which is monitored at the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Headquarters in Abuja.

The country has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks.

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 it infancy.

Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria. At one time, Nigeria was the world's largest exporter of groundnuts, cocoa, and palm oil and a significant producer of coconuts, citrus fruits, maize, pearl millet, cassava, yams and sugar cane. About 60% of Nigerians work in the agricultural sector, and Nigeria has vast areas of underutilized arable land.

It also has a manufacturing industry which includes leather and textiles (centred Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), car 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.

The country has recently made considerable amount of revenue from home made Nigerian Movies which are sold locally and Internationally. These movies are popular in other African countries and some parts of Europe.

According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria will be one of the countries in the world that will account for most of the world's total population increase by 2050. According to current data, one out of every four Africans is Nigerian. Presently, Nigeria is the eighth most populous country in the world, and even conservative estimates conclude that more than 20% of the world's black population lives in Nigeria. 2006 estimates claim 42.3% of the population is between 0-14 years of age, while 54.6% is between 15-65; the birth rate is significantly higher than the death rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000 people respectively.

Health, health care, and general living conditions in Nigeria are poor. Life expectancy is 47 years (average male/female) and just over half the population has access to potable water and appropriate sanitation; the percentage is of children under five has gone up rather than down between 1990 and 2003 and infant mortality is 97.1 deaths per 1000 live births. HIV/AIDS rate in Nigeria is much lower compared to the other African nations such as Kenya or South Africa whose prevalence (percentage) rates are in the double digits. Nigeria, like many developing countries, also suffers from a polio crisis as well as periodic outbreaks of cholera, malaria, and sleeping sickness. As of 2004, there has been a vaccination drive, spearheaded by the W.H.O., to combat polio and malaria that has been met with controversy in some regions.

Education is also in a state of neglect. After the 1970s oil boom, tertiary education was improved so that it would reach every subregion of Nigeria. Education is provided free by the government, but the attendance rate for secondary education is only 29% (32% for males, 27% for females). The education system has been described as "dysfunctional" largely due to decaying institutional infrastructure. 68% of the population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).

Nigeria's largest city is Lagos. Lagos has grown from 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million today, and the Nigerian government estimates that city will have expanded to 25 million residents by 2015.

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 Fulani/Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, accounting for 68% of population, while the Edo, Ijaw (10%), Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira Nupe and Tiv comprise 27%; other minorities make up the remaining 7 percent. The middle belt of Nigeria is known for its diversity of ethnic groups, including the Pyem, Goemai, and Kofyar.

There are small minorities of British, Americans, East Indians, Chinese (est. 50,000), white Zimbabweans, Japanese, Syrian, Lebanese and refugees and immigrants from other West African or East African nations. These minorities mostly reside in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja, or in the Niger Delta as employees for the major oil companies. A number of Cubans settled Nigeria as political refugees following the Cuban Revolution.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, a number of ex-slaves of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian descent and emigrants from Sierra Leone established communities in Lagos, Ibadan and other regions of Nigeria. Many ex-slaves came to Nigeria following the emancipation of slaves in Latin America. Many of the immigrants, sometimes called Saros (immigrants from Sierra Leone) and Amaro (ex-slaves from Brazil) later became prominent merchants and missionaries in Lagos and Abeokuta.

The number of languages currently estimated and catalogued in Nigeria is 521. This number includes 510 living languages, two second languages without native speakers and nine extinct languages. In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. The choice of English as the official language was partially related to the fact that a part of Nigerian population spoke English as a result of British colonization that ended in 1960.

The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of African languages - the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Yoruba, Igbo, the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is a member of the Nilo-Saharan family. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English, being the official language, is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English as a first language, however, remains an exclusive preserve of a small minority of the country's urban elite, and is not spoken at all in some rural areas. With the majority of Nigeria's populace in the rural areas, the major languages of communication in the country remain indigenous languages. Some of the largest of these, notably Yoruba and Ibo, have derived standardized languages from a number of different dialects and are widely spoken by those ethnic groups. Nigerian Pidgin English, often known simply as 'Pidgin' or 'Broken' (Broken English), is also as a popular lingua franca, though with varying regional influences on dialect and slang. The pidgin English or Nigerian English is widely spoken within the Niger Delta Regions, predominately in Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Agenebode, Benin City.

Nigeria has a rich literary history, and Nigerians have authored many influential works of post-colonial literature in the English language. Nigeria's best-known writers are Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in Literature and Chinua Achebe, the legendary writer best known for the novel, Things Fall Apart and his controversial critique of Joseph Conrad. Other Nigerian writers and poets who are well known on the international stage include John Pepper Clark, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta, Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Ken Saro Wiwa who was executed in 1995 by the military regime.

Nigeria has the second largest newspaper market in Africa (after Egypt) with an estimated circulation of several million copies daily in 2003.

Nigeria (naija) has been called "the heart of African music" because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo, Brazil, Cuba and elsewhere.

Nigerian music includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments and songs. As a result, there are many different types of music that come from Nigeria.

Many late 20th century musicians such as Fela Kuti have famously fused cultural elements of various indigenous music with American Jazz and Soul to form Afrobeat music. JuJu music which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Adé, is also from Nigeria. There is also fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, created and popularized by the one and only Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

There is a budding hip hop movement in Nigeria. Kennis Music, the self proclaimed "No 1 Record Label in Africa" and one of Nigeria's biggest record labels, has a roster almost entirely dominated by hip hop artists.

Some famous musicians that come from Nigeria are Fela Kuti, Adewale Ayuba, Ezebuiro Obinna, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, King Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Dr. Alban, Sade Adu, Wasiu Alabi, Bola Abimbola and Tuface Idibia.

In November 2008, Nigeria's music scene (and that of Africa) received international attention when MTV hosted the continent's first African music awards show in Abuja.

The Nigerian film industry is known as Nollywood. Many of the film studios are based in Lagos and Abuja and the industry is now a very lucrative income for these cities.

Nigeria is home to a variety of religions which tend to vary regionally. This situation accentuates regional and ethnic distinctions and has often been seen as a source of sectarian conflict amongst the population. The main religions are Islam (see Islam in Nigeria), Christianity (see Christianity in Nigeria), and indigenous religions, most notably Yoruba Orisha or Orisa veneration and Ifá and Igbo Odinani. Christianity is concentrated in the southeast while Islam dominates in the north; central regions tend to be religiously divided.

The majority of Nigerian Muslims are Sunni, but a significant Shia minority exists (see Shia in Nigeria). Some northern states have incorporated Sharia law into their previously secular legal systems, which has brought about some controversy. Kano State has sought to incorporate Sharia law into its constitution.

Christian Nigerians are about evenly split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Leading Protestant churches are the Church of Nigeria, of the Anglican communion, and the Nigerian Baptist Convention. The Yoruba area contains a large Anglican population, while Igboland is predominantly Catholic.

Across Yorubaland (western Nigeria, Benin, Togo), many people are adherents to Yorubo/Irunmole spirituality with its philosophy of divine destiny that all can become Orisha (ori, spiritual head; sha, is chosen: to be one with Olodumare (oni odu, the God source of all energy; ma re, enlighthens / triumphs).

Other minority religious and spiritual groups in Nigeria include Hinduism, Judaism, The Bahá’í Faith, and Chrislam (a syncretic faith melding elements of Christianity and Islam). Further, Nigeria has become an African hub for the Grail Movement, the Rosicrucian order (AMORC), and the Hare Krishnas.

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 chilli peppers. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.

Like many nations, football is Nigeria's national sport. There is also a local Premier League of football. Nigeria's national football team, known as the Super Eagles, has made the World Cup on three occasions 1994, 1998, and 2002, won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and 1994, and also hosted the Junior World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) and have reached the finals of the U-20 World Championship in 2005. In September 2007, Nigeria won the U-17 World cup for the third time, becoming the only African nation to have achieved that feat and the second nation (after Brazil) to do so. Nigeria had previously won the very first U-17 tournament in 1985 (China '85), 1993 (Japan '93) and in 2007 (Korea '07).

The nation's cadet team to Japan '93, produced some of the world's finest players notably Nwankwo Kanu, a two-time African Footballer of the year who won the European Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam and later played with Inter Milan (Italy), Arsenal FC (London, UK), West Bromwich Albion (UK) and Portsmouth F.C. (UK). Other players that graduated from the Junior teams are Celestine Babayaro (of Newcastle United, UK), Wilson Oruma (of Marseille, France).

According to the official September 2007 FIFA World Rankings, Nigeria is currently First-ranked football nation in Africa and the 19th highest in the world. Nigeria is also involved in other sports such as basketball and track and field. Boxing is also an important sport in Nigeria; currently, Samuel Peter is the World Heavyweight Champion.

Despite its vast government revenue from the mining of petroleum, Nigeria is faced by a number of societal issues due primarily to a history of inefficiency in its governance.

In its 2005 report on human rights practices around the world, the U.S. Department of State found that Nigeria's human rights record was "poor." According to the report, Nigerian government officials and police were responsible for "serious abuses", including politically motivated killings; the use of lethal force against suspected criminals and hostage-seizing militants in the Niger Delta; beatings and even torture of suspects, detainees, and convicts; and extortion of civilians. Other abuses included violence, discrimination, and genital mutilation directed against women, child labor and prostitution, and human trafficking.

Sentences imposed under sharia included amputations, stonings, and canings, but no death sentences were carried out. In addition, the U.S. Department of State noted restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, movement, and privacy.

Current reports have shown that the Nigerian human rights are improving under the democratic government.

Due to its multitude of diverse, sometimes competing ethno-linguistic groups, Nigeria prior to independence has been faced with sectarian tensions and violence. This is particularly a major issue in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, where both state and civilian forces employ varying methods of coercion in attempts gain control over regional petroleum resources. Some of the ethnic groups like the Ogoni, have experienced severe environmental degradation due to petroleum extraction.

Since the end of the civil war in 1970, some ethnic violence has persisted. There has subsequently been a period of relative harmony since the Federal Government introduced tough new measures against religious violence in all affected parts of the country.

In 2002, organizers of the Miss World Pageant were forced to move the pageant from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to London in the wake of violent protests in the Northern part of the country that left more than 100 people dead and over 500 injured. The rioting erupted after Muslims in the country reacted in anger to comments made by a newspaper reporter. Rioters in Kaduna killed an estimated 105 men, women, and children with a further 521 injured taken to hospital.

Nigeria has been reorganizing its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987 formally promoted community-based methods of increasing accessibility of drugs and health care services to the population, in part by implementing user fees. The new strategy dramatically increased accessibility through community-based healthcare reform, resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services. A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost.

The Nigerian health care system is continuously faced with a shortage of doctors known as 'brain drain' due to the fact that many highly skilled Nigerian doctors emigrate to North America and Europe. In 1995, It was estimated that 21,000 Nigerian doctors were practicing in the United States alone, which about the same as the number of doctors working in the Nigerian public service. Retaining these expensively-trained professionals has been identified as one of the goals of the government.

Nigeria provides free, government-supported education, but attendance is not compulsory at any level, and certain groups, such as nomads and the handicapped, are under-served. The education system consists of six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, three years of senior secondary school, and four years of university education leading to a bachelor’s degree. The rate of secondary school attendance is 32 percent for males and 27 percent for females. In 2004 the Nigerian National Planning Commission described the country’s education system as “disfunctional.” Reasons for this characterization included decaying institutions and ill-prepared graduates.

In 2003, Nigerians were reported to be the happiest people in a scientific survey carried out in 65 nations in 1999-2001. The research was reported by one of the world's top science magazines, New Scientist, and was picked up by a number of news outlets. See Nigeria tops happiness survey. The report considered that the country's family life and culture were more important than its problems and material wealth in determining happiness.

A type of advance fee fraud known as "419" (named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code) and the "Nigerian scam" is a form of confidence trick practiced by individuals and criminal syndicates (organized crime) that is commonly associated with Nigeria, though it is now used in other places. The confidence man persuades the target to advance relatively small sums of money (the advance fee) in the hope of realizing a much larger gain (usually touted as millions). In 2003, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (or EFCC) was created to combat this and other forms of organized financial crime. It has succeeded in bringing several "419" crime bosses to justice and in some cases has been able to return the stolen money to victims.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia