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Nigeria most populous country in Africa and 17th in the world

NIGERIA

Basic facts about the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria most populous country
in Africa and 17th in the world

Full name: Federal Republic of Nigeria
Area: 923,768 km2
Capital: Abuja
Largest city: Lagos
Population: 170 million

Land and People
With a population of over 170 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the 17th most populous in the world.

The people of Nigeria are extremely diverse, with over 250 ethnic groups speaking over 500 languages. English is the official language, and is the everyday language of government and most businesses, whilst most of the population speaks native languages such as Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ibibio, Ebo, Fulfulde and Kanuri.

50% of Nigerians are Muslim, who mostly live in the northern half of the country, while 40% are Christians, living mainly in the south. The remaining 10% practice indigenous beliefs, and are widely dispersed throughout the country.

Government
Nigeria is a constitutional presidential republic. The President acts as Head of State and Head of Government, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President appoints a Cabinet, currently consisting of 19 ministers. The legislative branch consists of the Senate and House of Representatives, collectively known as the National Assembly.

Nigeria has a federal system which gives a large degree of autonomy to each of its 36 states. Each state government is led by a Governor, with a House of Assembly acting as the legislature.

Presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections take place every four years.

Nigeria is an active and engaged member of the international community and of international organisations including the United Nations (UN), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It currently has peacekeeping troops and/or police deployed in support of peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Western Sahara, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Haiti and Lebanon.

Economy
At USD268.7 billion, Nigeria’s nominal GDP is the second-highest of any country in Africa, and is currently growing at 7.1% in real terms. Nigeria is poised to become Africa’s largest economy within the next decade, with some estimates indicating that this milestone will be reached as early as 2014.

In order to bring further prosperity to the nation, and to improve the life chances of all Nigerians, President Jonathan has laid out a programme known as Vision 20:2020, which aims to see Nigeria’s economy become at least the 20th-largest in the world by the year 2020.

Nigeria’s petroleum sector is by far the most important in Africa; the country possesses the largest proven oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa. Petroleum thus makes up 87% of Nigeria’s export revenue and 12% of its GDP.

Approximately 70% of Nigerians work in agriculture, which makes up around 30% of the GDP. Nigeria exports cash crops such as cocoa, cotton and peanuts, and has recently become a net exporter of wheat.

President Goodluck Jonathan has committed to diversifying the Nigeria’s economy over the course of his administration, expanding the manufacturing base and acting as a hub for the services sector across West Africa.

Geography
Nigeria is the 10th largest country is sub-Saharan Africa by area; at 923,768 km2 it is nearly four times larger than the United Kingdom. The country is bordered by Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Chad and Cameroon to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the South. The Niger River runs from the country’s northwest down to the coast, where it forms the Niger Delta, a group of hundreds of creeks feeding into the Gulf of Guinea, which is home to most of Nigeria’s oil reserves.

Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city is located in the west of the country, on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, close to the border with Benin. At nearly 15 million people, Lagos’s population makes it the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, and the economic beating heart of the West African region. By some estimates, Lagos itself stands to become Africa’s 13th largest economy within the next few years.

Nigeria'sTop Tourism Attractions

Lagos - The commercial capital of West Africa, Lagos is a spirited, bustling place with a population of 10 million. The city has an excellent nightlife, beaches such as Lekki Beach, Bar Beach, Coconut Beach, Tarkwa Bay and Eleko Beach as well as many street markets, and a rich National Museum.

Yankari National Park - Nigeria's most popular national park is located in the savanna of the north-east. Yankari is a popular eco-destination, with lots of wildlife including elephants, and wonderful hot springs.

Jos - Jos is really a very pleasant city with an interesting museum and small wildlife park where pygmy hippos are the main attraction. The climate is nice and cool.

Kano - the main city in northern Nigeria has lots of interesting sights for visitors, including traditional Hausa homes, markets, mosques, the emir's palace, and original dye pits.

The Mambilla Plateau - in the southeast corner of Taraba State, shares a border with Cameroon. A high grassland plateau averaging about 1800 meters. Mambilla has cattle ranches, tea plantations and rolling, grassy hills. It is different from the rest of Nigeria with regard to flora and fauna and is home to some rare species of birds and animals, especially at the Gashaka- Gumti National Park.

Gashaka-Gumti National ParkThis is a vast land of spectacular wilderness (6,000 sq. kin) in the southeast corner of Taraba State, adjoin¬ing the Mambilla Plateau. Mostly mountainous, from 457 to 2407 meters, it contains Nigeria’s highest mountain, Chapal Waddi (2409m). It is the most ecologically diverse conservation area in the country and contains swaths of guinea savanna, gallery forest, moist forest, mountain forest and grassland.

Cross River National Park
The Cross River National Park was created from two existing forest reserves of Bashi-Okwango and Oban Forest Resveres. It is famous for its unique rain forest vegetation which, is some of the richest in Africa. This park contains the last remaining rain forest in Nigeria, which is being preserved with the help of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. It has a herd of forest elephants, the white-faced monkey (indigenous to Nigeria only), buffalo, leopards and lowland gorillas, besides over a thousand other animal species.

The Kainji National Park
This Park, in Kwara State, was established in 1979 and incorporates the Borgu Game Reserve and Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast in Niger State. The Kainji National Park also contains the Kainji Dam, an artificial lake which covers the town of Old Bussa. Here Mungo Park, the explorer, was said to have come to grief in 1805. Now the lake hides the scene of the accident.
Calabar Beach
This superb beach, at the mouth of the new Calabar River, is about 2 miles long and 500 feet wide, uninhabited save for a solitary fisherman’s hut. The beach is virtually isolated and lends visitors the luxury of privacy in a beautiful setting off the beaten path. Since the beach is flanked by a swamp and can only be reached by boat or canoe, getting there is half the fun and enhances one’s fascination with this enchanted locale.

The Obudu Ranch
The Obudu Ranch is a popular holiday destination for adventurous tourists wishing to explore the remote corners of Nigeria. Situated in the northeast corner of Cross River State, only 45 miles from the Cameroon border, a tourist can enjoy the countryside of both Nigeria and Cameroon at the same time.

Osun-Osogbo
Osun-Osogbo is a sacred forest along the banks of the Oshun River just outside the city of Osogbo, Osun State. It is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. Osun-Osgogbo festival is celebrated every year. Osun- worshippers come from all walks of life to celebrate this day. In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Solid Minerals

Talc
Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states. The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)’s 3,000 tonnes per annum catalytic plant is the only talc plant in the country. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals of the world. The exploitation of the vast deposits would therefore satisfy local demand and that for export.

Gypsum
Gypsum is an important input for the production of cement. It is also used for the production of Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) and classroom chalks. A strategy for large-scale mining of gypsum used in the cement industries is urgently required to sustain the existing plants and meet the future expansion. Currently, cement production is put at 8 million tonnes per annum while the national requirement is 9.6 million tonnes. About one billion tonnes of gypsum deposits are spread over many states in Nigeria.

Iron Ore
There are over 3 billion metric tonnes of iron ore in deposits found in Kogi, Enugu and Niger States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Iron Ore is being mined at Itakpe in Kogi State and is already being beneficiated, up to 67 per cent of iron. The Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes are ready for consumers of billets and other iron products for down-stream industries.

Lead/Zinc
An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria. Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Joint venture partners are encouraged to develop and exploit the various lead/zinc deposits all over the country.

Bentonite and Baryte
These are the main constituents of the mud used in the drilling of all types of oil wells. The Nigerian baryte has specific gravity of about 4.3. Over 7.5 million tonnes of baryte have been identified in Taraba and Bauchi States. Large bentonite reserves of 700 million tonnes are available in many states of the federation ready for massive development and exploitation.

Gold
There are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale. Private investors are invited to stake concessions on these primary deposits.

Bitumen
The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is indicated at about 42 billion tonnes; almost twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum. Analytical results suggest that this potential resource can be used directly as an asphalt binder. Most bitumen used for road construction in Nigeria is currently imported.

Coal
Nigerian coal is one of the most bituminous in the world owing to its low sulphur and ash content and therefore the most environment- friendly. There are nearly 3billion tonnes of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves.

Rock Salt
The national annual demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tonnes. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals by chemical and processing companies including tanneries and those in food and beverages, paper and pulp, bottling and oil sector. There are salt springs at Awe (Plateau State), Abakaliki and Uburu (Ebonyi State), while rock salt is available in Benue State. A total reserve of 1.5 million tonnes has been indicated, and further investigations are now being carried out by Government.

Gemstones
Gemstones mining has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states for years. Some of these gemstones include sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst; zircon, and flourspar which are among the world’s best. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments.

Kaolin
An estimated reserve of 3 billion tonnes of good kaolinitic clay has been identified in many localities in Nigeria. Lift from page 4 and 5 of Local Sourcing of Raw Materials.

Oil and Gas Sector
The oil and gas sector accounts for about 35 per cent of gross domestic product, and petroleum exports revenue accounts for about 70 per cent of total exports revenue. There are ample of opportunities for foreign direct investment in the upstream and downstream sectors.

Agriculture Potentials
Agriculture in Nigeria is a major branch of the economy, providing employment for 70% of the population. The sector is being transformed by commercialization at the small, medium and large-scale enterprise levels. Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams.k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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