Capital | Abuja
Population | 155,215,573 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 923,768 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day (National Day), 1 October (1960
Currency | Naira (NGN)
Time Zone | UTC +1
Best Time to Visit | December to March
Connecting with the Culture | Viewing wildlife at Yankari National Park. Club-hopping in Lagos. Visiting the ancient mud-walled city in Kano. Shopping for rare books at the Onitsha Writers’ Market. Exploring the Niger Delta.
Read | anything by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, internationally acclaimed writer Chinua Achebe or Ben Okri, a crowd-pulling favourite on the Western literary ciruit.
Listen | to world-renowned musician, the late Fela Kuti, whose eclectic fusion of traditional Yoruba call-and-response chanting with freestyle jazz (Afrobeat) was always in demand. Other favourites are king of juju music Sonny Ade, the granddaddy of afro-reggae, Sonny Okosun and soul singer, Sade.
Watch | A Deusa Negra (Black Goddess) by Nigerian director Ola Balogun.
Eat | egusi (a firey-hot yellow stew made with meat, red chilli, ground dried prawns and green leaves) or palm-nut soup (a thick stew made with meat, chilli, tomatoes, onions and palm-nut oil).
Drink | palm wine (a favourite drink all over Nigeria, especially in the south where the palm trees grow wild).
In a Word | Sannu (‘hello’ in Hausa’)
Characteristics | Fantastic music; money scams; masochistic travelers; violence; corruption; oil-rich economy; Niger Delta.
Surprises | Nigeria is home to 20% of Africa’s entire population; juju, the native magic that was the original basis for Caribbean voodoo, is still an important element in many tribal cultures.
NEWS ABOUT NIGERIA
Nigeria warned against population explosion
(HN, 5/24/12) - Jeffrey Sachs, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's special adviser, warned Monday that an impending Nigeria population explosion could see the nation balloon from 158 million people to 730 million by 2100. "I am really scared about population explosion in Nigeria. Nigeria should work towards attaining a maximum of 3 children per family," Sachs said on the margins of an interactive presidential meeting with key members of the business community. "An increase in annual economic growth from the current 7% towards encouraging integrated development in economy, agriculture, urban & rural sectors, building a good health system, education, power, railway - could see the country become 1 of the most important economies in the 21st century." President Goodluck Jonathan, who will on Sunday begin a new 4-year term (he came into office in May 2011 following the death of Umaru Yar'Adua), told the meeting, he will lead his country's economic team saying his new administration was determined to take decisive steps in order to transform a nation whose unemployment rate is more than 21%. Nigeria has 6 cities with a population of over 1 million people - (largest to smallest) - Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, & Benin City). Lagos is the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of over 8 million in its urban area alone. (Read more at TIMES Live)
Boko Haram Plans More Attacks On Media
(HN, 5/2/12) - Less than a week after a bomb attack on Nigeria's `This Day' newspaper in Abuja killing 3 people, terrorist group Boko Haram released a new video in which it names more media organizations as targets of its next attack. In an 18-minute message released on YOUTUBE the sect threatened to attack news outlets that include Voice of America (Hausa), Radio France (Hausa), Daily Trust, Guardian Newspapers, Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard, Nation, Tribune, National Accord, Leadership, Daily Trust, People's Daily & Sahara Reporters from New York. The message, delivered in Hausa, shows live broadcast coverage of the bombing saying, 'Nigerians, our name is not Boko Haram, we are Muslims, Ahlis sunnah, engaged in jihad'; & 'We attacked `This Day' because we will never forget or forgive anyone who abused our prophet.' Referring to This Day' as having `dishonored our prophet, Mohammad (SAW) during the Miss World pageant in Kaduna in November 2002.' Shots of the late leader of the sect Muhammad Yusuf, delivering a sermon & preaching, were also shown. The voice explains, 'We are just getting the opportunity to attack the media house, & we are hoping to continue these attacks until we drive them out of existence.' (Read More at ALLAFRICA)
(HN, 4/11/12) - There was almost nothing left yesterday of 1 of the largest open air markets in West Africa, Nigeria's thriving Potiskum livestock market - the major commercial city in Yobe State which serves as a bustling trading hub for neighboring Chad, Cameroon & Niger. A group of armed robbers came with a Volkswagen Golf car & according to reports opened fire; then escaped, & came back around 6:00pm with explosive materials - burning down buildings, cars & structures & shot at people, say witnesses. The Secretary of Nigerian Red Cross in the state, Zabu Buba, said they took about 30 people to the hospital; & 40 cows along with 17 vehicles were destroyed.
Potiskum, a usually boisterous town was thrown into mourning, as a 10pm curfew took affect & entry & exit points in the town were blocked by security forces. The Emir of Potiskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya, visited the market & condemned the attack; a motive & claim of responsibility remain unknown. Sometimes violence in Nigeria, especially in parts of the north or the volatile Middle Belt - where the largely Christian south & Muslim north meet - is driven by ethnic rivalry over land & resources that has little to do with the Boko Haram insurgent terrorist group. (Read more at The Nation)
Easter Bomber Strikes in Northern Nigeria
(HN, 4/1/12) - A bombing in northern Nigeria killed at least 20 people, wounding several others on Easter Sunday despite ramped-up security throughout the region. No one immediately claimed responsibility, though many suspect the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which is known to target Christians around holidays. Police say a car laden with explosives blew up on a main city street in the northern city of Kaduna Sunday at 8:45 a.m. local time. Witnesses said the explosion primarily hit motorcycle taxi drivers, panhandlers & women preparing street food. Some suspect the intended target was a nearby Christian church. Emergency workers rushed more than a dozen critically wounded people from the scene & the street was littered with burned-out motorcycles & what was left of the bomber's vehicle.
Security was ramped up throughout northern Nigeria for Easter weekend after security forces said they thwarted several plots to attack Christians. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Christmas Eve bombings in 2010 & Christmas Day attacks in 2011 that each killed dozens of people in northern Nigeria.