Located in West Africa, Nigeria today counts as one of the leading nations on the continent. It has one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in Africa, and also has the most diverse people of any African country. At the same time, though, the country still struggles to get out of the shadow of its bloody history. Learn more with these 50 facts About Nigeria.
- With a population of 211 million people, Nigeria has the biggest population out of any country on the African continent.
- The country covers a total area of around 923,769 km².
- As a federal republic, Nigeria divides itself into 26 states plus its capital territory.
- Over 250 ethnic groups call Nigeria home.
- The country’s peoples also have over 500 different languages.
- Human civilization in Nigeria goes back to the 15th century BC, with the Nok culture.
- Islam arrived in Nigeria during the 7th century AD.
- Urban societies flourished in Nigeria by the 10th century.
- The Portuguese began trading with Nigeria in the 16th century.
- With the abolition of slavery in Europe by 1807, European powers intervened in Nigeria to stop the illegal taking of slaves.
- Britain steadily colonized Nigeria from the mid-19th century onward.
- Anti-colonial movements rose in Nigeria in the wake of WWII.
- Nigeria ultimately regained its independence from Britain in 1960.
- Civil war erupted in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970.
- Nigeria has endured political turmoil from the end of the civil war to the present day.
- Islam remains the dominant religion in Northern Nigeria.
- In contrast, Christianity dominates the religious stage in Southern Nigeria.
- With the largest economy in the continent, Nigeria has the nickname of the “Giant of Africa.”
- Nigeria falls in the GMT+1 time zone.
- The country helped found the African Union in 1999.
Nigeria’s name has a history of its own.
British journalist Flora Shaw first used the name Nigeria in 1897, from the Niger River that runs through the country. The river’s own name comes from the Tuareg name of the river, egerew-n-igerewen, given to it by the local inhabitants before the 19th century. However, it still remains unclear when and who first used the name Niger to refer to the river, which also eventually shared its name with the country of Nigeria.
Chappal Waddi stands as the highest point in Nigeria.
With a height of 2.42 km above sea level, Chappal Waddi isn’t just the highest point in Nigeria, it also makes it the 3rd tallest peak in Africa. Only Mount Cameroon in the country of the same name, and Emi Koussi in Chad, stand taller than Chappal Waddi. Chappal Waddi stands as part of the Bamenda-Adamawa-Mandara mountain chain that runs across not just in Nigeria, but also neighboring Cameroon. The mountain stands in Nigeria’s Taraba state, not far from the border with Cameroon, on the Mambilla Plateau. It also stands as part of the Gashaka Gumti Forest Reserve, as well as the Gashaka-Gumti National Park.
Nigeria has a mixed climate.
The southernmost part of the country has a tropical rainforest climate, marked by up to two meters of rain per year. However, most of the country has a savanna climate, receiving on average around one meter of rain per year. The state of the savannah shifts from south to north, with Southern Nigeria’s savanna dominated by tall grass with scattered groves of trees.
Central Nigeria, in contrast, usually only sees short grass on the savanna, with the trees also growing shorter. Finally, the savannah in Northeastern Nigeria appears only as patches of grass breaking up a sandy landscape. In fact, the northernmost part of the country counts as part of the Sahara Desert and receives only, at most, 500 mm of rain per year.
The country also has a rich biodiversity.
Mangroves flourish along the coasts of Southern Nigeria, with virgin rainforest stretching far inland. This region also counts as the native home of the drill primate, shared with the border areas of neighboring Cameroon. The area around Calabar City in Nigeria’s Cross River state also has the world’s most diverse population of butterflies.
Nigeria’s savanna also features rich populations of flowering plants, such as moneyworts and rattlepods, among others. Humans can even eat some of them, though, most get harvested as fodder for livestock. The spurge family of plants also thrives in Nigeria, where it has a medicinal reputation for diseases such as gastroenteritis and malaria, among others.
The Nigerian environment faces many threats today.
Desertification driven by global warming actually has the Sahara Desert slowly but steadily expanding into Northern Nigeria. Overuse of water also threatens Lake Chad in the country’s northeast, made worse by shifting weather patterns. Similarly driven by climate change, this threatens the lake’s water sources and could cause it to dry up. Even in Southern Nigeria, far from the Sahara Desert, land development and deforestation have heavily impacted the rainforests. European colonization also introduced invasive species into the country, threatening the native ecology.
That said, scientists today still remain unsure how many invasive species have actually succeeded in Nigeria. The oil industry has also contaminated the Niger River’s delta, made worse by other forms of water pollution from the country’s industries. Similarly, the country’s mining industry has introduced lead waste and other heavy metals into local water supplies.
Humans in Nigeria go as far back as 11,000 BC.
It still remains unclear how they got there, only that archaeological evidence at Isarun shows a human presence in Nigeria around 11,000 BC. Other evidence suggests that they may have lived in the country even earlier, around where modern Okigwe now stands. That said, scientists still remain unsure and continue to study the latter theory. Additional archaeological evidence also points to stone toolmaking and pottery developing in Nigeria around the 4th millennium BC. Farming communities also appear to have become widespread across the country at that time. The Iron Age later began in Nigeria during the 2nd century BC.
Various kingdoms ruled over pre-colonial Nigeria.
We’ve already mentioned the Nok culture, which dominated Nigeria from 1500 BC to 200 AD. The Nok vanished around that time, though, circumstantial evidence suggests that the Bini of Benin may have descended from the Nok. The Nri Kingdom would later rise in 900 AD, which historians actually consider the first true Nigerian nation. They eventually found themselves challenged by the Benin and Igala Empires from the 15th century onward.
Other Nigerian nations include the Edo Kingdom, which became the first to encounter Europeans in the 16th century. The Yoruba dominated the west bank of the Niger River, while Hausa states, like Gao and Kanem, dominated Northern Nigeria. Kanem, in particular, would become a center of Islamic learning and culture in the 16th century.
The European arrival expanded the Nigerian slave trade from the 16th Century onward.
Slavery existed in Nigeria as far back as the 1st millennium BC, with the trans-Saharan slave trade. Slaves from not just West Africa, but the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, would get taken on trade routes across the desert to North Africa. There, they would get sold to buyers from the great civilizations of the Mediterranean, such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The trade continued even after the Fall of Rome and would expand from the 16th century onward. Portuguese and other Europeans would now buy slaves from the coastal ports and ship them to Europe and North America. The new trans-Atlantic slave trade peaked during the 18th century, only for slavery to get abolished in Europe at the end of that same century.
British colonization of Nigeria took place in stages.
British efforts in Nigeria started with strong moves to end the slave trade. This included not just Royal Navy patrols to intercept slave ships, but also efforts to diversify the local economy. The British hoped this would give people alternative sources of livelihood that would keep them from selling their fellows to slavers. This eventually led to the founding of the Lagos Colony, after the British helped the anti-slavery Oba Akitoye defeat the pro-slavery Oba Kosoko.
Then in 1886, Britain founded the Royal Niger Company to manage their economic interests in the country. From 1902 to 1906, British forces crushed the Sokoto Caliphate in Northern Nigeria. Finally, in 1914, Britain merged their protectorates in Northern and Southern Nigeria into a single entity. The British colonization of Nigeria finally became complete.
The British policy in Nigeria changed over time.
Britain started out with a British colonial government, which then delegated administrative tasks to local governors. These governors always involved the local elites, made up of Muslim emirs in the north, and tribal rulers in the south. Then in 1916, the British formed a governing council for the colony, composed of local rulers. While in practice they had to defer to the governor’s final decisions, the council did give them a say in the government.
Outside of politics, the British built up the local infrastructure, such as modern ports, roads, and even railways. They also worked to further diversify the local economy, from new food crops to tin mining, among others. And starting in the 1920s, the British also began working to liberalize colonial society. This involved limiting Western influence while encouraging local elites to take charge. They also introduced public education and limited the influence of religious leaders to promote a secular society.
The Spanish Flu hit Nigeria hard.
Ships passing through Nigeria’s ports in 1918 brought the Spanish Flu with them to the colony. It quickly spread across the coastal regions, and through the colonial transport infrastructure, into the interior. Statistics estimate that up to 1.5% of the Nigerian population at the time caught the disease. Of those, an estimated 500,000 would ultimately die from the disease. The epidemic also had the effect of the British taking drastic steps to stop the spread of the disease and limit the death rate.
These included experimenting with traditional African medicine. They also imposed a quarantine, only allowing people with government-issued travel passes to move around. Other measures included mandatory measures to improve sanitation, with colonial officials even making door-to-door checks to see if Nigerian households did as required.
Nigerian nationalism steadily grew from the 1920s onward.
They reflected the religious and cultural divide in the colony, however. In Northern Nigeria, the British had adopted a policy of supporting the local emirs for administrative purposes. By the 1920s, however, that policy caused nationalist sentiments to flourish, based on Islamic ideals of religious legitimacy. Meanwhile, in Southern Nigeria, Western cultural influences had enjoyed much greater success. Ironically, this led to southern nationalists rejecting colonial rule on the basis that it failed to respect and appreciate native cultures and lifestyles.
The Women’s War erupted in Nigeria in 1929.
It began when thousands of women from Eastern Nigeria protested against colonial policies, in particular, the so-called warrant chiefs. In pre-colonial times, Nigerian women enjoyed equal opportunities with men and could hold leadership positions. Under the British, however, the colonial government imposed a more rigid leadership, including the warrant chiefs. These involved men appointed to the status of chiefs by the colonial government, usually when no native men and only women became available for the position.
This outraged Nigerian women, who protested by sitting in public places. When negotiations broke down, the colonial police and army arrived to impose order. This led to the outbreak of violence, with over 50 people dying. Despite the losses, the protests ultimately succeeded in their goal.
Britain steadily granted Nigeria self-government after WWII.
Nigerians fought for the Allies in WWII, and also had the effect of awakening national consciousness among them. Labor had also undergone large-scale organization in Nigeria during the war, to better support the war effort. This, in turn, had a unifying effect on the country, as people from different tribes, ethnicities, and religions, had either fought or worked together.
For its part, Britain after the war had little interest in fighting to maintain colonial rule, having paid a high price in terms of money and men to win. This led to Nigeria’s 1946 Constitution, which increased the size and authority of the Legislative Council. Then in 1957, they gave Western and Eastern Nigeria self-government, with Northern Nigeria receiving the same in 1959. And finally, in 1960, Britain finally granted Nigeria full independence.
Various factors led to the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War.
One of those involved tribal differences and jealousies, made worse by how tribes didn’t live in homogenous areas. Instead, members of various tribes lived scattered across the country, which had the effect of exposing each other to and magnifying ethnic issues. Politics also proved another factor, such as the decision to make Lagos the colonial capital. The Yoruba dominated Lagos, which angered other tribes at the apparent favoritism.
An alternative proposal, to declare Lagos a no-man’s town where all tribes could meet peacefully, angered the Yoruba instead. Economics also proved a factor leading to the civil war, over how some tribes seemed to prosper more than others. This wasn’t so problematic during colonial times, as the British simply took direct control of the most valuable resources and industries. But with independence, as some tribes grew wealthier than others out of economic circumstances, resentment grew, which helped lead to civil war.
War crimes widely took place during the war.
Nigerian government forces explicitly described hunger as a weapon during the war and used it against the Biafra rebels. In addition to stopping food shipments to the rebels, they also did the same to medicine. At the height of the war in 1968, statistics estimated up to 10,000 people died per day from either starvation or disease. The Nigerian military also deliberately bombed or machine-gunned civilians living in rebel territories.
The Biafra rebels also committed war crimes of their own, especially against members of other ethnic groups. The Igbo dominated the Biafra rebels, and acting on fear and hate against other ethnicities, committed mass killings, usually by rounding them up and leaving them to starve in internment camps. Both sides also widely committed rape against women on the other side of the civil war.
Foreign countries had mixed positions during the Nigerian Civil War.
The British supported the Nigerian government and even supplied them with money and weapons during the war. In return, the Nigerian military made sure to keep the British-owned oil fields safe. The Soviet Union also supported the Nigerian government, as did Israel and Egypt. In contrast, China and France backed the Biafra rebels and supplied them with money and supplies. The USA declared itself neutral but diplomatically showed sympathy for the Biafra rebels. US President Richard Nixon would even condemn the Nigerian government and its foreign supporters for denying Biafra the right to self-determination. He also attempted but failed, to push for a diplomatic solution to the civil war.
Mass media played an early role during the Nigerian Civil War.
Similar to the Vietnam War, journalists on the ground during the civil war took many pictures and stories of the suffering caused by the war. They then broadcasted them for all the world to see, causing controversy in countries that supported the Nigerian government. In Europe, photo evidence of war crimes against civilians from Biafra led to accusations of genocide, and even comparisons with the Holocaust. The Biafra also took advantage of this, in particular, their Christian-majority against the Muslim-majority of the Nigerian government.
This led to increased sympathy from the Western public, such as in Ireland, where the war and British support for the Nigerian government drew comparisons to Ireland’s own struggle for independence. In the USA, protests took place in front of the UN headquarters, while John Lennon of the Beatles returned his honors received from the British monarchy in protest against British support for the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian Civil War had mixed results for the country.
At first glance, Nigeria prospered immediately after the war, as a result of a boom in the oil industry. However, corruption meant that only the upper classes and the British enjoyed the fruits of the oil boom. A military junta also remained in control of the government, under General Yakubu Gowon. The nation’s economy also suffered in another way, specifically, it became too dependent on the oil industry. Small industries stagnated at this time, while Nigeria’s national infrastructure became outdated and even too limited from lack of development.
The military dictatorship in Nigeria ended in 1977.
Even then, it resulted from two years of near anarchy, first with the 1975 coup that brought down the Gowon regime. A trio of generals took power, specifically, Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Theophilus Danjuma. Another coup took place in 1976, led by Colonel Buka Dimka, killing General Muhammed, but ultimately failing and forcing the rogue colonel into exile. General Shehu Yar’adua replaced General Muhammed, and in 1977, the junta organized a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. This led to elections in 1979, with Shehu Shagari becoming the first president of the Second Nigerian Republic.
Modern Nigeria continues to face various problems.
Ethnic rivalries and tribal attitudes remain major issues in Nigeria today. Religious tensions between the Muslim north and the Christian south also remain a major issue. Corruption also plagues the country, with statistics estimating corruption having cost Nigeria $200 billion since independence. The legacy of the civil war and military dictatorships also hangs heavy over Nigeria. International observers keep a close eye on Nigerian elections, while historians argue whether or not the mass killings of civilians on both sides of the civil war count as genocide.
The present-day Nigerian government models itself off the US government.
Nigeria’s president holds the post of both the head of state and the head of government, similar to the US. Also, like the US President, the Nigerian President can get elected for up to two 4-year terms. Muhammad Buhari currently holds the office, first getting elected in 2015, and again in 2019. In addition to the president, Nigeria has a National Assembly based on the US Congress, divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. Again, much like in the US, Nigeria has a Supreme Court, which has the final say on judicial matters in the country.
The modern Nigerian military has a mixed reputation.
The Nigerian military started out as a well-trained force, formed by veterans of WWII. However, the Nigerians quickly expanded the military after independence, which caused its quality to drop. During the decades of military dictatorship, the military also functioned less to defend the country, as much as to enforce the regime’s authority.
After the return of democracy, however, the Nigerian military has gained respect by participating in various UN peacekeeping operations. These include Liberia in 1997, as well as the Ivory Coast from 1997 to 1999, and Sierra Leone during those same years.
Today, the military’s biggest problems involve modernization and replacing lost equipment. In particular, Nigeria’s policy of buying military equipment from several different suppliers has complicated the solution to their problems.
The country’s economy also has a mixed reputation.
On one hand, as we mentioned earlier, Nigeria has the biggest economy on the African continent. But on the other hand, Nigeria’s economy suffers from several issues, one of which we also mentioned earlier. Specifically, during the late-20th Century, the country became too dependent on exporting oil, at the expense of other industries. While Nigeria has worked to address this issue, its effects continue to haunt the country. Corruption and mismanagement also plague the country’s economy. Income inequality also remains a major issue, especially in the countryside.
Nigerian agriculture once made the country self-sufficient in food.
Before the oil industry outcompeted it, agricultural goods made up Nigeria’s main exports. Even today, it employs an estimated 30% of the country’s workforce. However, a population boom after the civil war proved far too much for the agricultural sector to keep pace with. The widespread adoption of synthetic fertilizers helped, but it still wasn’t enough in the end.
Today, the country depends on food imports to feed its people, with cash crops, like cocoa and rubber, making up the biggest agricultural exports. Other major crops grown in Nigeria include cashew, cassava, corn, millet, rice, soybeans, and yams, among others. Starting in 2019, Nigeria has also limited rice imports, hoping to stimulate local production by limiting foreign competition.
The oil industry remains one of the biggest parts of the Nigerian economy.
No other African country produces as much oil and gas as Nigeria, which pumps out 2.53 million barrels per day. In fact, experts actually think Nigeria could produce even more oil than it currently does, potentially peaking at 3 million barrels per day. Of those, an estimated 1 million barrels per day goes to the US, accounting for 40% of Nigeria’s total exports. This also accounts for an estimated 9% of the US oil and gas imports.
This has come at a cost, however, and not just by causing the country’s economy to develop in a lopsided way. The oil industry has damaged the country’s ecosystem, with up to 13 million barrels of oil having spilled since the 1950s. This has wiped out an estimated 10% of Nigeria’s mangroves, and contaminated water supplies in the Niger Delta. In fact, observers have noted that it’s actually quite common to see a faint layer of oil floating like a film on top of the river in the delta region.
In contrast, the Nigerian mining industry actually has an underdeveloped state.
Ironically, coal mining in Nigeria predates the oil industry, going back to 1909, under British rule. The outbreak of civil war caused the abandonment of the coal mines, while the postwar oil boom meant the coal industry had little incentive to recover. In recent years, however, countries like Britain, China, and Italy have expressed interest in Nigeria’s coal deposits.
Aside from coal, Nigeria also has deposits of gold, as well as niobium, tantalum, and tungsten. Uranium and gemstones also lie in Nigeria, including amethyst, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, ruby, sapphire, and topaz, among others.
Nigeria’s telecommunications sector grows quickly today.
In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing in the world today, growing from just 1% of the country’s GDP in 2001 to 10% in 2018. Lagos stands as one of the main tech hubs in Africa, home to companies like 9mobile, Airtel, Globacom, and MTN, among others. Statistics estimate that the country has at least 23.5 million radio sets, and over 200 radio stations. The federal government alone operates at least 70 TV stations, while each state has its own additional TV station, in addition to many private TV stations.
Statistics estimate the country has 56.9 million TVs, as well as an estimated 350,000 wired telephone lines, in addition to over 200 million cellular lines. In fact, experts estimate that 60% of all Nigerians today have cell phones, and that number continues to grow with every passing year.
Nigeria also has a solid tourist industry.
It brings in an estimated $1 billion per year and accounts for an estimated 6% of the country’s GDP. That said, the tourist industry does face problems of its own, in particular, the country’s problematic public utilities and infrastructure. Tourists in Nigeria usually come to see its many national and public parks, such as the Yankari National Park in Bauchi state. The urban areas also see plenty of tourists every year, usually for annual events like the Festac Food Fair, the Eyo Festival, and the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, among others. Other popular places to visit in the country include the Obudu Mountain Resort, as well as Ibeno Beach.
Manufacturing also takes place in Nigeria.
Several of Nigeria’s cities work as centers of the textile industry, such as Abeokuta, Kano, Lagos, and Onitsha. Nnewi features a Nigerian automotive company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, which produces buses and SUVs for local customers. The French car company Peugeot also has a presence in Nigeria, as does the General Motors-owned truck company Bedford, and even Nissan.
Nigeria’s automotive industries have enjoyed increased growth since 2013 when the government limited imports. This encouraged Nigerians to buy locally-made vehicles, which became cheaper due to reduced competition from foreign manufacturers. Other manufactures produced in Nigeria include plastics and processed food, for both export and local customers. Nigeria also has its own native electronics company, Zinox, which produces computers and even tablet devices.
Nigeria has recently expressed interest in nuclear power.
This goes back to 2004, when China helped Nigeria build an experimental nuclear reactor at Ahmadu Bello University. Nigeria has also petitioned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support a plan to build reactors able to produce up to 4000 MW of energy by 2027. In 2015, Nigeria approached the Russian Rosatom nuclear company for additional support in developing its nuclear industry. In that same year, the Nigerian government publicly announced plans to select two sites for future nuclear reactors. Two years later, in 2017, the Nigerian government announced final plans for a nuclear reactor at Itu, in Akwa Ibom state.
Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure has a mixed reputation.
As we mentioned earlier, Nigeria’s public infrastructure suffers from both obsolescence and limited ability to meet the country’s needs. Today, the country has an estimated 194,000 km of road, but concrete and asphalt only make up 60,000 km of that total. Dirt roads make up the remaining 134,000 km of road. That said, efforts do exist to modernize and expand the country’s transport infrastructure. Some of them have already finished, such as the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway in Northern Nigeria. Running an estimated 1300 km long, it connects the cities of Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano together.
Nigeria also has 54 airports in service, of which five count as international airports. These include the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, which services the capital at Abuja, as well as the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at Lagos. However, Nigeria’s airports today suffer from poor service and safety records, despite government efforts to improve them.
Nigeria has a small space program.
While Nigeria doesn’t have launch capability of its own, the country can develop and build its own satellites. In 2003, they launched their own satellite, NigComSat-1, using a Chinese rocket launched from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It also had the distinction of Africa’s first communication satellite and served until 2008, when a failure in its solar panels caused the satellite to permanently shut down.
In that same year, Nigeria also launched Nigeriasat-1, this time from Russia and using a Russian rocket, as their contribution to the global Disaster Monitoring Constellation System. Nigeria later replaced NigComSat-1 with NigComSat-1R in 2011, and in 2013, in cooperation with the Japanese, launched Nigeria EdiSat-1 nanosatellite from the International Space Station.
The country has a very diverse ethnic background.
We mentioned earlier how over 200 ethnic groups call Nigeria home, however, an estimated 60% of Nigerians belong to one of three major ethnicities. Specifically, the Hausa-Fulani of Northern Nigeria, the Yoruba of Western Nigeria, and the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria.
In addition to the native ethnicities, many immigrants live in Nigeria, usually in the major cities and the coastal regions. These include Americans, British, Chinese, Greeks, Indians, Japanese, even Lebanese and Syrians. A small number of Cuban exiles also settled in Nigeria after having to run during the Cuban Revolution.
The cities also feature unique communities of Saro and Amaro peoples, descended from ex-slaves who fled to Nigeria during the mid-19th Century. The Saro originally came from Sierra Leone, while the Amaro originally came from Brazil.
A few major languages dominate the country.
English remains Nigeria’s official language, despite arguments that doing so perpetuates the country’s colonial history. However, the government continues to use English instead of choosing a native language, to avoid getting seen as favoring one or another ethnic group over the others. French follows English as the most common foreign language spoken in Nigeria, from how France had colonized the neighboring countries in the past.
The rest of Nigeria’s major languages all come from the three main language families of Africa. These include the Niger-Congo languages, spoken by the Igbo, Ijaw, and Yoruba, among others. The Kanuri language dominates Northeastern Nigeria and belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family. Finally, the Hausa language itself belongs to the Afroasiatic family of languages.
Nigeria has a solid healthcare system.
Nigeria reorganized its healthcare system with the Bamako Initiative in 1987. Today, Nigerians can choose between a three-tier government healthcare system, as well as private healthcare providers. Government healthcare focuses on a community-focused approach, aiming at improved access to medicines and other medical services. Success visibly shows in Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS rate, which averages at 1.5%, much lower compared to other African countries.
The average lifespan in Nigeria currently stands at 54 years, again, much higher compared to its neighbors. 71% of Nigerians enjoy access to clean water, though, only 39% have access to modern sanitation. As of 2019, Nigeria only suffers an infant mortality rate of 74 deaths for every 1000 births.
Nigerians have contributed to postcolonial African literature.
Their lead authors include Wole Soyinka, the first African to ever receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as Chinua Achebe. Achebe, in particular, wrote Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, and was since recognized as Africa’s single most popular bestseller in history.
Other Nigerian authors include Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was framed for the murder of Ogoni tribal chiefs in 1995. This led him to face a rigged trial and be executed by the military regime at the time. Famous modern Nigerian authors include Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Chris Abani, and Sefi Atta, among others.
Nigerian cuisine has distinct characteristics.
Nigerians make good use of palm oil or groundnut oil to make sauces and soups, with plenty of herbs and spices to add flavor. Chili peppers make for a popular ingredient in Nigerian cuisine, used to make very spicy dishes. Barbecues and fried foods can be found and bought in large numbers not just in Nigerian markets, but even in roadside stalls.
Various sports enjoy popularity in Nigeria today.
Football informally counts as Nigeria’s national sport, with the country having its own premier league. Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, have so far played in World Cup six times, specifically in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, and 2018. They also won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013. They also went down in history as the first African team to win the Olympic gold medal in 1996.
Other popular sports in Nigeria include basketball and cricket, with the country counted by FIBA as the top African country in men’s basketball. Nigeria also made sports history in 2018, when it became the first African country to qualify for the bobsled event in the XXIII Winter Olympics.
The country also has a rich music and film culture.
West African genres like Afrobeat, highlife, and palm-wine music enjoy widespread popularity in Nigeria. Afrobeat, in particular, fuses traditional Nigerian music with American genres like jazz and soul into a distinct genre of its own. The JuJu genre also comes from Nigeria, made by fusing Western percussion with traditional Yoruba music. It became famous worldwide thanks to musicians like King Sunny Ade, among the first African pop musicians to become an international icon.
The Nigerian film industry has also become second only to the Indian film industry in the number of films produced per year. This has even earned it a nickname, much like how the Indian film industry commonly gets called Bollywood. Specifically, Nollywood, from Nigeria and Hollywood.