Nigeria


Figure 1.--Soccer is very popular in Africa. National teams have a great support by the people. During the 2010 World Championship that took place in South Africa. You could see everywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa the flags of the African teams participating in the Championship and, during the matches, many people gathered around TVs. Football is very popular among the n children of Sub0Saharan Africa and see them playing matches everywhere. All they need is the ball. Here Nigerian children are playing in the Lekki Lagoon region, along the coast in the southwest. As many children do not have appropriate footwear, the few children with shoes remove them to be fair. There is less interest in the Muslim north of Nigeria.

Some call Nigeria the 'Giant of Africa'. This comes from the country's emense area, the diversity of its ethnic makeup and languages, th large population, and its oil and other natural resources-especially the oil. Nigeria is the most populace country in Africa, nearly 150 million people (2008). It is one of the West African countries on the Gulf of Guinea. The geography is extremely diverse. The south is well watered Mangrove swaps along bthe coast merge into trpoical forest and oil palm bush as one moves inland and open woodland and savana grasslands in the central area. The north is arid steppe semi-desert extending into the arid sub-Saharan region (Niger and Chad). The western border is with Benin and the eastern border with Cameroon. The principal rivers are the Niger and Benue. The highest elevations are the Jos Plateau (1,200-2,400 meters above sea level) and mountains along the Cameroon border. The principal ethnic groups are: Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, and Kanuri, but there are many smaller tribes. The major religions are Muslim in the north and Christian in the south. There are also indigenous animist religions. The official language is English which is necessary as a common language because each of the tribal groups have their own languages: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, and others. The country was colonized by Britain (19th centyry). It achieved independence as part of the Commonwealth (1960). Oil plays a major role in the economy, but like many other resource-rich countries, Nigeria has found it difficult to convert its oil and other resource income into developing a modern economy. Like most of sub-Saharan Africa, one of the principal interests of boys, especially in the south, is football (soccer). The north is more traditional and Islam tends to dominate family life.

Geography

Nigeria is one of the West African countries on the Gulf of Guinea. The geography is extremely diverse. Nigeria is apcomplicted mix of distinctive regions which incluse deserts, plains, swamps, mountains, and steamy jungles. Much of the country including the central area is covered with plains and savanna grasslands. The flat areas extend out as far as one can see, interupted by occasional trees and shrubs. Northern Nigeria is arid steppe semi-desert extending into the arid sub-Saharan region of neighboring Niger and Chad. The western border is with Benin and the eastern border with Cameroon. The highest elevations are the Jos Plateau (1,200-2,400 meters above sea level) and mountains along the Cameroon border. The principal rivers are the Niger and Benue. They are part of one of the largest river systems in the world. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the river were the primary commercial trade routes. Roads did not exist to transport goods. This could only be done over rivers. The most important are the Niger and the Benue. The most important river by far is the Niger, the most important river of West Africa. The lower course of the Niger cuts across western and southern Nigeria. The Niger Delta, yje third lathest in the world, n south central Nigeria empties into the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Nigeria borders along Lake Chad in the northeast. The country's notable geographical features include the Adamawa highlands, Mambilla Plateau, Jos Plateau, Obudu Plateau, and the already mentioned Niger River and Delta.

History

Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. Vrtually all the native African etnic groups are found in Nigeria. As a result, the Nigerian population and culture is highly diverse. The earliest evidence of human occupation has been found in Nigeria's central forest belt and in the Niger Delta. The Bantu are the largest tribal group in Africa. And it was in Nigeria that the Bantu and SemiBantu, migrating from southern and central Africa, intermingled with the Sudanese. Subsequently other groups (including Shuwa-Arabs, the Tuaregs, and the Fulanis) reached northern Nigeria in a series of migratory waves south across the Sahara Desert. Nigeria as a result contains more historic cultures and empires than any other other African country. The country's history has beeb traced back to the 5th century BC. The history of African Empires is not well documented as they were pre-literate. There is no substantive evidence that the people of the Jos Plateau were influenced by the Nok culture, or the Eze Nri of today with Igbo Ukwu. The the history of Borno has been dated to the 9th Century when Arabic sources in north Africa noted the kingdom of Kanem centered east of Lake Chad. Other important cultures the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Benin. Nigeria was one of the many African countries affeced by the slave trade. This began with the Arabs (8th century AD). The Portuguese began the Atlantic slave trade (15th century). Britain after the Napoleonic War began a campaign to end the slave trade. British navy patrols the coast to liberate captives from slave ships of other nations and to settle them at Freetown in neighboring Sierra Leone. Britain gradualy expanded its role in Nigeria. Britain gradually expanded its role in Nigeria. A British consul at Fernando Po was appointed to assume responsibility for the Bights of Biafra and Benin (1849). He began negotiating with the king of Lagos. It was from here that large numbers of captives were shipped. After these negotiations failed, a British ,ilitary force seized Lagos (1851). From this beginning, the British role in Nigeria steadily grew. The British role in Nigeria was strongest in the south. Frederick Lugard was appointed high commissioner of northern Nigeria with orders to pacify the tribes resisting British rule. The British appoint Lugard governor of both northern and southern Nigeria and ordered to merging them into a united colony (1913). He accomplishes this (1914). After World War II, Nigeria becone independent (1960).

Economics

African countries in particular have not been able to develop vibrant economies. Some countries like Nigeria have oil income to help finance ecomomic development, but seem to have made only limited real progress. Nigeria in the 1970s became a major oil exporter. Oil as in many countries, however, has proven to be a mixed blessing in economic terms. The oil boom of the 1970s caused the Nigerian Government to neglect its agricultural sector which had been the cornerstone of the economy. Light manufacturing was also neglected. The country soon became heavily dependent on oil exports. The fall of oil prices in the l980s drastically affected Nigeria. There are no Nigerian manufacturing industries of any importance. Oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98 percent of export earnings and about 83 percent of the federal government's revenue (2002). The country has not used the oil income to diversify and modernize the economy. In fact, Nigerian has tended to increasing quantities of foreign food and manufactured goods rather than produce them donestically. This might be understood in the early days when Nigeria first began exporting oil, but there have been 40 years of substantial oil exports and there has been no development of important infustrial production or meeded modrnization of the agricultural sector. Percapita income is relatively high, but only because of high incomes from a small number of individuals involved in the oil industry or governmen officials and the military able to obtain a share of the income often through corrupt practices. Corruption is a major problem in Nigeria. There were enormous opportunities for graft and theft of state funds and a political legal system totally encapable of dealing with it. Incomes in the 2000s declined below pre-independence levels, although per capita income is highly variable depending on oil prices. The decline of the agricultural sector has caused a massive migration to the cities, creating enormous social problems and widespread poverty as well as a collapse of basic infrastructure and social services. Further probelms have been created by governments which have pursued policies involving a statist economic model. There has been a huge growth of the "informal" sector which now dominates the non-oil economy. A reader writes, "I lived in Nigeria for 3 years, 1996-99. I tutored a little boy with special needs. It was the only country I have lived in where there was a severe gas shortage. Kids sold it by the litre bottle on street corners. We did not travel far at the weekend because of this difficulty. All that oil and Nigeria had none for itself! The local populace is angry too about the exploitation and it is the cause for oil workers to be kidnapped from time to time. I walked from my apartment to the restaurant on a Friday night. That was considered very risky. My steward would advise me when it was not a particulary good idea. I then went by car."

Demographics

Nigeria is the most populace country in Africa, nearly 150 million people (2008).

Ethnicity

The principal ethnic groups are: Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, and Kanuri, but there are many smaller tribes.

Activities

Like most of sub-Saharan Africa, one of the principal interests of boys, especially in the south, is football (soccer). The north is more traditiional and Islam tends to dominate family life. The major religions are Muslim in the north and Christian in the south. There are also indigenous animist religions.

Language

The official language is English which is necessary as a common language because each of the tribal groups have their own languages: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, and others.







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Created: 10:14 PM 10/1/2010
Last updated: 10:14 PM 10/1/2010