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Countries

Nigeria

Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria
(Bill Kret/Shutterstock.com)
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Overview

The West African country of Nigeria is bordered by Benin, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria gained its independence from Great Britain in 1960. A series of mountains form the country's eastern border. Two rivers, the Niger and the Benue, effectively form a boundary between northern, southwestern and southeastern Nigeria. The northern half of the country is largely savannah grassland supportive of pastoral agriculture. Highlands in the south produce cash crops like oil palms and rubber. Most of Nigeria's regions have arable lands that allow the country to support Africa's largest population of 150 million people. Each region has a dominant ethnic group. The Hausa-Fulani are based in the north, the Yoruba in the southwest and the Igbo in the southeast. These and more than 250 other ethnicities all vie for control over the Niger Delta region because of its abundant reserves of oil and natural gas. The Niger Delta region itself is home to the Ijaw people who have exerted disproportionate influence over the country's politics as seen with the election of Goodluck Jonathan as president in 2011. Nigeria's capital, Abuja, was intentionally located in the country's center to promote its neutrality. Managing the competition for natural resources between these ethnically divided regions is Nigeria's primary geographic challenge. Looking ahead, Nigeria will have to settle its internal ethnic division and astutely manage its oil revenue to deal with its projected population of 390 million people by 2050.

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