Geography of Nigeria
Nigeria is in the West African region and lies between longitudes 3 degrees and 14 degrees and latitudes 4 degrees and 140 degrees. It has a land mass of 923,768 sq.km. It is bordered to the north by the Republics of Niger and Chad.
It shares borders to the west with the Republic of Benin, while the Republic of Cameroun shares the eastern borders right down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the southern limits of Nigerian Territory. The about 800km of coastline confers on the country the potentials of a maritime power. Land is in abundance in Nigeria for agricultural, industrial and commercial activities.
- Climates in Nigeria
- Vegetation of Nigeria
- Population & Labour Force
- Resources: Agriculture, Minerals & Marine
Temperatures across the country is relatively high with a very narrow variation in seasonal and diurnal ranges (22-36t). There are two basic seasons; wet season which lasts from April to October; and the dry season which lasts from November till March. The dry season commences with Harmattan, a dry chilly spell that lasts till February and is associated with lower temperatures, a dusty and hazy atmosphere brought about by the North-Easterly winds blowing from the Arabian peninsular across the Sahara. The second half of the dry season, February – March, is the hottest period of the year when temperatures range from 33 to 38 degrees centigrade. The extremes of the wet season are felt on the southeastern coast where annual rainfall might reach a high of 330cm; while the extremes of the dry season, in aridity and high temperatures, are felt in the north third of the country.
In line with the rainfall distribution, a wetter south and a drier northern half, there are two broad vegetation types: Forests and Savanna. There are three variants of each, running as near parallel bands east to west across the country. Forests Savanna Saline water swamp Guinea Savanna Fresh water swamp Sudan Savanna Tropical (high) evergreen Sahel Savanna Rainforest. There is also the mountain vegetation of the isolated high plateau regions on the far eastern extremes of the country (Jos, Mambilla, Obudu). The savanna, especially Guinea and Sudan, are the major grains, grasses, tubers, vegetable and cotton growing regions. The Tropical evergreen rain forest belt bears timber production and forest development, production of cassava; and plantation growing of fruit trees – citrus, oil palm, cocoa, rubber, among others.
Population & Labour Force
Nigeria is famous for her huge population of about 120 million people – the largest national population on the African continent. This population is made up of about 374 pure ethnic stocks. Three of them, Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba are the major groups and constitute over 40 per cent of the population. In fact, about 10 ethnic linguistic groups constitute more than 80% of the population: the other large groups are Tiv, Ibibio, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Gwari, Igala, Jukun, Idoma, Fulani, Edo, Urhobo and Ijaw. The gender divide of Nigeria’s population, as indicated by the last census in 1991, reflects an unusual imbalance in favour of male dominance; 51% male: 49% female. However, the more critical population indices concern:
- High growth rate – 3.2%; this is affected by decreased infant mortality and high fertility.
- High school age population – over 47% are 15 years and below
- High child dependency ratio – one dependent to one worker for the working age group 25-65
- Large work force – working age group 15-59 is over 40 per cent of the population.
Due to a massive expansion in the education sector in the last two decades, the coloration and quality of the Nigerian work force has changed to include a large corps of highly trained people in mechanical, civil, electrical, electronics, chemical and petroleum engineering and biotech. There are now over 30 Federal and State Universities, some of them specialize in technology and Agriculture. In addition there are at least 20 Federal and State Polytechnics. Over 70,000 graduates in various disciplines from these institutions every year. Disciplines, apart from pure sciences, engineering and technologies, include social sciences, business studies (management, banking and finance), architecture, environment and urban management studies. Also, a sizeable Nigerian population has been and is being trained outside the country, in some of the best colleges in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Japan and China. Every year, about 2,000 of these Nigerians return home to seek employment or accommodation within the economy. For the less skilled and unskilled labour, the country depends on the primary and secondary school systems whose annual enrolments are over 3.5 million and 1.5 million, respectively.
Resources: Agriculture, Minerals & Marine
Nigeria, in addition to its huge population is endowed with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface water and underground water resources and moderate climatic extremes, allow for production of diverse food and cash crops. Over 60 per cent of the population is involved production of food crops such as cassava, maize, rice, yams, various beans and legumes, soya, sorghum, ginger, onions, tomatoes, melons and vegetable. The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm and rubber. Extractions from these for export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fiber and yarn. The rain forests have been well exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and popular species. Oil and Gas, by value, are the most important minerals. They are exploited and produced in the Niger Delta basin and off-shore on the continental shelf and in the deep-sea of the territorial waters. Nevertheless, there are significant non-oil mineral deposits on land many of which have been identified and evaluated: coal, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, limestone, marble, columbine, barite and gold.
It shares borders to the west with the Republic of Benin, while the Republic of Cameroun shares the eastern borders right down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the southern limits of Nigerian Territory. The about 800km of coastline confers on the country the potentials of a maritime power. Land is in abundance in Nigeria for agricultural, industrial and commercial activities. Read about the economy of Nigeria »