Arik Air Limited
Read Latest CANUK Newsletter
More information on how to join CANUK

About the Country Nigeria

Region: West Africa

Population:140,003,542 as at 2006, estimated by The National Population Commission (NPC)
Area Total:923,770 km2
Area Land:910,770 km 2
Coast Line:853 km
Capital: Abuja
Climate: Varies: equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north

Major Languages
English (official)

Currency:1 Naira = 100 Kobo
National Day: Independence Day, 1 October (1960)
Government: Three-tier structure - A Federal Government, 36 State Governments,
768 Local Government Administrations and 6 Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Main Religions: Traditional Beliefs, Christianity, Islam
Main Commercial/Industrial Cities: Lagos, Onitsha, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Aba, Maiduguri, Jos, Kaduna, Warri, Benin, Calabar
Major Industrial Complexes: Refineries and Petro-Chemicals: Kaduna, Warri, Port Harcourt, Eleme. Iron and Steel: Ajaokuta, Warri,
Oshogbo, Katsina, Jos. Fertilizer: Onne- Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Minna, Kano Liquified Natural Gas : Bonny Aluminium Smelter: Ikot Abasi, Port Harcourt
Main Ports: Lagos (Apapa, Tin-can Island), Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne Deep Sea and Hub Port, Calabar (EPZ)
Main Airports: Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Jos, Owerri, Calabar, Yola, Sokoto
Road Network: Over 15,000 km of intercity all weather paved roads, including dual carriage express trunks.
Railways: 2 main lines (South-West to North-East; South-East to North-West) inter-linked and terminatory at Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaura Namoda, Maiduguri and Nguru.
Major junctions at Kaduna, Kafanchan, Zaria. Gauge: 1067mm; Total length 3505 route km.
Energy: Hydro-electric: Kainji, Jebba, Shiroro. Thermal and Gas: Egbin (Lagos), Ughelli, Afam, Sapele, National grid for electricity distribution;
National pipeline network with regional depots for petroleum products distribution; National network (pipeline) for distribution of gas (under construction).

Geography, Climate and Vegetation

Nigeria is situated in the West African region and lies between longitudes 3 degrees and 14 degrees and latitudes 4 degrees and 14 degrees. It has a land mass of 923,768
It is bordered to the north by the Republics of Niger and Tchad; 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 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.

At its widest, Nigeria measures about 1,200 km from east to west and about 1,050 km from north to south. The country's topography ranges from lowlands along the coast and in the
lower Niger Valley to high plateaus in the north and mountains along the eastern border. Much of the country is laced with productive rivers. Nigeria's ecology varies from tropical forest in the south to dry savannah in the far north, yielding a diverse mix of plant and animal life.

The broad, mostly level valleys of the Niger and Benue rivers form Nigeria's largest physical region. The Niger enters the country from the northwest, the Benue from the northeast;
the two rivers join in Lokoja in the south central region and continue south, where they empty into the Atlantic at the Niger Delta. Together, they form the shape of a Y. Population densities and agricultural development are generally lower in the Niger and Benue valleys than in other areas. North of the Niger Valley are the high plains of Hausaland, an area of relatively level topography averaging about 800 m above sea level, with isolated granite outcroppings.


The Jos Plateau, located close to Nigeria's geographic center, rises steeply above the surrounding plains to an average elevation of about 1,300 m. To the northeast, the plains of Hausaland grade into the basin of Lake Chad; the area is characterized by somewhat lower elevations, level terrain, and sandy soils. To the northwest, the high plains descend into the Sokoto lowland.
Southwest of the Niger Valley (on the left side of the Y) lies the comparatively rugged terrain of the Yoruba highlands. Between the highlands and the ocean runs a coastal plain averaging 80 km in width from the border of Benin to the Niger Delta. The delta, which lies at the base of the Y and separates the southwestern coast from the southeastern coast, is 36,000 sq km of low-lying, swampy terrain and multiple channels through which the waters of the great river empty into the ocean. Several of the delta's channels and some of the inshore lagoons can be navigated.
Southeastern coastal Nigeria (to the right of the Y) consists of low sedimentary plains that are essentially an extension of the southwestern coastal plains. In all, the Atlantic coastline extends for 850 km. It is marked by a series of sandbars, backed by lagoons of brackish water that support the growth of mangroves. Large parts of Africa's Bight of Benin and Bight of Biafra fall along the coast. Because of the Guinea Current, which transports and deposits large amounts of sand, the coastline is quite straight and has few good natural harbours. The harbors that do exist must be constantly dredged to remove deposited sand.
Inland from the southeastern coast are progressively higher regions. In some areas, such as the Udi Hills northwest of Enugu, escarpments have been formed by dipping rock strata. Farther east, along Nigeria's border with Cameroon, lie the eastern highlands, made of several distinct ranges and plateaus, including the Mandara Mountains, the Shebeshi Mountains, the Alantika Mountains, and the Mambila Mountains.
In the Shebeshi is Dimlang (Vogel Peak), which at 2,042 m is Nigeria's highest point.

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 140,003,542 as at March 2006 - the largest national population on the African continent. This population is made up of about 374 distinct 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 unbalance 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 andhigh fertility.
. High school age population - over 47% are 15 years and below.
. High child dependency ratio - one dependant 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 personnel in mechanical, civil, electrical, electronics, chemical and petroleum engineering and biotechnology. There are at present over 30 Federal and State Universities, some of them specialist - Technology and Agriculture. In addition there are at least
20 Federal and State Polytechnics. Over 70,000 students graduate 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.

Agricultural, Mineral and Marine Resources:

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 in the production of the 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 fibre 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, lime -stone, marble, columbine, barite and gold.

The Economy
With a population of over 140 million people, Nigeria is obviously the largest market in sub Saharan Africa with reasonably skilled and potential manpower for the efficient and effective management of investment projects within the country. It is well connected by a wide network of motorable all-season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation.
Nigeria's economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all corners, individuals, corporate organisations and government agencies, to invest in almost all range of economic activities.
Since 1995, the Government has introduced some bold economic measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy by halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; they have reduced the debt burden, stabilised the exchange rate of the Naira and corrected the balance of payments disequilibrium.
In successive budgets, since May 1999 when civil rule was restored to the country, Government put in place some fiscal measures, which addressed the exchange rate regime and the capital flight issue, which hitherto inhibited project planning and execution. The policy of expanded production through guided deregulation has paid off with the economy recording a real growth of over 3.2% of GDP. The rate of inflation declined appreciably.

The People
Nigeria is famous for her huge population of about 140 million people - the largest national population on the African continent and the largest black nation in the world. This population is made up of about 250 pure ethnic groups.
Three of them - the Hausa, Igbo 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, Itsekiri, Edo, Urhobo and Ijaw. The last census in 1991 indicates a population that is 51% male and 49% female.

The Nigerian States
Nigeria is a Federal Republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital territory, Abuja. Until 1991, the city of Lagos was the Capital of Nigeria. As a result of congestion due to its capacity as both the economic and political capital of Nigeria as well as the prevalence of waters (Lagoons, the Atlantic Ocean) further re-expression and development became impossible.

The Federal Capital territory measures 800 kilometre square and is a fusion of an huge expanse of land from Kogi, Nassarawa, Plateau and Niger States and it is at the epicentre of Nigeria.

The States of the Federation are:
1. Abia
2. Adamawa
3. Akwa Ibom
4. Anambra
5. Bauchi
6. Bayelsa
7. Benue
8. Borno
9. Cross River
10. Delta
11. Ebonyi
12. Edo
13. Ekiti
14. Enugu
15. Gombe
16. Imo
17. Jigawa
18. Kaduna
19. Kano
20. Katsina
21. Kebbi
22. Kogi
23. Kwara
24. Lagos
25. Nassarawa
26. Niger
27. Ogun
28. Ondo
29. Osun
30. Oyo
31. Plateau
32. Rivers
33. Sokoto

34. Taraba.
35. Yobe
36. Zamfara

FCT- Abuja

Nigeria is situated in the West African sub region and lies between latitudes 4 degrees and 14 degrees north of the Equator and longitudes 3 degrees and 14 degrees east of the Greenwich Meridian. It has a landmass of 923,768,000 sq. kilometres. It is bordered to the north by the Republics of Niger and Chad and to the west with the Republic of Benin. It shares the eastern borders with the Republic of Cameroon right down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean forming the southern limits of the Nigerian Territory.

Sandy beaches dominate the over 800 kilometres coastline which is intersected by an intricate network of creeks and rivers making up the Niger Delta.? About 800km of coastline confers on the country the potentials of a maritime power. Arable land is in abundance in Nigeria for agricultural, industrial and commercial activities. The River Niger, third longest river in Africa is the country's major river. Rising from the Futa Jalon Highlands in Sierra Leon, the river enters the country from the western section and wriggles southwards where it is joined by its? major tributary, the River Benue at Lokoja and then flows further southwards to discharge its waters into the Atlantic Ocean through the numerous creeks And rivers of the Niger Delta.
Forest and woodland are to be found mainly in the southern part of the country, which is affected by seasonal rains from the Atlantic that occur from April to October. As one progresses northward the country becomes drier and the vegetation more savannah in type. The Northern part of the country forms part of the semi-arid sahel region on the fringes of the Sahara the world's largest desert (3,500,000 square miles) in northern Africa.
Nigeria is divided roughly in three by the rivers Niger and Benue, which flow through the country from north-east and north-west to meet roughly in the centre of the country near the new capital Abuja. From here the united rivers flow south to the sea at the Niger delta area.

Although Nigeria is wholly within the tropics, its climate varies from the tropical at the coast to sub-tropical further inland. There are two marked seasons: The rainy season lasting from April to October and the dry season from November to March.
The maximum temperature in the coastal areas of the south can go up to 37°c while the absolute minimum temperature is 10°. The climate is drier further north where extremes of temperature range from 45° to 06° are common. Temperatures are higher in the north part of the country while the south especially along the coast experiences more rainfall.

The official language is English. There are 3 main indigenous languages spoken by the 3 predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria. These are Yoruba in the west, Hausa-Fulani in the North and the Igbo in the East.
There is also the "broken English" (Pidgin English) spoken and understood by almost all Nigerians. It is an admixture of the English Language and several indigenous Nigerian Languages. There also exist other ethnic groups' languages such as Efik, Ijaw, and Kanuri languages and over 374 dialects within the ethnic groups.

The Natural Resources

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 fibre 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 offshore 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, bitumen, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, limestone, marble, columbite, baryte and gold.

The Nigerian Currency
The currency is expressed in Naira (N) and kobo (K). 100K equal One Naira (N1). The currency denominations are in N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1000.

For more information contact:
Federal Ministry of Culture & Tourism
Fed. Sec. Complex, Phase II, Bulet Building, (Block A 1st Floor, Block B 5th Floor), Maitama District, Abuja.
PMB 473 Garki, Abuja.
Tel: (09) 2348297, 2348311
Fax: (09) 2348257

Solid Minerals
Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals ranging from precious metals various stones to industrial minerals such as barytes , gypsum, kaolin and marble. Most of these are yet to be exploited. Statistically, the level of exploitation of these minerals is very low in relation to the extent of deposits found in the country. One of the objectives of the new National Policy on Solid Minerals is to ensure the orderly development of the mineral resources of the country.

There are tremendous opportunities for investments in the solid mineral sector of the Nigerian economy. Prospecting licenses for investors (both local and foreign) to participate in the exploitation of the vast mineral resources in Nigeria is granted by the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.
Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states. The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)'s 3,000 tonnes per annum catalytic Talc plant in Niger state is the only talc plant in the country. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals of the world. The exploitation of the vast deposits would therefore satisfy local demand and that for export.

Gypsum is an important input for the production of cement. It is also used for the production of Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) and classroom chalks. A strategy for large-scale mining of gypsum is urgently required to sustain the existing plants and meet the future expansion. Currently, cement production is put at 8 million tonnes per annum while the national requirement is 9.6 million tonnes. About one billion tonnes of gypsum deposits are spread over many states in Nigeria.

Iron Ore
There are over 3 billion metric tonnes of iron ore in deposits found in Kogi, Enugu and Niger States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Iron Ore is being mined at Itakpe in Kogi State and is already being beneficiated, up to 67 per cent of iron. The Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes are ready for consumer of billets and other iron products for down-stream industries.

An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria. Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Joint venture partners are encouraged to develop and exploit the various lead/zinc deposits all over the country.

Bentonite and Barite
These are the main constituents of the mud used in the drilling of all types of oil wells. The Nigerian baryte has specific gravity of about 4.3. Over 7.5 million tonnes of baryte have been identified in Taraba and Bauchi States. Large bentonite reserves of 700 million tonnes are available in many states of the federation ready for massive development and exploitation.

There are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale. Private investors are invited to stake concessions on these primary deposits.

The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is indicated at about 42 billion tonnes; almost twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum. Analytical results suggest that this potential resource can be used directly as an asphalt binder. Most bitumen used for road construction in Nigeria is currently imported.

Nigerian coal is one of the most bituminous in the world owing to its low sulphur and ash content and therefore the most environment-friendly. There are nearly 3 billion tonnes of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves.

Rock Salt
The national annual demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tonnes. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals by chemical and processing companies including tanneries and those in food and beverages, paper and pulp, bottling and oil sector. There are salt springs at Awe (Plateau State), Abakaliki and Uburu (Ebony State), while rock salt is available in Benue State. A total reserve of 1.5 million tonnes has been indicated, and further investigations are now being carried out by Government.

Gemstones mining has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bache states for years. Some of these gemstones include sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst; zircon, and fluorspar which are among the world's best. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments.

An estimated reserve of 3 billion tonnes of good kaolinitic clay has been identified in many localities in Nigeria.

For more information, please contact:
Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development
Fed. Sec. Complex, Annex 3, 5th Floor, Maitama District, Abuja
PMB 107 Garki, Abuja.
Tel: (09) 5236454, 5236517, 5236519, 5235831
Fax: (09) 5236519

Federal Ministries

In Nigeria, there are 19 Federal Ministries.
Covering all relevant sectors of the polity, each has a Minister and in some cases, an additional Minister of State at the helm of affairs. These appointments are made by the President. The Permanent Secretary is the accounting officer and administrative head of each ministry, while the Head of Service of the Federation is the administrative head of the Civil Service.

The list of Federal Ministries is given below:

Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Water Resources
Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation
Federal Ministry of Defence
Federal Ministry of Education
Federal Ministry of Energy
Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development?
Federal Ministry of Finance?
Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Federal Ministry of Health
Federal Ministry of Information & Communications
Federal Ministry of Interior
Federal Ministry of Justice
Federal Ministry of Labour
Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development
Federal Ministry of Niger Delta
Federal Ministry of Science and Technology
Federal Ministry of Transportation
Federal Ministry of Women Affairs
Federal Ministry of Youth Development


Federal Capital Territory
National Planning Commission
National Sports Commission