12 Interesting Facts About Nigeria

Fun Facts About Nigeria

Facts About the Culture, Geography, and History of Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is established in West Africa. We have assembled the following 12 interesting facts to help you discover more about this vast land of Africa

12. Nigeria is a member of both the British Commonwealth and the African Union.

Nigeria is one of the earliest countries to gain independence from British rule on October 1, 1960 under the leadership of Azikiwe.

Having been a former British colony, it found itself comfortable joining the British Commonwealth, an association that predominantly comprises colonies of the former British Empire.

11. Nigeria has a population of nearly 187 million people, making it the most populous country in Africa, and the 7th most populous country in the world.

Nigeria has the biggest population in Africa, followed closely by Egypt. Unfortunately, it has a dubious distinction as the country with the largest poor population in the world, having recently dislodged India in holding this infamous title.

This poverty level is high despite Nigeria being Africa’s leading exporter of oil and having one of the highest numbers of university graduates and scholars.

Unfortunately, military coups, civil wars, and mismanagement of the economy has meant that the State benefits hardly reaches the majority except the few who manage to capture State power and its instruments of wealth distribution.

10. The largest city in Nigeria is Lagos with an estimated population of around 21 million people.

Lagos is formerly Nigeria's capital city at independence. However, Nigeria has since relocated its capital city to a more interior and safer Abudja. Nonetheless, Lagos, which is located along the coastline, still remains Nigeria’s most populous city and still far from being dislodged by Abudja on this claim.

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9. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups, the three largest of which are the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo.

Nigeria is the most ethnically diverse country in Africa with more than 250 ethnic groups calling it their home. Apart from it being multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, it is also multi-cultural and multi-religious.

This has contributed to civil strife which the federal republic struggles to contain. The three dominant ethnic groups often engage in political supremacy battle which often culminates into skirmishes.

At some point in the 1970s, Nigeria was engulfed in Biafran War, which was largely a battle between the Igbos and the Yorubas, though sunk in other casualties.

8. The highest point in Nigeria is the mountain Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft).

Mt. Chappal Waddi is located in Taraba State close to the Cameroonian border. It has a hilly rugged terrain that you would find attractive if you are a mountain climber.

Nature lovers will be awed by the plenty of flora and fauna whose fabulously lush vegetation is taken care of by the buffalo herds while leopards guard its ranges. The Columbus and Putty Nose monkeys are ever waiting to wave you back in a warmly welcoming gesture.

7. Nigeria has high levels of oil reserves and relies a lot on crude oil exports.

Nigeria produces some of the highest quality grade crude oil in the world. As such, its crude oil is often in high demand. However, like most oil-producing nations, this has dampened its appetite to diversity its economy.

It is this laxity, accompanied by corruption, that has made Nigeria overtake India as the country with the largest population of poor people in the world.

6. Football (soccer) is popular in Nigeria, the national team known as the "Super Eagles" have made 5 appearances at the World Cup, won the African Cup of Nations 3 times and won the football gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.

Nigeria still remains Africa’s football powerhouse. It has not only made formidable appearances at the continental level but also at the World Cup.

Nigeria’s football stars continue to dot various football fields in Europe and continue to participate in various European leagues as professional footballers. This has helped to shape Nigeria’s positive image both continentally and internationally.

5. While some cultures believe it’s rude to not look someone in the eye, in Nigeria, it is customary to not look into someone’s eyes.

Unlike Western culture, both African and oriental societies abhor the act of looking people directly in the eyes. This is considered as an aggressive posture that ought to be shunned, especially when it someone younger facing someone much older or more superior.

Nigeria happens to be no exception to this African culture. As such, when you are on your holiday visit to Nigeria, don’t be mistaken by looking at senior citizens directly in their eyes.

Also, don’t assume timidly by those who decide to avoid looking straight into your eyes for it is not considered welcoming to look at guests straight in their eyes.

4. Nigeria is the 7th largest democracy in the world.

Democracy has been practiced in Nigeria for several decades now. Though it has occasionally been disrupted by military indiscipline, the trajectory seems to have stabilized now as Nigeria takes its formidable position of being the guarantor of peace and democracy in West Africa.

Through its dominant position within the ECOWAS. Being the 7th most populous country in the world, this naturally makes it the world’s 7th largest democracy.

3. Nigeria’s movie industry is known as “Nollywood” and it is one of the largest movie industries in the world.

Movie in Nigeria has picked up with tremendous speed. Nollywood is now the most dominant source of movies for Africa and its diaspora (including the Caribbean, North America, South America).

Nigerian movies espouse Africa’s rich cultural heritage and have become a means to preserve and re-invigorate this culture from the threats of modernity.

Through the Nigerian movies, many African can appreciate the rich cultural values, folklore, and tradition and the important lessons these values hold to the dignity of the African society.

Another good read: Most popular Nigerian Celebrities.

2. Evidence of human life/civilization in Nigeria dates as far back as 9000 BC.

Nigeria comprises of a region with one of the most ancient civilizations. Not only have there been many historical dynasties over time, but there are also many artifacts that continue to be discovered pointing towards the sophistication of the ancient civilization that once occupied the land.

1. The life expectancy on average is 52 years, one of the lowest in the world. This is primarily due to poor healthcare, a lack of clean water, and poor living conditions.

Due to rampant poverty, low standards of living characterized by the polluted environment, and inadequate healthcare, many Nigerians succumb to preventable medical conditions which have greatly contributed to its low lifespan despite positive growth in the national economy that doesn't adequately fizzle down to the grassroots.


Nigeria is a naturally-endowed country with diverse multi-ethnic culture. There is more to learn about Nigeria, especially from its Nollywood. However, making a visit to experience it first hand and learn this unique culture is the best way to go.

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