Nigeria

By , Brooklyn Park, MN
When you think of Nigeria do you think of all the poverty, starvation, and wars?
Well if you do, that’s not all Nigeria’s about.
Nigeria is one of the most interesting countries in Africa.

Nigeria is fascinating in many ways. You might think you know Nigeria, but after reading this information, you will have a whole new perspective.
The Climate

Nigeria’s coastline is protected from the sea by swamps, lagoons, and creeks. Nigeria is mostly hot because it holds deserts and tropical rain forests. “Between December and March dry air dominates the whole country, bringing drought to the northern Nigeria.” (Levy, Patricia, p.9) “After February the weather reverses so that by March the south is again experiencing light rain and the north drought.” (Levy, Patricia, p.9)

North- Little rain falls in the northern part of Nigeria, because of that not many trees grow. “A hot dry wind from the Sahara blows across northern Nigeria.” (Levy, Patricia, p.6) “A wind called harmattan (har-mat-TAN) blows dust to northern Nigeria and lowers temperatures.” (Levy, Patricia, p.6)

South- If you travel south, the land becomes greener. Sometimes there is even a lot of rain. Therefore, trees and plants are able to grow. In the south, there are rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season helps their big rainforests stay in southern Nigeria. The Nigerian rainforests help the growth of very tall trees like: bamboo and palm.
Population

Nigeria has almost 130 million people. They have the largest population in Africa. One fourth of all Africans live in Nigeria. Their population is made up of several different ethnic groups with their own religions and languages. 60% of all the people in Nigeria live in poverty. My dad thinks it’s 80%. Nigeria grows more and more everyday.
Cities

The capital city of Nigeria is Abuja. It has been the capital since 1991. Abuja is in the middle of Nigeria. It grows larger every year. “The plan for Abuja was to create a new city unlike any other in Nigeria.” (Levy, Patricia, p.17) “Today, it has a population of 4 million.” (Levy, Patricia, p.17) Some other important cities are Lagos, Ibadan, and Kaduna. The city that I particularly want to focus on is Lagos.

Even though Abuja is the capital city, Lagos is the biggest city in Nigeria. Nigeria’s capital was Lagos, until it lost its official status in 1991. “Lagos became over populated in the 1960s and 1970s, and its infrastructure began to crumble under pressure.” (Levy, Patricia, p.15) A decision was made to move the capital to a more central place.

“Nigeria also has several large and crowded cities.” (Article, p.1) Overcrowding has been a major problem since the 1960s. Many towns and cities are located in the south. Young people move to the cities to look for work.
The People

Almost all Nigerians are colored (black). “[A lot of] Nigerians live in the country side and have houses made of blocks of earth.” (Brownlie, Alison, p.10) One fourth of Nigerians live in towns and cites.

Nigeria has three main ethnic groups and religions: Hausa- Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west and Ibo in the east. I am from the Ibo group (tribe) so I would like to focus on the Ibos.

Ibo- “In the southeast of Nigeria, the dominant group is the Ibo.” (Levy, Patricia, p.53) “During the colonial times, Ibo people held most of the administrative positions.” (Levy, Patricia, p.53) The Ibo contains as many as 200 smaller groups.
Way of Life

Most Nigerians farm, fish, and herd. A child’s parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles usually live together in a compound. A compound means a group of small houses built around the middle of a yard. You might see them in African movies.

Their main religions are: Islam in the north and Christianity in the south. There are:
50% Islam
40% Christians
10% Animisms
There holidays are:
January 1- New Years day
March/ April- Good Friday and Easter Monday
May 1- Worker’s day
October 1- National Day
December 25&26- Christmas day and Boxing day
Date vary- End of Ramadan, Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and Feast of the Sacrifice.
History

People lived in Nigeria thousands of years ago. Before the Europeans came, there was no country called Nigeria. “Slavery was wide spread in Nigeria before the Europeans incursions into Africa.” (Levy, Patricia, p.29) Groups of people took slaves from their own people as well as their enemies. In different parts of Nigeria, archaeologists have discovered stone tools that are 40,000 years old. “Human skeletons, rock paintings and other remains of prehistoric settlements have also been found.” (Article, p.6)
Economy

Nigeria is almost the richest country in Africa. Cocoa, peanuts, and other crops are the leading products. Their main exports are: crude oil, cocoa, and rubber. Their main traders are Brazil, France, India, Spain, and the United States of America. “Hard woods such as iroko, sapele, and obeche are used in making furniture and are important in the Nigerian economy.” (Levy, Patricia, p.11) Money in Nigeria is called naira [ny-ra]. There are 100 kobo in 1 naira (like 100 pennies in one dollar.)
Language

Nigeria has over 250 languages and dialects. “English is commonly used and is the official language.” (Brownlie, Alison, p.7) However, English is not the most commonly spoken. A lot of Nigerians speak more than one language.
Parties/Festivals (See appendix, #5 and 6)

People in Nigeria enjoy many festivals. At celebrations there are a lot of singing and dancing. This will most likely happen during Christmas. “Typically, a festival begins with a divination by the priest of the respective deity.” (Levy, Patricia, p.121) “The climax of the festival is usually a masquerader appearing disguised as the deity.” (Levy, Patricia, p.121)
Government (See appendix, #1)

Even though Nigeria is the biggest and richest country in western Africa, they experience brutal economic and political problems. “In 1979, Nigerians gave democracy another chance.” (Levy, Patricia, p.30) The president was voted to run for four years. The president also needed votes from ate least 13 of the 19 states. In each state, a governor and house of assembly members are elected for a four year period, same with the senate and House of Representatives.

Nigeria’s president and senate don’t have that much power. It’s the House of Representatives that have most of the power. “In the last few years, Nigeria has been ruled by a dictator. Many people would like to be able to choose a new leader.” (Levy, Patricia, p.26)

Nigeria’s human rights were not very good. Women lose many rights after they get married. In 2002, competitors came from around the world to compete in the Miss. World contest, in Abuja. During the contest, a statement was made that the Muslims found offensive. It led to a big fight that broke up the contest.
Food (My favorite subject) (see appendix #3)

Nigerians are able to grow most of the food they need in their country. The main foods in Nigeria are yams, corn, rice and beans. They also like soups and stews made with veggies, beans, and fish.

Their main drinks are beer and whine made from the sap of palm trees. Nigerians also like spicy and peppery food (no dought about that, my family ALWAYS cooks spicy food).

Yams are also important to them. They’re easy to plant, grow, harvest, and prepare. There is even a festival for the vegetable. It’s called New Yam festival (Amazing, isn’t it?).

In villages, people grow their own food. Sometimes they go to the market (store) to buy fresh food. In the countryside most people are farmers. Farmers got to the market to sell the food that their families don’t need.
Animals/insects

Nigeria has all sorts of animals. Some small animals are in the Nigerian rainforest. Most of our snakes are poisonous. My dad has a lot of good stories about snakes when he was in Nigeria, like:
One of my earliest encounters with snakes was when I was about eight years old. Our family had the habit of relaxing outside at nights in our back yard, during moon light. On one occasion, I was with the rest of the family and fell asleep on the mat. A poisonous snake came and started crawling on my head. I was not aware of what was going on. However, the next morning, I was told of how I narrowly escaped a fatal accident.
As it turned out, my mother was the first one to spot the snake crawling on my head. Smartly, she motioned to others to not make any noise or movement, afraid that any such noise or movement might either wake me up or rouse the snake and cause it to bite me. Supposedly, when the snake had crawled down away from my head, my mother struck and killed it.


Education

“Christian missionaries brought schooling to Nigeria in the early 1800s.” (Schiller, Edward H., p.7) Years ago, children learned from their elders in their villages. Now, most children got to school. School starts at 8 o’ clock in the morning and ends at 2 o’ clock because it is too hot to work. Most children go home for lunch and walk home from school. Sometimes classes are outside. Classes often have more than forty people.

Nigeria does not have enough schools or teachers. About half of adults in Nigeria can’t read or write.

As a result, Nigeria is more than poverty, starvation, and wars. It is a very interesting country. I picked to write about Nigeria because my family and I are from Nigeria. After my family read this report, they learned even more about Nigeria. I hope that was the same with you.





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