Nigeria Officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria


FACTS ABOUT NIGERIA


Nigeria which is officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria is referred to as the "Giant of Africa" because of its large population and economy. It gained its independence on October 1st, 1960 and became a republic in 1963. It has 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory where its capital, Abuja is located. In the West Africa map, it is bordered to the north by Niger, to the Northeast by Chad, to the East by Cameroun and the West by Benin. Nigeria gained her independence from the British government on October 1, 1960. The official language in Nigeria is English.
                                The soldiers during the 1960 independence celebration
Nigeria is home to about 250 ethnic groups but the major ethnic groups are Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa because of their large populations. Some of the minor ethnic groups are Edo, Igala, Tiv, Ijaw, Kanuri, Urhobo-Isoko, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Idoma, Fulani, Jukun, Gbagyi etc.
  The northern-dwelling Hausa, one of the major tribes in the country, have become integrated with the minor Fulani group, whose members conquered Hausaland in the early 19th century. The Fulani marry freely with the Hausa and other groups, and they are at the elms of administration in the states. The cattle-herding rural Fulani, who do not intermarry, speak the Fulani language, Fula, rather than Hausa. Most Hausa and Fulani are nomadic cattle rearers and Traders.
 
Picture showing the Hausa singing and blowing their traditional trumpets

The Yoruba dwells in southwestern Nigeria is a large and politically inclined tribe in the country. They believe the city of Ile-Ife in Osun state is their ancestral home and the deity Oduduwa their founding Father. This belief was adopted as a result of creation stories told by the Yoruba forefathers.  Most Yoruba are farmers but live in urban areas away from their rural farmland. Each Yoruba subgroup is ruled by a paramount chief, or oba, who is usually supported by a council of chiefs. The Ooni of Ile-Ife, who is the spiritual leader of the Yoruba, and the Alaafin of Oyo, who is their traditional political leader, are the most powerful rulers, and their influence is still acknowledged throughout the Yoruba areas. The kingship system is chosen by heredity; such as the title is meant only for people who come from the royal family.
The Yoruba dancing to Sango, a diety in the Yoruba land

The third major ethnic group is the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria. They live in small decentralized and democratic settlements. The village is ruled by a council of elders which is chosen by merit, not heredity rather than by a chief. A larger proportion of Igbos live in large towns and are culturally much closer to the Edo of neighbouring Benin City in Edo state than to the Igbo east of the lower Niger valley.
The Igbo tribe dancers dressed in their cultural outfit 

Some of the minor tribes are the Ibibio, who live near the Igbo and share many of their cultural traits. The Edo, who created the important pre-colonial kingdom of Benin. In the middle belt,  the greatest concentration of ethnic groups occurs and they are about 200 tribes, the Tiv and the Nupe are the largest groups. Both are settled cultivators, but, while Nupe society is hierarchical, that of the Tiv tends to be decentralized.
Majorly, all the ethnic groups speak different languages which as caused a lot of diversity in the languages. There are about 521 languages in Nigeria and about 9 languages have gone extinct. Some ethnic groups speak more than one language. Although English is the official language of Nigeria, In addition to English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, and English Creole (Pidgin English or Broken) are widely spoken and many of the languages exist in written form.
  The major religion in Nigeria is Christianity and Islam with a tiny fraction of people practising Traditional religion. Christianity and Islam are nearly evenly distributed in Nigeria. Islam dominates Northern Nigeria and Christianity dominates the Western and Eastern and some part of Southern Nigeria. The freedom to practice any religion is guaranteed by the constitution, and Muslims and Christians live and work together. Though there is continuing conflict between the two groups and between them and followers of traditional religions. 
The main established Christian groups are Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, and Baptists. A growing number of breakaway Christian churches, that embrace indigenous cultural traditions, are gaining popularity, a development seen as a threat by the older churches. The breakaway Christian churches include drumming and dancing in their services, a practice adopted by the established churches in an attempt to avoid losing members and to make the service lively. Another issue has been how Islam and Christianity have chosen to incorporate the traditional practice of polygamy. Christianity has officially disallowed it, while Islam has allowed men to have up to four wives; however, most breakaway Christian churches often have placed no limits on the practice.

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