President: Muhammadu Buhari (2015)
Land area: 351,649 sq mi (910,771 sq km); total area: 356,667 sq mi (923,768 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 177,155,754 (growth rate: 2.47%); birth rate: 38.03/1000; infant mortality rate: 74.09/1000; life expectancy: 52.62
Capital (2011 est.): Abuja, 2.153 million
Largest cities: Lagos (2011 est.), 11.223 million; Kano, 3.375 million; Ibadan, 2.949; Port Harcourt 1.894 million; Kaduna, 1.524 million
Monetary unit: Naira
Nigeria, one-third larger than Texas and the most populous country in Africa, is situated on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Its neighbors are Benin, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. The lower course of the Niger River flows south through the western part of the country into the Gulf of Guinea. Swamps and mangrove forests border the southern coast; inland are hardwood forests.
Multiparty government transitioning from military to civilian rule.
The first inhabitants of what is now Nigeria were thought to have been the Nok people (500 BC –c. AD 200). The Kanuri, Hausa, and Fulani peoples subsequently migrated there. Islam was introduced in the 13th century, and the empire of Kanem controlled the area from the end of the 11th century to the 14th.
The Fulani empire ruled the region from the beginning of the 19th century until the British annexed Lagos in 1851 and seized control of the rest of the region by 1886. It formally became the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914. During World War I, native troops of the West African frontier force joined with French forces to defeat the German garrison in Cameroon.