The official name of Nigeria is Federal Republic of Nigeria. The capital city
is Abuja. The nigerian government is federal republic, independent since 1960.
The civilian constitution of the Second Republic, with a US-style president,
senate and house of representatives, was suspended when the military took over
on December 31, 1983.
The population is more than 100 millions of people. More than 50% of them are
Christians, and less than 45% are Muslims. The official language of Negeria is
English, but there also exist a variety of local languages.
The coastline, much of it bordered by mangrove swamp, is intersected by
numerious creeks; the southeast coast, dominated by the Niger river delta, is
the location of the offshore oil reserves. Inland lies an area of tropical rain
forest nd bush. Savannah and woodland cover much of the central upland area; the
Jos plateau is the watershed of hundreds of streams and rivers flowing as far as
Lake Chad and the Niger and Benue rivers. The far north, bordering with Sahara,
is mainly savannah. Spectacular highlands line the eastern border with Cameroon.
The highest point is Vogel peak of 2040 meters, and total area is over 924000 sq
Democratically elected governments have so far proved unequal to the task of
managing this unruly nation of more than 100 millions people; civilians have
ruled for a total of only 10 years since independence in 1960. The most recent
civilian government, that of President Shehu Shagari, lasted four years before
the military took power again in 1983. The idealistic and rigid General
Muhammadu Buhari was in turn replaced in a bloodless coup two years later by the
more genial and pragmatic General Ibrahim Babangida.
Babangida’s task was made more complex by the collapse of oil prices in early
1986. Oil earnings, which accounted over 97% of export revenue, were halved to
$6.1bn in just one year.
Oil production started in the late 1950s, rising steadily tp apeak of 2.4m
barrels a day at the start of 1980s. Agriculture was neglected and construction
boomed as the oil money flowed in. Cocoa exports were halved, cotton and
groundnut exports all but ceased and the public developed a taste for new
imported foods. Foreign contractors lined up to build the oil refineries, steel
works and vehicle assembly lines that were to ensure Nigeria’s industrial future.
By the mid-1980s Nigeria was saddled with foreign debt of $26bn with few of
its investments in industry or infrastructure starting to pay their way. The
Babangida government lost little time in introducing drastic policy changes.
Inessential and many essential imports were banned, agricultural marketing was
put into private hands, a foreign exchange auction system was introduced,
resulting in a rapid devaluation of the overvalued naira, and an extensive
programme of privatization was announced. The government’s econoic measures were
generally in accordance with IMF recommendations although negotiations about
conditional fund loans had broken down. The realtionship between Nigeria and its
creditors has been a rocky one, but many foreign aid donors have been
sympathetic to its aims and large loans from bodies like the World Bank havve
helped ease the path to reform.
The new policies soon started to show results. Cash-crop exports revived, as
did production of traditional food crops. Industry bore the brunt of recession
and the constraints of inports, and was working at barely 30% of capacity in
1988. For the Nigerian in he street, economic adjustment has meant high
unemployment, rising inflation and a general decline in living standarts.
With its economic reforms under way, the Babangida government is talking of a
return to civilian ruke in 1992. To this end, it has set out a complex timetable
of regional and legislatie elections, from which all former politicians have
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