The country of Nigeria is officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This Sub-Saharan country lies West of Africa. Niger lies on Nigeria’s north border, Chad and Cameroon on its eastern side and Benin on the west. Figure 1: The Location of Nigeria in the Continent of Africa The climate of Nigeria varies throughout the country – tropical in the central region, arid in the north and equatorial in the south. This variation in climate has produced diverse landscapes and varied biodiversity. On the southeast side of the country lies the verdant Obudu Hills.
On the south are long stretch of beaches, the vast rainforest, and the Lagos estuary. In the heart of Nigeria lies a vast expanse of savannah that runs through the southwest. On the north is the ever-encroaching Sahara. However, despite the abundance of biodiversity, plentiful arable land and natural resources such as petroleum, iron, coal and natural gas, the country is continually plagued with environmental issues. Soil degradation due to excessive mining is rampant. Also, rapid deforestation goes unchecked on southern Nigeria. The uncontrolled dredging and oil extraction has done serious damage to the environment.
Nigeria has suffered series of oil spills. In the capital city of Abuja, air and water pollution is the major problem arising from rapid migration and population growth. Moreover, because of the country’s geography, it is both prone to flooding one the south side and drought on the north side. Figure 2: Nigeria Demographic Characteristics It is not only Nigeria’s landscape that is diverse; the country also has a rich ethnic diversity. The country has more than 250 ethnic groups. Each of these ethnic groups has their own distinct language and customs.
Among these ethnic groups the Fulani/Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo stand as the majority accounting for 68% of the population. The country is also home to refugees from other politically unstable African nations. Although the official language of the country is English, around 521 languages have been catalogued all through out Nigeria. Some ethnic groups speak more than one language. The country also caters to different religions. This diversity in religion most of the time causes sectarian conflict among the population. Majority of the people either adhere to Islam, Christianity or indigenous religions.
There are certain regions where one religion is dominant – Islam in the north, Christianity in the south, and the strong ethnic culture in the central region means that the indigenous religions are predominant in the area. Contrast Between the US and Nigeria Although the country has a secular legal system, the Shari’a Law is heavily imposed on some areas in the north. Unlike the US, that has a definite justice system which is based on the constitution and the inherent human rights of man, some law in Nigeria are dependent on the interpretation of a group of Imam on the Koran.
This leads to certain subjectivity in handling out laws, unlike in the US where the constitution serves as the absolute. In Nigeria the role of the church and state could be blurred where as in the US the church is definitely separate from the state. Moreover, in Nigeria, people are more conscious of the collective ideal. A Christian will not marry a Muslim simply because her community may take this in a bad light. In the US individualism takes precedence over the opinion of the majority.
Reference Orr, Tamra. Nigeria A to Z. US: Scholastic. 2005