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Olusegun Obasanjo 1937

Nigerian president

Rose Through Ranks of Nigerian Military

Took Over as Head of State

Dedicated Himself to Farming, Writing

Elected President of Nigeria

Sources

Nigeria, located on the west coast of Africa, is the continents most populous nation, and potentially its richest. Since it gained independence from Britain in 1960, however, it has been plagued by political instability and economic problems. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Nigerian military officer, first came to international prominence in 1975, when he co-engineered the bloodless coup of General Yakubu Gowon, Nigerias head of state. The following year, Obasanjo took over as the countrys leader. In 1979, after implementing a wide range of governmental reforms, Obasanjo stepped down from office and restored civilian rule. In doing so, he became the only Nigerian military leader to voluntarily hand power to a democratically-elected government. Following two decades of corrupt political leadership, Obasanjo presented himself as a candidate for president, and was elected in March of 1999.

As president, Obasanjo faced some daunting problems. In the 20 years since he was last in office, the countrys annual per capita income has dropped from $788 to $679. Its currency, the naira, was worth almost $2 then; today it trades for just over a cent. The economy, already damaged by high-level corruption, is dependent on oil for 98.9 percent of its export earningsand the price of oil has continued to drop.

Top of his agenda should be three issues, the Economist advised, corruption, weaning the economy off its dependency on oil, and finding a more democratic federal system that spreads power and money more evenly through the country. Whether Obasanjo can undo the damage of years of mismanagement remains to be seen.

Rose Through Ranks of Nigerian Military

Olusegun Obasanjo was born on May 5, 1937, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in southwest Nigeria. He was educated at Abeokuta Baptist High School and Mons Officers Cadet School in Aldershot, England. In 1958, Obasanjo enlisted in the Nigerian army. He was commissioned in 1959, and served in the Congo (now Zaire) the following year.

During his military career, Obasanjo frequently studied in Britain, receiving training at the Royal College of Military Engineering in Chatham and at the School of Survey in Newbury. At the British Royal Engineers Young Officers

At a Glance

Born Olusegun Obasanjo, May 5, 1937, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria; married Oluremi Akinbwon; two sons, four daughters. Education: Abeokuta Baptist High School; Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, England; Royal College of Military Engineering, Chatham; England; School of Survey, Newbury, England; British Royal Engineers Young Officers School, Shrivenham, England; Indian Defence Staff College; Indian Army School of Engineering; Royal College of Defence Studies, London.

Career: Enlisted in the Nigerian Army, 1958; served in 5th Battalion, Kaduna and the Cameroons, 195859; second lieutenant, 1959; lieutenant, 1960; captain and commander of Nigerian Armys Engineering Unit, 1963; major and commander of Field Engineering Unit, 1965; lieutenant-colonel, 1967; commander of Ibadan Garrison, 196769; colonel, 1969; commander of 3rd Marine Commando Division, 196970; accepted Biafran surrender ending Nigerian Civil War, 1970; federal commissioner for Works and Housing, 1975; led coup to overthrow head of state Yakubu Gowon, 1975; head of state and commander in chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, 197679; founder, Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd. In Otta, Ogun State, 1979-; elected president of Nigeria, 1999.

Author, A March of Progress: Collected Speeches (1979), My Command: An Account of the Nigerian Civil War, (1980), Africa in Perspective: Myths and Realities (1907), Africa Embattled (1988), Constitution for National Integration and Development (1989), Not My Will (1990); many articles for periodicals, including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Review of International Affairs, and New Perspectives Quarterly.

Selected awards: Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1980; Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, 1990; several honorary degrees.

Addresses: Home Abeokuta, Nigeria.

School in Shrivenham, he won first prize and a citation as the best Commonwealth student ever. In the mid-1960s, Obasanjo studied at the Indian Defence Staff College and the Indian Army School of Engineering.

In his two decades in the military, Obasanjo advanced steadily through the ranks. From 1958 to 1959, he served in the 5th Battalion in Kaduna and the Cameroons. In 1959, he was commissioned second lieutenant. The following year, he was promoted to lieutenant, and served in the Nigerian contingent of the UN Force in the Congo. In 1963, he became commander of the only engineering unit of the Nigerian Army; the same year, he was promoted to captain. He became a major in 1965, lieutenant-colonel in 1967, and colonel in 1969.

Meanwhile, in 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from Britain, and a period of intense political instability followed. In 1966, the military seized power. In 1969, Biafrathe countrys eastern, predominantly-Christian regionseceded from Nigeria, and civil war broke out. During the civil war, Obasanjo served as commander of the 3rd marine commando division. Under his leadership, federal troops split the Biafran Army into two enclaves, and forced a surrender less than a month later.

In his autobiographical work, My Command: An Account o/the Nigerian Civil War, Obasanjo described this tumultuous period in Nigerian history: Within a space of six months I turned a situation of low morale, desertion, and distrust within my division and within the Army into one of high morale, confidence, co-operation, and success for my division and for the Army.A nation almost torn asunder and on the brink of total disintegration was reunited and the wound healed.

Following the war, Obasanjo returned to his former position as chief of army engineers. After he was promoted to brigadier-general in 1972, he enrolled in an advanced training course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. Two years later, he returned to Nigeria, and was appointed federal commissioner for works and housing.

Took Over as Head of State

The political situation in Nigeria, then under military rule, continued to be unstable. In 1974, the Nigerian head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, declared that a return to civilian rule would be postponed indefinitely. Opposition to Gowons rule grew, and in 1975 Obasanjo, along with Murtala Muhammed, led a bloodless coup that overthrew him.

The following year, Muhammed was assassinated, and Obasanjo was appointed head of state and commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He assured Nigerians that he would follow a strict program to return Nigeria to civilian rule.

During his time in office, Obasanjo proved himself to be a tough leader, unafraid to stand up to colonial powers. At one point, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) after the countrys white population usurped power. In response, Obasanjo nationalized British Petroleums interests in Nigeria, and threatened to boycott British imports. Thatcher eventually relented, and began the process that led to free elections and majority rule in Zimbabwe.

In 1979, after three years as Nigerias leader, Obasanjo handed power to elected president Shehu Shagari. In doing so, he became the only military ruler in Nigerias history to voluntarily step down in favor of a democratically-elected government. While Obasanjo was widely praised for adhering to his promise, many Nigerians were glad to see him go. Students and journalists remember his years in office as a time of repression and lack of tolerance, Barnaby Phillips wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

While in office, Obasanjo oversaw the creation of a new constitution for Nigeria, and implemented a wide range of governmental reforms. However, the newly-elected civilian government suffered from corruption, and collapsed in just five years, when the military once again seized power. According to the Economist, the army, once seen as the only institution capable of running the country, turned instead to looting, and destroyed it. Nigerias descent into chaos accelerated.

Dedicated Himself to Farming, Writing

Having retired from the armed forces as a general in 1979, Obasanjo started a company called Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd. in Otta, Ogun State. According to Jonathan Power, writing in the Los Angeles Times, Obasanjo was so obsessed by his countrymens refusal to come to terms with economic chaos, not least the running down of the countrys precious agricultural base, that he decided to show what could be done with the land. He supervised the construction of the farm closely, often choosing to spend the night in the half-built structures. I call myself a chicken farmer, he told Rushworth M. Kidder of the Christian Science Monitor. Some of my friends dont like that, but some do!

Obasanjo also became a fellow at the University of Ibadans Institute of African Studies. During the 1980s and 1990s, he wrote prolifically, publishing My Command and numerous books and articles on African development. He served on a variety of policy research and advisory committees concerned with the future of African countries. Democracy, farming, and disarmament are Obasanjos passions, Jonathan Power wrote in the Los Angeles Times, and he has relentlessly promulgated them.

The improvement of living standards and the wealth of nations are more of a journey and less of a destination, Obasanjo was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times. In his view, it would take three or four generations for Africa to transform its centuries-old culture to fit with the demands of the global marketplace; but at the same time, African culture should not be devalued. What, for example, is wrong with our traditional society, which respects age, experience, and authority? he was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times. Or the norm that everybody is his brothers keeper? Or the practice of stigmatizing and ostracizing evil-doers and the indolent?

In 1993, a civil election was held in Nigeria, but the countrys military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, refused to hand over power to the winner. We demand that the Babangida administration be terminated forth-with, Obasanjo was quoted as saying in the Boston Globe. In protest, the European Community suspended aid to Nigeria, but the military government held on.

By 1995, leadership had passed to General Sani Abacha, who jailed Obasanjo and other military officers on charges of plotting a coup. Obasanjo strongly denied the charges, andafter international pressure was appliedhe was soon released from prison, although he was restricted to his hometown indefinitely.

In the summer of 1998, Abacha, whom the Economist once called the worst ruler Nigeria has ever had, died suddenlywhether from natural or unnatural causes is still uncertain. In his place came General Abdulsalam Abubakar, who quickly announced his intention to restore Nigeria to civilian rule after 15 years of army dictatorship. He set out a timetable for the formation of political parties and for democratic elections, and released a number of political prisoners, including Obasanjo. Almost immediately, rumors began circulating that he would run for office. In November of 1998, Obasanjo confirmed the rumors, arousing both interest and controversy.

More than issues, however, the election is about the complex balancing of hundreds of ethnic interests, Anton La Guardia wrote in the Dai/y Telegraph. Although Obasanjo is from southwestern Nigeria, critics claimed that he was a pawn of the northern-dominated military establishment, which bankrolled his campaign. He is not a true democrat, and having a former soldier in power does not provide the clean break with the past that Nigeria needs, one prominent politician was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph. However, his years spent in house arrest were a definite asset for his campaign: Mr. Obasanjos aura as a political martyr is expected to help him to overcome the handicap of his uniform, La Guardia observed.

Elected President of Nigeria

During the ill-fated 1993 election, Obasanjo criticized General Yakubu Gowonwhom he had earlier ejected from officefor seeking the presidential nomination. What did you forget to take from the State House that you have to go back? the Dai/y Telegraph quoted him as saying. Five years later, Obasanjo denied that he was vulnerable to the same criticism, telling the Dai/y Tele-graph, I have not forgotten anything. I do not regret leaving power. What I left behind and should have been taken care of has all been destroyed.

Obasanjo also rejected accusations that he would perpetuate decades of military rule in the guise of a civilian government. He told the Dai/y Telegraph that he had to return to power to bring Nigeria out of the mess it has been put into by a succession of corrupt army dictators. I believe I have something to offer. If someone has something to offer, he should say so and let the electorate decide, he was quoted as saying.

On March 1, 1999, Obasanjo was formally proclaimed Nigerias new civilian president. According to the final tally, Obasanjo, heading the Peoples Democratic Party, won by 63 percent of the vote, while Chief Olu Falae, head of a coalition of the Alliance for Democracy and the All Peoples Party, captured 37 percent.

However, Obasanjos opponents, as well as international observers, questioned the result, alleging that there had been widespread election fraud. Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. president and head of one of several foreign monitoring groups, was quoted as stating in the Dai/y Telegraph, There was a wide disparity between the number of voters observed at the polling stations and the final results that have been reported from several states. it is not possible for us to make an accurate judgement about the outcome of the presidential elections. In setting up the timetable for the elections, current ruler Abubakar had allowed for such a possibility; he planned to remain in power until at least May of 1999, in part to give time for any legal challenges.

Obasanjo admitted that irregularities had occurred, but blamed ignorant people, rather than planned election fraud. I dont believe there is anywhere in the world where elections are conducted by human beings that are perfect, he was quoted as saying in the Dai/y Telegraph. Democracy, under my leadership, will continue.

Sources

Periodicals

Boston Globe, July 14, 1993, p. 13.

Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 1987.

Daily Telegraph, March 2, 1999; February 17, 1999; February 22, 1999.

Economist, March 6, 1999, p. 44.

Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1995, p. B7.

New York Times, March 24, 1995, p. A5.

Carrie Golus

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NIGERIA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS NIGERIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Federal Republic of Nigeria

CAPITAL: Abuja

FLAG: The national flag consists of three vertical stripes. The green outer stripes represent Nigerian agriculture. The white center stripe represents unity and peace.

ANTHEM: Arise, All Compatriots.

MONETARY UNIT: On 1 January 1973, the Nigerian pound (n£) was replaced by the naira (n) of 100 kobo at a rate of n2 = n£1. There are coins of ½, 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kobo and 1 naira, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 50 naira. n1 = $0.00754 (or $1 = n132.59) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: As of May 1975, the metric system is the official standard, replacing the imperial measures.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; National Day, 1 October; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable Christian religious holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday; movable Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', and Milad an-Nabi.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Located at the extreme inner corner of the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa, Nigeria occupies an area of 923,768 sq. km (356,669 sq mi), extending 1,127 km (700 mi) ew and 1,046 km (650 mi) ns. Comparatively, the area occupied by Nigeria is slightly more than twice the size of the state of California. It is bordered by Chad on the NE, by Cameroon on the e, by the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea) on the s, by Benin (formerly Dahomey) on the w, and by Niger on the nw and n, with a total boundary length of 4,900 km (3,045 mi), of which 853 km (530 mi) is coastline. The borders between Nigeria and Chad and Nigeria and Cameroon are disputed, and there have been occasional border clashes.

Nigeria's capital city, Abuja, is located in the center of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Along the entire coastline of Nigeria lies a belt of mangrove swamp forest from 16 to 96 km (1060 mi) in width, which is intersected by branches of the Niger and innumerable other smaller rivers and creeks. Beyond the swamp forest is a zone, from 80 to 160 km (50100 mi) wide, of undulating tropical rain forest. The country then rises to a plateau at a general elevation of about 600 m (2,000 ft) but reaches a maximum of 2,042 m (6,700 ft) on the eastern border in the Shebshi Mountains, and the vegetation changes from woodland to savanna, with thick forest in the mountains. In the extreme north, the country approaches the southern part of the Sahara.

The Niger, the third-largest river of Africa, enters Nigeria from the northwest and runs in a southeasterly direction, meeting its principal tributary, the Benue, at Lokoja, about 550 km (340 mi) from the sea. It then flows south to the delta, through which it empties into the Gulf of Guinea via numerous channels. Other main tributaries of the Niger are the Sokoto and Kaduna rivers. The second great drainage system of Nigeria flows north and east from the central plateau and empties into Lake Chad. Kainji Lake, in the northwest, was created by construction of a dam on the Niger above Jebba.

CLIMATE

Although Nigeria lies wholly within the tropical zone, there are wide climatic variations in different regions of the country. Near the coast, the seasons are not sharply defined. Temperatures rarely exceed 32°c (90°f), but humidity is very high and nights are hot. Inland, there are two distinct seasons: a wet season from April to October, with generally lower temperatures, and a dry season from November to March, with midday temperatures that surpass 38°c (100°f) but relatively cool nights, dropping as low as 12°c (54°f). On the Jos Plateau, temperatures are more moderate.

Average rainfall along the coast varies from about 180 cm (70 in) in the west to about 430 cm (170 in) in certain parts of the east. Inland, it decreases to around 130 cm (50 in) over most of central Nigeria and only 50 cm (20 in) in the extreme north.

Two principal wind currents affect Nigeria. The harmattan, from the northeast, is hot and dry and carries a reddish dust from the desert; it causes high temperatures during the day and cool nights. The southwest wind brings cloudy and rainy weather.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The natural vegetation is divisible into two main sections directly related to the chief climatic regions of the country: (1) high forest, including both swamp and rain forests, and (2) savanna. Along the coastal area, the mangrove tree predominates, while immediately inland is freshwater swamp forest, which is somewhat more diversified and includes varieties of palms, the abura, and mahogany. North of the swamp forest lies near the rain forest, which forms a belt with an average width of some 130 km (80 mi). Here, trees reach as much as 60 m (200 ft) in height. Principal trees include the African mahogany, iroko, African walnut, and the most popular export wood, the obeche. Farther inland, the rain forest becomes displaced by tall grass and deciduous trees of small stature, characteristic of the savanna.

Few large animals are found in the rain forest; gorillas and chimpanzees in decreasing numbers are present, as well as baboons and monkeys. Reptiles abound, including crocodiles, lizards, and snakes of many species. Although many kinds of mammals can be found inland from the rain forest, these are not nearly so plentiful as in East or South Africa. Nigeria possesses two dozen species of antelope, but large concentrations of animals, even the common antelope, are rarely observed. The hippopotamus, elephant, giraffe, leopard, and lion now remain only in scattered localities and in diminishing number. Wildcats, however, are more common and widely distributed. Wildlife in the savanna includes antelope, lions, leopards, gazelles, and desert hyenas. Nigeria also abounds in bird life with a great number of species being represented.

As of 2002, there were at least 274 species of mammals, 286 species of birds, and over 4,700 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Many of Nigeria's environmental problems are those typical of developing states. Excessive cultivation has resulted in loss of soil fertility. Increased cutting of timber has made inroads into forest resources, exceeding replantings. Between 1983 and 1993 alone, Nigeria lost 20% of its forest and woodland areas. In 2000, about 14.8% of the total land area was forested.

Oil spills, the burning of toxic wastes, and urban air pollution are problems in more developed areas. In the early 1990s, Nigeria was among the 50 nations with the world's highest levels of carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 96.5 million metric tons, a per capita level of 0.84 metric tons. However, emissions levels have since dropped significantly.

Water pollution is also a problem due to improper handling of sewage. Nigeria has 221 cu km of renewable water resources. Fifty-four percent of the annual withdrawal is used for farming activity and 15% for industrial purposes.

The principal environmental agencies are the Environmental Planning and Protection Division of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, and the analogous division within the federal Ministry of Industry.

In 2003, about 3.3% of the total land area was protected. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 25 types of mammals, 9 species of birds, 2 types of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians, 12 species of fish, 1 species of other invertebrate, and 170 species of plants. Threatened species include the drill, Presuu's red colobus, and the Ibadan malimbe. The Sahara oryx has become extinct in the wild.

POPULATION

The population of Nigeria in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 131,530,000, which placed it at number 9 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 43% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 102 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.4%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 190,287,000. The overall population density was 142 per sq km (369 per sq mi), but regional differences are significant; population is densest in the south and sparsest in the north.

The UN estimated that 44% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 3.72%. The capital city, Abuja, had a population of 452,000 in that year. The principal cities include Lagos, the former capital and still the largest city, with an estimated metropolitan population of 14,037,000 and the highest population density of any major African urban conglomeration. Kano had a metropolitan population of 2,884,000, and Ibadan had 2,649,000.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Nigeria. The UN estimated that 5.8% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.

MIGRATION

Immigrants are drawn from neighboring nations by economic opportunity. On 17 January 1983, Nigeria, suffering from an economic crisis brought about by decreased earnings from oil, ordered all resident aliens to leave the country. Some 700,000 Ghanaians departed during the following weeks, as did smaller numbers from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso. In 1985, about 200,000 to 250,000 aliens were expelled, including about 100,000 from Ghana and 50,000 from Niger.

As of 2004, there were 8,395 refugees in Nigeria. Of these, some 5,341 were settled in a camp at Oru. The remainder were in Lagos or at various locations in north Nigeria. In that same year there were 1,086 asylum seekers and 364 returned refugees. In 2004, some 16,686 Nigerians were refugees in Cameroon. In that same year 17,000 Nigerians applied for asylum in 19 countries, mainly Austria, France, and Ireland, followed by other Western countries and South Africa.

The net migration rate in 2005 was an estimated 0.27 migrants per 1,000 population. Worker remittances in 2003 amounted to an estimated $1.3 billion. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.

ETHNIC GROUPS

There are more than 250 different ethnic groups within the country, none of which holds a majority. The four largest ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani, which together account for about 28% of the population; the Yoruba, accounting for 21% of the population; and the Ibos with 18% of the population. The Ijaw of the South Delta make up 10% of the people, followed by Kanuri (4%), the Ibibio (3.5%), and the Tiv (2.5%).

Yoruba predominate in Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, and Osun states. The Ibo (Igbo) predominate in Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Enugu states. The Hausa and Fulani constitute the largest single groups in Sokoto, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, and Kano states. Other important groups include the Kanuri in Borno and Yobe states; the Edo (Bini) in Edo State; the Ibibio in Akwa Ibam State; the Ijaw (Ijo) in Rivers State; the Tiv in Benue and Plateau states; and the Nupe in Niger State.

LANGUAGES

The official language is English, although there are over 300 distinct indigenous tongues. Hausa is the mother tongue of more than 40% of the inhabitants of the northern states. Yoruba is commonly used in southwestern urban centers, including Lagos. Ibo and Fulani are also widely spoken. Ethnic divisions roughly reflect the distribution of other vernaculars.

RELIGIONS

Religious affiliation in Nigeria is strongly related to ethnicity, with rather distinct regional divisions between ethnic groups. The northern states, dominated by the Hausa and Fulani groups, are predominantly Muslim while the southern ethnic groups have a large number of Christians. In the southwest, there is no predominant religion. The Yoruba tribe, which is the majority ethnic group in the southwest, practice Christianity, Muslim, and/or the traditional Yoruba religion, which centers on the belief in one supreme god and several lesser deities. The Ibo of the east are primarily Catholic or Methodist, with some traditional practices included.

Overall statistics indicate that about 50% of the population are Muslim, with a majority practicing the Sunni branch of the faith. About 40% are Christian and about 10% practice traditional African religions or no religion at all. Many people include elements of traditional beliefs in their own practice of Christianity or Islam. The Christian community is composed of Roman Catholics (the largest denomination), Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and members of Evangelical and Pentecostal groups.

Though the constitution prohibits state and local governments from declaring an official religion, a number of states have recently adopted various forms of the Islamic criminal and civil law known as Shariah, a move which many Christians believe to be an adoption of Islam as the de facto religion. The constitution also provides for freedom of religion, however, some states have restricted religious demonstrations, processions, or gatherings as a matter of public security. Business owners and public officials have been known to discriminate against individuals of a faith different than their own in matters of providing services and hiring practices. The same type of discrimination exists between members of different ethnic groups. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are officially observed.

There is a high degree of tension between Christians and Muslims with a record of violence against both groups. However, conflicts may stem primarily from ethnic and regional differences, since there are a number of reports of violence between different ethnic groups of the same religion.

TRANSPORTATION

The main waterways are the Niger and Benue rivers and a system of navigable creeks and lagoons in the southern part of the country. The Niger is navigable to Onitsha by large riverboat and to Lokoja by barge throughout the year. Ports farther upstream on the Niger and Benue can be reached in the high-water season. Inland waterways total about 8,575 km (5,328 mi). Lagos remains Nigeria's principal port, handling more than 75% of the country's general cargo. Other ports are Port Harcourt, Calabar, and the delta port complex of Warri, Sapele, Koko, Burutu, Bonny, and Alesa Eleme. The Merchant Marine operated a fleet of 46 ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 327,808 GRT in 2005. A 1987 decree requires 40% of total cargo generated by trade with Nigeria to be carried on Nigerian shipping.

As of 2004, the Nigerian railway system, the fifth-largest in Africa, was operated by the statutory Nigerian Railway Corp., which consisted of 3,557 km (2,210 mi) of narrow and standard gauge railways. Of that total, narrow gauge lines accounted for 3,505 km (2,180 mi). The greater part of the system is single tracked and consisted of two generally north-south lines, originating in Lagos and Port Harcourt. The westerly situated route ran northeast from Lagos through Ibadan, Ilorin, and Kaduna to Kano. An easterly situated line ran from Port Harcourt through Enugu and Makurdi, and joined the western line at Kaduna. Extensions carry the former north to Nguru and the latter north to Kaura-Namoda. Three branch lines connect other industrial and commercial centers to the main system. A 645-km (400-mi) extension of the Port Harcourt line from Kafanchan to Maiduguri, linking the main system with the northeastern corner of the country, was completed in 1964. However, years of neglect have seriously reduced the capacity and utility of the railway system.

Nigeria in 2002 had an estimated 193,200 km (120,054 mi) of roads, of which 59,892 km (37,216 mi) were paved, including 1,194 km (742 mi) of expressways. In 2003, some 1,108,200 vehicles were registered, including 681,200 passenger cars and 427,000 commercial vehicles.

Air traffic has been growing steadily. In 2004 there were an estimated 70 airports. As of 2005, a total of 36 had paved runways, and there was a single heliport. International service is provided from Lagos (Murtala Muhammed), Port Harcourt, and Kano airports by more than two dozen international airlines; a cargooriented international airport in Abuja was operational in 1987. Nigeria Airways, which operates internal Nigerian services and participates in international services, became a wholly Nigerianowned company in 1961. Its regularly scheduled flights link Lagos and 15 of the 19 state capitals. Nigeria Airways also flies to many West African destinations, to Nairobi, Kenya, and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, and to New York, London, Amsterdam, and Rome. In 2003, about 520,000 domestic and international passengers were carried on scheduled flights.

HISTORY

The history of Nigeria prior to the beginnings of British administration is not well documented. There is archaeological evidence, however, that an Iron Age culture had been present sometime between 500 bc and ad 200, and agriculture and livestock raising long before then. About the 11th century ad, Yoruba city-states developed in western Nigeria, and some, such as Benin, became powerful kingdoms in later centuries. During medieval times, northern Nigeria had contact with the large kingdoms of the western Sudan (Ghana, Mali, and Songhai) and with countries of the Mediterranean across the Sahara. Islamic influence was firmly established by the end of the 15th century, and Kano was famous not only as a center of Islamic studies but also as a great commercial entrepôt of the western Sudan. Until the arrival of the British, northern Nigeria was economically oriented toward the north and east, and woven cloth and leatherwork were exported as far as the North African ports of the Mediterranean. At the beginning of the 19th century, a jihad, or holy war, led by a Fulani sheikh, Uthman dan Fodio, established Fulani rule over the surviving Hausa kingdoms, until the British conquest at the end of the century.

In the south, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish close relations with the coastal people. In the late 15th century, they established a depot to handle trade goods and slaves from Benin. The Portuguese monopoly was broken after a century, and other European nations participated in the burgeoning slave trade. The British abolished slave trading in 1807, and thereafter-British policy was directed at enforcing that ban on other nations. Interest in legitimate commerce developed slowly, but the discovery of the mouth of the Niger in 1830 provided an important impetus. The extension of British influence over Nigeria was gradual and, initially at least, unplanned. In 1861, the British annexed the island of Lagos, an important center of palm oil trade; thereafter, they gradually extended their influence over the adjacent mainland of Yorubaland.

In 1887, British influence over the eastern coast, which had been promoted since 1849 by consular agents, was regularized by the establishment of the Oil Rivers Protectorate. This too was gradually extended inland and became the Niger Coast Protectorate in 1894. The acquisition of the interior of Nigeria, however, was accomplished largely by Sir George Goldie, founder of the Royal Niger Company, who by 1885 had eliminated commercial competition on the Niger and, by claiming treaties with responsible African authorities, had secured recognition of British influence over the Niger Basin by the European powers at the Berlin Conference. This influence was far more fancied than real; but it provided the basis for British rule over northern Nigeria, which was consolidated by a series of punitive expeditions culminating in the establishment of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria in 1900.

The three separate administrative units were finally amalgamated in 1914 into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, with Sir Frederick Lugard as governor-general. Despite the ostensible unification, the administrative individuality of the three separate regionsNorth, East, and Westwas maintained. The chief characteristic of British rule in Nigeria was its system of local administration, known as indirect rule. In real terms though, indirect rule depended on a system of centralized political units with local (or native) chiefs at the lowest rungs of the hierarchy. It functioned well in the North, with variable success in the West, and poorly in the East.

After World War II, increasing pressures for self-government resulted in a succession of short-lived constitutions. The constitution of 1954 established a federal form of government, greatly extending the functions of the regional governments. A constitutional conference of May and June 1957 decided upon immediate self-government for the Eastern and Western regions, the Northern to follow in 1959. The step from self-government to independence was quickly taken. On 1 October 1960, Nigeria became a fully independent member of the British Commonwealth, and on 1 October 1963 it became a republic. Nnamdi Azikiwe was elected the first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Internal unrest began almost as soon as Nigeria raised its own flag; but its roots lay in the complex ethnic composition of the regions. It boiled over to resentment over the domination of the federal government by Northern elements, and culminated in a military coup on 15 January 1966. Organized by a group of Eastern junior army officers, the coup led to the deaths of the federal prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; the premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello; and the premier of the Western Region, Chief S. L. Akintola. By 17 January, Maj. Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, commander-in-chief of the army, had suppressed the revolt and assumed supreme power. He suspended the constitution and dissolved the legislature, established a military government, and appointed military governors to replace the popularly elected civilian governors in the regions. On 29 July 1966, mutinous elements in the army, largely Northern army officers, staged a countercoup, killed Gen. Ironsi, and replaced him with Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon as head of the military government. The July coup led to the massacre of thousands of Easterners residing in the Northern Region and to the exodus of more than one million persons (mostly Ibos) to the Eastern Region.

On 28 May 1967, Col. Gowon assumed emergency powers as head of the Federal Military Government and announced the division of the country into 12 states. The Northern Region was split into 6 states; the Mid-West, Western, and Lagos areas each became separate states; and 3 states were formed from the Eastern Region. Rejecting the realignment, Eastern Region leaders announced on 30 May the independent Republic of Biafra, with Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu as head of state. On 6 July, the federal government declared war on the fledgling republic. By the time the war ended on 12 January 1970, Biafra had been reduced to about one-tenth of its original 78,000-sq-km (30,000-sq-mi) area; a million or more persons had perished, many from disease and starvation; many more had become refugees at home or abroad. Following the surrender, many Ibos returned to their former positions in Lagos, and Gen. Gowon's military regime sought to rehabilitate the three Eastern states as quickly as possible.

In October 1970, with the civil war behind him, Gen. Gowon set 1976 as the target date for Nigeria's return to civilian rule. Political change came slowly, however, and in October 1974, Gowon announced an indefinite postponement of plans for the transfer of power. The regime's recalcitrance in this and other areas, including its failure to check the power of the state governors and to reduce the general level of corruption, led to Gowon's overthrow on 29 July 1975. His successor, Brig. Murtala Ramat Muhammad, moved quickly in dismissing large numbers of officials, many of them corrupt and inefficient; and in establishing an ombudsman commission. One of his plans was to establish a new capital territory in the center of the country, at Abuja. On 13 February 1976, Muhammad was assassinated in the course of an abortive coup. He was replaced as head of the government by the former chief of staff of the armed forces, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who pledged to carry on his predecessor's program. In March 1976, a decree established a 19-state federation. Political party activity was again permitted in late 1978, and a new constitution took effect on 1 October 1979, the day Alhaji Shehu Shagari took office as president. Leader of the conservative National Party of Nigeria, he also had the support of the Nigerian People's Party (NPP), led by former president Azikiwe. The NPP withdrew its support in 1981, leaving Shagari at the head of a minority government. In August 1983, Shagari won reelection to a second term as president; in late December, however, he was ousted in a military coup.

The new military regime, led by Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, provoked growing public dissatisfaction because of its increasingly authoritarian character, and a military coup on 27 August 1985 brought Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to power. Assuming the title of president, Babangida promised greater respect for human and civil liberties; yet he banned Second Republic (197983) officials from participation in politics for 10 years. A return to full civilian rule was pledged by 1992, with local elections on a nonparty basis, the creation of a constituent assembly, the establishment of no more than two political parties, state elections, a national census, and finally presidential elections. The first step in the processlocal elections on 12 December 1987were marred by irregularities. To deal with Nigeria's economic troubles, stemming from the fall of world oil prices in the 1980s, Babangida inaugurated a "homegrown" Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) prompted by the IMF but not directed by them. It involved cuts in public spending, decreased state control over the economy, stimulation of exports, devaluation of the currency, and rescheduling of debt.

A mostly elected Constituent Assembly met in 1988 and approved modifications in the 1979 constitution. The process of party formation proved awkward in a society as heterogeneous as Nigeria's. None of the 13 potential parties gained Babangida's approval. Instead, he decided to create two new parties, one "a little to the right" of center, another "a little to the left." Neither challenged government effectively.

Babangida's guided program of transition from military rule to a democratic civilian Third Republic was due for completion in 1992. But it was marked by crisis after crisis. Clashes between Muslims and Christians in 1991 and 1992 spread through northern cities. Hundreds were killed in the rioting itself and then by the army seeking to contain the riots. Pro-democracy groups also emerged across society, in part from frustration with the excesses of military rule; and because of suspicion that the military might renege on plans to turn over power to elected civilians.

In elections for state governors and assemblies, the National Republican Convention (NRC) won 13 of 30 assemblies and 16 governorships. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) carried 17 and 14, respectively. But voter indifference and fear of intimidation was high. When state governments took office, intraparty wrangling and political violence marred their performance.

Nonetheless, by January 1992, Nigerians geared up for the national presidential and legislative elections scheduled for later in the year. Nigeria's first successful census since independence (results announced in March 1992) indicated a population of 88.5 million, some 20 million fewer than estimated. The election register had to be revised downward, from 70 million to 39 million voters. On 20 May 1992, the government banned all political, religious, and ethnic organizations other than the two approved political parties.

In legislative elections held on 4 July, the left-of-center SDP won 47 of the 91 Senate seats and 310 of the 593 seats in the House of Representatives. The right-of-center NRC won 37 and 267 seats, respectively. The ruling military council pushed back the transition date until January 1993; it also postponed the inauguration of the National Assembly to coincide with the formal take-off of the Third Republic.

In August and September, the country began the process of narrowing the field of presidential candidates from 20 to 2 in preparation for the December elections. But on 17 November 1992, Babangida announced a third delay in the transfer of power from 2 January until 27 August 1993. Political violence and charges of electoral fraud disrupted the first round of presidential primaries. The second round in September was flawed, too. Faced with a virtual breakdown of the electoral machinery, the military council suspended the primary results in October. All 23 of the presidential aspirants were banned from future political competition. These disruptions were compounded by high levels of student and labor unrest, detentions of dissidents, and ethnic and religious violence. Nonetheless, the military council promised to give way to an elected civilian administration in 1993.

A new round of presidential nominations took place in March 1993. Chief M.K.O. Abiola (SDP) and Alhaji Bashir Tofa (NRC), both Muslim businessmen with ties to Babangida, won nomination. The presidential election of 12 June took place amid a flurry of legal efforts to halt it and great voter confusion. Abiola apparently defeated Tofa handily, 58.4% to 41.6% according to unofficial results.

But the National Electoral Commission set aside the results on 16 June. A week later, Babangida annulled the election citing irregularities, poor turnout, and legal complications. Abiola, backed largely by the Yoruba people, demanded to be certified as president-elect. Civil unrest followed, especially in Lagos.

After weeks of uncertainty and tension, Babangida resigned the presidency and his military commission on 26 August 1993. He handpicked a transitional council headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan. By mid-November, Gen. Sani Abacha forced Shonekan to resign and he installed himself as head of state. On 18 November 1993, he abolished all state and local governments and the national legislature. He replaced many civilian officials with military commanders. He banned political parties and all political activity and ordered strikers to return to work. The following week, he named an 11-member Provisional Ruling Council composed mainly of generals and police officials. He also created a 32-member Federal Executive Council to head government ministries. It included prominent civilians and some prodemocracy and human rights activists.

On 11 June 1994, Abiola proclaimed himself president and then went into hiding. He was arrested later that month, an action that portended much that was to come for Nigeria. Massive protests followed Abiola's arrest, but Abacha's military repressed the demonstrators violently. On 6 July Abiola pleaded not guilty to three counts of treason; the following day laborers went on strike to protest the Abacha regime. In the following months millions of Nigerian workers walked out in support of Abiola and refused to attend scheduled government talks. Abiola remained in prison through June 1996, when his outspoken wife Kudirat Abiola was assassinated. Strikes and protests continued in support of the sanctity of the vote, and of Abiola's mandate.

In August, General Abacha fired his army and navy commanders. Two weeks later he banned several newspapers, declaring that his government had absolute power and would not give in to prodemocracy demonstrators. Late in September, claiming that it was part of his plan to "rejuvenate the machinery of government," Abacha removed all civilians from his ruling council. Three months later he suspended habeas corpus and continued to round up and jail opponents. At the same time he rejected a court order demanding the release of Abiola from prison for medical treatment. In March 1995 Abacha ordered the arrest of former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo on suspicion of treason. Later in the month he dissolved labor unions and jailed their leaders. On 25 April Abacha canceled a 1 January 1996 deadline for the return of civilian rule and refused to discuss the matter. Though he lifted a ban on political parties in June 1995, Abacha placed tight restrictions on their operations. The July convictions in secret trials of 40 suspected traitors brought international condemnation and demands of leniency from critics of the Nigerian government. Ultimately Abacha relented on 1 October, commuting the death sentences of his convicted opponents and declaring that he would relinquish power to an elected government in 1998.

Despite these promises, many outside observers remained skeptical, largely due to fallout from the case of Ken Saro-Wiwa, leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People. Sentenced to death in October 1995 for a quadruple murder, many believed that Saro-Wiwa had been convicted on trumped-up charges stemming from his opposition to a proposed drilling agreement in Nigeria's main oil-producing region. The executions in early November of Saro-Wiwa and eight others brought a torrent of criticism from the international community and resulted in Nigeria's suspension from the British Commonwealth and an embargo from the European Union on arms and aid to Nigeria. Bowing to this pressure, the Abacha government amended in May 1996 the law under which Saro-Wiwa and the others had been convicted and offered to hold talks on the matter with the United Kingdom.

Abacha announced efforts in November 1996 to spur economic change and raise living standards in the country, a pronouncement met with skepticism by an increasingly angry opposition. By December, opponents of the government detonated two bombs aimed at Col. Mohammed Marwa, head of the Nigerian military. Col. Marwa escaped both attacks.

In April 1998, four of Nigeria's five major political parties nominated Abacha as their presidential candidate. Amid opposition accusations that the transition plan was designed to prolong Abacha's rule, legislative elections held on 25 April were heavily boycotted. Nigeria's political fortunes changed suddenly on 8 June when Abacha died of an apparent heart attack. General Abdoulsalami Abubakar took charge and promised to continue Abacha's transition. On 7 July, Abiola died of a suspected heart failure while still in custody.

On 20 July General Abubakar announced a new plan for return to civilian rule culminating in a transfer of power in May 1999. On 5 December local council elections took place with three parties qualifying to move on to state and national elections by winning at least 5% of the vote in 24 of 36 states. On 11 January 1999 elections for state governorships and legislatures were held.

Elections for president and the national legislature were held on 27 February 1999. Obasanjo (PDP) won the presidential elections with 62% of the vote, while Olu Falae, the candidate for the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the All Peoples Party (APP), received 38%. Despite Falae's charges of election rigging, international observers from the Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute reported that available evidence of electoral abuse and other irregularities were unlikely to have affected the overall results. In April Olu Falae closed his case against Obasanjo after a federal appeals court in Abuja rejected two pleas. Power was handed over officially to the new government in May. Twenty heads of state attended Obasanjo's inauguration on 4 June, some two decades after he left office as a military ruler.

Obasanjo promised to restore law and order, fight corruption, and unify Nigeria's ethnically and religiously diverse peoples. The federal government increased the oil-producing states' share of revenue from 3% to 13%. However, these states were demanding a 50% share, so the increase did not resolve disputes over local ownership, control of resources, and embezzlement. In 1999, Nigeria was second on Transparency International's list of most corrupt countries (Cameroon was first).

In 1999, fighting in the Delta region killed several hundred people while outbreaks of fighting between Yorubas and Hausa in the area of Lagos resulted in hundreds more deaths. The Igbo demanded reparations of $87 billion for the 196770 civil war. In February 2000, days of violent clashes between Muslims and Christians killed as many as 750 persons (mostly Igbo Christians, other southeasterners, and some Yorubas) in Kaduna, and destroyed several churches and mosques following announcements that a fuller application of Islamic law, Shariah, would be introduced in Zamfara and at least five other northern states. The code includes punishments such as flogging and amputation, and in principle only affects Muslims, but has caused great consternation among non-Muslims.

In June and July 2001, between 100 and 200 people were killed in Nasarawa state in fighting between the Tiv and other ethnic groups. In October, more than 200 villagers were killed by the army in the east-central state of Benue in retaliation for the murder of 19 soldiers amid fighting between the Tiv and Junkun. From 713 September 2001 in the central city of Jos, about 915 lives were lost in inter-communal violence between Muslims and Christians, although the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch described the conflict as more political and economic than religious.

On 27 January 2002, more than 1,000 people died as a result of a series of explosions at an army munitions dump in Lagos. Many of the victims had fallen into a canal and drowned as they tried to leave the northern neighborhood of Ikeja. In February, some 100 people were killed in Lagos in ethnic clashes between Yorubas and Hausa. Thousands fled their homes. In November, more than 200 people were killed in riots between Muslims and Christians in Kaduna, following the publication of a newspaper article suggesting that the prophet Muhammad would have wished to marry one of the Miss World contestants competing in that beauty pageant to be held in Abuja on 7 December. The pageant was subsequently moved to London. Also in November, the Nigerian government stated that it would intervene to save the life of Amina Lawal, a 30-year old woman sentenced to death by stoning after she was found guilty in a Shariah court of having had extra-marital sex. Her case provoked large-scale protests from the international community.

In October 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Cameroon in its territorial dispute with Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. Fighting between the two countries over the region broke out in 1994, at which point Cameroon requested a world court ruling on the border dispute. The decision is not subject to appeal.

Nigerians, once dominated by the military, have become disappointed in the civilian rule initiated in 1999. But Nigerians have had to contend with increasing poverty, ethnic strife, religious intolerance, declining standards in health and education, and a stagnant economy. In 2000, an estimated 60% of the population lived below the poverty line. From 1999 until the end of 2002, approximately 10,000 people had been killed in political and sectarian fighting. In December 2001, Chief Ajibola Ige, the sitting attorney general and minister of justice of the federal government, was murdered in the bedroom of his home at Ibadan. Chief Ige's murder has remained unsolved, as have those of several other high-ranking politicians from the ruling PDP. These murders, a rising wave of crime in the country, as well as the militarization of the Niger Delta, cast doubts on the efficacy of the security agencies. It also served as a spur to calls for a decentralized police force, or one structured by region and/or state.

For many, the general elections of 2003 were critical to finding solutions to these and other questions, and could move the country forward. In 2002, 24 new political parties had joined the fray after the Supreme Court declared as invalid some of the conditions that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had imposed on associations seeking a license to operate as political parties. The presidential race attracted more candidates, but public debates on issues were no clearer or deeper. The larger political parties did not face much challenge either.

The 2003 elections left the PDP in greater control of government. In the presidential poll, Obasanjo won 61.9% of the votes; former military head of state and candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), Muhammadu Buhari, took 31.2%. The AD, with a large Yoruba following, did not field a candidate in apparent support of Obasanjo's candidacy. The PDP also won 73 seats in the Senate and 213 in the House of Representatives; ANPP won 28 and 95 seats, while the AD took 6 and 31 seats respectively. The PDP won control of government in 28 states, ANPP got 7, and ADP won only in Lagos State. The results were contested at all levels. Buhari filed a suit against Obasanjo's victory that went all the way to the Supreme Court; it also drew a dissenting opinion in favor of the appellant.

In July 2003, an attempt was made with support from a detachment of the police to forcibly remove from power Chris Ngige, governor of Anambra State in the east. Subsequent efforts involved the burning down of major government symbols and the withdrawal of security details from Ngige. A senior police officer, a judge, and several minor actors in the saga were dismissed. In early 2004, Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in central Plateau State, also controlled by the PDP. This followed allegations of corruption against the governor, Joshua Dariye, who countered that he had donated some of the missing money to the PDP. In September 2005, yet another PDP governor, this time of oil-rich Bayelsa State, was arrested in London on suspicion of money-laundering. He returned to Nigeria but was removed from office and prosecuted for various economic offences. At the federal level, Obasanjo had been locked in battle with several segments of the PDP. He also openly accused his deputy, Vice President Atiku Abubakar of disloyalty after an apparent disagreement over succession in 2007.

Obasanjo's economic policy was controversial. Incessant increases in the price of petroleum products put his administration at disagreement with organized labor, and civil society. The PDP enacted a law that made it more difficult to form and sustain a single labor federation in Nigeria. Obasanjo received a debt-forgiveness deal with Nigeria's creditors and consistently averred a commitment to antipoverty programs. Not many jobs were being created and federal government units were downsized. In 2006 Obasanjo served notice that thousands of jobs were to be erased in the public sector. The next elections were scheduled for 2007.

GOVERNMENT

The 1979 constitution, promulgated by the outgoing military government, established a federal system resembling that of the United States, with a directly elected president and vice president (whose names appear on the same ballot) and separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The military government that took command after the December 1983 coup suspended the 1979 constitution. The president held executive and legislative authority, in consultation with the 28-member Armed Forces Ruling Council, and appointed the cabinet.

After the Abacha seizure of power on 17 November 1993, the 1979 constitution remained suspended. A military-dominated Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) ruled by decree. A 32-member Federal Executive Council managed government departments, and the PRC dissolved the elected national and state legislatures and the local councils, replacing elected civilian governors with military administrators. The PRC also announced that it would hold a constitutional conference to plan for the future and to establish a timetable for a return to democracy. On 21 November 1993, Abacha signed a decree restoring the 1979 constitution (Second Republic). Nonetheless, legal experts disagreed which documents should form the basis for Nigerian government and law.

The new constitution, which became law in May 1999, restored constitutional rule under the Fourth Republic. Nigeria became a federal republic comprising 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory at Abuja. The national legislature is bicameral with 109 Senate seats and 360 House seats. Members of both houses are elected by universal suffrage (age 18) to a four-year term. The president is elected to no more than two four-year terms. The president chairs a Federal Executive Council, which he appoints. Legislative and presidential elections were held in April 2003. The results gave Obasanjo and many governors their second and final term under the 1999 Constitution.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Ethnic, religious, and regional differences have hindered the formation of a truly national Nigerian political party in Nigeria. Before 1966, the major parties were the Northern People's Congress (NPC), overwhelmingly dominant in the Northern Region and possessing a plurality in the federal House of Representatives; the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), dominant in the Eastern Region and junior partner in coalition with the NPC in the federal House of Representatives; and the Action Group, majority party in the Western Region and the leading opposition group in the federal legislature. Policies and platforms of the major parties were similar, generally supporting welfare and development programs. Following the 1959 elections, the NCNC joined in a coalition with the NPC in the federal government.

The first national elections in independent Nigeria, held on 30 December 1964, were contested by two political alliances: the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA), led by Sir Ahmadu Bello, premier of the Northern Region, and the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA), led by Michael Okpara, premier of the Eastern Region. The NNA comprised the NPC, the Western-based Nigerian National Democratic Party, and opposition parties representing ethnic minorities in the Eastern and Mid-Western regions. The UPGA included the NCNC, the Action Group, the Northern Elements Progressive Union (the main opposition party in the Northern Region), and the United Middle Belt Congress (a non-Muslim party strongly opposed to the NPC). Northerners feared Ibo domination of the federal government and sought support from the Yoruba, while the UPGA accused the Muslim Northerners of anti-Southern, antidemocratic, and anti-Christian attitudes. The election results, announced on 6 January 1965, gave a large majority to the NNA (198 of 267 constituencies). Before the balloting began, the UPGA charged that unconstitutional practices were taking place and announced that it would boycott the elections, in which only 4 million of the 15 million eligible voters actually cast ballots. On 4 January 1965, President Azikiwe called on Prime Minister Balewa to form a new government. In the supplementary elections held on 18 March 1965, the UPGA won all 51 seats in the Eastern Region and 3 seats in Lagos. This was followed by announcement of an enlarged and reorganized cabinet on 31 March. Ten months later the Balewa government was overthrown, the military assumed power, and on 24 May 1966 all political parties were banned.

When legal political activity resumed in 1978, five parties emerged: the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), representing chiefly the North and an educated, wealthy elite; the Nigerian People's Party (NPP), strong among the Ibos and slightly to the left of the NPN; the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Yoruba-led and welfarist-oriented; the People's Redemption Party, advocating radical social change; and the Great Nigeria People's Party, espousing welfare capitalism. Shagari, the NPN presidential candidate, received the most votes (33.9%) in the 11 August 1979 presidential election, with Obafemi Awolowo of the UPN a close second (29.2%). In National Assembly elections held on 7 and 14 July 1979, the NPN won 36 of the 95 Senate seats and 168 of 440 House of Representatives seats. The UPN was second with 28 and 111, respectively; the NPP third with 16 and 78. Each of the five parties won control of at least two state governments in elections held 21 and 28 July 1979. In the presidential election of August 1983, incumbent President Shagari of the NPN won reelection to a second four-year term, polling 12,047,638 votes (47%). Obafemi Awolowo of the UPN placed second with 7,885,434 votes (31%). That same month, Shagari's NPN posted victories in Senate and House elections. However, there were widespread charges of irregularities in the balloting. All existing political parties were dissolved after the December 1983 coup.

During the 1990s two parties, the right-of-center National Republican Convention (NRC) and a left-of-center Social Democratic Party (SDP) were permitted limited activity during the transition from military rule. The two-chamber National Assembly to which they were elected never was granted genuine power. On 12 June 1993, Nigerians apparently elected Moshood Abiola, a wealthy businessman, president, but General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the vote over alleged corruption. Ernest Shonekan replaced him for the interim, and on 17 November General Sani Abacha took power, suspending all partisan and political activity. The May 1994 legislative elections were widely boycotted by foes of Abacha's military regime. On 1 October 1995, Abacha announced a three-year program for return to civilian rule.

Political parties, suppressed by the military government, were allowed to form in July 1998. Three parties were registered by the Provisional Ruling Council for participation in local, state and national elections: the All People's Party (APP) led by Mahmud Waziri; the People's Democratic Party (PDP) led by Soloman Lar; and the Alliance for Democracy (AD), led by Ayo Adebanjo.

In the February 1999 election Obasanjo (PDP) won 62.8% of the vote; Olu Falae (AD/APP), received 37.2%. In the Senate, the PDP claimed 66 seats, the APP 23, the AD 19, with 1 other seat. In the House of Representatives, the PDP took 215 seats, the APP 70, the AD 66, and others 9. International observers reported some flaws, but generally approved the results.

The three registered parties suffered from leadership squabbles. Two factions claimed leadership of the AD, which is dominant only in the Yoruba southwest. The APP elected a new chairman in December 1999, after its former chairman, Mahmud Waziri, defected to the PDP. In December 2002, 24 new political parties registered for the 2003 elections.

The 2003 elections were held as scheduled. They confirmed the PDP as Nigeria's largest political party. The ANPP was the second-largest party. Muhammadu Buhari, ANPP candidate for president in 2003, and its chair, Don Etiebet, each had their positions challenged. There were 33 registered political parties as of early 2006.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

In March 1976, a reorganization of Nigeria's major administrative divisions was undertaken. The 12 preexisting states were reconstituted into 19 states as follows: Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo states were created out of the former Western State; Imo and Anambra states from East-Central State; Niger and Sokoto states from North-Western State; Benue and Plateau states from Benue-Plateau State; and Bauchi, Borno, and Gongola from North-Eastern State. Seven other states remained basically unchanged except for minor boundary adjustments and some name changes; these are (with original names where applicable, in parentheses) Lagos, Kaduna (North-Central), Kano, Bendel (Mid-West), Cross River (South-Eastern), Rivers, and Kwara. The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja comprises 7,315 sq km (2,824 sq mi) and was carved from the central part of the country between Kaduna, Plateau, and Niger states. By law, a fixed proportion of federally collected revenue is allotted monthly to the states and localities.

Under the military regime established in 1983, all state governors were appointed by the ruling council; in 1987, all but one governor was a military officer. The governor of each state served as chairman of an appointed state executive council. By the end of the Babangida regime in August 1993, there were 30 states (as of 2006, there were 36) governed by elected state legislatures and governors. On 18 November 1993, these governments were abolished and the civilian governors were replaced by military commanders.

The transition to civilian rule announced 20 July 1998 led to local council elections on 5 December 1998. The PDP, APP, and AD qualified to present candidates to state and national elections by winning 5% of the vote in 24 of the 36 states. The state governorships and legislatures were contested on 11 January 1999. As of mid-2002, the PDP controlled 21 of 36 state governments.

After the 2003 election, PDP controlled 28 state governments. Nearly all local government councils in these states, and many in states controlled by other parties were also run by the PDP. However, the commitment of its leadership to a system of autonomous local government was questionable. Many PDP governors (and non-PDP governors) reportedly diverted funds meant for local government; a law, the Monitoring and Allocation and Local Government Act, has made such action illegal. Shortly after May 2003, the federal government postponed local government elections to enable a panel appointed by it to examine the workings of the system. The reasoning for postponement was questionable, as the panel's report was not published.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Both the suspended 1979 constitution and the never-implemented 1989 constitutions, as well as the new constitution promulgated on 29 May 1999, provide for an independent judiciary. In practice, the judiciary is subject to executive and legislative branch pressure, influence by political leaders at both the state and federal levels, and suffers from corruption and inefficiency.

Under the 1999 constitution, the regular court system comprises federal and state trial courts, state appeals courts, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Supreme Court, and Shariah (Islamic) and customary (traditional) courts of appeal for each state and for the federal capital territory of Abuja. Courts of the first instance include magistrate or district courts, customary or traditional courts, Shariah courts, and for some specified cases, the state high courts. In principle, customary and Shariah courts have jurisdiction only if both plaintiff and defendant agree, but fear of legal costs, delays, and distance to alternative venues encourage many litigants to choose these courts.

Trials in the regular court system are public and generally respect constitutionally protected individual rights, including a presumption of innocence, the right to be present, to confront witnesses, to present evidence, and to be represented by legal counsel. However, low compensation for judges, understaffing, poor equipment, bribery, special settlements, and a host of developmental factors decrease the reliability and impartiality of the courts.

Under the Abubakar government, military tribunals continued to operate outside the constitutional court system, but they were used less and less frequently as military rule waned; the tribunals officially were disbanded by the implementation of the new constitution and the return to civilian rule. The tribunals had in the past been used to try both military personnel and civilians accused of various crimes, but groups asserted that these tribunals failed to meet internationally accepted standards for fair trial.

In October 1999, the governor of Zamfara signed into law two bills passed by the state legislature aimed at instituting Shariah law in the state. As a result, school children were being segregated by sex in Zamfara schools, some public transportation, and some health facilities. There were fears among non-Muslims that despite legal provisions, women and other groups would be subjected to discrimination in Shariah courts. As of early 2003, 11 other northern states had adopted various forms or adaptations of Shariah law, including: Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Borno, and Gombe. Some of these states have already issued sentences of public caning for consumption of alcohol, amputations for stealing, and death by stoning for committing adultery. Some sentences have been carried out, but no life has been taken in the pursuit of a decision by a Shariah court. Those found guilty for adultery have had the verdicts reversed on appeal.

The federal government announced in early 2006 that the religious police in Kano State (also called Hisba ) had been assuming police functions with no officiali authorization to do so, thus acting beyond their powers. The same argument was advanced against ethnic militias, such as the Odu'a People's Congress.

The judiciary has faced testing moments since the 2003 polls. Obasanjo himself accused the judiciary of corruption; some legal practitioners also traded accusations against judges in open court. Election petitions at all levels brought with them allegations of bribery and witness tampering. Acting through the National Judicial Council, a body chaired by Nigeria's Chief Justice, the judiciary moved to cleanse its own house. Several judicial officers were dismissed, disciplined in other ways, or exonerated after due hearing. The stated offenses ranged from receiving undue gratification to passing judgments that were patently illegal or procedurally wrong, or that brought the judiciary to ridicule.

ARMED FORCES

Nigeria's armed forces numbered 78,500 active personnel in 2005. The Army had 62,000 personnel armed with 200 main battle tanks, 100 Scorpion light tanks, 342 reconnaissance vehicles, over 397 armored personnel carriers, and more than 813 artillery pieces. The Navy had a total strength of 7,000 personnel, including Coast Guard personnel. Major naval units included one frigate, two corvettes, and eight patrol/coastal vessels. The Air Force had 9,500 personnel. Equipment included 84 combat capable aircraft, including 17 fighters and 36 fighter ground attack aircraft, in addition to 5 attack helicopters, of which 3 were nonoperational.

Paramilitary forces were estimated at 82,000 personnel and included 2,000 port security police, a coast guard, and a security and civil defense corps. Nigeria has observers and peacekeeping forces stationed in Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, the DROC, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Western Sahara. In 2005, the defense budget totaled $841 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Nigeria was admitted to the United Nations on 7 October 1960, and since that time has become affiliated with ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, ILO, IAEA, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, and the WHO. The nation is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the WTO, the ACP Group, the African Development Bank, G-15, G-24, G-77, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD), and the African Union. Nigeria joined OPEC in June 1971. In May 1975, Nigeria became a founding member of ECOWAS. Among other regional organizations of which Nigeria is a member are the Niger Basin Authority and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The government is participating in efforts to establish a West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) that would include The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria is a member of the Nonaligned Movement. The government has supported UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Western Sahara (est. 1991), Ethiopia and Eritrea (est. 2000), Liberia (est. 2003), Sierra Leone (est. 1999), Burundi (est. 2004), Côte d'Ivoire (est. 2004), and the DROC (est. 2000).

In environmental cooperation, Nigeria is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

The Nigerian economy, with an enterprising population and a wealth of natural resources, offers tremendous potential for economic growth. However, poor economic policy, political instability, and an overreliance on oil exports has created severe structural problems in the economy. Crude oil accounted for over 95% of exports and over 65% of government revenue in 2004; Nigeria is the world's eighth-largest exporter of oil. However, agriculture remains the basic economic activity for the majority of Nigerians, employing roughly 70% of the labor force and accounting for 36.3% of GDP in 2004. Crop yields have not kept pace with the average population growth of 2.5% (200105 average), and Nigeria must import most of its food.

When the oil boom of the 1970s came to an end in the early 1980s, Nigeria's failure to bring domestic and foreign expenditures in line with its lower income led to a rapid buildup of internal and external deficits. Nigeria deferred payments on its large foreign debt, adopted austerity measures, scaled back ambitious development plans, and introduced a foreign exchange auction system that devalued the naira. These policies had a positive effect and from 1986 to 1990 real GDP grew at a 5.4% average annual rate.

However, in 1992 real GDP grew at only 4.1%, while the large government deficits, 10% of GDP in 1992, continued to expand. A crippling blow to the economy came in mid-1994 when oil workers in the southeast, unhappy with the way the central government collected oil revenue without giving any back, went on strike. With daily output down 25% because of the strike, the government's lack of revenue forced it to stop servicing most of its $28 billion external debt. In the meantime the budget deficit reached $1 billion, over 12% of GDP.

In 1996, the World Bank reported that an estimated $2 billion in oil revenues from the early 1990s was diverted in a secret government bank account. There were also reports that significant amounts of oil revenue were being lost due to fraudulent practices at the country's oil terminals. In response, the Nigerian government appointed two inspection firms to oversee the loading of crude oil tankers.

By 2004 external debt stood at $30.55 billion. In 2005, Nigeria carved out a deal to have some 60% of the $31 billion debt the country owed to the Paris Club forgiven; Nigeria pledged to repay about $12 billion. High unemployment and declining productivity hamper growth. As of 2006, the pace of privatizing state-owned enterprises and balancing the budget was slow, but liberalization of the telecommunications sector was underway. The government has also committed itself to privatizing the country's four state-owned oil refineries, and to developing several small, independently owned refineries. The rate of HIV infection is on the rise, especially among children, as is income inequality.

Although national elections were due to be held in April 2007, when President Olusegun Obasanjo would be replaced by a new leader, economic reforms begun under him were projected to continue. Coupled with rising oil prices and production, real GDP growth was forecast to be strong, at 4.8% in 2005 and 4.5% in 2006, although growth was expected to fall back to 3.3% in 2007 as political uncertainty mounted over the election period. Inflation was expected to average 15.9% in 2005, 12% in 2006, and 13.5% in 2007.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Nigeria's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $132.1 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $1,000. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.2%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 13.5%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 26.8% of GDP, industry 48.8%, and services 24.4%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $1.677 billion or about $12 per capita and accounted for approximately 2.9% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $318 million or about $2 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.6% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Nigeria totaled $26.24 billion or about $193 per capita based on a GDP of $57.6 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.7%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 51% of household consumption was spent on food, 31% on fuel, 2% on health care, and 8% on education. It was estimated that in 2000 about 60% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

The total labor force in Nigeria was estimated at about 57.21 million in 2005. Of those gainfully employed in 1999 (the latest year for which data was available), an estimated 70% were in agriculture, with about 10% in industry, and 20% in services. The estimated unemployment rate in 2005 was estimated at 2.9%.

The four labor federations were merged in 1978 into the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), which was strengthened by legislation establishing a compulsory dues checkoff system. Unions were strengthened by government decrees and a new constitution in 1999. Freedom of association and the right to strike were restored. The NLC is the only legal trade union organization (outside the petroleum industry) and claimed a membership of about four million in 2001. About 10% of the workforce was unionized in 2002.

In 2002, the minimum wage stood at approximately $75 per month for federal workers and between $55 and $65 per month for state employees. Formal sector private employers follow the public sector standard. These wages are sufficient to provide a family with a decent standard of living. The workweek is set at 40 hours, but there is no law prohibiting excessive compulsory overtime. Children as young as 13 may work with special restrictions. In reality, as a result of crumbling public schools and dire economic conditions, many children of all ages work. The law stipulates minimum occupational health and safety standards, but such standards are not effectively enforced.

AGRICULTURE

In terms of employment, agriculture is an important sector of Nigeria's economy, engaging about one-third of the labor force. Agricultural holdings are generally small and scattered; farming is often of the subsistence variety, characterized by simple tools and shifting cultivation. These small farms produce about 80% of the total food. About 33.4 million hectares (82.5 million acres), or 36% of Nigeria's land area, are under cultivation. Nigeria's diverse climate, from the tropical areas of the coast to the arid zone of the north, make it possible to produce virtually all agricultural products that can be grown in the tropical and semitropical areas of the world. The economic benefits of large-scale agriculture are recognized, and the government favors the formation of cooperative societies and settlements to encourage industrial agriculture. Large-scale agriculture, however, is not common. Despite an abundant water supply, a favorable climate, and wide areas of arable land, productivity is restricted, owing to low soil fertility in many areas and inefficient methods of cultivation. Agriculture contributed 26% to GDP in 2003.

The agricultural products of Nigeria can be divided into two main groups: food crops, produced for home consumption, and export products. Prior to the civil war, the country was self-sufficient in food, but imports of food increased substantially after 1973. Bread, made primarily from US wheat, replaced domestic crops as the cheapest staple food for much of the urban population. The most important food crops are yams and manioc (cassava) in the south and sorghum (Guinea corn) and millet in the north. In 2004, production of yams was 26.6 million tons (67% of world production); manioc, 38.1 million tons (highest in the world and 19% of global production); cocoyams (taro), 4 million tons; and sweet potatoes, 2,516,000 tons. The 2004 production estimates for major crops were as follows (in thousands of tons): sorghum, 8,028; millet, 6,282; corn, 4,779; rice, 3,542; peanuts, 2,937; palm oil, 920; sugarcane, 776; palm kernel, 618; soybeans, 465; and cotton lint, 140. Many fruits and vegetables are also grown by Nigerian farmers.

Although cocoa is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner, growth in the sector has been slow since the abolition of the Nigerian Cocoa Board. The dominance of smallholders in the cocoa sector and the lack of farm labor due to urbanization holds back production. Nigeria produced 366,000 tons of cocoa in 2004, fifth in the world. Rubber is the second-largest non-oil foreign exchange earner. Despite favorable prices, production has fallen from 155,000 tons in 1991 to 142,000 tons in 2004. Low yield, aging trees, and lack of proper equipment have inhibited production.

Agricultural exports (including manufactured food and agricultural products) decreased in quantity after 1970, partly because of the discouraging effect of low world prices. In 1979, the importing of many foods was banned, including fresh milk, vegetables, roots and tubers, fruits, and poultry. The exporting of milk, sugar, flour, and hides and skins was also banned. During 198587, imports of wheat, corn, rice, and vegetable oil were banned as declining income from oil encouraged greater attention to the agricultural sector. In 1986, government marketing boards were closed down, and a free market in all agricultural products was established. In 2004, agricultural exports totaled $486.7 million, while agricultural imports exceeded $2.2 billion.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Livestock production accounts for about 6% of GDP. There were an estimated 15.2 million head of cattle in Nigeria in 2005, over 90% of them in the north, owned mostly by nomadic Fulani. The prevalence of the tsetse fly in other areas restricts the majority of cattle to the fly-free dry savanna areas. The cattle owned by the Fulani and Hausa consist mainly of zebu breeds; cattle in the south are mainly Shorthorns. There were also an estimated 28 million goats, 23 million sheep, 6.7 million pigs, 1 million asses, 206,000 horses, and 140 million chickens.

Improvements in stock, slaughterhouse, cold storage, and transport facilities have made parts of Nigeria almost self-sufficient in meat production, but many Nigerians outside the north suffer protein deficiency in their diet. In 2005, 1.07 million tons of meat and 432,000 tons of cow's milk were produced. The Livestock and Meat Authority controls operations in transport and slaughtering in the north.

FISHING

Fish is an important dietary element and one of the few sources of animal protein available to many Nigerians. Fishing is carried on in Nigeria's many rivers, creeks, and lagoons, and in Lake Chad; trawlers operate along the coast. The total fishing catch was 505,839 tons in 2003 (40% from inland waters), not enough to meet national requirements.

Both federal and state governments are encouraging the development of local fisheries, inland and at sea, by sponsoring research, stocking reservoirs, and offering training in improved fish culture and fishing gear. Fish ponds have been established in the southern part of the country. The fishing industry output has yet to regain its 538,000-ton high of 1983.

FORESTRY

About 14.8% of Nigeria, or roughly 13,517,000 hectares (33,400,000 acres) is classified as forest or woodland. High forest reserves occur mostly in Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo states; savanna forest reserves, chiefly in the northern states, are limited in value, yielding only firewood and local building materials. In 2004, 70.3 million cu m (2.5 billion cu ft) of roundwood were produced, 85% for fuel. That year, Nigeria's consumption of fuel wood and charcoal was third highest in Africa. Exports of timber and finished wood products were banned in 1976 in order to preserve domestic supplies. The ban was subsequently lifted and the forestry sector recorded gains. However, the country suffers from desertification, anemic reforestation efforts, and high levels of domestic wood consumption. The average annual deforestation rate was 2.6% during 19902000. In 2004, forestry imports totaled $123 million, while forest product exports only amounted to $18.5 million.

MINING

The oil sector was the cornerstone of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria in 2003 was Africa's largest oil producer, with petroleum and petroleum products accounting for 89.2% of exports in 2003. Other leading industries included cement and other construction materials, chemicals, fertilizer, ceramics, and steel.

Nigeria produced 4,800 metric tons (gross weight) of cassiterite tin concentrate in 2003, up from 3,600 metric tons in 2002. A smelter at Jos produced refined tin for export. In 2003, production of columbium and tantalum concentrates (gross weight) totaled 700 metric tons, up from 500 metric tons in 2002. Nigeria had plentiful supplies of limestone, and production totaled 2.2 million tons in 2003. In addition, Nigeria produced barite, clays, feldspar, gold, granite, kaolin, lead, marble, shale, and topaz. Gypsum output declined from 300,0008 metric tons in 2002 to 100,000 metric tons in 2003. Nitrogen production was halted in 1999, while no iron ore was produced in 1999 or 2003, even though extensive iron deposits included reserves of 2,500 million tons with an average content of 37%.

To attract local and foreign investment in the development of the nonfuel minerals sector and to broaden the country's industrial base, the Mining and Minerals Decree No. 34, enacted in 1999, provided for three-year tax holidays, exemption from customs duties for mining equipment, convertibility of foreign currency, and free transferability of funds. It also reaffirmed that all mineral rights were to be held by the federal government, although the national legislature was debating reallocation of mineral rights to the states. However, the country's reputation for civil strife, corruption, environmental degradation, fraud, poor infrastructure, and political uncertainty continued to temper international investors' interest in most projects. The adoption of Islamic Shariah law in many of the northern states added uncertainty to internal mineral projects in northern Nigeria. Mineral resource companies also had to cope with expectations that the companies should provide extensive physical and social infrastructure.

ENERGY AND POWER

Nigeria, as of April 2005, is reported to be the eleventh-largest producer of oil in the world and the largest oil producer in Africa. It is a major oil supplier to the United States and Western Europe. Nigeria is also a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Nigeria, as of 1 January 2005, has estimated proven oil reserves of 35.5 billion barrels, according to the Oil and Gas Journal. In 2004, the country produced an estimated 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, of which crude oil accounted for 2.3 million barrels per day. In that same year, net exports and domestic consumption of oil were estimated at 2.2 million barrels per day and 321,000 barrels per day, respectively. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, crude oil refining capacity was estimated at 438,750 barrels per day, as of 1 January 2005. As a member of OPEC, Nigeria is subject to a crude oil production quota. As of August 2004, that quota was set at 2.6 million barrels per day.

Nigeria's proven reserves of natural gas makes the country one of the world's top 10 countries so endowed, and the largest in Africa. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Nigeria's natural gas reserves were estimated at 176 trillion cu ft as of 1 January 2005. Although the Nigerian government plans to raise its earnings from natural gas exports to 50% of the country's revenues from oil by 2010, about 75% of the natural gas currently produced is flared-off due to a lack of infrastructure, according to a November 2004 estimate by the World Bank. In 2002, Nigeria produced an estimated 501 billion cu ft of natural gas, with domestic demand for that year at 225 billion cu ft and exports estimated at 225 billion cu ft.

Nigeria also has coal deposits. In 2002, recoverable coal reserves were estimated at 209 million short tons, with domestic consumption and production each estimated at 0.07 million short tons.

Nigeria's electric generating capacity is heavily dedicated to conventional thermal sources. In 2002, electric power generating capacity stood at 5.888 million kW, of which conventional thermal sources accounted for 67% of capacity, while hydroelectric dedicated capacity accounted for the rest. Electric power output in 2002 came to 14.743 billion kWh, with conventional thermal fueled output accounting for 52.4% of the power produced, and hydropower accounting for the remainder. However, power outages in Nigeria are frequent and operations are well under the nation's estimated capacity. Also, consumers are billed for services rendered, which in part explains the country's widespread power theft, vandalism, and problems involving payments. In addition, only about 40% of the population has access to electricity, most of whom reside in urban areas. In January 2004, Nigeria began a rural electrification program that would connect 1,500 communities to the nation's power grid by 2007.

INDUSTRY

Industry accounted for 30.5% of GDP in 2004, mostly in the oil sector, and experienced 1.8% growth that year. Due to the high costs of production that result from inadequate infrastructure, Nigeria's manufacturing capacity utilization remains low. An estimated 10% of the labor force is employed in the industrial sector.

Nigeria is the eleventh-largest producer of oil in the world, and first in Africa. The oil sector supplies 95% of foreign exchange earnings and some 90% of total exports. Nigeria had proven oil reserves of 35.5 billion barrels in 2005, and planned to expand its proven reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2010. Nigeria's crude oil refining capacity was 438,750 barrels per day in 2005. There are four state-owned refineries in Nigeria, and hydrocarbon production is centered around Eleme, Warri, and Kaduna. Sabotage, fires, extended maintenance, and management problems plague the oil industry, however. There has been political unrest over the issue of the equitable sharing of Nigeria's oil profits with the population. Nigeria had an estimated 176 trillion cu ft of natural gas reserves in 2005, and the natural gas industry is seen to have great potential.

In October 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Cameroon in its border dispute with Nigeria over the oilrich Bakassi peninsula.

The textile industry is still in early stages of development. Between 60% and 70% of all raw materials used in textile production come from local sources. Foreign investment in the textile industry is led by Chinese and Indian investors. Other areas of expansion include cement production, tire production, and furniture assembly. The Delta Steel Plant at Aladja, built by a German-Austrian consortium, began production in 1982 and supplied three steel rolling mills at Oshogbo, Katsina, and Jos. The steel complex at Abeokuta began producing in 1983 and was renovated in 1995. As of 1999, most of these steel mills were inoperative, and the ones that did work had very small production rates.

Other important industries include sawmills, cigarette factories, breweries, sugar refining, rubber, paper, soap and detergent factories, footwear factories, pharmaceutical plants, tire factories, paint factories, and assembly plants for radios, record players, and television sets. Nigeria has five state-owned motor-vehicle assembly plants for Volkswagen, Peugeot, and Mercedes products, which by 2006 were put on the path toward privatization.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Learned societies include ones for ecology, engineering, entomology, fisheries, forestry, genetics, geography, medicine, microbiology, nutrition, and veterinary medicine. The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has 25 attached research institutes that focus on cereals, cocoa, lake ecology, horticulture, forestry, livestock, root crops, veterinary medicine, oceanography and marine sciences, oil palms, rubber, and tropical agriculture, among other areas. The Geological Survey of Nigeria, founded in 1919, is concerned with geological mapping, mineral exploration, geophysical and geochemical surveys, and consultation on geological problems.

The National Museum branch in Jos, founded in 1989, has zoological and botanical gardens and a transport museum. Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife has a natural history museum founded in 1948. Nigeria has 60 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied science. Science and engineering students account for about 40% of college and university enrollments.

The Nigerian Academy of Science, founded in 1977, promotes and coordinates scientific and technological activities, trains scientists, advises the government on scientific matters, and organizes symposia and lectures.

DOMESTIC TRADE

The distribution of consumer goods is effected largely through a complex network of intermediary traders, who extend the area of distribution and often break down products into very small units for delivery to the ultimate consumer. A few trading companies, especially those with European equity and management, carry full product lines. Village markets are universal but tend to be more highly organized in the densely populated areas of the south. The great market centers such as Ibadan and Kano are attended by many thousands daily. Domestic commerce is limited by poor infrastructure, widespread fraud and corruption, and shortages of fuel that are exacerbated by illegal smuggling of gasoline across Nigeria's borders. The economy is still primarily cash based. Advertising has increased markedly since independence. Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, billboards, and movies are all utilized.

Businesses and government offices are generally open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. In the Muslim north, establishments close at 1:00 pm on Friday so that Muslim workers can attend Jumat services. Supermarkets and stores are open from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. A large number of smaller shops and restaurants are often open from sunrise to near midnight.

FOREIGN TRADE

Nigeria's exports have been on a dramatic upswing. Between 1998 and 1999, they grew more than three-fold, and by 2000 nearly doubled again. Exports in 2006 were 90% dominated by crude oil. Liquefied natural gas accounted for 8.1% of exports in 2004. Cocoa is the largest agricultural export. Leading imports are machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, and food.

In 2004, Nigeria's leading markets were: the United States (49.9% of all exports); India (10.2%); Spain (7.5%); and Brazil (6.9%). Leading suppliers were the United States (8.9% of all imports); China (8.5%); the United Kingdom (8.2%); and the Netherlands (6.2%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Exports are dominated by oil, and with oil prices forecast to remain relatively high against a background of rising production from 200510, substantial trade surpluses were predicted. The trade surplus was estimated at $18.2 billion in 2004. Over the 200105 period, the current-account balance averaged 0.6% of GDP. In 2004, the current-account surplus was estimated at $5.228 billion.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

In 1892, Nigeria's first bank, the African Banking Corp., was established, patterned along British lines. Before World War II, two large British banks, the Bank of British West Africa and Barclays

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 17,796.5 7,958.2 9,838.3
United States 7,320.9 822.8 6,498.1
India 2,083.3 315.7 1,767.6
Spain 1,175.6 108.3 1,067.3
France-Monaco 1,142.3 371.7 770.6
Brazil 1,051.3 174.6 876.7
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 854.0 200.8 653.2
Indonesia 537.2 107.8 429.4
Portugal 461.4 461.4
Netherlands 364.8 391.7 -26.9
Canada 357.3 38.6 318.7
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account 506.0
   Balance on goods 4,288.0
     Imports -8,588.0
     Exports 12,876.0
   Balance on services -2,496.0
   Balance on income -2,578.0
   Current transfers 1,292.0
Capital Account -48.0
Financial Account -4,002.0
   Direct investment abroad
   Direct investment in Nigeria 1,005.0
   Portfolio investment assets 50.0
   Portfolio investment liabilities -39.0
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets -3,319.0
   Other investment liabilities -1,699.0
Net Errors and Omissions 7.0
Reserves and Related Items 3,538.0
() data not available or not significant.

Bank, virtually monopolized Nigerian banking. After 1945, a number of African-owned banks entered the field; between 1946 and 1952, however, more than 20 such banks failed. The bank of issue became the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1958. It regulated most commercial banking operations in Nigeria, but the federal Ministry of Finance retained control of most international activities of the financial sector. The Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) was established in 1964 to provides long- and medium-term financing to concerns in the industrial nonpetroleum, mining, and tourist sectors.

The 1969 Banking Decree required that all banking institutions be incorporated in Nigeria, and a 1976 law gave the government 60% ownership of all foreign banks. The Banking Decree also established minimum capital requirements for licensed banks, based on the total deposits. Important additional sources of credit were provided by thrift and loan societies and by the branches of the National Development Corporation. The National Bank for Commerce and Industry helped finance smaller enterprises. Merchant banking expanded rapidly from 1973 onward, when the Union Dominican Trust Company began operations.

With the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in 1986, the licensing of new banks was liberalized. In July 1990 the state banks were privatized. Beginning in 1990 the country allowed the establishment of foreign banks, but 60% of the foreign banks that were established in Nigeria had to be held by Nigerian interests. In the same year the government began a program to establish 500 community banks. From 1985 to 1993, the number of banks rose from 40 to 120, but declined to 89 in 1998.

While there are over 100 banks in Nigeria, the main banks in 2002 included the Afribank, Universal Trust Bank, FSB International Bank, Diamond Bank Limited, United Bank for Africa (with Banque Nationale de Paris and Bankers Trust shareholdings), Union Bank of Nigeria, and First Bank of Nigeria (partly owned by Standard Chartered), Nigeria International Bank Limited. All but the last bank on the list were charged in 1996 with import duty and excise collection. Twenty-seven ailing banks were liquidated by the government in 1997, while others merged. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $7.3 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $11.8 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 20.5%.

The Nigerian (formerly Lagos) Stock Exchange (NSE) began operations on 1 July 1961, following passage of the Lagos Stock Exchange Act; the government promulgated regulations for the exchange and provided that all dealings in stock be carried out only by members of the exchange. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fixed prices of all new securities, and regulated the prices of those already being traded. Transactions of 50,000 shares or more were subject to SEC approval. The government encouraged public issues of shares by Nigerian companies in an effort to mobilize local capital for the country's development. The exchange, in Lagos, with branches in Kaduna and Port Harcourt, dealt in government stocks and in shares of public companies registered in Nigeria. After the provision of new investment incentives under the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree of April 1974, activity on the stock exchange increased.

In a bid to encourage foreign interest in the NSE, a computerized central securities clearing system (CSCS) was installed on 14 April 1997, although it got off to a quiet start. The custodian bank for the system was Nigeria International Bank/Citibank. The benefit of the system was that trades would be settled within one week and eventually within two days, compared with the long delays hitherto experienced in effecting share transfers after purchases and sales. On 21 April 1997, a CBN directive lifted the restrictions on equity ownership of individual and corporate investors in Nigerian banks. Under this legislation, it was possible for an individual or another corporation to own up to a 100% share in a bank. Prior to the directive, the maximum shareholding for an individual was just 10%, while for companies it was 30%.

Market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) was $14.464 billion in 2004, with 207 companies listed. The NSE All Share Index was up 18.5% in 2004 to 23,844.5.

INSURANCE

The Nigerian Reinsurance Corp. requires foreign insurance companies to reinsure 20% through the corporation. In 1976, the government took a 60% interest in foreign-owned insurance companies. The only compulsory insurance is that for motor vehicles. Laws of 1976 and 1977 regulate insurance firms, particularly those in the life insurance field, and provide for their registration, investigation, and minimum capitalization. The regulatory body is the Director of Insurance, under the Federal Ministry of Trade (Insurance Division). In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $422 million, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $345 million. In 2002, Nigeria's top nonlife insurer was Nicon, with gross written nonlife premiums of $91.6 million, while the nation's leading life insurer that same year was Aiico, with gross written life insurance premiums of $15.6 million.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The federal government is responsible for collecting taxes on income, profits, and property, as well as import and export taxes and excise duties. It also runs the national transportation system. The petroleum sector provides over 83% of budgetary revenues. A large share of these revenues is redistributed to state governments. The budget is consistently in deficit. In 1998, debt financing amounted to $4.4 billion, but the 1999 budget provided for only $1.7 billion. Public investment flourished during the oil boom years of the 1970s. When the oil market prices collapsed in the 1980s however, the Nigerian government maintained its high level of spending, thus acquiring substantial foreign debt. Although privatization efforts began in 1986, increased government spending outside the official budget since 1990 has damaged public finance reform. As a result, the federal deficit increased from 2.8% of GDP in 1990 to 9% in 1998. Through privatization, the government sold all state-owned banks, fuel distribution companies, and cement plants in 2000. Nigeria sought to sell the troubled Nigerian Airways before it ceased operations as of 2006. The state telephone company NITEL, launched a mobile phone network in 2001; the government also hoped to privatize it. Nigeria's official foreign debt is about $32 billion, about three-fourths of which is owed to Paris Club countries.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Nigeria's central government took in revenues of approximately $12.8 billion and had expenditures of $13.5 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$680 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 11.2% of GDP. Total external debt was $37.49 billion.

TAXATION

By far the most important direct tax is the petroleum profits tax. The rate on taxable profits of petroleum companies since 1975 has been 85%, but a guaranteed profit of $2.30 per barrel was established in 1986.

With the restoration of democracy, most state and local governments have found it necessary to introduce their own local levies in the face of dwindling revenues from the Federation Account to the State and Local Governments.

Nigeria had a standard corporate tax rate of 30%, as of 2005, plus a 2% education tax. A reduced rate of 20% is available for companies engaged in manufacturing, agricultural production or mining solid minerals, and for wholly export-oriented enterprises. There was also a capital gains tax of 10% on the disposal of assets inside or outside of Nigeria, although as of 1 January 1998 capital gains from the sale of stocks and share is exempt. There is a withholding tax of 10% on dividends, interest income, rental income and royalties. There is also a tax on companies engaged in upstream (exploration and production) activities in the petroleum sector.

Under the Personal Income Tax Act, both Nigerian and foreign residents in Nigeria are subject to a progressive tax on their worldwide income, with a top rate of 30%. Property taxes are assessed by state governments.

In 1993, the Value-added Tax Decree (VAT Act) abolished the 1986 Sales Tax Decree of 1986, establishing a VAT with a standard rate of 5% (as of 2005) chargeable on most goods and services. Exempted goods include medical and pharmaceutical products, basic foodstuffs, books and educational materials, baby products, locally manufactured fertilizers, all exports, plants and machinery used in export processing zones (EPZs). Of the proceeds collected, 50% goes to state government, 35% to local governments, and 15% to the administrative costs of the tax. States are also authorized to impose a tax on goods and services rendered in the state. Excise duties on beer, tobacco, textiles, and other goods are also levied.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

The federal government levies customs duties on most imports, but these duties were substantially reduced in 1986 and in 1995. The import duty varies from 560%, averaging 12%. All imports are also subject to a 7% port surcharge and a 5% value-added tax (VAT). The paperwork necessary for exporting and importing is lengthy. The taxation system has been widely avoided and valuations are arbitrary.

Prohibited exports include raw hides and skins, timber and building materials, raw palm kernels, and unprocessed rubber (to protect building and processing industries). Most goods produced in Nigeria may be freely exported. Prohibited imports include live chicks, flour, vegetable oils, gypsum, mosquito repellent coils, plastic domestic articles, used tires, and weapons.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Nigeria is West Africa's most populous country, and one of the most developed. Investment in the petroleum industry was carried out on a very large scale in the 1970s, including funds devoted to production, refining, and petrochemicals. The petroleum industry was largely nationalized during that period. Upstream operations are dominated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. The company has been involved in conflict with local groups, particularly the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOPOS), which accused Shell of causing life-threatening environmental damage, while the company contends that the damage was caused by interference with its operations. Downstream, two consortiums with foreign participation have controlled about 30% of the market: Total Fin a Elf Nigeria Plc and Unipetrol/Agip. However, in 2005, Majestic Oil (Sierra Leone) acquired Unipetrol's 24.22% share in the West Africa Oil Refinery when the company failed to invest in the rehabilitation of the facility.

In December 1989, a new Nigerian Enterprises Decree permitted 100% foreign ownership in any new venture except those in banking, oil, insurance, and mining. The government uses an open tender system for awarding government contracts. However, a patronage system exerts powerful influence over the awarding of such contracts. Government scandals, political instability, and endemic corruption (Nigeria is regularly ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, often at the top of the list) have inhibited foreign investment. Corporate profits, except for those of oil companies, are taxed at 30%.

In 1992, the Nigerian Free Zone Act was passed establishing the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA). Free trade zones (FTZ), so renamed in 2001, are expanses of land with improved ports and/or transportation, warehousing facilities, uninterrupted electricity and water supplies, advanced telecommunications services and other amenities to accommodate business operations. Under the free trade zone system, as long as end products are exported (although 25% can be sold in the domestic market), enterprises are exempt from customs duties, local taxes, and foreign exchange restrictions, and qualify for incentivestax holidays, rent-free land, no strikes or lockouts, no quotas in EU and US markets, and, under the 2000 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), preferential tariffs in the US market until 2008. When fully developed, free zones are to encompass industrial production, offshore banking, insurance and reinsurance, international stock, commodities, and mercantile exchanges, agro-allied industry, mineral processing, and international tourist facilities.

In 1995, the military government decreed the establishment of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) as well as the liberalization of the foreign exchange market. These, with amendments, remain the bases of Nigeria's policy of encouraging foreign investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow was reported at $1.5 billion in 1997, and about $1 billion in both 1998 and 1999. In late 2002, the Nigerian government announced that since the return to an elected government in May 1999, n56.94 billion in FDI had flowed into the country, from a total of 170 foreign companies.

In 2003, the stock of FDI was estimated at $24 billion, which accounted for approximately 43% of GDP. Total FDI inflow was $1.2 billion in 2003. Total FDI outflow was estimated at $93 million in 2003, while total FDI outward stock was estimated at $4.6 billion, accounting for 8.3% of GDP. Most FDI inflows continue to fund oil and gas exploration and production, liquefied natural gas projects, and related activities.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The agriculture sector was the focus of intense development interest during the 1990s, with food self-sufficiency the goal. In 1990, agriculture was the subject of a separate three-year development plan involving public and private spending targets concentrating on the family farmer. The program included price stabilization plans and schemes to revitalize the palm oil, cocoa, and rubber subsectors. The Agricultural Development Projects continued through the decade, but implementation of goals was difficult. The country still imports most of its wheat from the United States.

An integrated petrochemical industry was also a priority. Using the output of the nation's refineries, Nigeria produced benzene, carbon black, and polypropylene. The development of liquid natural gas facilities was expected to lead to the production of methanol, fertilizer, and domestic gas. Nigeria's refineries operated at less than optimal rates throughout the 1990s and into the early- and mid-2000s.

In the manufacturing sector, the government was backing a policy of local sourcing whereby locally produced raw materials were converted into finished products. By 2003, manufacturing accounted for 4% of gross domestic product (GDP), down from 13% in 1982.

By the beginning of the 2000s, the government was more concerned about halting corruption and reigning in the state budget than economic development. Nevertheless, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was created to coordinate economic and social development in the oil-producing region.

Nigeria's foreign debt stood at around $30.55 billion in 2004, a large portion of which was interest and payment arrears. The Obasanjo administration in the early 2000s was supporting private-sector-led, market-oriented economic growth, and had begun economic reform programs. Privatization of state-owned enterprises continued. A Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved in 2000 lapsed in 2001 as the government's economic reform program went off track. By 2005, Nigeria had negotiated a deal for forgiveness of 60% of its debt with the Paris Club.

By 2006, the centerpiece of President Obasanjo's policy agenda was the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), which aimed to diversify the economy away from its dependence upon oil. Corruption was an issue that still demanded a great deal of attention. Although the government has called for economic reform, progress in the mid-2000s was held back by strong vested interests opposed to change, especially to privatization and the restructuring of the public sector. With offshore oil production increasing, the need to renegotiate Nigeria's OPEC quota was a priority in 2006. President Obasanjo sought to maintain good relations with Western powers and to promote Nigeria as a leading international and regional power.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A 2004 law established a unified system of mandatory individual accounts for public employees. The system is not fully implemented in the private sector. The National Social Insurance Trust Fund holds contributions previously made and will transfer the funds into a private pension. Old age pensions are available after age 50, and are not payable abroad. Medical benefits are provided to insured employees of firms with 10 or more workers. Employers fund work injury insurance. There is limited social assistance and health care benefits provided to families.

Although sex discrimination is banned under the constitution, traditional practices still deprive women of many rights and the adoption of Shariah law by many northern states has more severely limited the rights and freedom of women. A Woman may not obtain a passport without her husband's permission. It is customary for all assets to be turned over to the parents after the death of a male, leaving the widow economically destitute. Segregation by gender occurs in some schools, health facilities, and, in some states, on public transportation. Purdah, the Islamic practice of completely segregating a woman from men other than those within her family, is practiced in some families, primarily in the north. In Shariah courts, women's testimony is given less weight than that of men. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread throughout the country despite government opposition. Domestic violence is widespread, and wife beating is permissible under the penal code. According to a 2004 survey, more than 64% of women and 61% of men believed that a husband had justification for beating his wife under certain circumstances, including burning food.

As of 2006, Nigeria's human rights situation had improved, but serious abuses remained. Arbitrary arrest and detention were still used to silence the government's critics. Reports of torture and extrajudicial killings persisted, and prison conditions were considered to be life threatening. Overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions were compounded by limited food, water, and medicine for inmates. Sentences of stoning and amputation were still imposed.

HEALTH

Nigeria's health care delivery system consists of a network of primary, secondary, and tertiary facilities. As of 2004, there were an estimated 27 physicians, 66 nurses, 2 dentists, 8 pharmacists, and 52 midwives per 100,000 people. The target areas for mass procurement of medical equipment are the teaching hospitals. The lack of proper facilities and inadequate remuneration of public sector health care workers have also spurred the development of a limited number of privately-owned hospitals which cater to those who can afford them. The country is in need of medical supplies and equipment. Some pharmaceuticals are manufactured in Nigeria. Approximately 57% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 63% had adequate sanitation. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 2.8% of GDP.

Despite the receding influence of such endemic diseases as yellow fever, health problems in Nigeria remain acute. Malaria and tuberculosis are the diseases of most frequent incidence, but serious outbreaks of cerebrospinal meningitis still occur in the north. Just under half of all deaths are thought to be among children, who are especially vulnerable to malaria and account for 75% of registered malaria deaths. The prevalence of child malnutrition for children under age five was 46%. Goiter was present in 20% of all school-age children. Nigeria had the highest number of measles cases reported of all African nations, and. diarrheal diseases remain prevalent. Close to 15% of all Nigerian children did not live to their fifth birthday. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were as follows: tuberculosis, 53%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 45%; polio, 45%; and measles, 69%. Only 1% of children were immunized for yellow fever.

Schistosomiasis, guinea worm (19,766 cases in 1995), trachoma, river blindness, and yaws are other diseases of high frequency. Progress has been made in the treatment of sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) and leprosy. The former has been nearly eliminated by the introduction of new drugs, while the introduction of sulfone therapy has nearly halted the incidence of new cases of leprosy in the eastern states. A program for the eradication of river blindness and malaria has been undertaken in cooperation with the World Health Organization.

The government is also working on the control of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, through public education and behavior change. HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic levels in Nigeria. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 5.40 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 3,600,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, the third-highest in the world. There were an estimated 310,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

Only 15% of married women used contraceptives. The fertility rate in 2000 was 5.3 children per woman surviving her childbearing years. The life expectancy for the Nigerian was only 46.74 years in 2005. In that year the infant mortality rate was 98.80 per 1,000 live births. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 39.2 and 14.1 per 1,000 people.

HOUSING

Housing generally has not ranked high on the scale of priorities for social spending and state governments have tended to rely upon local authorities to meet the problem. Efforts at providing low-cost rural housing have been minimal, despite the creation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in 1977, and shantytowns and slums are common in urban areas. Overcrowding in urban housing is a serious problem. It has been estimated that about 85% of the urban population live in single rooms, often with eight to twelve persons per room. Living conditions are poor. The total number of housing units in 1992 was 25,661,000. In 1996, only about 27% of urban dwellers had access to piped water. Less than 10% of urban dwellers had an indoor toilet.

In 1979, at the establishment of a civilian government, about 37% of all housing units were cement or brick roofed with asbestos or corrugated iron; 34% were mud plastered with cement and roofed with corrugated iron. In the same year, 44% of urban dwellings were rented, 37% were owner occupied, 17% were rent free, and 2% were "quasi-rented" at below-average rates. Since then, the government has initiated a number of projects aimed at providing adequate housing at all income levels; but many of these were unsuccessful and because of the poor quality of workmanship in some of developments, many finished dwellings were soon left vacant.

EDUCATION

The 1979 constitution made primary education the responsibility of the states and local councils. State and federal authorities have concurrent powers over postprimary education. The first six years of primary education were made compulsory in 1976. These are followed by six years of general secondary studies or technical school studies. Primary education begins in the local language but introduces English in the third year. The academic year runs from October to July.

In 2001, about 8% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 67% of age-eligible students; 74% for boys and 60% for girls. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 29% of age-eligible students; 32% for boys and 26% for girls. It is estimated that about 82.3% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 42:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 35:1. In 2003, private schools accounted for about 7% of primary school enrollment and 20.7% of secondary enrollment.

The advancement in education in the southern states, compared with the relative lag in the northern states, reflects the contribution of Christian missions to the Nigerian educational system. Teacher-training colleges are operated by missions or voluntary societies; their schools, however, are regulated and largely supported by the government. There are 13 polytechnic colleges and 4 colleges of technology. A major obstacle to the further advancement of education in Nigeria is the shortage of qualified teachers; large numbers of foreigners are employed, particularly by the universities. In 2003, about 8% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 66.8%, with 74.4% for men and 59.4% for women.

Public expenditure on education was estimated at less than 1% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The National Library of Nigeria was founded in Lagos in 1962 and has over one million volumes, including some 35,000 United Nations documents and the National Information and Documentation Center. In 2004 there were 18 state branches of the National Library. The National Archives are in Enugu State. State governments have libraries in their respective capitals and in all the local government headquarters. Almost all of the 20 universities have libraries. The largest public library in Kano holds over 300,000 volumes. The chief university library is that of the University of Ibadan, which contains 450,000 volumes. Other sizable university collections are at the University of Lagos (375,000 volumes), the University of Ife (401,000), and the University of Nigeria at Nsukka and Enugu (717,000). The High Court of Lagos State holds a collection of 600,000 volumes. There are dozens of other privately maintained collections throughout the country.

The National Museum in Lagos contains many specimens of Nigerian art, mostly pieces of statuary and carvings, remarkable for their variety and quality. It also has archaeological and ethnographic exhibits. Other museums represent more specialized interests: the museum at Ife opened in 1955 in response to halt the looting of national art treasures, and contains world-renowned bronze and terra cotta heads; the decorative arts museum at Benin City has a collection of bronzes; and that at Oron has a valuable collection of ancestor carvings. The museum at Jos, opened in 1952 originally as the National Museum, is a center of research into the prehistoric culture of Nigeria. The Esie Museum, at Ilorin in Kwara State, has stone antiquities, and the National Museum at Kaduna has archaeological and ethnographic exhibits, including a "craft village." The Owo Museum, in Ondo State, displays arts, crafts, and ethnographic relics. There are also museums in Kano, Argungu, and Oshogbo. Lagos also houses the Centre for Black and African Art and Civilization.

MEDIA

Telephone and telegraph communications are the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Communications through its parastatal NITEL. Trunk lines and UHF links connect all the major towns, and all of these have exchange units, including automatic exchanges at Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Jos, and Port Harcourt. In 2003, there were an estimated seven mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 26 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. Postal services are provided by another parastatalNIPOST. There are post offices in all 305 local-government headquarters and other major towns.

Radio broadcasting is the joint responsibility of the federal and state governments, operating under the Federal Radio Corp. of Nigeria, created in 1978; state radio stations broadcast in English and local languages. Television, introduced in 1959, now operates throughout the country under the direction of the Nigerian Television Authority, with stations in all state capitals and channels set aside for the state governments. Several states also run their own stations. In 2001, there were nine television stations and six radio stations that were privately owned. In 2003, there were an estimated 200 radios and 103 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 7.1 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 6 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 13 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

In 2002 there were 26 major daily newspapers in Nigeria, some of them published by the federal or state governments. Leading Nigerian daily newspapers (with their 2002 estimated circulations) are: Daily Times (national, 400,000), National Concord (Lagos, 200,000), Daily Champion (Lagos, 150,000), Nigerian Observer (national, 150,000), The Punch (national, 150,000), Nigerian Tribune (national, 109,000), New Democrat (Kaduna, 100,000), Nigerian Standard (Jos, 100,000), New Nigerian (national, 80,000), The Guardian (Lagos, 80,000).

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press and the government generally respected these rights; however, there were problems in some areas, particularly in restrictions on antigovernment reports.

ORGANIZATIONS

Cooperatives are very important in Nigerian economic life. Many different societies are included in this categoryconsumers' societies, thrift and credit societies, and othersbut the most important are the marketing societies, which play a significant role in handling export produce, and sometimes in the production of both food and cash crops. Examples include the African Groundnut Council and the Cocoa Producers' Alliance. However, the Structural Adjustment Program is gradually replacing cooperatives with farmers' societies and export societies. There are chambers of commerce in all 19 state capitals and Abuja, and a National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture in Lagos and Abuja.

The Girl Guides, the Boy Scouts, YWCA organizations, Muslim societies, Jamat Aid groups, and other community, social, and service groups are active in all towns and villages. There are sports clubs in Lagos and all the state capitals and national chapters of sports associations. Other national youth organizations include the National Association of Nigerian Students, the Ahmadyya Youth Association of Nigeria, 4-H, and the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria. National women's organizations include the Nigeria Association of University Women and the National Center for Women in Development.

Literary and art associations meet regularly in Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, and other major cities. Nigerian Academy of Sciences promotes public interest and education in the sciences. The Nigerian Medical Association promotes research and education on health issues and works to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are several other associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions.

The Constitutional Rights Project, founded in 1990, is a social action group. Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs and Kiwanis International, are also present. International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Habitat for Humanity, Caritas, and the Red Cross.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

There are five-star hotels in Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna, and firstclass hotels in all the state capitals. All of the cities have museums, which attract visitors to their historical artifacts. Many of the beaches are underdeveloped and lack accommodations and tourist facilities. Sports and social clubs offer facilities for swimming, sailing, tennis, squash, golf, and polo.

A passport valid for at least six months from visa purchase, return/onward ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required for entry into Nigeria. Citizens of 106 countries including the United States and Canada also need visas. Travelers from infected areas are required to show a certificate of yellow fever vaccination. Precautions are recommended against malaria, meningitis, and typhoid.

There were 2,253,115 tourists who visited Nigeria in 2003, of whom 16.5% came from Europe. Receipts from tourism amounted to $263 million in 2002.

In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Abuja at $266, and Lagos, $315.

FAMOUS NIGERIANS

Famous Nigerians of the 19th century include 'Uthman dan Fodio (d.1817), who founded the Fulani empire at the beginning of the century, and Samuel Ajayi Crowther (180992), a Yoruba missionary of the Church of England who was consecrated first bishop of the Niger Territories in 1864.

The Palm Wine Drinkard and other stories by Amos Tutuola (19201997) exploit the rich resources of traditional Nigerian folk tales. Benedict Chuka Enwonwu (19211994), Nigeria's leading painter and sculptor, gained international fame, as has Wole Soyinka (b.1934), a prominent playwright who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African so honored. Novelists of note include Chinua Achebe (b.1930) and Cyprian Ekwensi (b.1921). Sports figures include Dick Tiger (192971), twice world middleweight champion and once light-heavyweight champion.

Herbert Macaulay (18641946) is regarded as the father of Nigerian nationalism. Among contemporary political figures, Dr. (Benjamin) Nnamdi Azikiwe (190496), long one of the leading West African nationalists and formerly premier of the Eastern Region, was a founder of the NCNC and first governor-general and president of independent Nigeria. Former chief rival of Azikiwe and founder of the Action Group, Chief Obafemi Awolowo (190987) resigned as premier of the Western Region to lead the opposition in the federal House of Assembly. The hereditary leader of the Hausa-Fulani ruling class in northern Nigeria and leader of the NPC until his assassination in January 1966 was Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, sardauna of Sokoto (190966), who became prime minister of the Northern Region in 1954. The first prime minister was Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (191266), who also was assassinated in the 1966 coup. Chief Simeon Olaosebikan Adebo (191394), a leading Nigerian diplomat, has held several UN posts. Maj. Gen. Yakubu Gowon (b.1934) headed the Federal Military Government from July 1966 to July 1975, when he was deposed in a bloodless coup during his absence from Nigeria at an OAU meeting. Gowon is credited with formulating the postcivil war policy of reconciliation with the Ibos that resulted in the country's rapid recovery. Alhaji Shehu Shagari (b.1925) served in several high government posts before being elected president in 1979. Reelected in 1983, he was subsequently deposed in a military coup from which Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (b.1942) emerged as leader of the Supreme Military Council and head of state. Basketball player Hakeem Alajuwon (b.1963) was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History by the National Basketball Association in 199697.

DEPENDENCIES

Nigeria has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Badru, Pade. Imperialism and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria, 19601996. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1998.

Falola, Toyin. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.

. Development Planning and Decolonization in Nigeria. Gainesville, Fla.: University of Florida Press, 1996.

Forrest, Tom. Politics and Economic Development in Nigeria. 2nd ed. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1995.

Ihonvbere, Julius Omozuanvbo. Nigeria: The Politics of Adjustment and Democracy. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994.

Kastfelt, Niels. Religion and Politics in Nigeria: A Study in Middle Belt Christianity. New York: British Academic Press, 1994.

King, Mae C. Basic Currents of Nigerian Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996.

Oyewole, Anthony, and John Lucas. Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2000.

Thompson, Joseph E. American Policy and African Famine: the Nigeria-Biafra War, 19661970. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Umoren, Joseph A. Democracy and Ethnic Diversity in Nigeria. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1996.

Uwazie, Ernest E. et al, eds. Inter-Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution in Nigeria. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 1999.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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NIGERIA

Federal Republic of Nigeria

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Nigeria is located in Western Africa, and borders the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin on the west and Cameroon on the east. It has a compact area of 923,768 square kilometers (356,376 square miles). The country's land mass extends from the Gulf of Guinea in the south to the Sahel (the shore of the Sahara Desert) in the north. Comparatively, Nigeria is slightly more than twice the size of California, or the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona combined. Abuja, the capital city of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, replaced the former capital city, Lagos, in December 1991, because of its more central location, among other reasons. Lagos remains Nigeria's commercial capital. Other major Nigerian cities include Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Maid-uquri, Jos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, and Aba.

POPULATION.

Accurate population counts for Nigeria are difficult to obtain because such figures are tied directly to representation in the National Assembly and distribution of national wealth; therefore, they are often skewed by groups vying for political or economic advantage. In the absence of an accurate census, it is impossible to determine how many people live in Nigeria beyond rough estimates. The population of Africa's largest country was estimated at 123,337,822 in 2000. This figure represents an increase of 39.36 percent over the 1991 population census figure of 88.5 million, which was hotly debated and widely believed to have been an undercount. In the year 2000, the birth rate was estimated at 40.12 per 1,000, while the death rate was estimated at 13.72 per 1,000. With a projected annual population growth rate of 2.67 percent between 2000 and 2015, Nigeria's population is expected to increase to 156,269,020 in the year 2015. Excess mortality due to AIDS, lower life expectancy, and higher infant mortality and death rates might reduce this projected figure.

The density of population in Nigeria is among the highest in Africa. It ranges from 100 persons per square kilometer in the northeastern and west-central regions to more than 500 persons per square kilometer in the south and northwestern regions. The population is largely young. According to a 2000 estimate of the age structure, the largest segment of the population (53 percent) comprised individuals who are between 15 and 64 years old. This percentage included 33,475,794 males and 32,337,193 females. The second largest segment (44 percent) were between 0 and 14 years old and included 27,181,020 males and 26,872,317 females. The smallest segment (3 percent) were individuals 65 years and older, including 1,729,149 males and 1,722,349 females. The estimated sex ratio of the total population in 2000 was 1.02 males to 1 female while life expectancy at birth for the total population was 51.56 years: 51.58 years for males, and 51.55 years for females. The government hopes that the expansion of education, especially among women, and the availability of birth control information, including family planning, will help to control the population growth. Nigeria has received assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and implement its programs on family planning and child survival. In 1992, Nigeria added an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program to its existing health activities.

Nigeria is a plural or multinational state, with 250 ethnic or nationality groups. The most populous and politically influential of the nationality groups include the Hausa-Fulani (29 percent) in the north, the Yoruba (21 percent) in the southwest, the Igbo (18 percent) in the southeast, and the Ijaw (10 percent) in the Niger Delta. This characteristic ethnic composition gives Nigeria a rich diversity in customs, languages, religious and cultural traditions. It also compounds Nigeria's political and economic problems. Although the people are primarily rural dwellers, Nigeria, like other post-colonial African countries, has been urbanizing rapidly. In the year 2000, nearly 25 percent of the Nigerian population were urban dwellers. At least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. Lagos, the largest city, had a population of 9.8 million in 1995, 12.5 million in 2000, and is projected to have a population of 25 million in 2015.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

As of 2001, the most conspicuous fact about Nigeria's economy is that the corruption and mismanagement of its post-colonial governments has prevented the channeling of the country's abundant natural and human resourcesespecially its wealth in crude oilinto lasting improvements in infrastructure and the construction of a sound base for self-sustaining economic development. Thus, despite its abundant resources, Nigeria is poorer today than it was at independence in 1960. Still one of the less developed and poorer countries of the world, it has the potential to become a major economic power if the leaders resolve to learn from past mistakes and to harness the country's rich natural and human resources for a productive and sustained effort to promote economic development.

Before the country was colonized by Britain, during the second half of the 19th century, the various nationality groups that currently make up Nigeria were largely an agricultural people. They were food self-sufficient and produced a variety of commodities that were exported overseas. British colonial administrators amalgamated (joined together) the nationality groups in 1914 into a larger economy for exploitation for the benefit of British industrial classes. Under colonial rule, Nigeria remained an agricultural country, exporting raw materials to Britain and importing from it finished goods. Therein lay the origins of the dependence of Nigerian economy on commodity markets of the industrialized Western world for its foreign exchange. While the industrialization of the country was discouraged, rudimentary foundations for a modern Nigerian economy, however, were laid. Colonial economic policies shaped future independent Nigeria's economy, particularly in marketing, labor supply, and investment. The process of colonial rule and formal economic exploitation ended in 1960 but left Nigeria a relatively strong but undiversified economy. Thereafter, Nigerians were poised to remedy this defect and to build a self-sustaining Nigerian economy comprising agricultural, industrial, and service sectors.

From independence in 1960, the state took up the direction and planning of economic growth and development. Education was progressively expanded at all levels to reduce the rate of illiteracy and to provide the requisite skills and labor force for development. Infrastructure of roads and communication networks were constructed far beyond what was inherited from colonial rule. Hydroelectric dams were built to generate electricity. Secondary industries and automobile assembly plants were established to create more employment opportunities. Because of the paucity (small number) of indigenous (native or local) private capital, these activities were undertaken and financed by the government, often with foreign assistance from such countries as Britain and the United States. Foreign oil companies, such as Shell-BP, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Agip, and Texaco, operate in partnership with the government in the oil sector, the mainstay of Nigeria's economy. The capital-intensive oil sector provides 95 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings and about 65 percent of its budgetary revenues.

Because the established, government-owned industries and businesses were often inefficient and corrupt, productivity was low at best. In particular, mismanagement and corruption were endemic (characteristic of) in the successive governments and throughout the nation. However, the gravest problem was caused by the government's decision to stress the industrial sector above all others. Caught in a web of competing demands for scarce resources, the officials took the path of rapid, large-scale industrialization at the expense of the agricultural sector, as well as light manufacturing. They directed the bulk of investment capital towards the promotion of what Western advisers captioned "industrial take off." This decision to abandon the knownagriculturefor the unknownrapid large-scale industrializationwas a fundamental error. The capital and the skill needed for rapid, large-scale industrialization were not sufficiently available. Thus, an unskilled workforce and insufficient funds severely handicapped the industrial sector. Also, Nigeria's neglect of the agricultural sector aggravated already problematic food shortages. Nigeria had raised enough food to meet domestic needs during its colonial period and in the decade following independence. However, it experienced food shortages in the 1970s and 1980s, which necessitated the importation of food from foreign countries. Among the imports were palm oil (from Malaysia), of which Nigeria had been the world's largest producer and exporter, and rice (from the United States) which was considered less nutritious than Nigerian brown rice. Once Africa's largest poultry producer, Nigeria lost that status because of inefficient corn production and a ban on the importation of corn. Furthermore, it is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, peanuts, and rubber.

Several forces compounded the problems of the agricultural sector. The migration of labor from the rural areas to the urban centers reduced the traditional agricultural labor force. Ecological constraints such as poor soil, erosion, drought, and the absence of agricultural research added to the problem. Other constraints on agricultural production include the use of antiquated technology due to a lack of capital, the low status given to agriculture in the education of the youth, inefficient marketing, an inadequate transportation infrastructure, lack of refrigeration, trade restrictions, under-investment due to unavailability of credit, low prices, and unstable pricing policies which resulted in farmers literally subsidizing urban dwellers and other sectors of the economy. In addition to these handicaps, import constraints limit the availability of many agricultural and food-processing plants. In general, land tenure discourages long-term investment in technology and modern production techniques.

The problem of food shortages and imports was addressed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the late 1970s the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo embarked upon "Operation Feed the Nation." His civilian successor, President Shehu Shagari, continued the program as the "Green Revolution." Both programs encouraged Nigerians to grow more food, and urged unemployed urban dwellers to return to the rural areas to grow food crops. The government provided farmers with fertilizers and loans from the World Bank. The food situation has stabilized, although Nigeria still imports food. A related problem which has not been completely resolved is the pollution of water in the Delta region and Ogoniland by oil companies. Water pollution disrupts farming efforts and has been a source of friction between farmers on one side and the national government and the oil companies on the other.

The oil boom which Nigeria experienced in the 1970s helped the nation to recover rapidly from its civil war and at the same time gave great impetus to the government's program of rapid industrialization. Many manufacturing industries sprang up and the economy experienced a rapid growth of about 8 percent per year that made Nigeria, by 1980, the largest economy in Africa. The growth, however, was not sustained. The new oil wealth did little to reverse widespread poverty and the collapse of even basic infrastructure and social services. The iron and steel industry, started with the help of the Soviet Union, still has not achieved a satisfactory level of production. The oil boom also provoked a shortage of labor in the agricultural sector as members of the rural workforce migrated to jobs in the urban construction boom and a growing informal sector . When the price of crude oil fell and corruption and mismanagement still prevailed at all levels, the economy became severely depressed. The urban unemployment rate rose to 28 percent in 1992, and crime also increased as 31.4 percent of the population lived below the poverty line.

Nigeria's debts mounted as administrators engaged in external borrowing and subsidized food and rice imports and gasoline prices. In the 1980s, economic realities forced Ibrahim Babangida's military regime to negotiate a loan with the World Bank and to reschedule Nigeria's external debts . His regime undertook an economic structural adjustment program (ESAP) to reduce Nigeria's dependence on oil and to create a basis for sustainable non-inflationary growth. However, external borrowing to shore up the economy created more problems than it alleviated. Much of the borrowed money never reached Nigeria. The portion that reached the country often went towards abandoned or nonperforming public sector projects. External loans escalated Nigeria's debts to US$30 billion during the Babangida regime and consumed external earnings in debt servicing . Similarly, the ESAP prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to advance the economy, and aggravated the problems of inflation and unemployment. It caused a reduction of state spending on education and health care. Continuing political instability due to Babangida's annulment of the presidential election results in June 1993 and the subsequent authoritarian rule of Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998) made the general economic situation worse. The gross corruption by the Abacha regime and its violations of people's fundamental rights turned Nigeria into an international pariah for 6 years, and thus discouraged foreign investment in the economy. Many industries and manufacturing companies could not obtain raw materials and closed down. Others operated under severe handicaps, including rampant power outages and refined petroleum scarcity. Not enough had been done in the years of plenty to diversify the economy or to sustain the development. Military coups (military overthrow of civilian governments) and political instability worsened the situation.

There was considerable optimism in May 1999 when Oluseguan Obasanjo became Nigeria's civilian president. Many hoped that he would lift Nigeria from the verge of economic bankruptcy. One of Obasanjo's objectives to that purpose was to secure debt relief from Nigeria's foreign creditors. However, these creditors insisted that Nigeria's wealth of untapped resources provided the means for the country to pay off its debts, and refused to cancel its debts of US$30 billion.

In spite of some opposition, Obasanjo embarked upon a program of privatizing some parastatals in order to reduce corruption, promote efficiency, and raise productivity. He introduced an anti-corruption bill which passed through the legislature, and recovered some of the revenues that had been stolen from the country and deposited in Western banks. The inflation rate , which was estimated at 12.5 percent at the start of his administration, was estimated at 6.6 percent in 2000. Significant exports of liquified natural gas started in 1999, and increased crude oil prices in 2000 provided his administration with additional revenues. So far, however, he has been unable to bring about economic recovery. Industrial capacity utilization appears to have diminished. Worse still, infrastructural facilities, including the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), continue to be in a state of disrepair. Expected massive inflow of foreign investment, on which the government had hinged its economic revival program, failed to materialize. This is in part because of the high cost of doing business in Nigeria and a lack of transparency in economic decision-making in the country. In addition to these realities, the unemployment situation in the country remains unchanged months after the restoration of civilian government. In fact, it has worsened among university graduates and ranged from 30 to 40 percent in 2000. Political uncertainties due to ethnic and religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians, and constant feuding between the president and the legislators aggravate the economic climate. Widespread armed robbery and a crime syndicate known locally as 419 prey on foreign nationals, further hindering foreign investment and tourism. The country's economy needs the collective efforts of the president and the National Assembly as well as more definite measures to address its ills in order to foster its recovery and growth. Currently, funds available to the government are insufficient to meet the needs of all sectors of the economy at once. External investors can contribute through long-term investment and joint ventures in Nigeria's large national market. Crude oil, the price of which rose sharply recently, remains a very considerable asset. Properly managed, it could provide a solid platform for more sustained Nigerian development and prosperity in the 21st century and beyond.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Nigeria is a federal republic currently under a strong presidential administration, a National Assembly made up of 2 chambersa Senate and a House of Representativesand a judiciary. It has 36 administrative divisions known as states. Each of the states is divided into local governments. Thus, Nigeria has 3 tiers of government: national, state, and local.

Nigeria emerged from British colonial rule with a multi-party system deemed essential to democratic governance. However, those political parties were not differentiated or distinguished from each other by any political or economic ideology. Rather, they were essentially ethnic and regionally based, and were preoccupied with promoting ethnic and regional interests. Two of the largest parties, the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), represented and championed the interests of the predominantly Muslim Northern Nigeria. The other leading parties, the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) and the Action Group (AG), pursued the interests of the southeast and southwest where they were respectively based. The primary interest of the political parties was thus to use Nigeria's constitutional set up, together with the country's national wealth and power, to promote ethnic and regional security and well-being rather than a national end. Thus, upon independence from Britain in 1960, the 4 leading political parties preoccupied themselves with acquiring control of Nigeria's national wealth and power rather than distributing the nation's power and resources equitably among its nationality groups. This issue continues to dominate Nigerian politics in spite of the formation of more comprehensive national parties in the late 1970s and early 1990s.

The politics of ethnic and regional security play a key role in Nigeria's political and economic development as well as its role in Africa and the world in general. It is the major source of growing political crisis in Nigeria. It undermines the selection of responsible and responsive national leadership by politicizing ethnicity. National leaders are recruited on the basis of their ethnicity and region, rather than their ability, experience, and vision. Hence, Nigeria's political and economic performance falls below par in comparison with other countries of comparable size and resources. The primacy of ethnicity has resulted in periodic outbreaks of violence between Nigerian people groups; this violence, in turn, supports military governments that rule with an iron fist in order to maintain order in Nigeria's tense political climate. Census enumeration for economic planning and electoral representation has fallen victim to the same ethnic politics as people groups claim bloated population numbers in order to secure more government funding and representation. It is also often the factor that determines the location of industries and development projects rather than feasibility studies or viability of the location.

Nigeria has been under 3 civilian administrations and 7 military regimes since its political independence from Britain in 1960. After the independence elections in 1959, an NPC-NCNC coalition ruled the country with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of the NPC (the senior partner) as the prime minister. In mid-January 1966, Sir Abubakar and a few of his associates were killed in a poorly executed but popular military coup after a succession of political crises, violence, and repression which Sir Abubakar could not or refused to stop. The leader of the coup, Major Kaduna Nzeogwnu, portrayed the deposed leaders as corrupt individuals who sought to keep Nigeria permanently divided so they could remain in office.

The 15 January 1966 military coup established Nigeria's first military government under General John T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi. Like most of the leaders of the coup that overthrew Abubakar's government, Aguiyi-Ironsi was an Igbo from southeastern Nigeria, which immediately raised the suspicions of the Muslim leaders and soldiers of northern Nigeria. They saw the coup as a plot to impose Igbo-domination on Nigeria, and resentment in northern Nigeria against Aguiyi-Ironsi grew fast. His corrective policy of centralization of power became an excuse for a counter-coup by northern soldiers that put a northerner, Yakubu Gowon, in power on 29 July 1966. Initially, Gowon's regime was uncertain and unstable. It witnessed an orgy of ethnic bloodletting in which about 30,000 Igbo residents in northern Nigeria were slaughtered. Attempts to restructure Nigeria into a confederation failed. In May 1967 as Colonel Obumegwu Ojukwu, governor of Eastern Nigeria, contemplated the breakaway of the region, Gowon issued a decree dividing Nigeria into 12 states6 in the North, 3 in the East, and 3 in the West and Midwest. On 30 May 1967 Ojukwu declared the Eastern region the Sovereign Republic of Biafra. Consequently, a 30-month Nigeria-Biafra War began in July 1967. The war ended in January 1970 when Nigeria forced Biafra's surrender.

Achievement of post-war reconciliation and reconstruction goals was remarkably smooth, facilitated by the oil boom of the early 1970s. However, Gowon suspended the country's normal political activities beyond his promises and the expectations of eager politicians. In addition, he was unable to curb widespread corruption as well as a scandalous and excessive import of cement that clogged the port of Lagos (then Nigeria's capital). Consequently, he was overthrown in a bloodless coup on 29 July 1975 by General Murtala Muhammad.

In February 1976 Muhammad, who had already initiated a plan for a return to civilian rule over a period of 4 years, was himself assassinated in an attempted coup later that year. He was succeeded by his second-in-command, General Olusegun Obasanjo. In the same year, 7 additional states were created, bringing the total to 19. By 1996, 17 others were carved out. Meanwhile, Obasanjo strictly observed the set schedule for a return to civilian rule. An assembly elected to draft a new constitution completed the task in 1978. The constitution was published on 21 September 1978. On the same day the ban on political activity was lifted, leading to the formation of 5 political parties. In 1979, the political parties competed in a series of elections for state and national offices. Shehu Shagari, a northern Muslim and member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was elected as president. Thus, after a transition period of 3 years Obasanjo transferred political power in October 1979 to a civilian administration led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

President Shagari's administration marked the beginning of Nigeria's Second Republic. His administration was a coalition of 2 political partiesthe National Party of Nigeria (NPN, senior partner) and the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). Under the administration, the characteristic politics of ethnic and regional security that ruined the First Republic re-emerged. The coalition collapsed in 1981. Internal dissension, corruption, and abuse of power by the administration became manifest and weakened the moral authority of the government.

Senior military officers overthrew Shagari's government on 31 December 1983. The officers accused the government of widespread corruption, waste, and mismanagement of the economy, making Nigeria a "beggar nation." From 1984 to 1998, Nigeria experienced socioeconomic and political subjugation under 3 successive military dictators: Muhammadu Buhari (1984 to 1985), Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (1985 to 1993), and Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998). The series of dictators caused further decline in the Nigerian economy as unprincipled, unproductive, corrupt, and weak political elites partnered with the military to smother any opposition and banish all democratic liberties and opportunities in the country. A planned return to civilian government in 1993 did not take place. On 23 June 1993 Babangida nullified the election of Moshood Abiola, a Yoruba businessman from southwest Nigeria as president on 12 June. Faced with riots, in which 100 people were killed, and lack of support from the military, Babangida stepped down on 26 August and installed a military-backed interim government headed by another southwestern Nigerian businessman, Ernest Shonekan. Shonekan, who received little or no public support because he was perceived as a strategic tool of the military, was to rule until new elections, scheduled for 1994. He was unable to deal with Nigeria's ever-growing economic problems and was removed on 17 November 1993 by Sani Abacha, who then assumed full political authority.

Abacha quickly dissolved all democratic political institutions and replaced all elected governors with military officers. He promised to return the government to civilian rule but refused to disclose a timetable. Faced with domestic and external criticism for his measures, Abacha called for elections for delegates to a Constitutional Conference. Most Nigerians boycotted the elections which were held in May 1994. Leaders of the major opposition group, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), were arrested when they attempted to reactivate disbanded democratic institutions. In 1997 Abacha inaugurated a period of transition to civilian rule and promoted the emergence of 5 political parties. Soon, however, he decided instead on a program of self-succession; he created and financed a youth movement and other paid political sycophants (flatterers) to advocate his self-succession. He manipulated the 5 political parties to adopt him as their candidate for the presidency. Thus, the national election that had been planned for August 1998 was to become a referendum (a decision by the general population) on Abacha's self-succession. Every measure of opposition against the plan was foiled, while lavish national resources were spent to promote it. The referendum on Abacha's self-succession did not take place, however. On 7 June 1998, Abacha died suddenly, the nation was told, from natural causes. While he ruled, Abacha had committed human rights abuses, significantly impaired the authority and independence of the judiciary, imprisoned his critics, looted the national treasury, and failed to tackle the nation's economic problems.

Upon Abacha's death, General Abdulsalami Abubakar was selected by the military leadership to succeed him. Abubakar worked to calm the tempers of an agitated nation and promised to end military dictatorship through a genuine transition to civilian rule by the end of May 1999. He proceeded to release Abacha's political prisoners, including journalists and human rights activists. He reached an understanding to release Moshood Abiolathe presumed winner of the 12 June 1993 presidential election annulled by Babangidafrom detention. However, Abiola died of a heart attack in August before he could be released. In a further move, Abubakar dissolved the 5 Abacha-regime political parties. In their place emerged 15 others, only 3 of whichPeople's Democratic Party (PDP), All People's Party (APP), and the Alliance for Democracywere certified to contest the elections at local, state, and national levels. The elections were completed at all levels by February 1999. The PDP won a majority of the seats in both chambers of the National Assembly as well as 21 of the country's 36 governorships. Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military head of state and a PDP candidate, won the presidential election. On 5 May 1999, Abubakar proclaimed by decree a constitution which went into effect on 29 May 1999. On the same day Obasanjo was inaugurated as the president of the Third Republic of Nigeria.

His administration faces formidable political and economic problems. Leaders of the southern states persistently demand a sovereign national conference to restructure the federation. The governors, especially those of the oil-producing states, demand a new formula for revenue allocation. Leaders of the northern states complain of neglect and inadequate allocation of resources and national offices to their region. Infrastructure of roads, especially in the south, is in disrepair. There is a growing income disparity, and a constant shortage of electricity and gasoline. Lax security and widespread armed robbery have triggered demands for regional control of security and resources. Ethnic and religious clashes discourage foreign investment and worsen the enormous rate of unemployment. Critics have described Obasanjo's government as unimaginative in dealing with these issues.

From independence in 1960 to the present, Nigerian governments, whether civilian or military, have not differed substantially on their economic policy. Each supported the concept of a mixed economya public sector controlled by the state and a private sector or free enterpriseand state intervention in such social sectors as education and health. This was in accord with the system of economy inherited at independence from Britain. In 1962, 2 years after independence, Sir Abubakar's government inaugurated a 6-year development plan. The plan mapped Nigeria's transition from an agricultural economy to a mixed economy whose bases were agricultural expansion and limited industrial growth.

Broad in its scope, the economic development plan sought to achieve national economic objectives, such as faster growth and higher levels of average material welfare. The plan included economic forecasts, policies towards the private sector, and a list of proposed public expenditures. Nigerian political leaders determined the general objectives and priorities of the plan, but the main authors of the actual document were foreign (Western) economists. The national government became heavily involved in carrying out the plan because it was unable to generate local private investment to raise sufficient capital for development. The Western advisors discouraged increased taxes on the wealthy and called for foreign assistanceabout 50 percent of the public-sector investmentin carrying out the plan.

After the civil war, the military regime of Yakubu Gowon instituted a second development plan for the years 1970 to 1975. The plan sought to promote reconstruction after the civil war, to restore the nation's productive capacity, and to achieve a measurable degree of self-reliance. In 1972 the government issued the first of Nigeria's indigenization decrees that forbade aliens to invest in specified enterprises and reserved participation in certain trades to Nigerian citizens. At that time, about 70 percent of commercial firms operating in Nigeria were foreign-owned. In 1975, as a follow-up to the indigenization decree, the federal government bought 60 percent of the equity in the marketing operations of the major oil companies in Nigeria. It rejected full nationalization as a means of promoting its program of indigenization. After the overthrow of Gowon in 1975, a third development plan (1975 to 1980) was begun. Stimulated by the oil boom of 1974, the plan sought to expand agriculture, industry, transport, housing, education, health facilities, water supply, rural electrification, and community development. These objectives were not fully achieved because of inflation in minimum wage and administrative salaries awarded by the Udorji Commission and decline in projected oil revenue.

The slump in oil revenue caused the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari to delay the start of the fourth development plan (1981 to 1985). Falling oil revenues, cost of increased food imports, and the inability of the local governments to carry out their responsibilities threatened and undermined the plan. The overthrow of the civilian government of Shagari by Muhammadu Buhari in 1985 delayed the fifth development plan. In 1989, General Babangida, who had overthrown Buhari in 1985, abandoned the idea of a 5-year national development plan. In its place he introduced a 3-year "rolling plan" between 1990 and 1992, anticipating a more comprehensive 15-to 20-year plan. Because of rapid change and economic uncertainty, such rolling plans were to be revised at the end of each year and new estimates, targets, and projects were to be added. Babangida's rolling plan sought to reduce inflation and naira exchange rate instability, achieve food self-sufficiency, maintain infrastructure, and reduce the adverse effects of economic structural adjustment he had imposed on the nation. His rolling plan did no better than previous 5-year plans to promote Nigeria's economic development. The current civilian administration of Obasanjo is emphasizing a private-sector-led economy and "market oriented" economy. So far, it has done little to create a solid enabling environment in spite of its anti-corruption campaign aimed at injecting transparency and accountability into economic decision-making.

Nigeria derives its budgetary revenues primarily from petroleum profit taxation, import and excise duties , and mining rents and royalties. Petroleum taxation accounts for 65 percent of the budgetary revenues. As of May 2000 the tax rate for assessable petroleum profit was 85 percent. In March 1995, the government established a new tariff structure levying taxes on imported goods, ranging from 5 to 60 percent. Import tax is non-preferential and applies equally to all countries. Import duties are either specific or ad valorem ( value-added tax , VAT) depending on the commodity. In 2000 the VAT rate was 5 percent. Import duties are collected by the Nigerian Customs Service in association with government-appointed accounting/auditing firms and paid into the federal treasury through selected banks, such as First Bank of Nigeria, Public Limited Company (PLC); Union Bank of Nigeria, PLC; and United Bank for Africa, PLC.

Other sources of revenue include: companies' income tax (30 percent of assessable profit), capital gains tax (10 percent of capital gains), various types of licenses, and personal income tax. Employees "pay as they earn." Such taxes are deducted at monthly pay periods by employers for the federal treasury. In 2000 the tax rate varied from 5 to 25 percent of cumulative or total taxable income. Prior to the 1970s, self-employed people, including well-to-do traders and business people, paid virtually no income taxes. The government sought to collect the taxes by introducing tax clearance certificates. Individuals had to produce such certificates, proving that they had paid their taxes, before receiving government benefits, holding public office, or receiving passports for foreign travel.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Nigeria has a fairly extensive infrastructure of roads, railroads, airports, and communication networks. The road system is by far the most important element in the country's transportation network, carrying about 95 percent of all the nation's goods and passengers. Currently, many of the roads are in disrepair because of poor maintenance and years of heavy traffic.

ROADS. The road system was started in the early 1900s under British colonial rule essentially as a feeder network for newly completed railroads. Two trunk roads running from Lagos (southwest) and Port Harcourt (southeast) to Kano (north central) were built. These were followed by the construction of several east-west roads, 2 north and 2 south of the natural division created by the Niger and Benue Rivers. The major purpose was to transport goods from the interior to the coast for export.

After independence in 1960, expansion of the road system to facilitate access to state capitals and large towns became one of the major areas of government investment. In 1978, an expressway was constructed from Lagos to Ibadan. Later, a branch of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was extended to Benin City. By 1980 another express-way connected Port Harcourt to Enugu. Similar express-ways connected major cities and commercial centers in the north. Thus, by 1990 Nigeria had 108,000 kilometers (67,112 miles) of roads. Of this total, 30,000 kilometers (18,642 miles) were paved, 25,000 kilometers (15,535 miles) were gravel, and 53,000 kilometers (32,935 miles) were unimproved earth.

Much of the road system is in disrepair and barely useable. Massive traffic jams are very common in the large cities. There are also long delays in the movement of goods. Highway accidents and deaths are frequent, and number more than 30,000 and 8,000, respectively.

RAILROADS. Railroads provide Nigeria's second means of transportation. The rail system consists of 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) route of 1.067 meters (3.5 feet)

Communications
Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations b Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a InternetService Providers c Internet Users c
Nigeria 500,000 (2000) 26,700 AM 82; FM 35;shortwave 11 23.5 M 2 (1999) 6.9 M 11 100,000
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542;shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Dem. Rep. of Congo 21,000 8,900 AM 3; FM 12;shortwave 1 (1999) 18.03 M 20 (1999) 6.478 M 2 1,500 (1999)
Cameroon 75,000 4,200 AM 11; FM 8;shortwave 3 2.27 M 1 (1998) 450,000 1 20,000
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

gauge. Two main lines of the single-track railroad system connect the coast with the interior. One line runs from Lagos (southwest) to Kano (north). The Lagos-Kano line was extended to Nguru, a cattle-raising region, in 1930. The other line runs from Port Harcourt (south-east) to Kaduna (north). A branch line runs from Zaria to Kaura Namoda, an important agricultural area in the northwest. The Port Harcourt-Kaduna line was extended to Maiduguri (northeast) in 1964. The rail system is operated by the Nigeria Railway Corporation. The system suffered a progressive decline because of inadequate funding, poor maintenance, and declining profit.

INLAND WATERWAYS.

Inland waterways totaling 8,575 kilometers, (5,329 miles) and consisting of Niger and Benue Rivers and smaller rivers and creeks, provide Nigeria's third internal transportation network. Water transportation of goods and services using boats and canoes is essential and common in riverine areas of Nigeria where road construction is difficult. In the 1980s the government invested funds in building river ports, hoping that increased passenger traffic on the nation's inland waterways would relieve the strained highway system. A major problem involves the fluctuations in the water level during the dry season, which hinder the movement of canoes.

PORTS.

Ports provide facilities for exports and imports. The port in Lagos handles the majority of cargo flowing in and out of the country by ship; other important ports include Port Harcourt, Calabar, and the delta port complex of Warri, Sapele, Koko, and Alesa Eleme. In addition to these port complexes, 2 specialized tanker terminals at Bonny, near Port Harcourt, and Burutu, near Warri, handle crude oil exports.

AIR TRAVEL.

Nigeria has 72 (1998 estimate) airports, 36 of which have paved runways. Three major international airportsMurtala Muhammad International at Lagos, Aminu Kano International at Kano, and another at Port Harcourtoffer regularly scheduled international flights. Nigeria Airport Authority manages the airports. Nigeria Airways provides domestic service between the international airports and other Nigerian cities. On 26 August 2000, Nigeria and the United States signed an "Open Skies Agreement" to expand and enhance the overall aviation partnership between the 2 countries. Among others, the agreement provides for a direct flight between Lagos and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. It is hoped that the direct flight will boost Nigeria's tourism sector and develop Lagos as a gateway to Africa.

ELECTRICAL POWER.

Electrical power for industrial and household purposes is supplied by Nigeria's National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). The state-owned corporation, nicknamed "Never Expect Power Always" by Nigerians, is very unreliable, with daily shortages and blackouts. In 1998 its production of 14.75 billion kilowatts from fossil fuel (61.69 percent) and hydropower (38.31 percent) was highly inadequate to meet the nation's industrial and household needs. As a consequence, businesses and manufacturers operate well below capacity, while thousands of Nigerians in urban centers and rural areas buy their own power generators.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

Telecommunications services provide high quality links internally and to the rest of the world. The government is pursuing an ambitious telecommunications expansion program. It plans to increase Nigeria's mobile and wire lines from year 2000 numbers of 700,000 to over 4 million functional telephone lines by 2002. Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) was the nation's sole carrier until 1993 when 8 private firms were approved to be connected to its switching system so as to provide services to various Nigerian zones.

Virtually all Nigerian localities receive broadcasts from one of 65 AM radio stations, and more than a dozen cities from FM radio stations. Shortwave broadcasts from overseas and 6 local transmitters are received throughout the country. Television services are available to most urban areas as well as rural areas with rural electrification. According to World Development Indicators (2000), 223 per 1,000 Nigerians owned radios (1997), while 66 per 1,000 owned television sets (1998). While there were 5 Internet service providers, less than 20 percent of the Nigerian urban population used the Internet in 1999.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Despite the availability of natural resources, population, and domestic markets, all sectors of the Nigerian economy performed below their potential during the nation's first 40 years of independence. The structure of the economy remained stagnant (unchanged) and over-dependent on the oil sector. The largely subsistent agricultural sector failed to keep up with rapid population growth, forcing the one-time food exporter to import food. Inter-sectoral linkages remain weak, and the rate of unemployment remains high and problematic.

Most observers of the Nigerian scenedomestic as well as foreignattribute the poor performance and the over-reliance on the oil sector to a variety of reasons, including political instability, prolonged authoritarian rule by the military, poor macroeconomic management, inadequate infrastructure, and external financing. In November 1996, the military ruler Abacha set up the VISION 2010 Committee which looked into the general situation and recommended targets for year 2010. No tangible progress has so far been made.

The civilian administration of Obasanjo has proposed substantial reform in its economic policy for 1999 to 2003. The main thrust of the reform is to deregulate the economy and to disengage the state from activities which are private-sector oriented, leaving the state to act as a facilitator. The plan also concentrates on the provision of incentives, policy, and infrastructure essential to the private sector's role as the engine of growth. The administration's industrial policy seeks to generate productive employment and raise productivity, increase export of locally manufactured goods, create a wider geographical dispersal of industries, attract foreign investment, and increase private sector participation. The policy places highest priority on the agricultural sector to achieve both poverty reduction, especially in rural areas, and sufficiency in food production and surplus for use as industrial raw materials for export. Other areas of high priority include manufacturing industries, solid minerals, oil and gas, small and medium enterprises, and tourism. Also, the industrial policy includes partial privatization of government-owned enterprises in such sectors as telecommunications, electricity generation and distribution, petroleum refining, coal and bitumen production, and tourism, in which citizens as well as foreigners may freely participate.

AGRICULTURE

Although it depends heavily on the oil industry for its budgetary revenues, Nigeria is predominantly still an agricultural society. Approximately 70 percent of the population engages in agricultural production at a subsistence level. Agricultural holdings are generally small and scattered. Agriculture provided 41 percent of Nigeria's total gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999. This percentage represented a normal decrease of 24.7 percent from its contribution of 65.7 percent to the GDP in 1957. The decrease will continue because, as economic development occurs, the relative size of the agricultural sector usually decreases.

Nigeria's wide range of climate variations allows it to produce a variety of food and cash crops . The staple food crops include cassava, yams, corn, coco-yams, cow-peas, beans, sweet potatoes, millet, plantains, bananas, rice, sorghum, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. The leading cash crops are cocoa, citrus, cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), palm oil, palm kernel, benniseed, and rubber. They were also Nigeria's major exports in the 1960s and early 1970s until petroleum surpassed them in the 1970s. Chief among the export destinations for Nigerian agricultural exports are Britain, the United States, Canada, France, and Germany.

A significant portion of the agricultural sector in Nigeria involves cattle herding, fishing, poultry, and lumbering, which contributed more than 2 percent to the GDP in the 1980s. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization 1987 estimate, there were 12.2 million cattle, 13.2 million sheep, 26.0 million goats, 1.3 million pigs, 700,000 donkeys, 250,000 horses, and 18,000 camels, mostly in northern Nigeria, and owned mostly by rural dwellers rather than by commercial companies. Fisheries output ranged from 600,000 to 700,000 tons annually in the 1970s. Estimates indicate that the output had fallen to 120,000 tons of fish per year by 1990. This was partly due to environmental degradation and water pollution in Ogoniland and the Delta region in general by the oil companies.

Decline in agricultural production in Nigeria began with the advent of the petroleum boom in the early 1970s. The boom in the oil sector brought about a distortion of the labor market. The distortion in turn produced adverse effects on the production levels of both food and cash crops. Governments had paid farmers low prices over the years on food for the domestic market in order to satisfy urban demands for cheap basic food products. This policy, in turn, progressively made agricultural work unattractive and enhanced the lure of the cities for farm workers. Collectively, these developments worsened the low productivity, both per unit of land and per worker, due to several factors: inadequate technology, acts of nature such as drought, poor transportation and infrastructure, and trade restrictions.

As food production could not keep pace with its increasing population, Nigeria began to import food. It also lost its status as a net exporter of such cash crops as cocoa, palm oil, and groundnuts. According to U.S. Department of State FY2001 Country Commercial Guide, Nigeria's total food and agricultural imports are valued at approximately US$1.6 billion per year. Among the major imports from the United States are wheat, sugar, milk powder, and consumer-ready food products.

Efforts since the late 1970s to revitalize agriculture in order to make Nigeria food self-sufficient again and to increase the export of agricultural products have produced only modest results. The Obasanjo administration, however, has made agriculture the highest priority of its economic policy.

INDUSTRY

MINING.

The oil industry dominates Nigeria's mineral development, making petroleum the most important sector of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria produces 2.3 million barrels of crude oil per day (2000). It is Africa's largest oil producer, contributing 3.0 percent to the global production, and is the world's sixth largest oil exporter. Its proven reserves are estimated at 20 billion barrels, enough to last 40 years at the current rate of production. Continuing exploration is expected to raise the total to more than 25 billion. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) cooperates with foreign oil companies such as Shell, Mobil, Elf, Agip, Chevron, and BP in its oil industry. The parastatal was recently restructured as part of a general policy to commercialize state concerns and encourage private-sector participation in them.

Crude oil (11 percent of production) is refined in Nigeria in 4 refineries which seldom meet the country's demands. Hence, there is constant shortage of fuel. Crude oil is also the nation's largest export to such countries as the United States and Japan. Petroleum products accounted for two-thirds of Nigeria's energy consumption in the 1990s. Domestic consumption of crude oil was 250,000 barrels per day.

During the process of oil exploration, vast reserves of natural gasestimated at 100 billion standard cubic feetwere discovered. They are the largest reserves found so far in Africa. In 1988, Nigeria produced 21.2 billion cubic meters per day with 2.9 billion cubic meters used by National Electric Power Authority and other domestic customers, 2.6 billion cubic meters used by foreign oil companies, and 15.7 billion cubic meters wasted through flaring. In 2000 Nigeria began to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), an increasingly important sector which is expected at some point to surpass oil as the nation's major source of revenue. Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., a subsidiary of the NNPC, had signed agreements in 1992 with 4 countriesUnited States, France, Italy, and Spainfor supplies of LNG.

Nigeria's emphasis on the oil industry resulted in the neglect of other sectors of the mining industry. Recently, however, interest has rekindled in solid minerals such as coal, tin, iron, columbine, gold, uranium, tantalum, marble, and phosphates. Many other commercially-viable solid minerals have yet to be exploited. All solid minerals are owned by the federal government. Prospecting licenses, mining leases, quarrying licenses, and leases are granted by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, established early in 1995 to boost non-oil exports. The National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria operates a fertilizer complex at Onne (Rivers State). Coal production had declined as industries and trains shifted to the use of oil, gasoline, and diesel, but in 1991 2 joint ventures began operations for its mining and export. A total of 60,000 tons were exported to England in 1991. The solid minerals are attracting foreign interest for potential exploitation. In addition to the development of the solid minerals noted, Nigeria engages in processing industries for such products as palm oil, peanuts, rubber, wood, hides, and skins.

MANUFACTURING.

The manufacturing sector in the Nigerian economy is dominated by import substitution light industries designed to produce goods that previously had been imported. The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion decrees (1972, 1977, and 1981) shifted the manufacturing sector from foreign majority ownership in the 1960s to indigenous (local) majority ownership in the mid-to-late 1970s by limiting foreign ownership shares in various industries. As a result, a few civil servants, military leaders, business people, and professionals became considerably wealthy through the purchase of the relinquished foreign-owned shares. The third development plan (1975 to 1980) envisaged a rapid phase of industrialization, emphasizing heavy industries such as iron, steel, and petrochemicals, as well as such consumer durables as automobiles. Automobile assembly plants were established in 1978 by Leyland, Peaugeot, Volkswagen, Fiat, and Daimler-Benz. Major industrial projects during the third development plan included 3 new oil refineries, 2 pulp and paper mills, an iron and steel complex, 2 liquefied natural gas plants, 3 sugar refineries, and 3 new cement factories. Their productivity was low. The iron and steel complex remained incomplete.

The fourth development plan (1981 to 1985) placed high priority on the manufacturing sector in order to promote rapid development and transformation of the economy. The extant manufacturing industries concentrated on consumer goods : food products, mineral distillation and beer brewing, textiles, cement, building materials, glass, footwear, furniture, chemical products, ceramics, and small appliances. They produced a range of goods but did not substantially increase employment or industrial growth.

Manufacturing industries are among the Obasanjo administration's priority areas of industrial investment. The administration favors industries which can rapidly be supported by locally-produced raw materials. The government also hopes to support food-production programs through local manufacture of chemicals, equipment, and light commercial vehicles. It will also focus on industries with multiplier effect such as flat-sheet mills and machine tools industry, including foundries and engineering industries for spare-parts production. The administration invites local and foreign investors in the priority areas.

The manufacturing sector suffers from a number of constraints including low demand for locally-made goods such as textiles and footwear, and the poor state of social and economic infrastructure typified by power and water shortages. However, Nigeria's manufacturing capacity utilization rose from 34 percent in 1998 to 36 percent in 1999.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Tourism in Nigeria is highly undeveloped, considering the West African nation's available tourist resources: land, climate, vegetation, people and their festivals, abundant art treasures, national monuments, ports, traditional sports, and music. Recognizing the potential revenue the nation could generate from tourism, the government decided in 1991 to develop and promote tourism into an economically viable industry. The thrust of its policy was to "make Nigeria a prominent tourism destination in Africa, generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism-based rural enterprises, and generate employment."

An institutional framework was put in place, namely the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, to pursue the objectives and maintain links with the state governments on funding and monitoring of a nation-wide tourism infrastructure. The government provided incentives to encourage domestic and foreign investors to participate in the venture. For example, the sector was accorded preferred-sector status, qualifying it for tax holidays and import-duty exemption on tourism-related equipment. Upon the inauguration of the Third Republic, President Obasanjo accorded the industry an additional boost by creating a separate Ministry of Tourism and Culture with Chief Ojo Madueke as its minister.

The boost notwithstanding, many impediments stand in the way of a tourist industry in Nigeria. Warnings issued by foreign governments on the dangers of travel to Nigeria scare tourists. Violent crime by individuals in police and military uniforms, as well as by ordinary criminals, is an acute and constant problem. Frequently, harassment and shakedowns of foreigners and Nigerians by uniformed personnel and others occur throughout the federation. Fake business and other advance-fee scams target foreigners worldwide and pose dangers of financial loss and potential physical harm. Other barriers to a successful tourist industry include inconsistent regulations, widespread corruption and crime, crumbling roads and bridges, erratic telephone service, frequent shortages of fuel, electricity and water, and social unrest in some parts of the country.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

Regular banking services in Nigeria began in 1892 when the country's first bank was established. By 1952 there were 3 foreign-owned banks (the Bank of British West Africa, Barclays Bank, and the British and French Bank) and 2 indigenous banks (the National Bank of Nigeria and the African Continental Bank). A central bank, demanded by members of the Nigerian Federal House of Assembly in 1952 to help promote economic development, was established and operational on 1 July 1959. Similar to central banks in Western Europe and North America, the Central Bank of Nigeria establishes the Nigerian currency, controls and regulates the banking system, serves as banker to other banks in Nigeria, and carries out the government's economic policy in the monetary field.

Despite the tendency of Nigerians to prefer cash to checks for business and debt settlements, the banking system has expanded to include 90 banks in 2000 in 3 categories: commercial, merchant, and industrial or development banks. In addition to these categories, there are many mortgage and community banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and finance and leasing companies active in Nigeria. A drastic decline in the number of financial houses, commercial banks, and mortgage and community banks began in 1995 because of distress in the financial sector.

RETAIL.

Nigeria has one of the best-developed and most extensive retail industrial sectors in sub-Saharan Africa. This is due to its large population located in many large commercial centers, such as Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt, Aba, and Onitsha, in addition to hundreds of smaller towns with more than 200,000 inhabitants. There are also hundreds of trading corporations, financial institutions, and a great variety of small business enterprises, many in the informal sector, along with thousands of large market (and roadside stands) in urban as well as rural areas.

The commercial centers house a variety of retail stores, restaurants, and secular and Christian bookshops that cater to the commercial and household needs of traders and residents. Nigerians now dominate the wholesale and retail trade which in colonial days had been virtually controlled by foreign companies from metropolitan Western Europe, Lebanon, Syria, and India. Nigerian women are playing an increasing role in the retail and distribution sector.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Nigeria exports primarily petroleum and other raw materials such as cocoa, rubber, palm kernels, organic oils, and fats. It imports secondary products such as chemicals, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, and animals. The dependence on oil and a few other commodities for export caused Nigeria to become especially vulnerable to world oil price fluctuations.

During the colonial years, Britain was Nigeria's leading trading partner. After independence, Nigeria diversified its trading partners. It now trades worldwide with about 100 countries. The United States replaced Britain as the primary trading partner in the 1970s. However, Britain remains Nigeria's leading vendor, selling the former colony more than 14 percent of its imports in the 1990s. Other major trading partners are Germany, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, Italy, and Spain. Nigeria's meager trade with Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union declined even further after the collapse of Euro- Communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Nigeria's trade with sister African countriesmainly with other West African members of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS,

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Nigeria
Exports Imports
1975 7.845 6.041
1980 25.968 16.660
1985 12.548 8.877
1990 13.670 5.627
1995 34.179 34.488
1998 37.029 43.798
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

created in 1975)was only about 4 percent of its total trade in 1990.

Prior to 1966, Nigeria had a persistent trade deficit . The rapid growth of petroleum as an export commodity reversed the trend between 1966 and 1977. Sluggish international demand for Nigerian crude oil renewed the trade deficit from 1978 to 1983. Severe import restrictions and an economic structural adjustment program (ESAP) adopted to address the economic breakdown brought about trade surpluses from 1984 to 1986, and again in 1990. Monies sent home by Nigerian residents overseas helped to cushion the drastic effects of the deficit and the ESAP-induced decreased government spending on the population.

MONEY

The naira, Nigeria's currency, declined rapidly after the military deposed the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari on 31 December 1983 at the time of depressed oil prices. In 1981 N1.00 was worth US$1.67. By 1986 the value of N1.00 had tumbled to US$0.64 (N1.56 equals US$1.00). It declined further in 1987 and has continued a downward spiral. In 1995, under the Babangida regime's policy of "guided deregulation" of the foreign exchange market, the official rateN22.00 to US$1.00became available only to the government. All individuals and organizations had to meet their foreign exchange needs from an Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (AFEM).

The prevailing AFEM rate in 1999 was N100.00 to US$1.00. Obasanjo abolished the parallel official rate of N22.00 to US$1.00 upon his inauguration in May 1999. Since then the exchange rate has risen to N120.00 to US$1.00 (October 2000).

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Despite Nigeria's enormous resources and potential, poverty is widespread throughout the nation. Its basic indicators place it among the 20 poorest countries of the

Exchange rates: Nigeria
nairas (N) per US$1
Jan 2001 110.005
2000 101.697
1999 92.338
1998 21.886
1997 21.886
1996 21.884
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Cameroon 616 730 990 764 646
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Nigeria
Lowest 10% 1.6
Lowest 20% 4.4
Second 20% 8.2
Third 20% 12.5
Fourth 20% 19.3
Highest 20% 55.7
Highest 10% 40.8
Survey year: 1996-97
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

world. Nigeria has been in stagnation and relative decline since 1981, from a per capita GDP of US$1,200 in 1981 to about US$300 in 2000. In 1992, 34.1 percent of the population was below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook 2000 ; about 70 percent fell below that line in 2000, according to the World Bank.

For many Nigerians the quality of life has declined rather than improved since independence 40 years ago. By contrast, the standard of living for a few privileged Nigeriansmilitary officers and their civilian associates, corrupt politicians, and big contractorshas improved substantially. The average salaried worker cannot earn enough to support a family because of inflation and rises in food prices and transportation costs. The national minimum wage of N5,500 (about US$55.00) per month, adopted by the federal government but rejected by most of the states, falls far short of what is needed to cover housing, food, education, health care and transportation. The material condition of women, who comprise 50 percent of the population, is even worse than that of men because the welfare of women in general, including education, political participation, and workforce, had been neglected over the years until recently. The incidence of prostitution of Nigerian women within and outside the country has therefore increased. It is no wonder, given these prevailing conditions, that hypertension has become a major sickness among Nigerians since the 1980s.

Housing and living facilities for the wealthy are very similar to those available to their counterparts in countries of the western world. Middle and lower-level income groups in the urban and rural areas live in individual houses or crowded flats (apartments). Rural dwellers live in cement or mud block houses with tin or thatched roofs, and have no running water for the most part. Water and electricity services in the major cities are erratic. Water supplies in many rural areas are infested with disease-carrying worms, while electricity services, under government auspices, are seldom available.

There is, therefore, much despair throughout Nigeria, a situation that has led to a "brain drain" from the country to other nations of the world. Much of the despair can be linked to the abysmal quality of life of the average Nigerian, and also to the huge income disparity between the poverty-stricken masses and the few well-to-do Nigerians. Mismanagement and corruption on the part of the government squandered the nation's wealth, and fostered an atmosphere of violence and instability that makes it very difficult to attract foreign investors. Unfortunately, the legislative and executive arms of the present civilian rule include leaders from the corrupt and wasteful regimes of Babangida and Abacha who helped create that climate. Their presence casts doubt over the

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Nigeria 51 5 31 2 8 2 2
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Dem. Rep. of Congo N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cameroon 33 12 8 2 9 8 28
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

nation's ability to rise above its tumultuous past into a brighter future.

The economic situationthe abject poverty and the high rate of unemployment especiallyhas not improved since Obasanjo became president in May 1999, despite his administration's Poverty Alleviation Program. His critics argue that the program consists merely of direct cash transfer to politically selected beneficiaries. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. Segments of the nation continue to complain about their marginalization (being left at the margin or neglected), while others are favored. Armed robbery and wide-spread insecurity persist.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Nigeria had an estimated labor force of 42.844 million in 1999. Women comprised 36 percent of that force, which included talented and well-educated entrepreneurs. The estimated unemployment rate in 1992 was 28 percent. In 2000 the estimated unemployment rate increased to 32 percent. Secondary school graduates and women make up the largest proportion of the unemployed. The unemployment rate among the urban youth had hovered around 40 percent since the 1990s. Many college graduates have remained without full employment since the late 1980s. The government, including federal, state, and local units, is the largest employer outside the agricultural sector.

With the exception of employees classified as essentialmembers of the armed services, the police force, firefighters, Central Bank employees, and customs and excise staffNigerian workers may form or join trade or labor unions. They may strike to obtain improved working conditions and benefits and bargain collectively for higher wages. In 1999 about 3.5 million non-agricultural workers belonged to 42 recognized trade unions under a single national labor federation.

The first labor unionthe civil service union emerged in 1912. By 1950 the number had grown to 144 with more than 144,000 members, and 300,000 in 1963 affiliated with 5 central labor associations. Because of a series of labor problems and the meddling of politicians between 1963 and 1975, the military government dissolved the central unions and decreed only 1 central unit, the Nigerian Labor Congress, in 1976. In 1977 11 labor union leaders were banned from further union activity. A 1978 labor decree amendment reorganized more than 1,000 previously existing unions into 70 registered industrial unions under the Nigerian Labor Congress. In addition to the recognized trade unions, women's organizations, mostly professional and social clubs, collectively seek to improve women's conditions and participation in the economic and political life of the nation. Journalists, university professors, and students have their own organizations also as interest groups.

Nigerian labor laws prohibit forced or compulsory labor. They also prohibit the employment of children under 15 years of age in commerce and industry and restrict other child labor to domestic or agricultural work. Many children, however, hawk goods in markets and junctions of major roads and streets in the cities and assist their parents in trade and commerce. In 1974 the military government changed the work week from 35 to 40 hours by decree and stipulated payment for extra work done over the legal limit. Employers are required by law to compensate employees injured at work and dependent survivors of those who died in industrial accidents.

Strikes or industrial actions by workers tend to be frequent in Nigeria. Although plagued by leadership struggles, ideological differences, and regional ethnic conflicts, the Nigerian Labor Congress has been able to organize or threaten nationwide workers' strikes, demanding the retention of government subsidies on petroleum products, minimum wages, and improved working conditions. Public health doctors organized in 1985; several labor unions in 1998 protested the austerity measures of the Structural Adjustment Program. Similar actions were taken by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (1986, 1988), the National Union of Nigerian Students (1986, 1989, 1990s), and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (1997).

Conditions for workers in Nigeria are far from ideal. Civil servants and employees of private companies (foreign) have relatively good offices and facilities, health care, and wages, but that is not the case for most of the others. Conditions in the pre-collegiate schools and the universities have deteriorated markedly because of repression, underfunding, and irregular payment of salaries. Protests or industrial actions by trade union leaders often resulted in detention. A number of university students were killed by the police, and the universities shut down following students' protests and riots. Some doctors and professors lost their jobs because of industrial action. In addition, income inequalities between the rulers and bureaucrats on the one hand and masses of workers on the other, poor wages, and late payment of salaries demoralize workers. Furthermore, they adversely affect their standard of living, health, and work productivity. The poor conditions contribute to the pervasive corruption in Nigeria and the use of the country as a conduit for drug trafficking.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1861. King Dosumu of Lagos cedes the territory to Britain which becomes a British Crown colony.

1865. The British establish a consulate at Lokoja.

1887-1900. Various parts of what later became Nigeria are brought under British colonial rule as protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria.

1903. The Sokoto-based Fulani Empire becomes part of the British Protectorate of Northern Nigeria.

1906. The colony of Lagos merges with the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.

1914. For budgetary and administrative convenience, the Colony of Lagos and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria are merged with the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

1922. The Clifford Constitution allows for Africans to be elected into the Legislative Council in Lagos.

1936. Nigerian Youth Movement emerges as precursor of political parties.

1937. Shell Oil Company begins oil exploration in Nigeria.

1939. Governor Bourdillion divides Southern Nigeria into Eastern and Western provinces, later to become Eastern and Western regions.

1944. The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon emerges (becomes National Council of Nigerian Citizens in 1961).

1946. Sir Arthur Richards' Constitution goes into effect.

1949. The Northern People's Congress is formed.

1950. The Action Group (Party) is formed.

1951. Macpherson Constitution goes into effect.

1954. The Lyttleton Constitution, establishing Nigeria as a federation of 3 regionsEastern, Western, and Northerngoes into effect.

1959. Elections, in preparation for independence, are held; an NPC-NCNC coalition government is formed with Sir Abubakar as prime minister.

1960. Nigeria becomes independent (1 October).

1963. Nigeria becomes a republic (1 October).

1966. Military overthrows Abubakar government. Major-General Ironsi is installed and is later assassinated and succeeded by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon.

1966-79. Military rule; Gowon (overthrown 29 July 1975), Murtala Muhammed (assassinated 1976), succeeded by Olusegun Obasanjo.

1967-70. Eastern Region declares independence as Republic of Biafra, precipitating Nigeria-Biafra War which ends January 1970 with the defeat of Biafra.

1979-83. Second Republic with civilian rule under Shehu Shagari.

1983-93. Prolonged military rule; Muhammed Buhari overthrows the Shagari administration; is ousted (1985) by Ibrahim Babangida.

1993. Presidential election (won by M.K.O. Abiola) is annulled by Babangida (23 June) who retires and appoints businessman Shonekan as interim ruler. Abacha ousts Shonekan (17 November) and inaugurates a brutal regime.

1998. Abacha dies of natural causes. His successor, General Abubakar, inaugurates transition to civilian rule. Local government elections are held.

1999. Gubernatorial elections are held 9 January, National Assembly elections are held 20 January, and presidential elections follow 27 February. Obasanjo is inaugurated 29 May as president of the Third Republic.

FUTURE TRENDS

Nigeria's prospects for sustainable economic growth are mixed. Despite current hardships, Nigeria represents an important market in Africa with its vast human and natural resources. Its revenues from both the recent and ongoing recovery in oil prices and the export of liquified natural gas should help to rebuild the nation's shattered socio-economic infrastructure. The anti-corruption legislation, rigorously enforced, should help to restore transparency and accountability into economic decisions, which would boost national and international investor confidence in the nation. The liberalized rules for foreign investment and initiatives by the Obasanjo government to privatize some state-owned enterprises and promote tourism should help the nation move steadily towards targeted growth.

Nigeria has many impediments on its road to sustainable development. Earnings from non-oil exports are unlikely to improve significantly because of the high cost of production. Acrimony between the executive and legislative arms of the government continue relentlessly to the detriment of collective and decisive action. Painful and costly fuel shortages, caused by the inability of Nigeria's dilapidated refineries to produce anywhere near capacity, immobilize the nation. Inter-ethnic and religious conflicts continue to take their tolls in human lives and physical assets of the nation. Unemployment, especially among college graduates, has reached intolerable levels. Armed robbery and crime constitute a present danger to the economy. These impediments must be more determinedly addressed to enhance Nigeria's chances for growth and development.

DEPENDENCIES

Nigeria has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aborisade, Oladimeji, and Robert J. Mundt. Politics in Nigeria. New York: Longman, 1999.

Achebe, Chinua. The Trouble with Nigeria. London: Heinemann,1983.

Adejumobi, Said, and Abubakar Momoh, editors. The Political Economy of Nigeria Under Military Rule: 1984-1993. Harare: Sape Books, 1995.

Forrest, Tom. Politics and Economic Development in Nigeria. Updated edition. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1994.

Ihonvbere, Julius. Nigeria: The Politics of Adjustment and Democracy. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1994.

Library of Congress. Nigeria: A Country Study. <http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/ngtoc.html>. Accessed August 2001.

Oyewole, Anthony, and John Lucas. Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. Second edition. London: Scarecrow, 2000.

Palmer, Monte. Comparative Politics: Political Economy, Political Culture, and Political Independence. Itasca, IL: E.E. Peacock, 1997.

Soyinka, Wole. The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis. New York: Oxford Univ., 1996.

Theen, Rolf H.W., and Frank L. Wilson. Comparative Politics: An Introduction to Seven Countries. Fourth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Nigeria. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/africa/nigeria_ccg2001.pdf>. Accessed August 2001.

F. Ugboaja Ohaegbulam

CAPITAL:

Abuja.

MONETARY UNIT:

Naira (N). 1 naira equals 100 kobo. Coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kobo, and notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 naira are issued.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Petroleum and petroleum products, cocoa, rubber, lumber, and peanuts.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery, chemicals, transport and electronic equipment, manufactured goods, food, and live animals.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$110.5 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$13.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999). Imports: US$10 billion (f.o.b., 1999).

views updated

NIGERIA

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Major Cities:
Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu

Other Cities:
Aba, Abeokuta, Ado, Benin City, Bonny, Calabar, Ede, Ife, Ilesha, Ilorin, Iseyin, Iwo, Katsina, Maiduguri, Ogbomosho, Onitsha, Oshogbo, Oyo, Port Harcourt, Zaria

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated April 1997. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Nigeria is a large and energetic country, striving to revive an economy that has been battered by a slump in oil prices and a lack of political unity. About the size of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi combined, its population of 122 million is the highest in Africa, and the tenth largest in the world. Nigeria's status and influence in West Africa and throughout the continent remain strong, as does its global voice. This international position is derived from its size, its prospect for economic stability, and its determined pursuit of an autonomous political course.

Since becoming an independent nation in 1960 with aspirations of a democratic society, Nigeria has experienced the same evolutionary problems as did the United States in its early history. Regional rivalries, economic and ethnic differences, secessionist movements, civil war, and periodic unrest have all occurred. Since gaining independence from Great Britain, Nigeria has experienced many shifts between civilian and military government rule. Nigeria's evolving institutions are endeavoring to cope with the strains of a still-emerging nation.

MAJOR CITIES

Lagos

Nigeria is a federation containing some 250 linguistic groups and nearly as many tribes. The large variety of customs, languages, and traditions continues to give the country a rich diversity.

In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century.

Following the Napoleonic wars, the British expanded their trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885, British claims to a sphere of influence in that area received international recognition, and in the following year, the royal Niger Company was chartered. In 1900, the company's territory came under the control of the British Government, and in 1914, the area was formally united as the "Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria."

After World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative, increasingly Federal, basis. It was granted full independence in October 1960.

Since 1960, the government has changed many times, but only two civilians have ruled during the 35 years of independence, for a total of about 10 years. In 1993, Nigeria held presidential elections, which most observers deemed to be the fairest in its history. Election results were annulled by the military ruler, who then turned over power to a non-partisan technocrat to rule until new elections in February 1994. In November 1993, the military took over again with promises of handing over to a civilian. After successfully consolidating power, the military government later announced that a "constitutional conference" would examine and recommend the best way to restore democracy in Nigeria. The process of restoring democracy has been slow and continues to be a source of concern to the international community.

The most populous country in Africa, and one of the most richly-endowed with natural resources in the world, Nigeria accounts for one-quarter of sub-Sahara Africa's people. The economy has declined precipitously in recent years, down from the oil boom of the 1970's, subjecting most Nigerians to increasing hardships.

Lagos, situated on Nigeria's southwest coast, is a sprawling metropolitan area with an estimated population of 13.5 million (2000 est.). The bustling, noisy, and congested city covers four major islandsLagos, Iddo, Victoria, and Ikoyiand several mainland towns, including Apapa, Yaba, Surulere, and Ikeja. Apapa is the location of Africa's busiest port; Lagos Island is the center of business activity and government offices; and Victoria Island is the location of many embassies, including the American Embassy.

Food

Most families may find that they miss some food items available at home but there are several stores on the islands which specialize in American food products. The availability of items, however, is affected by factors such as accommodation exchange fluctuations, transportation or customs clearance. Prices of imports from other countries vary according to item and country of origin, but most are within reasonable limits for the average American budget. These imported items come from a variety of countries including several in Europe and Asia and include canned, bottled and occasionally frozen goods. Prices tend to change from day to day.

Most locally-produced goods, such as cookies, are somewhat cheaper than U.S.-made products. Locally-bottled soft drinks (Coke, 7-Up, Pepsi, Sprite, orange soda, Bitter Lemon) and beer are less expensive although the soft drinks are sweeter than they are in the U.S. Many Americans shop in local grocery stores or butcher shops for meats, soft drinks, and some imported household products. While some food products are of good quality, many locally-produced processed goods (fruit, juice, coffee, canned goods, margarine, and yogurt) are not up to U.S. standards. Good bread and rolls, while somewhat more expensive, may be found in bakeries catering to foreigners and in some grocery stores.

Outdoor markets or vegetable stalls are the main source of fresh eggs, fruits, vegetables, and fish. The variety of products available in these local markets fluctuates. Some individuals venture a 20-minute drive across the bridge to Apapa on the mainland to obtain lower prices and fresher fish, as well as meat, fruits, and vegetables. However, fruit and vegetable stands abound on both Ikoyi and Victoria Islands. All prices in the markets and stalls are subject to bargaining. Eggs are always available in open markets and are usually fresh, but all eggs should be checked before use. Grocery store eggs are usually not fresh and should not be bought unless they have been refrigerated.

Quality and availability of fruits and vegetables vary according to season. Bananas, pineapples, pawpaw (papaya), and citrus fruits are almost always available and of good quality. Mangoes and guavas are available when in season. The lettuce grown locally is very good as are the tomatoes. Other local vegetables found in season are cucumbers, carrots, green beans, avocados, eggplants, onions, potatoes, parsley, peppers, spinach, cabbage, bread fruit, and cauliflower. A large variety of beans are also available locally.

Beef, chicken, mutton, pork, and goat meat are available locally, although some items, particularly beef, may be tough. Some local products (e.g., baby food) may be suspect.

Some dairy products are available in local food stores, such as reconstituted long-life (UHT) milk, powdered milk, butter, margarine and cheese. American ice cream products such as Carnation brand can be found in a number of food stores which cater to expatriate tastes. Supplies of imported products such as New Zealand lamb, butter, long-life milk, and European margarine and cheese are also available. Fresh milk is sometimes available locally, but should not be consumed.

Clothing

Clothing worn in the Mid-Atlantic in the summer is suitable for Lagos. The weather is hot and humid year round, and some places are not air-conditioned. Bring a large wardrobe of washable summer wear, preferably cotton, which is more comfortable than most synthetic materials. Bring some warm clothing for trips to colder climates. Shoes are available locally and some Americans find them satisfactory. Nigerians are generally well-dressed for social and business functions so a good supply of dressy clothing may be useful.

Local fabric is plentiful, and some imported material can be found. High-quality imported fabrics for clothing, drapery and upholstery are available. Some local designers do beautiful work in fabric they dye themselves. Local tailors are readily available and do some very creative work in designing clothes or copying designs from pictures in magazines or catalogs. Ready-made clothing is available, but the variety and supply are very limited and often more expensive than buying from U.S. sources.

Hats, though not worn with street dress, are needed for protection from the sun at sports and at other outdoor events. Nigerian women wear hats to most local church services and also to local weddings, christenings, and other social functions. Hats are available locally but there is only a small selection and they are very expensive. Gloves are seldom worn at social functions by foreign women. Some people use selected local dry-cleaning facilities, but the service is uneven and a few have experienced damaged clothing. Washable clothes are preferred.

A washable lightweight raincoat, rain hat, boots, and umbrella are very useful in the rainy season.

Men: Shorts are worn for outdoor activities. Washable suits (especially those with two pairs of trousers) are practical. White suits are seldom worn. Local tailors can make native-style shirts and trousers.

Women: For daytime outdoor wear most women prefer light cotton dresses. Seasonal change is slight, but wear and tear is considerable. Cottons are appropriate for office and daytime social activities, and dressier dresses, sun dresses, or long caftans are worn for evening events. Nigerians wear beautiful native dress to most social events and to important occasions such as weddings and christenings. Summer-weight slacks are worn for informal gatherings. Shorts are usually worn only at expatriate functions. Women's shoes are available locally but require a visit to the open market and may not be up to American standards. Rubber beach thongs and tennis shoes are available locally.

Children: Children need a good supply of washable clothing. Bring a good supply of children's shoes, especially sneakers and sandals. Local supplies are not adequate.

The American International School does not require uniforms. Girls' clothing ranges from dresses to shorts and jeans, with sneakers or sandals. Boys may wear T-shirts with shorts, jeans or slacks, sandals, and sneakers, which are needed for gym class. Shorts are worn most of the time, but long pants are worn on occasion. Bring a few dressy items for children. Junior high students often have dances which require dresses for girls and slacks for boys.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: Imported supplies on the local market are often limited, unreliable, and usually very difficult to find when needed. The sun is intense so a good supply of sun screening location should be brought with you.

Basic Services: Tailoring and shoe repair services are available but the final products are not commensurate with America standards. Dry cleaning services are available but the quality is not good. Hairdressers and barbershops offer basic services but it is best if you have your own hair care products for them to use. There are a number of beauty and hair salons that have recently opened up on the islands.

Religious Activities

The following churches conduct service in English: Anglican (weekly), Baptist (weekly), Lutheran (weekly), and Catholic (daily at several churches). A nondenominational service is currently being held weekly at a local restaurant on Victoria Island and a daytime bible study group meets weekly. Lagos has no synagogues or orthodox churches, but does have few mosques that serves the community in English. Dates and times of all services can be obtained from the CLO.

Education

The American International School of Lagos (AISL) is located on Victoria Island. AISL is a co-educational school for students in Kindergarten through Grade 9. It follows an American curriculum and has been affiliated with the Tacoma, Washington School District since 1965. The majority of the teachers at AISL are on leave of absence from Tacoma, although a number of other Americans, or American-trained teachers of other nationalities, with permanent residence in Nigeria, are also on the professional teaching staff at AISL. AISL has also established a secondary school-to-school partnership with the Klein School District in Houston, Texas. Recently the Office of Overseas Schools and the Allowances Staff has determined that an away-from-post allowance can be provided for Grade 9. Parents have the option to send their child to boarding school for Grade 9 or enrolling them in AISL. Students of high-school age (grades 10-12) have the option remain in Lagos and study by correspondence courses, but most go away to school.

The school year extends from late August to early June with a 3-week break at Christmas and a 10-day break at Easter. The school day is 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 and continues to 2:10 p.m. for students in Grades 7 to 9. AERA is currently providing transportation for children of all American employees. Each child entering AISL for the first time is charged a one-time building fund assessment. Advance registration is advisable. AISL does not have the facilities for gifted students or students with special educational needs. For more information on AISL, admission policies and requirements, and curriculum and course descriptions, please contact the school. You may write to:

Superintendent, American International School Lagos,
U.S. Department of State, Lagos
Washington, D.C. 20521-8300
Telephone (234) (1) 262-0775,
261-7793
Fax (234) (1) 261-7794

AISL has a good library with over 20,500 volumes and two science laboratories. Its resources include audiovisual equipment and related teaching aids. The school is equipped with computers. All children from Kindergarten through Grade 9 are given computer instruction. The regular daily physical education program is supplemented by an after-school activities program, run by parent volunteers and the teaching faculty. The school also has a gymnasium which seats over 700 people and a 25-meter, six-lane pool. The school employs a full-time nurse. Testing, placement, and counseling services are provided, and U.S.-recognized standardized tests are given.

Other elementary schools (e.g., French, British) in Lagos and on the mainland are open to American children, if space is available.

Several day nurseries or pre-schools are available for small children. AISL offers a pre-school program for four-year olds, but usually has a waiting list. Early enrollment is recommended. The fees at AISL are higher than in the other pre-schools in Lagos.

A pre-school called the American Parents Cooperative Playcenter offers an American enrichment program for 2-1/2 to 4 year olds several mornings per week. The Playcenter also has a waiting list for new students. It was originally co-founded as a cooperative of parents in 1986 by expatriates from the U.S. Embassy and Gulf Oil Company.

Special Educational Opportunities

Very few formal educational opportunities are available in Lagos for adults or children. Universities are often closed with striking teachers. Private instruction is available in several fields, especially in foreign languages. Courses are available in French at the Alliance Francaise, in German at the Goethe Institute, and in Italian at the Italian Cultural Center. Some private institutions will teach local languages and culture. Instruction in tennis, swimming, music, and exercise is offered either by individuals or through AISL if qualified teachers are available. The American Women's Club has several groups that pursue and develop hobbies, interests and skills. The National Museum offers seminars in local art, language and culture at times.

There are no schools or facilities in Lagos which offer educational opportunities for mentally or physically handicapped children, for those with learning disabilities or for children who require a gifted program.

Sports

Many sports are available in Lagos. Sporting activities constitute an important part of life in the Tropics. Softball, volleyball, soccer, golf, squash, ping-pong, swimming, and tennis are all popular in Lagos. Sports equipment, when available, is expensive in Nigeria.

Swimming is a year-round activity. Lagos has several beaches, but few are safe for swimming.

The nearby ocean, creeks, and lagoons afford many opportunities for deep-sea fishing, sailing and motorboating. It is possible to buy used boats, but motors are often a problem. Sailing is also popular.

Bicycling opportunities are limited. Bicycles are expensive in Nigeria.

An International running group, the Hash House Harriers, sponsors weekly runs and is a means for social get-togethers. Some people jog around the islands after work. As is common in this part of the world, soccer (or "football," as it is called in Nigeria) is a popular spectator sport. Tennis and polo matches are held frequently.

Private clubs offer a variety of sports and social contacts. A waiting list for membership is common. The Ikoyi Club has mainly expatriate members and offers a variety of sports, including golf, tennis, ping-pong, badminton and squash. Two large swimming pools and a children's pool provide opportunity for swimming. The club also has a restaurant and bar.

The Polo Club affords its members the chance to ride as well as board horses. Riders are always needed to exercise the numerous horses boarded at the club. The restaurant and bar offer opportunities for social contacts within the Nigerian business community. You don't have to ride to be a member. There is also a Saddle Club in Ikeja for those interested in ordinary riding. They often sponsor several hour-long rides in the area.

The Lagos Lawn and Tennis Club offers tennis and squash; most members are Nigerian. Serious tennis players tend to prefer this club. Color tennis outfits are acceptable.

Two boat clubs are the Lagos Yacht Club, where members are required to sail on a regular basis, and the Lagos Motorboat Club, where the waiting list for membership is long.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Touring within Nigeria is for the adventurous. The traffic is heavy, the roads poor, and overnight and rest facilities very limited. Travelers should always carry water, food and a first aid kit with them. Overnight stops require advance arrangements for food and lodging, a task that is very difficult to accomplish with the present telecommunication system. Travel to the north in Nigeria offers a change of scenery, climate and culture and some major cities do have adequate accommodations.

Lagos has no playgrounds or parks as we know them. The University of Ibadan has a small zoo and a botanical garden, but the animals are in very poor physical condition. The National Museum in Lagos has an adequate and well-arranged collection of antiquities from all parts of Nigeria, an interesting depiction of Nigeria's political history since independence, and a crafts center.

The Nigerian Field Society, an excursion group mainly for expatriates, has a low membership fee and is open to anyone. This Society, in existence for many years, offers field trips lasting from one day to one week to places within Nigeria. It also organizes seminars to educate members about the African environment.

Outside Lagos, interesting places include:

  • Badagry. About 50 miles west of Lagos on the inland waterway in Nigeria, this port flourished in slave-trading days. You still can see remnants of the barracoons where slaves were held before transport to the New World. Market Day, held once a week, is quite colorful.
  • Porto Novo and Cotonou, Benin. Porto Novo and Cotonou, Benin's capital, are 2 to 3 hours' drive from Lagos. Good restaurants, a Sheraton Hotel, a new Novotel Hotel and shopping are available in Cotonou, as are tours to game parks and to Ganvie, a fishing village on stilts, known as the Venice of Africa.
  • Lome, Togo. Two hours' drive beyond Cotonou, Lome has several good hotels with sports facilities and French restaurants. Like Cotonou, Lome provides a change of pace from Lagos.

Entertainment

There has recently been an increase in the variety of plays, art shows and other productions, especially those being sponsored by foreign embassies or women's groups. Local movie theaters generally have very little to offer. A number of small African repertory theater groups perform under the sponsorship of a number of Nigeria's very large banks. Those who have attended have enjoyed the presentations.

The Musical Society of Nigeria, MUSON, offers a good variety of musical shows, plays and ensembles at reasonable prices. Most of MUSON's events are co-sponsored by one of the many diplomatic missions resident in Lagos.

Lagos has some nightclubs and there are a number of restaurants in the metropolitan area. There are several Lebanese, Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants.

On occasion films, lectures, plays, and art exhibits are provided by the Alliance Francaise, the Italian Cultural Center, the British Council, and the Goethe Institute. The Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) holds a number of events on a regular basis at which lectures are given on a variety of subjects.

While enjoying the various forms of entertainment, it is important to remember that cameras arouse concern among Nigerians. Limit your picture-taking and avoid photographing people, bridges, airports, military installations, the harbor, and some public buildings. Cameras may be freely used for family pictures.

Within the expatriate community are singing, theater, and reading groups. A women's book group concentrating on West African, especially Nigerian, novels has recently been formed. Members find that the novels offer insights into West African culture and that the group provides introductions to both Nigerian and other expatriate women. The waiting list for membership is long.

Home entertaining is popular. Buffet dinners, receptions, and informal coffee and dessert evenings are frequent. Many center an evening's entertainment on a VCR movie.

Social Activities

Among Americans: The American Women's Club (AWC) of Lagos, founded in February 1971, sponsors a monthly general membership meeting, as well as a wide variety of welfare and social activities.

Many informal groups meet for bridge and various card games, sports, and other activities. An international bazaar is held in December.

International Contacts: The international community is friendly and informal. Social clubs and churches offer good opportunities for developing rewarding friendships. The International Women's Society, which has a small but international membership, is mainly involved in volunteer activities for charity. Information about the society is available through the United Nations Development Fund Office in Ikoyi. The Nigerian American Women's Forum was created to encourage interaction between Nigerian and American professional women. The members are interested in information exchange and targeted action regarding issues that affect women and their welfare.

Special Information

Temporary duty (TDY) and visiting travelers must obtain a Nigerian visa and have confirmed hotel reservations before coming to Nigeria. Hotel accommodations are extremely difficult to obtain; make reservations well in advance. All travelers should notify the Mission well in advance of their arrival, giving the duration of the visit and any special requirements. Bring all the clothes you will need and do not rely on unaccompanied baggage shipments. Such shipments are allowed into the country duty free but often take 4-6 weeks to process through customs.

Visitors who are staying in an hotel should be prepared to pay for your room and all meals when registering; a refund for meals not taken is made at checkout time. The Sheraton Hotel near the International Airport is recommended for those proceeding to Abuja or Kaduna within a day of their arrival. Do not pay for hotel, restaurant meals or any other service with credit cards and do not give out any financial information or account numbers to anyone. Personal financial information should never be left in the hotel room or in the home.

Crime and personal security is an issue on Ikoyi and Victoria Islands, but the risks are even greater in the rest of Lagos. Vigilance and caution should be a part of the daily routine. All houses have guards, and many people have watch dogs. In spite of this attention to security, most Americans have an active social and professional life without undue restrictions.

Abuja

Abuja was created in 1976 and was officially declared the new Federal Capital on December 12, 1991. The move was to promote a sense of national unity by creating a capital in a more central location not identified with any particular ethnic group and to escape the overcrowded conditions in Lagos. Since then the Federal Government has transferred some of its offices, including the Presidency and the Foreign Ministry to Abuja.

Abuja has a sub-tropical climate. The hot, dry season is from March through April, the rainy season is from May to September, then the dry, cool season runs from October to February. The harmattan, a north wind carrying fine dust from the Sahara, will start during this period and end about the time the rains begin. The fine dust settles everywhere and can cause sinus infections and asthma attacks for those with respiratory problems.

Food

It is necessary to stock up on basic items, as well as special food items, baby food, baby formula, diapers, toiletries, etc. Although some items can be found in Abuja, supplies tend to be erratic and quality questionable. There are a few small general stores that sell a limited variety of imported, canned food, frozen food and cleaning products. The varieties and quantities tend to be limited, and are quite expensive. Certain items may be unavailable for weeks at a time. U.S.-produced items are rare; most imported items come from Europe or the Middle East. The quality of frozen food is often doubtful because of the power fluctuations. Fruits and vegetables can usually be found in local open-air markets though they need thorough cleaning and sterilizing. Eggs are available year-round, though quality is often poor. Local beef and chicken are also available but are quite tough. The only commonly-available fresh fish is Niger perch. Frozen seafood of acceptable quality is occasionally available. It is usually preferable to purchase local meats and seafood directly from vendors rather than from local stores.

Acceptable restaurants in Abuja are limited. Most Americans eat only at a few local restaurants, including Talk of the Town (Indian/Chinese) and McDowals (Lebanese), and those at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel (theme buffets and Italian) and the Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel (themed buffets and Chinese). Other local restaurants are not recommended. Even though eating in these restaurants is generally considered safe, it is critical to eat only properly cooked food, to avoid uncooked vegetables and to drink only bottled beverages.

Clothing

Men: There are no clothing stores in Abuja. Dry cleaning is available through a Kaduna-based firm, but turnaround time is several days. Local dry cleaning services are not recommended. Bring enough sports clothes and shoes because both are unavailable locally.

Women: Lightweight cotton dresses are suggested for daytime wear. Tailoring services are available and fabric can be purchased in the local market. Dry cleaning service is limited, so bring washable items. Bring a good supply of shoes as there are no shoe stores and limited shoe repair services available.

Children: Bring a good supply of washable clothing and shoes, especially sneakers and sandals. The American International School does not require a uniform.

Supplies and Services

There are dry cleaning services at the Hilton and the Sheraton Hotels, but the services are not up to American standards. Better quality service is available in Lagos and Kaduna. Barbers and hairdressers are also available at each hotel but, again, the services are often unsatisfactory. Bookstores in Abuja have extremely limited selections.

Religious Activities

There are local Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Evangelical churches in Abuja. Most of the services are in English but the times and lengths are irregular. There is also the non-denominational International Church, Abuja that offers a more Western-style service in English. For Muslims, there are a number of mosques.

Education

The American International School, sponsored by the State Department, was started in 1993. It offers pre-school through 8th grade; 9th and 10th grades are available through an independent-study, correspondence program. The school year is from early September to mid-June and is divided into three terms. School hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for grade school children (K-8) and 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for pre-school. The school presently follows the Calvert curriculum. For more information, please contact the school principal at (234) (9) 523-5464.

Special Education Opportunities

Special educational opportunities are not available.

Sports

Golf is one of the most popular sports among visitors. The Ibrahim Golf Course offers a beautiful, well-maintained 18-hole golf course. You can also join the Hilton Club or the Sheraton Club. Both clubs feature facilities including tennis courts, swimming pools, squash courts and fitness centers.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

On Muslim holidays and special occasions in older cities such as Kano, Katsina and Zaria, durbars (colorful parades of mounted warriors, clowns, jugglers and dancers) provide a medieval flavor not seen elsewhere in the country. Hotels are available in all major cities but quality and service rarely meet the standards of even budget-priced motels in the U.S.

Travel in the North as well as in the South to Enugu and Lagos is possible by road. Roads are generally adequate between major northern cities. Road accidents are frequent and banditry on the open road is a common problem. Traveling to the South by road is particularly dangerous due to the prevalence of road bandits.

Several local airlines also offer daily flights to and from Lagos and to some other cities. Air schedules, however, are unreliable, and long delays are common.

The areas listed below are points of interest in or near Abuja:

Aso Rock : The largest granite rock in the vicinity of Abuja, its appearance has an imposing and impressive effect on first-time visitors to Abuja.

Table Rock : Accessible by car, with a picnic area and barbecues, it offers a panoramic view of Abuja.

Gurara Falls : On the Gurara River about 100 kilometers from Abuja, it is quite a spectacular scene during the rainy season; no facilities for tourists have been developed.

Zuma Rock : An enormous granite rock that stands out of the countryside on the way to Gurara Falls and Kaduna.

Usuma Dam and Jabi Dam : Man-made reservoirs supplying drinking water as well as irrigation water for Abuja and the surrounding agricultural land, both dams provide beautiful scenery and are good spots for fishing.

Pottery Centers : Abuja is well known for its traditional African pottery. There are several pottery centers in Abuja. Ladi Kwali Pottery Center is the most famous; Ushafa Pottery Center at Ushafa Village offers modern pottery and ceramics as well as traditional; Giri Pottery Center, near Kwali in Gwagwalada Area Council, has the largest selection of pottery.

Other interesting attractions in the North include:

Kano : The commercial center and largest city in northern Nigeria, Kano is approximately 5 hours by car from Abuja. Relatively good accommodations are available at the Prince Hotel. With a large foreign business community and an international airport, the city has several good restaurants and the largest market in the North.

Jos : The city of Jos, on a 4,000 foot plateau, is about 3-1/2 hours by road from Abuja, and offers a change of scenery and a cooler climate. The city is host to the largest American community in northern Nigeria and is home to Hillcrest School, an American curriculum school catering to the missionary community.

Sokoto : About 8 hours away, Sokoto is the center of the emirate system and the seat of the Sultan of Sokoto; major points of interest are the Sultan's Palace, two recently-built mosques and the tomb of first sultan Usman Dan Fodio, whose Fulani warriors conquered most of northern Nigeria early in the 19th century.

Yankari Game Preserve : Another 3 hours beyond Jos is the Yankari Game Preserve, a sanctuary with some tourist facilities. Accommodations are quite reasonable. Game can be seen during the dry season but do not expect either the number or variety of game seen in other parts of Africa. The preserve features a year-round natural hot spring.

Entertainment

There are two western standard nightclubs in AbujaDazzle, at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel, and Safari, at the Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel. There are neither cinemas nor performing arts theaters nor professional sports in Abuja. Diplomatic missions and cultural institutions occasionally sponsor drama or musical presentations. The Sheraton and the Agura Hotels have video clubs which stock PAL tapes pirated from subscription satellites and other sources. They are often of poor quality.

Social Activities

Among Americans: Since the American community is very small, social activities tend to be very informal and center around tennis courts, swimming pools and the golf course.

Kaduna

Kaduna was created in 1917 by the British Governor, Lord Lugard, as the administrative center of northern Nigeria. Several textile mills, a petroleum refinery, an auto assembly plant, a brewery and bottling plant, and other industries have been established. The city has retained the atmosphere of a government center, so it lacks the special character of older, walled cities such as Kano and Zaria. Kaduna's population is estimated at 800,000.

Beyond Kaduna lie the thirteen states of northern Nigeria. The area contains roughly half of Nigeria's population. Islam predominates in the North, and the Hausa-Fulani, one of Nigeria's three major ethnic/cultural groups, are concentrated there.

Kaduna lies at an altitude of about 2,000 feet. The weather is not as extreme as in other parts of the country, but from November through February, the air, heavy with harmattan dust, irritates eyes and nasal and bronchial passages and affects allergy sufferers, often severely. The dust also permeates every nook and cranny, making house cleaning tedious.

Food

Kaduna has general stores and numerous specialty shops that sell a variety of imported canned and frozen foods, including chicken, beef, lamb and fish. However, inventories are erratic, and the quality, especially of meats, is unpredictable.

Imported, perishable items are expensive and often suffer a considerable loss of quality through improper handling and storage. Vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, yams, spinach, squash, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and cabbage, are grown locally and are of fairly good quality. Because Kaduna is north of the citrus belt, however, grapefruit and oranges, as well as pineapples, do not compare in quality with the fruit that is available in the South.

Clothing

A two-year wardrobe similar to that required for the spring and summer seasons in the Mid-Atlantic should be brought. A few sweaters, long-sleeved clothes, etc., for the cool season should also be included.

Children: Uniforms are required by the Aisha Mohammed International School. Girls wear navy blue culottes with blue and white gingham blouses or blue and white gingham drop-waist dresses. Material for girls' dresses is available locally. Boys wear navy blue shorts (long trousers in cool weather) and blue and white gingham shirts. Children in Grades 2-6 also need special clothes for physical education. Boys and girls need navy blue shorts, white T-shirts or polo shirts, white socks and sneakers (preferably white). All children need lunch boxes and school bags or backpacks.

Religious Activities

Major Christian denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, are present in Kaduna, and English-language services are offered at least once a week. Kaduna has several mosques but there is no synagogue.

Education

The Aisha Mohammed International School was established in 1985 as a nonprofit organization with no religious affiliation. The school year is from September to July and is divided into three terms. School hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for primary school children and 8 a.m. to 12 noon for children in the nursery.

Private nursery schools and play groups are available in Kaduna at reasonable rates.

Special Educational Opportunities

No special formal educational opportunities are available in the area.

Sports

However, membership at one or more of the many private clubs in Kaduna offering golf, polo, rugby and soccer can also be enjoyable.

Bring all sports equipment, especially golf, tennis and equestrian. All clubs require membership fees.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Travel in the North is possible by road and, to some destinations, by air. Air schedules are unreliable, and long delays are common. Roads are generally good in the North, although accidents and other mishaps are all too frequent. For security purposes no one should drive on the highway after nightfall.

Republics of Niger and Cameroon. Longer car trips may be made during the dry season to Niger and Cameroon. The roads are rough, and four-wheel drive is sometimes useful. An ice chest and a large Thermos are necessary for long trips, especially if traveling with children.

On holidays and other special occasions in older cities such as Kano, Katsina and Zaria, colorful parades of clowns, dancers, jugglers and mounted warriors provide a flavor not seen elsewhere in the country.

Entertainment

The National Museum has a small, interesting collection of traditional art in bronze, carvings, pottery, cloth, and leather. A crafts center located at the Museum sells good quality artifacts, which you can watch local artisans create. The Northern Historical Society offers lecture meetings in Kaduna on natural history and ethnographic topics.

The Kaduna Music and Drama Society meets regularly and offers one or two public performances each year. The Nigerian Field Society offers field trips and lectures.

A very limited selection of hardback and paperback books is available in the general trading stores and book shops. Books and periodicals are available for borrowing at the USIS library.

Kaduna has a few good restaurants that offer a variety of foods at reasonable prices. The most popular among these include the Arewa Chinese Restaurant, an Indian restaurant, and the Jacaranda In Town, which offers continental cuisine and local dishes in a picturesque and relaxing setting.

A few channels of television are available locally, and CNN and other international signals are available via cable subscription. Short-wave reception in Kaduna is strong.

Social Activities

Among Americans: Kaduna's American community is very small. However, Americans have little trouble meeting host country nationals through work and many educated Nigerians accept invitations to American homes and attend functions with their spouses.

International Contacts: The International Women's Club (IWC) is a voluntary organization that offers many opportunities for charity work and for meeting people of all nationalities. There are local chapters of the Lions Club, Rotary and June Wheel Clubs.

Ibadan

Ibadan is the capital of Oyo State. It is the center of a rich agricultural area where most of Nigeria's cacao crop is produced. The city is built on a series of low hills, 750 feet above sea level and about 90 miles northeast of Lagos. Its estimated population of 1,739,000 is exceeded only by Lagos among cities south of the Sahara.

Ibadan was founded in the 1830s as a military camp during the Yoruba civil wars, and then developed into the most powerful Yoruba city-state. It came under British protection in 1893. Today, it is one of the major commercial and industrial centers in Nigeria.

Ibadan has been a center of agricultural development for many years, as is reflected in the name of the 27-story Cocoa House, one of West Africa's tallest buildings. Recently, one of the oldest research institutions in Nigeria, Moor Plantation on the Abeokuta Road, was incorporated into a system of 16 federal research centers throughout the country. Now called National Cereals Research Institute, Moor Plantation focuses on research and extension programs in grain cereals.

A long-established School of Forestry and Research Center is in the Jericho area of Ibadan. A sister institute for horticultural research was inaugurated in 1976, also on the west side of the city. About ten miles north of Ibadan, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) employs 55 scientists from various countries. IITA is one of six such institutes throughout the world, and is internationally funded, with the U.S. share coming from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. About a dozen American scientists and their families are assigned to IITA.

Ibadan is developing major industrial parks. Several steel construction plants, a tire processing company, wire and cable plants, a battery factory, soft drink (including Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola) plants, cashew processing plants, three major breweries, a canning factory, and the National Tobacco Company are among Ibadan's industries.

The commercial areawith department stores, shops, banks, and other businesses, as well as a large marketis in the city's center.

Most Americans reside along with the British, Lebanese, Israelis, Germans, and Nigerians in outlying residential areas. Some live at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture or at the University of Ibadan.

Education

The International School, a university-owned secondary school for grades seven through 12, adjoins the University of Ibadan campus. Applicants for the school should send recent school transcripts and registration forms (obtainable from the school). Written tests determine eligibility and placement. However, students with satisfactory records from American, international, or British Commonwealth schools rarely are refused. Students prepare for the London University Overseas Advanced Level Examinations and the American College Board Examinations.

The school follows British lines, but a flexible curriculum caters to the needs of both Nigerian/British-and American-education systems. The school year has three 12-week terms beginning in mid-September. Elective courses and activities are held after classes.

The nearby International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) operates a Calvert-system school, with local teachers in grades one through six. Several children of American expatriates have attended the school and found the instruction inadequate. The main constraint of the IITA school is that classes end with grade six.

Ibadan public schools are not considered adequate for U.S. children; teaching quality is subject to change. Inquiries should be made in advance. Many parents now feel that because of overcrowding, the International School is unable to provide quality instruction. Parents now send their children either to boarding schools abroad or to the American missionary school in Jos.

The University of Ibadan bases its curriculum on the British system, adapted to Nigerian needs. Admission requirements for degree courses are rigid, but special courses are offered with flexible admission requirements. Courses can also be taken on a non-degree basis.

Recreation

Soccer is the national sport in Nigeria, and in Ibadan it has an enthusiastic following. Liberty Stadium, built during the 1960 independence celebrations, holds more than 30,000 people. It is the site of many sports events and festivals, as well as major soccer games. Good swimming, golf, and tennis facilities also are available in Ibadan, and some sight-seeing trips attract the adventurous. Fishing is good at certain times of the year.

About 125 miles east of Ibadan, on the main road, the agricultural center of Akure has been designated capital of Ondo State. About 15 miles from Akure is the village of Idanre, a well-fortified town that can be approached only by a long series of hillside steps. Idanre is a famous traditional center of Yoruba culture and religion.

Located on the Niger River outside New Bussa, about 200 miles north of Ibadan in Kwara State, is Kainji, a modern hydroelectric dam which attracts interested tourists from all over the world. Many large species of African game may be seen at the nearby Borgu Game Reserve. The natives in this area are relatively untouched by modern civilization.

Entertainment

Films, lectures, concerts, and exhibits are part of the social life in Ibadan. There are many Western-educated Nigerians, and the city has an international character. The Ibadan Rotary Club, one of several service clubs, meets regularly at the Premier Hotel. Membership includes men of several nationalities representing the city's various industries. The Men's Dining Club, with 25 Nigerian and 25 foreign members, meets weekly at the same hotel, as does its sister organization, the Ladies' Dining Club. Local branches of Girl Guides, Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, University Women, and the National Council of Women's Societies are active here. Opportunities to do volunteer work for handicapped children and adults vary each year with the creation of new facilities and the amalgamation of existing institutions.

Public cinemas show mostly Indian and kung-fu films, and are neither clean nor comfortable. There are, however, a number of reasonably good dining facilities in the city, among them the Cabin, the Coco-Dome, and the Premier Chinese Restaurant, which offer good food and pleasant atmosphere.

Several active amateur theatrical groups usually play to packed houses. Both Nigerians and foreigners participate. Music devotees join the Operatic Society, Music Circle, Music Society, or Madrigal Society, as well as the choral group of All Saints Church.

Photographers enjoy Ibadan and the surrounding area. These areas afford many interesting pictures, but local sensitivities limit photo opportunities. The prices here for equipment and film are very high. Permission should always be asked before photographing local people, as some may be greatly offended; others may expect money for posing.

Kano

Kano is the largest city in northern Nigeria, and the third largest in the country. For centuries, it was the center of caravan routes, and has served as a link between the Islamic north and West Africa. The walled Old City retains its ancient character.

As one of the seven original Hausa emirates, Kano keeps many links with its past while growing rapidly and trying to meet modern challenges. Situated in the savanna at the edge of the Sahara, it has long been an important trading and commercial center. Its international airport links it with London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cairo, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Khartoum (Sudan), Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), Lomé (Togo), and other cities. The airport runways are also crowded with private jets belonging to local business representatives.

Kano's written history can be traced back to 999, when it was already several hundred years old. At that time it was a cultural, handicraft, and commercial center, trading with other parts of western and northern Africa. Kano figured prominently in the Negro wars of the 15th and 16th centuries and, for a short time around 1600, the city converted to Islam. In 1809, it was conquered by the Fulani; in 1903, it was captured by Frederick Lugard and became British.

The climate, similar to that of the American southwest, is milder than Lagos' climate. Although extremely hot from March to June, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 100°F, the dryness makes the heat more bearable. The rainy season lasts from June through September, with an average rainfall of only 28 inches. From November through March, the harmattan brings dust from the Sahara. At this time, the midday sun is obscured, and everything is covered with a fine, white powder. Cooler temperatures prevail during harmattan ; at night, the temperature sometimes drops to 55°F.

Kano, with a population estimated over one million in 2000, is the capital of Kano State, the most populous in Nigeria. The traditional home-land of the Hausa and the Fulani, it is now home to Nigerians from all over the country. Sizable British and Lebanese communities exist in the city; Chinese, South Asians, and other nationalities are also represented in large numbers. The approximately 50 Americans in Kano are mostly at Bayero University, or at the church-sponsored eye hospital and mission. A host of other educational institutions are located here.

People here march to a less-frenzied pace than those in some other cities in Nigeria. Traffic flows more smoothly, people are friendlier, and movement in and out of town is easier and safer.

Kano is the trade and shipping center for an agricultural region whose chief crops are cotton, groundnuts, and cattle. It is also the major industrial center of northern Nigeria, where peanut flour and oil, cotton textiles, steel furniture, processed meat, canned food, soft drinks, beer, concrete blocks, shoes, and soap are manufactured. Heavy industries manufacture asbestos, bicycles, automobiles, trucks, and chemicals. Kano is also well-known for its leather work. The Kano traditional city, with its extensive market, is one of the north's most interesting tourist attractions.

Education

Although Kano has some national groups (Lebanese, French, Poles, and Belgians) which operate their own schools, most local educational institutions do not meet appropriate standards. Many British nationals send their older children to boarding schools in England.

The Corona Society has established a school for kindergarten and first grade students, which accepts American children. Teachers are British, with U.K. teaching credentials. Trustees are trying to procure funds for expansion.

Kano Capital and St. Louis Private are schools for children aged six to 13. Upper-level schools include St. Thomas Secondary and St. Louis Secondary, both in Kano, for ages 14 to 16.

Recreation

Within and surrounding Kano are many sites worth visiting, including the city's old Furmi market and its ancient dye pits. The towns of Dambatta, Katsina, Rano, Wudil, Kazaure, and Jibiya have interesting markets on designated days.

The Niger border is only two hours away. Niamey, capital of the Niger Republic, is a 14-hour drive; the Nigerian consulate in Kano issues visas overnight.

Yankari Game Park in Bauchi State is a pleasant day's drive. Longer trips include Sokoto (six hours by car, 45 minutes by air), where the Argungu Fishing Festival is held each February or March; Maiduguri (five hours driving, one hour flying); and northern Cameroon, which takes about eight hours to the border and another two to the Waza Game Park; visas for Cameroon must be obtained in Lagos. Closer at hand is Bagauda Lake, formed by Tiga Dam, where there is a sailing club and a resort hotel. Zaria is about 90 minutes from Kano by car; Kaduna is another hour down a dangerous road.

In town, the Kano Club offers tennis, golf, swimming, squash, and snooker (a variation of pool). It also has a restaurant. The Lebanon Club maintains dining facilities, tennis, billiards, and a new swimming pool. Dancing is offered here on weekends, and also at the French Club (Le Circle), which has an excellent, although not French, menu. There is dancing on Saturday evenings at the Peking Chinese Restaurant. Kano has several other good dining spots.

As a rule, men wear safari or bush suits for business, and casual attire for social evenings; suits and ties are worn for some functions. Women dress conservatively here so as not to offend local Muslim sensitivities, but sundresses are considered appropriate. Expatriates congregate at the bar in the Central Hotel.

Enugu

Enugu, with a population of 280,000 (1991 estimate), is situated in southeastern Nigeria, about 275 miles east of Lagos and 100 miles north of Port Harcourt. Enugu developed as an important town after the discovery of coal in 1909, but coal mining today has been sharply curtailed because of petroleum production.

Enugu served as capital of Nigeria's Southern Region from 1929 to 1939, of the Eastern Region from 1939 to 1967, and of the short-lived secessionist state of Biafra from 1967 to 1970. The campus of the University of Nigeria that includes an economic development institute is located here. The city is the site of a Mercedes plant, which produces Mercedes Benz cars as well as heavy trucks. Two breweries opened in Enugu in 1983. French firms have built a major hospital in the area. Enugu is served by several hospitals, including the Teaching Hospital of the University of Nigeria and an orthopedic hospital.

OTHER CITIES

ABA is situated in southeastern Nigeria, about 40 miles northeast of Port Harcourt and 275 miles southeast of Lagos. Originally a small Ibo village developed by the British as an administrative center early in the 20th century, Aba had a population of 264,000 in 1991. It is a regional market and manufacturing center for textiles, shoes, plastics, soap, beer, pharmaceuticals, and palm oil. Aba has a school of arts and sciences, secondary schools, a teaching college, and several technical and trade institutes.

ABEOKUTA , the capital of Ogun State, is located in southwest Nigeria, about 60 miles north of Lagos. It was established about 1830 as a refuge from slave hunters of the Yoruba civil wars and was the chief town of the Egbas, who made a treaty with the British in 1893. Abeokuta is the site of the famous Olumo Rock, where the city was originally founded. It is also known for its educational and medical institutions. Of particular interest is the Aro Hospital for Nervous Diseases, which sometimes can be visited by prior arrangement with the director. A campus of the University of Lagos was established in Abeokuta in 1984. The city is an exporting point for cocoa, palm products, kola nuts, and fruit. Industrial capacity is small-scale, with an emphasis on sawmills, fruit-canning plants, and a plastics factory. Abeokuta's population is approximately 377,000.

ADO , sometimes known as Ado-Ekiti, is 35 miles west of Lagos, and has a population over 300,000. Located in a region where rice is grown, Ado has rice mills, and manufactures textiles, bricks, tile, shoes, and pottery. Yams, cassava, corn, okra, fruits, and pumpkins are marketed locally. The city was founded in the 15th century as the capital of the Yoruba Ekiti state. It alternated between independence and occupation by Benin until the British gained control in 1894.

BENIN CITY is situated in southern Nigeria on the west delta of the Niger River, about 150 miles east of Lagos. With a population of 203,000 (1991 estimate), the city is the processing area for rubber, palm nuts, and timber produced nearby. It also manufactures furniture, soft drinks, and carpets. Benin City was the capital of a black African kingdom that probably was founded in the 13th century, and which flourished from the 14th to 17th century. Benin traded slaves, along with ivory, pepper, and cloth to Europe. The kingdom declined after 1700, but revived in the 19th century with the development of palm products and increased commercial activity with Europe. The British conquered and burned Benin City in 1898. Iron work, carved ivory, and bronze busts made as early as the 13th century rank with the finest art in Africa, and can be seen displayed in museums throughout the city. Benin City has Anglican, Roman Catholic, Muslim, government, and private secondary schools and is the site of the University of Benin, which was founded in 1970. Several hospitals serve Benin City and the surrounding area.

The city of BONNY is in southeastern Nigeria on the Niger River delta, just south of Port Harcourt. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the center of a powerful trading state and became the leading exporter of palm oil. Bonny served as the administrative center of the British Oil River Protectorate from 1885 until 1894. It declined in the 20th century, but enjoyed a revival after 1961, when the port was modernized and used as an export point for petroleum refined at Port Harcourt. The town has an Anglican cathedral and a government health center.

CALABAR is located in a beautiful hilly area near the Calabar River. It is a port city on the southeastern border of Nigeria near Cameroon. Calabar has approximately 154,000 (1991 est.) residents. Formerly called Old Calabar, it was established in the early 17th century by the Efik branch of the Ibibio people. The city has been influenced by the Portuguese and British. Rubber, food, and palm oil processing plants are located in Calabar, along with a sawmill and cement factory. The town's artisans sculpt ebony artifacts for the tourist market in Lagos. Educational opportunities are not lacking in Calabar, where there is a university and two colleges.

Located in the southwestern part of Nigeria, 112 miles north of Lagos, EDE is the old town of the Yoruba people. Since a railway was built from Lagos in 1906, Ede is a major exporting center for palm oil and cacao. Local trading includes yams, okra, pumpkins, kola nuts, and corn. The population was estimated at 271,000 in 1991.

The historical and spiritual center of Yorubaland is IFE , located 54 miles east of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria. Founded about 1300, Ife is the oldest Yoruba town and the most powerful tribal kingdom until the late 17th century. Sometimes called Ile-Ife, the city is an important center for marketing and shipping cacao. It is famous for its museum adjoining the palace of the Oni of Ife (traditional ruler). The museum houses beautiful Ife bronzes and terra-cotta treasures. These sculptures, made in the area as early as the 12th century, are considered the finest among west African art. The Oranyan Staff, about a half mile from the palace, is an important Yoruba monument. The nearby Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), established in 1961, has a spacious modern campus. An exhibit of African art at the Institute of African Studies, an experimental farm, and an art and cultural center (Ori Olokun) are also located here. Cocoa, cotton, palm oil and kernels, yams, cassava, and kola nuts are traded in the city. Ife has a population of about 262,000 (1991 estimate).

ILESHA , with a population of about 334,000, is located in southwestern Nigeria, 15 miles southeast of Oshogbo. It served as the capital of the Yoruba Ilesha kingdom of Oyo until it collapsed and became part of Ibadan in the early 19th century. Ilesha was taken by the British in 1893. The city was formerly a hub for caravan trade, and is now an agricultural and commercial center. Cacao, kola nuts, and yams are shipped from Ilesha. The city has several industries, particularly nail and carpet manufacturing. Ilesha is the home of the Oyo State College of Education and numerous teaching colleges.

ILORIN , the capital of Kwara State, is about 100 miles north of Ibadan and 170 miles northeast of Lagos. It has a population of 420,000 (1991 estimate). This mud-walled city became the capital of the Yoruba kingdom about 1800. Its territory was extended through warfare against Oyo and Ibadan late in the 19th century, but it was conquered by Royal Niger Company British troops in 1897. Today, Ilorin is an industrial center, producing cigarettes, matches, soap, soft drinks, and sugar, as well as an agricultural market for cattle, poultry, palm products, and yams. It is also a center for traditional artisans who make woven and leather goods, tin products, wood carvings, and pottery. Several U.S. missionaries work in and around Ilorin. Health services in Ilorin include a number of government, private, and religious hospitals and a nursing home for the elderly.

ISEYIN is located in the southwest, near Benin. It is about 100 miles from Lagos. Traditionally, Iseyin has been a cotton marketplace known for its dyes. The dyes are exported along with teak and tobacco. Iseyin was once a mining town, but now relies on imported metals. The town has several Christian-sponsored secondary schools and a hospital. The population is over 200,000.

IWO , whose population numbers 320,000, is in southwestern Nigeria, on the rail route just northeast of Ibadan. It is a trade center for the nearby farming region which specializes in cacao. The city was founded in the 17th century as the capital of a Yoruba kingdom, and grew during the 19th century by sheltering refugees from the Yoruba civil wars. Yams, corn, cassava, and palm kernels are grown north of town.

KATSINA is in the northern tip of Nigeria near the Niger border. The city was founded around 1100 and was named for the wife of a Durbawa king, Kacinna. Katsina was a vital center of the Hausa states from the late 16th century until the late 18th century. There is a palace in the city and its treasures include a 13th century sword called Gajere. Katsina is a holding place for peanuts and hides that are sent on to Kano for export. Traditional crafts of the town's predominantly Hausa population include cotton weaving and dyeing, leather and metalworking, and the designing of embroidery and pottery. Several industries were brought to Katsina in the 1970s. The most important are vegetable oil and steel processing mills. The city is an educational center for the region; it houses several colleges including the Kaduna State College of Legal Studies. Katsina's population was about 182,000 in 1991.

MAIDUGURI , in the Lake Chad region some 300 miles east of Kano, was founded in 1907 as a British military post. Its population has grown to more than 282,000 (1991 estimate). Maiduguri is the rail, road, and air transportation center for northeast Nigeria, Niger, and Chad. Leather goods made from hides of crocodiles caught in Lake Chad are the city's leading product. Cattle hides, skins, dried fish, peanuts, and gum arabic are the city's exports. The city has several important industries. These include the manufacturing of leather goods, aluminum, cement, and furniture. Maiduguri is a hub for the main railway line linking northeastern Nigeria to Port Harcourt. An international airport is located five miles west of the city. Maiduguri is situated along the historic route that Muslims traveled from Senegal to Mecca.

OGBOMOSHO , with a steadily increasing population already higher than 650,000, is one of Nigeria's many large and growing cities. It is situated in Western State, 50 miles north-northeast of Ibadan. Ogbomosho was founded in the mid-17th century as a military camp, and became the focal point of resistance to Fulani invasions in the early 19th century. The city grew by absorbing refugees from towns destroyed by the Fulani. At one time, there was a sizable American missionary settlement here, caring for victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy). Today, Ogbomosho is a trade center in a farming region, shipping foodstuffs, tobacco, and livestock. A teachers' college is located here. A prominent landmark in Ogbomosho is a large square tower on the city's central mosque. Ogbomosho has other mosques and several churches and is the headquarters of the American Baptist Church of Nigeria and its theological seminary. Several schools and a teacher's college are located in the city.

ONITSHA is a port city located on the Niger River, about 135 miles from its mouth, and 225 miles east of Lagos. With a population of more than 350,000, Onitsha is a commercial and market center whose local industries include canoe building, saw-milling, printing, fishing, and beverage manufacturing. Situated at the northern limit of year-round navigation on the river, the city is an important port linking the Niger delta with the upper Niger and Benue Rivers, as well as with a wide region of eastern Nigeria. A road bridge built across the river at Onitsha in 1965 is a principal link between east and west Nigeria. A large textile plant is located near the bridge.

OSHOGBO , situated at a road and rail junction on the Oshun River, is about 50 miles northeast of Ibadan. In 1839, the city was the site of the decisive battle in which the Yoruba city-state, Ibadan, defeated the expansionist Fulani state, Ilorin, halting the latter's southward advance. An influx of refugees helped to increase Oshogbo's population; today it is more than 400,000. Oshogbo is a center for local artists, and interesting shrines to various Yoruba deities also can be seen here. The annual Oshogbo festival draws close to 10,000 visitors every August. Cotton ginning and weaving and tobacco growing are local occupations. Food processing and steel milling are local industries. Oshogbo is the home of a small teaching college, vocational school, and secondary schools. The city is also serviced by several hospitals.

OYO , located in southwestern Nigeria about 32 miles north of Ibadan, has a population of over 226,000. It was founded in the early 19th century as a replacement for Old Oyo, the capital of the eponymous Yoruba empire destroyed in earlier civil wars. Oyo came under British protection in 1893. Today, it is a farming town that produces tobacco, cotton, and yams. Resident artisans make leather goods and carve utensils from gourds. The town has secondary schools, a government vocational center, and several hospitals. Oyo is a hub for local roads serving the state.

PORT HARCOURT is a deep water port on the Bonny River, about 40 miles from the sea. Located in southern Nigeria the city, with a population of roughly 362,000, was first laid out in 1912, and named for Viscount Lewis Harcourt, the secretary of state for the colonies between 1910 and 1915. Port Harcourt is the operational headquarters for the Nigerian petroleum industry; it refines the oil, then pipes it to Bonny for export. Its industries include steel, aluminum products, pressed concrete, glass, tires, paint, footwear, furniture, cigarettes, plastics, paints, and enamelware. Port Harcourt is the center of the state radio and television broadcasting services.

ZARIA , population 335,000 (1991 estimate), is located in northern Nigeria on a major north-south highway about 87 miles southwest of Kano. First known as Zazzau, the city was founded about 1000 as one of the seven Hausa city-states. Zaria was captured by the Fulani in 1805 and by the British, under Frederick Lugard, in 1901. It is the home of Ahmadu Bello University, built in 1962. The old part of the city is walled and presents an interesting contrast to the modern structures. Zaria has many inhabitants from the Hausa and Gbari tribes for whom leather tanning and cotton weaving are primary occupations. Peanuts, cotton, and shea nuts are processed in town and shipped by rail to Lagos for export. Several significant industries are located in Zaria, among them basket weaving, bicycle assembly, publishing, cigarette and cosmetic manufacturing, and furniture making. The city has several hospitals, colleges, and research institutes.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Nigeria's 356,669 square miles, roughly equal to the area of California, Nevada, and Utah combined, cover four climatic regions of West Africa: a narrow coastal belt of man-grove swamp; a somewhat wider section of rolling hills and tropical rain forest in the south; a still larger dry central plateau, with much open woodland and savanna and a strip of semi-desert on the fringes of the Sahel in the north. Nigeria is bounded by Benin on the west, by Niger on the north, by Chad at its northeast corner, by Cameroon on the east, and by the Gulf of Guinea on the south.

The country's major geographical features are the Niger and Benue Rivers. The two rivers form the upper arms of a somewhat flattened letter "Y," come together in the south-central part of the country, and from there proceed due south (as the Niger) to the Gulf of Guinea, fanning out into a large and intricate river delta as the waters reach the open sea. Most of the country's oil deposits are found in the delta area. The highest elevations in Nigeria are in the eastern highlands along the border with Cameroon, with peaks up to 7,936 feet. The most extensive upland area is the Jos Plateau in east-central Nigeria: 2,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level, with peaks up to 5,841 feet.

The temperature is high year round. Temperatures range from the low 90's F to the mid-70's F on the coast and well over 100°F to 60°F in the north. The hottest period is February-April in the south and March-June in the north. The coolest period throughout Nigeria is July and August, though minimum night temperatures in the north are lowest in December and January when the harmattan, a dry north-easterly wind, carries fine sand from the Sahara all the way south to the coast, occasionally closing down airports with a dusty haze. Rainfall is heaviest in the south along the coast, averaging 70 inches a year in the west, increasing to 170 inches in the east. The rainfall decreases fairly sharply inland, averaging 50 inches over most of central Nigeria and 20 inches a year in the far north. The dry and rainy seasons are fairly distinct. The rainy season is May-October (June-September in the far north). In the southwest, including Lagos, there is a principal rainy season in May-July and a secondary rainy season from the second half of September through October. Near the coast, the humidity is high throughout the year, though it abates occasionally during the harmattan from mid-December to mid-February. Northward from the coast, the humidity decreases steadily and varies abruptly with the seasons. Mildew can be a problem under the more humid conditions, but it is controllable with air conditioning.

Population

Nigeria's population in 2000 was estimated at 117,170,948, approximately one-fourth of the total for all Africa. The population is distributed among more than 250 tribal or ethno-linguistic groups. The country's three major groupsHausa-Fulani in the north (29%), Yoruba in the west (21%), and Ibo in the east (18%)constitute some two-thirds of the total population. Numerous remaining groups range in size from several million members to fewer than 50,000. English is the official language, although it is less common in the north, where Hausa is widely spoken. A pidgin English, difficult for the American ear to distinguish, is also common.

About 50 percent of the population is Muslim, and about 40 percent is ChristianProtestant, Roman Catholic, or a variety of independent African churches. About 10 percent of the population follows some form of traditional religion. Many Christians and Muslims in Nigeria have incorporated into their faith indigenous beliefs or rituals of worship. Muslims are predominant in the north, where historically they have been less influenced by Western education and institutions. Christians are predominant in the southeast. The Ibos of this region quickly adapted to Western education and commerce. The southwest is divided between Christian and Moslem. The Yorubas predominate in this region. Ethnic and religious diversities in Nigeria present a constant potential for antagonisms, which succeeding federal governments have sought to defuse by fostering the ideal of national unity.

Most Nigerians, from traditional farmers in the villages to business executives in the cities, observe a complex pattern of familial obligations and relationships. The term "extended family" only hints at the ties that link educated and cosmopolitan Lagos urbanites to family members throughout the country. When a person speaks of his "brother," for example, he may have in mind a sibling, a cousin, or a good friend from a neighboring village.

Few Nigerians can be neatly labeled "traditional" or "modern," and the educated Nigerian of the 1990s is a vital bridge between these two ways of life. Aspects of modernity have reached the most remote village, while patterns of traditional life still exist among the most highly educated people. In addition to styles of dress and food preferences, Nigerian tradition is evident in such attitudes as a respect for elders, often to the point of semi-veneration; a hesitancy to criticize the acknowledged leader directly, even in the course of partisan politics; and a preference to seek consensus in most deliberative bodies and focus disagreements on procedural rather than substantive matters.

Public Institutions

Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960, inheriting a parliamentary representative government from the British. The military came to power in a coup d'etat in 1966 and suspended the constitution until civilian rule was restored in 1979. Nigeria's 1979 Constitution called for a government closely resembling that of the U.S., with a president and vice president elected every 4 years, a bicameral legislature, and an independent judiciary.

The military returned to power in 1983 and suspended all sections of the 1979 Constitution relating to electoral and legislative procedures at both the federal and state level. Ruling by decree, the military government announced in 1987 a program for Nigeria's transition back to civilian rule. The regime conducted local government, state government, and national assembly elections, and civilians took over the positions.

On June 12, 1993, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a civilian president and complete the last leg of the military's carefully orchestrated transition program. Though most observers described the election as the fairest in Nigeria's history, the regime quickly annulled the poll, provoking a protracted political crisis that continues today. To try to address growing political turmoil, the regime stepped down and turned over power to a civilian-led Interim National Government (ING). The ING proved unable to tackle Nigeria's continuing political and economic problems, and the military took over again on November 17, 1993.

The new military regime quickly consolidated power, dissolved all democratic institutions, and replaced civilian governors with military officers. Under the military rule, the main decision making organ is the military provisional ruling council (PRC), which rules by decrees that have the force of law. The PRC oversees the 32-member Federal Executive Council composed of military officers and civilians, including several prominent politicians. After conducting an election for delegates in May 1994, the PRC convened a constitutional conference mandated to examine the best way to restore democracy and recommend a new constitution. The regime pledged to announce a more specific transition program after reviewing the conference's draft constitution. Though the conference delegates were unable to meet a January 1995 deadline, the conference completed deliberations in April 1995 and presented its report and draft Constitution to the military government.

Elections is 1999 brought Matthew Olusegun Fajinmi Aremu Obasanjo into the presidency.

Arts, Science, and Education

A new arrival in Nigeria should visit the National Museum in Lagos to see "2000 Years of Nigerian Art," the definitive collection of Nigeria's cultural past, which toured the U.S. and Europe in the late 1970s. The collection begins with the terra-cotta figures of the Nok Culture, which flourished in the Jos region before A.D. 800. The delicate lost-wax castings recovered in a chief's tomb in Igbo-Ukwu, shed a new light on the history of Eastern Nigeria a thousand years ago. Excavations at Ife and Oyo yielded busts of the Yoruba kings, who ruled in the 14th century. And finally, the Museum offers the bronze castings and ivory carvings of the Benin Kingdom, among the finest artistic achievements of African civilization.

Nigerian artistic achievement is not only in the distant past. The Igbo spirit masks and the Yoruba carved figures of twins called "ibeji" are only two examples of Nigerian art that will be familiar to anyone with even a casual knowledge of African culture, and these are still made and used today. Artisans still cast and carve in the traditional manner, and their products, readily available in markets and galleries, range from the merely decorative to striking copies of traditional masterpieces. Woven fabrics, embroidery, dyed fabrics, jewelry, decorated calabashes, leather-works, pottery, and baskets abound in markets in every Nigerian city.

Contemporary Nigerian art has been undergoing a "boom" in recent years, and openings of art exhibitions are a feature of the Lagos cultural/social landscape. The first generation of Nigerian painters and sculptors is still activeBen Ewonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Jimoh Buraimoh, Yusuf Grillo, Nike Davies, Lamidi Fakeye, and Twin Seven-Seven are among the best known. Their studentsKolade Osinowo, Obiora Udechukwu, Emmanual Anatsui, and othersexhibit regularly in Nigeria, and a younger generation of artists is already filling galleries and museums. Among the latter are Chika Okeke, Victor Ekpuk, and Chinedu Agbodike.

Pageantry is still characteristic of Nigerian life, and towns and villages perform impressive exhibitions of music and dance to welcome important visitors. Benin City is still enveloped in the Igue Festival in December and you can catch a glimpse of the traditional Egungun and Eyo masquerades even in Lagos.

Nightclubs have made a comeback in Lagos, and local jazz, "juju," and "high life" music can be heard on weekends, in clubs, and at weddings and other celebrations. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Charley Boy, Aiyende Marshal (Quam I), and Ebenezer Obey are international stars. Shina Peters has captured the Nigerian market with his juju/pop fusion. Although foreign movies have been eclipsed by the video shops that proliferate in Nigeria, the local movie industry produces 10-15 video tape films each year for the enthusiastic domestic market, most of them in Yoruba (and few with subtitles). Nigeria's best known authors are Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. A host of other playwrights, novelists, and poets have made their name, including Steve Rhodes, Ken Saro Wiwa, John Pepper Clarke, Ola Rotimi, Cyprian Ekwensi, Festus Iyayi, Flora Nwapa, and Chukwuemeka Ike, Ben Okri, Femi Osofisan, Bode Sowande and their works can be found at university bookstores, hotels, and airports.

The Federal Government has mandated an emphasis on scientific and technical education at the tertiary level. While the country trains its own doctors, dentists, technicians, and scientific personnel, there is little in the way of a "culture of science." The country's efforts have not as yet produced much original research, although they have produced a number of first-rate scientists.

Nigerians have evinced enthusiasm for education that has far outstripped the government's resources. Primary education is free and compulsory; there is considerable debate about its quality and availability, but at present most Nigerian children receive at least some primary education. In Lagos, it is rare to find people without some reading and writing ability in English, although in the rural areas they predominate.

There are a number of federal universities and state universities, though higher education has been paralyzed in recent years by strikes and non-payment of staff. The Federal Government also funds more than 250 teachers training colleges and 130 polytechnics. An increasing population, a growing number of secondary school graduates and the traditional enthusiasm for education have led to severe overcrowding in all of these institutions and, as with the primary schools, there is considerable concern about the quality of tertiary education. There are no private tertiary institutions in Nigeria but private technical schools abound.

Commerce and Industry

Despite the economic advantages of a low-cost labor pool, abundant natural resources and the largest domestic market in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria's economic performance remains wedded to the fortunes of its petroleum sector. In recent years, oil accounted for roughly 20 percent of Nigeria's GDP, over 95 percent of its export earnings, and over 65 percent of the Government's fiscal revenue.

Through much of Nigeria's history, misguided economic policies and political instability have held back development. The Nigerian Government used much of the revenues from the oil boom of the 1970s to finance a high level of consumption, and some ill-advised investments, leaving Nigeria's economy debt-ridden and vulnerable to the oil-market downturn that followed in the mid-1980s.

To correct these problems, Nigeria launched a IMF/IBRD Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in 1986, which was in place until 1992. Shortly after the military regime took over in 1993, the economic advisors led a reversal of the SAP reforms implemented in 1986. Market mechanisms gave way to regulated exchange rates and regulated investment regimes. Income took a sharp drop in 1994 as a result of those policies which prompted the military government to take a second look. Since then, a number of SAP reforms have been reinstituted. The exchange rate has been partially deregulated and the budget deficit has shrunk considerably. Regulations on foreign investment and foreign exchange transactions were eased. Decrees regarding money laundering and advance-fee fraud (known locally as "419" schemes) were promulgated to combat those crimes that badly tarnish Nigeria's image. But some distortions remain; the foreign debt remains high, currently at US $32 billion.

Nigeria's basic infrastructure is extensive, but it is largely unmaintained and inadequate for the demands of a large country with a population of over 100 million. Deficiencies range from crumbling roads and bridges to erratic telephone service and endemic shortages of water, fuel and electricity. Political uncertainty, along with the declining economy and Nigeria's reputation for corruption and fraud, detract from the Nigerian Government's professed interest in attracting foreign investors.

About 70 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture. Before Nigeria began to export petroleum in large quantities, its chief exports were agricultural commodities such as cocoa, peanuts, palm produce, rubber, timber, cotton, and wood products. While many of these exports virtually disappeared during the oil boom years, Nigeria still depends on subsistence farmers using traditional methods on small plots for most of its food.

Over 65 percent of Nigeria's imports in recent years have been capital goods and raw materials for industry. Most of its imports are sourced from Western Europe, with the remainder coming largely from the U.S., Japan, and other Asian countries. Locally produced consumer goods include textiles, beverages, lumber, furniture, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and food products. Other domestic manufacturers include cement, paper, and wood products. Nigeria has four oil refineries, and two fertilizer plants, with construction on a petrochemical plant underway. Other planned industrial projects in the development or planning stages involve steel, aluminum, fertilizers and liquefied natural gas.

Transportation

Local

"Go-slows" (traffic jams) are a way of life in Lagos. Most roads are in serious disrepair and are often congested. City streets are narrow and contain numerous potholes, which make them hazardous, especially during the rainy season. Floods in the rainy season cause, periodically, three to four feet of water in the streets. Also during the rainy season, "go-slows" are often worse than normal and driving even a short distance can take a long time. Violent car-jacking, especially of newer four-wheel-drive and other popular luxury vehicles, have become a major security concern during recent years.

Safe and reliable public transportation is not available. Public transportation in Lagos is primarily by large buses called "molues" or by yellow taxis. The buses are not utilized by Mission personnel as they are in disrepair, are always very overcrowded and pose serious danger to the occupants. For security reasons, the Regional Security Officer does not recommend that American employees utilize the local taxi service.

Regional

Nigeria's transportation network consists of roads and air services. Although one or more of these links can be used to get to most areas of the country, the level of service can often be disappointing. There are several domestic airlines but domestic air safety has been a problem. Not one domestic airline can assure safetydue to lack of proper maintenance, poor pilot and crew training, and inadequate air traffic control. Service is now available on a daily basis from Lagos to Abuja, the capital, and at least three times per week to most other major cities. The country's two international airports in Lagos and Kano are served by several international airlines. Domestic and International flight schedules are not reliable due to maintenance problems, inclement weather and/or over scheduling of planes.

All driving within Nigeria is on the right side of the road. Major intercity roads are paved, but maintenance is poor. Some roads between cities are close to impassable in some sections. Bandits are a constant danger, so adequate preparation for security should be made before beginning any road trip. Traveling in caravans is strongly recommended by the Regional Security Officer. Roadside facilities are far from adequate and lack basic amenities. Food, water, medical kit, and some basic automobile parts should be carried in the car and caution should be used at all time. Since medical care is seldom available, attention to safety on the road is critical.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Local telephone service is sporadic at best and unreliable. The service level offered in Nigeria is still inadequate for the country's size and is troubled by frequent interruptions and breakdowns. Trunk lines connect most of Nigeria's principal cities, but telephone service throughout Nigeria is usually unavailable. International calls may be made by direct dial, via satellite, to the U.S. and to Europe. Service is reliable, but it is sometimes difficult to get an outgoing line, especially during office hours. A great deal of patience is required.

Radio and TV

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) oversees the operation of the Federal television network, which comprises the National Television Production Center in Lagos and NTA station in each of the 30 states and Abuja. An estimated 6.9 million TV sets are in use. Programming begins about 4 p.m. with children's programs, including " Sesame Street," and continues until midnight. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, transmission on most stations starts at 9 a.m. All broadcasts are in color. Most of the on-air programs are locally produced by Nigerians, but both American and British programming is frequently seen. Newscasts are shown several times nightly on the national networks. Television in Nigeria uses the 625-line PAL color system.

Radio is the primary source of information for most Nigerians. As of 1997, Nigerians owned an estimated 23.5 million radio receivers, mostly medium wave. Broadcasts, talk programs, and much disco music, are transmitted in English and several local languages over a national network operated by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and by stations owned by the 30 states. In 1994, the first private radio station, RAY POWER 100, opened in Lagos. It is affiliated with an American station located in Los Angeles.

Many radio stations outside Nigeria broadcast to West Africa, and short-wave reception is usually good, particularly at night. VOA and BBC programs can be heard on several frequencies. All radio, phonograph and other electronic equipment should be tropicalized and carefully packed. American models are difficult to repair in Nigeria. Many people use voltage regulators for TV's, videos, and stereos because of occasional power surges.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

There are numerous local newspapers and almost all are printed in English. Although newspapers are at least partially owned by federal or state governments, the press is lively and expressive. International coverage is minimal with major stories taken from the wire services. The International Herald Tribute, USA Today and the London Times as well as Time, The Economist and Newsweek magazines, are available.

British, French, German and other American magazines such as Readers Digest, Ebony and Essence are available on a regular basis at selected locations on Victoria and Ikoyi Islands. Books for all ages, especially paperbacks from the U.K. are sometimes available but are not always in good condition.

Health and Medicine

Community Health

Common diseases are frequently seen in travelers here in Nigeria, but severe trauma (auto accidents) is the greatest risk. Everyone should WEAR THEIR SEAT BELTS AT ALL TIMES whenever traveling in any vehicle and caution should be exercised at all times while driving on Nigerian roads. Although diseases endemic to Africa such as parasitic intestinal infections (amoeba, giardia, shigella) are common among the local population, they remain relatively rare among visitors. In any case, treatment is relatively straight forward and well tolerated. Viral "flu," colds, gastro-intestinal upsets, and common skin infections make up the majority of medical problems. Individuals, and especially small children, who suffer from asthma, allergies or skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis may find that these problems become more pronounced in Lagos.

Travelers visiting areas outside of the major cities should carry at least some fundamental first aid equipment with them during their travels. Snake bites are very rare among visitors, although quite common among the indigenous population in some parts of the country. Travelers should be aware of this risk, especially in bush areas, and should wear protective shoes and clothing when hiking and exploring these regions.

Water shortages are quite common and general sanitation is poor throughout the entire region. As a consequence, outbreaks of water, food and mosquito-borne illnesses are often identified even within our own community. All water used for drinking and preparing ice cubes must be boiled and filtered before use. Bottled water is generally considered safe for consumption. Fruits and vegetables purchased on the local economy are often contaminated with parasites and bacterial contamination and should be cleaned by soaking with dilute clorox or other safe decontaminants. Imported products are generally safe, but refrigeration is not always reliable. Restaurants offer foods from different countries and generally considered to serve "safe" food. However, one should avoid foods prepared by the street vendersa reliable source of illness!

Preventive Measures

Malaria is endemic throughout Africa, similarly so in all of Nigeria. Falciparum malaria makes up 95 percent of all the malaria that are seen here. This unfortunately is the same malaria that has become resistant to many drugs and is the one that can, if not treated promptly or if treated incorrectly, can lead to cerebral malaria which has a 20 percent fatality rate despite treatment. It is absolutely imperative that ALL MUST TAKE MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS . Mefloquine is the drug of choice for this region, but there are other alternatives if this medication is not tolerated. Combinations of Chloroquine plus Paludrine may be used or one can use daily Doxyxycline. Neither is as effective as Mefloquine. All anti-malarials should be started 1-2 weeks before arrival at post and should be continued for 4 weeks after your permanent departure from a malarious area. The final permanent cure requires an additional medication taken daily for 2 weeks after your departure (Primaquine). In spite of good prophylaxis, breakthroughs of malaria are still possible and require prompt treatment with appropriate follow-up to exclude resistance.

Nigeria requires that all persons over the age of 1 year traveling to this country MUST be immunized against yellow fever. It is especially important to receive all of your immunizations before coming to post. It is of some note that we have minimized our use of Gamma Globulin to prevent hepatitis A and now use the recently released Hepatitis A vaccine.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

The U.S. Department of State warns against travel by U.S. citizens. Violent crimes can occur throughout the country, and kidnappings are common throughout the Niger Delta region.

Direct flights from the United States to Murtala Muhammed Airport were suspended in September, 1993, due to inadequate provisions for security. Direct flights to Lagos are available from several European cities. Travelers are encouraged to arrive during the day or early in the evening for security reasons.

American Visitors. Any American traveling to Nigeria should exercise caution by ensuring that they are met at the airport by persons known to them.

Airport Arrival. Air travelers arrive in Lagos at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, about 15 miles from downtown Lagos. Although only a short distance, the trip into the city can take from 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Private vehicles en route to and from the airport are frequently subjected to armed shakedowns by persons uniformed as police officers. Violent car-jacking also occur from time to time. Special Note: There are no public telephones at the airport.

All U.S. citizens must have a valid visa to enter Nigeria, which is issued at Nigerian embassies and consulates worldwide. Apply for visas well in advance.

Travel to neighboring West African countries invariably requires a visa. If you plan to travel out of Nigeria for business or pleasure, bring at least thirty (30) passport-sized photos. These will be needed for visa applications and other documentation.

Personnel should obtain a cholera stamp and be sure that a yellow fever shot is recorded in their immunization card in order to guarantee entry into Nigeria. All personnel should check with the State Department immunization clinic for a list of the immunizations currently recommended for official personnel.

Nigerian law provides only for the private ownership of breach loaded, non-pump shotguns and rifles, excepting rifles above the caliber of 30-06. A pump action shotgun is prohibited as this is considered to be an auto-loading device. Shotguns that are single or double-barrel are acceptable. No pistols or other handguns are legal for private possession in Nigeria.

The basic unit of Nigerian currency is the Naira, which consists of 100 kobo. Nigeria abandoned a fixed exchange rate system in September 1986. Since then, the value of the Naira has been allowed to fluctuate in accordance with market forces. In August 1996, one dollar equaled about 84 Naira. A number of well-known European and U.S. banks are established, as minority partners, in the Nigerian banking system. These include the affiliate of Citibank, the Nigerian International Bank.

Nigeria has adopted the metric system of weights and measures.

Some hotels accept American Express credit cards as well as travelers checks, which they will exchange for Naira. The Embassy, however, advises against use of any credit card in Nigeria and other arrangements for payment should be made. No financial information should be left in the home or hotels and no account numbers should be given or available to anyone.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

May 1Worker's Day

June 12 Democracy Day

Oct. 1 Independence Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

Id al-Adah*

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

Mawlid an Nabi*

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Abonja, Simi, and Tola Pearce, eds. Social Change in Nigeria. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishing Group, 1986.

Ate, Bassey E. Decolonization & Dependence: The Development of Nigerian-U.S. Relations, 1960-1984. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1985.

Awolowo, Obafemi. The People's Republic. Oxford University Press: London, 1968.

. Awo: The Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Cambridge University Press: London, 1960.

Azikiwe, Nnamdi. My Odyssey. C. Hurst & Company: London, 1970.

. Zik. London, 1961.

Bailey, Donna, and Anna Sproule. Nigeria. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughan, 1990.

Baker, Carol. A Family in Nigeria. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1985.

Bair, Frank E., ed. Countries of the World 1992. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1992.

Bovil, E.W. The Golden Trade of the Moors. Oxford University Press: London, 1958.

De St. Jorre, John. The Nigerian Civil War. Hodder & Stoughton: London, 1972.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. 2nd ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1989.

Dudley, B.J. Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria. Frank Cass & Co., Ltd: London, 1968.

Ekwe-Ekwe, Herbert. The Biafra War: Nigeria & the Aftermath. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

. Conflict & Intervention in Africa: Nigeria, Angola, Zaire. New York: St. Martins Press, 1990.

Enahoro, Peter. Y ou Gotta Cry To Laugh: How To Be a Nigerian. Caxton Press: Ibadan.

Fagg, William. Nigerian Images. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1990.

Foreign Area Studies, the American University. Nigeria: A Country Study. 3d ed. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., 1979.

Freville, Nicholas. Let's Visit Nigeria. 3d rev. ed. Bridgeport, CT: Burke Books, 1988.

. Nigeria. New York: Chelsea House, 1990.

Hackett, Rosalind I., ed. New Religious Movements in Nigeria. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1987.

Hodgkin, Thomas. Nigerian Perspectives: An Historical Anthology. 2d ed. Oxford University Press: London, 1975.

Jarmon, Charles. Nigeria: Reorganization & Development Since the Mid-Twentieth Century. Edited by K. Ishwaran. Kinderhook, NY: EJ Brill, 1988.

Kirk-Greene, A.H.M. Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook, 1966-69. 2 vols. Oxford University Press: London, 1971.

Leith-Ross, Sylvia. Stepping Stones: Memoirs of Colonial Nigeria, 1907-1960. Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1983.

McLuckie, C.W. Nigerian Civil War Literature. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990.

Olajide, Aluko. Essays on Nigerian Foreign Policy. London, 1981.

Opaku, Joseph. Nigeria: Dilemma of NationhoodAn African Analysis of the Biafran Conflict.

Oyediran, Oyeleye, ed. Nigerian Government and Politics Under Military Rule, 1966-79. Macmillan: London, 1979.

Panter-Brick, S. Keith, ed. Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria. N.J. Class: London, 1978.

Shaw, Timothy M., and Julius O. Ihonubere, eds. Nigeria. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990.

. Nigeria: The Illusions of Power. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992.

Sorenson, Karen. Nigeria: On the Eve of "Change", a Transition to What? New York: Human Rights Watch, 1991.

Soyinka, Wole. Isara: A Voyage Around "Essay". New York: Random House, 1990.

Stremlau, John J. The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1977.

Watt, Peggy. There Is Only One Nigeria. New York: State Mutual Book & Periodical Service, 1987.

Watts, Michael, ed. State, Oil, & Agriculture in Nigeria. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Institute of International Studies, 1987.

Wente-Lukas, Renate, and Adam Jones. Handbook of Ethnic Units in Nigeria. Philadelphia, PA: Coronet Books, 1985.

Williams, David. President and Power in Nigeria: The Life of Shehu Shagari. N.J. Class: London and Ottawa, 1982.

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Nigeria

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the January 2008 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Federal Republic of Nigeria

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 923.8 thousand sq. km. (356,700 sq. mi.) about the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Cities: Capital—Abuja (pop. est. 452,000). Other cities—Kano (9.3 million), Lagos (9.01 million), Ibadan (5 million), Enugu (500,000).

Terrain: Ranges from southern coastal swamps to tropical forests, open woodlands, grasslands, and semi-desert in the far north. The highest regions are the Jos Plateau 1,200-2,400 meters above sea level and the mountains along the border with Cameroon.

Climate: Annual rainfall ranges from 381 cm. along the coast to 64 cm. or less in the far north.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nigerian(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 140 million. Total fertility rate (avg. number of children per woman) 5.7.

Ethnic groups: (250) Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, and Ijaw are the largest.

Religions: Muslim, Christian, indigenous African.

Languages: English (official), Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Ijaw, others.

Education: Attendance (secondary)—male 32%, female 27%. Literacy—39%-51%.

Health: Life expectancy (2004 est.)— 43.7 years.

Government

Type: Federal republic.

Independence: October 1, 1960.

Constitution: The 1999 constitution (based largely on the 1979 constitution) was promulgated by decree on May 5, 1999 and came into force on May 29, 1999.

Political subdivisions: 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); states divided into a total of 774 local government areas.

Total government expenditure: (2006 budget) $14 billion.

Defense: 4.5% of 2006 budget.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $99.0 billion. Estimated real growth rate: (2005 est.) 6.9%.

Per capita GDP: (2005 est.) $694.

Inflation: (2006) 8%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc.

Agriculture: Products—cocoa, palm oil, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, livestock, groundnuts, cotton.

Industry: Types—textiles, cement, food products, footwear, metal products, lumber, beer, detergents, car assembly.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$59 billion: petroleum (95%); cocoa; rubber. Partners—United States (52.5%); Spain (8.2%); Brazil (6.1%). Imports—$25 billion: machinery; chemicals; transport equipment; manufactured goods; food; live animals. Partners—China (10%); United States (7.3%); United Kingdom (6.7%).

PEOPLE

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for over half of West Africa's population. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, most of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri. The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest.

About half of the Yorubas are Christian and half Muslim. The predominantly Catholic Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, with the Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw (the country's fourth-largest ethnic group) comprising a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and Ijaw are the most widely used Nigerian languages.

HISTORY

In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cow-rie shells used as currency.

In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and that brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an empire centered in Sokoto.

A British Sphere of Influence

Following the Napoleonic wars, the British expanded trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885, British claims to a sphere of influence in that area received international recognition and, in the following year, the Royal Niger Company was chartered. In 1900, the company's territory came under the control of the British Government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. In 1914, the area was formally united as the “Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.”

Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative, increasingly federal, basis.

Independence

Nigeria was granted full independence October 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern) under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. Under the constitution, each of the three regions retained a substantial measure of self-government. The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense and security, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policies. In October 1963, Nigeria altered its relationship with the United Kingdom by proclaiming itself a federal republic and promulgating a new constitution. A fourth region (the mid-west) was established that year. From the outset, Nigeria's ethnic, regional, and religious tensions were magnified by the significant disparities in economic and educational development between the south and the north.

On January 15, 1966, a small group of army officers, mostly southeastern Igbos, overthrew the government and assassinated the federal prime minister and the premiers of the northern and western regions. The federal military government that assumed power was unable to quiet ethnic tensions or produce a constitution acceptable to all sections of the country. Its efforts to abolish the federal structure greatly raised tensions and led to another coup in July. The couprelated massacre of thousands of Igbo in the north prompted hundreds of thousands of them to return to the southeast, where increasingly strong Igbo secessionist sentiment emerged.

In a move that gave greater autonomy to minority ethnic groups, the military divided the four regions into 12 states. The Igbo rejected attempts at constitutional revisions and insisted on full autonomy for the east. Finally, in May 1967, Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region, who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the “Republic of Biafra.” The ensuing civil war was bitter and bloody, ending in the defeat of Biafra in 1970.

Following the civil war, reconciliation was rapid and effective, and the country turned to the task of economic development. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of 1973-74. On July 29, 1975, Gen. Murtala Muhammed and a group of fellow officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing Gen. Yakubu Gowon's military government of delaying the promised return to civilian rule and becoming corrupt and ineffective. General Muhammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by October 1, 1979. Muhammed also announced the government's intention to create new states and to construct a new federal capital in the center of the country.

General Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup. His chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, became head of state. Obasanjo adhered meticulously to the schedule for return to civilian rule, moving to modernize and streamline the armed forces and seeking to use oil revenues

to diversify and develop the country's economy. Seven new states were created in 1976, bringing the total to 19. The process of creating additional states continued until, in 1996, there were 36.

The Second Republic

A constituent assembly was elected in 1977 to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity, in effect since the advent of military rule, was lifted. Political parties were formed, and candidates were nominated for president and vice president, the two houses of the National Assembly, governorships, and state houses of assembly. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which a northerner, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was elected president. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly.

In August 1983, Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence, and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results.

On December 31, 1983, the military overthrew the Second Republic. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the country's new ruling body. He charged the civilian government with economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, election fraud, and a general lack of concern for the problems of Nigerians. He also pledged to restore prosperity to Nigeria and to return the government to civilian rule but was stymied in his attempt to deal with Nigeria's severe economic problems. The Buhari government was peacefully overthrown by the SMC's third-ranking member, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in August 1985.

Babangida moved to restore freedom of the press and to release political detainees being held without charge. As part of a 15-month economic emergency, he announced stringent pay cuts for the military, police, and civil servants and enacted similar cuts for the private sector. Imports of rice, maize, and wheat were banned. Babangida led a national debate on proposed economic reform and recovery measures, which convinced him of intense opposition to an economic recovery package dependent on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The Abortive Third Republic

President Babangida promised to return the country to civilian rule by 1990; this date was later extended until January 1993. In early 1989, a constituent assembly completed work on a constitution for the Third Republic. In the spring of 1989, political activity was again permitted. In October 1989 the government established two “grassroots” parties: the National Republican Convention (NRC), which was to be “a little to the right,” and the Social Democratic (SDP), “a little to the left.” Other parties were not allowed to register by the Babangida government.

In April 1990, mid-level officers attempted to overthrow the Babangida government. The coup failed, and 69 accused coup plotters were later executed after secret trials before military tribunals. The transition resumed after the failed coup. In December 1990 the first stage of partisan elections was held at the local government level. While turnout was low, there was no violence, and both parties demonstrated strength in all regions of the country, with the SDP winning control of a majority of local government councils.

In December 1991, gubernatorial and state legislative elections were held throughout the country. Babangida decreed in December 1991 that previously banned politicians would be allowed to contest in primaries scheduled for August 1992. These were canceled due to fraud, and subsequent primaries scheduled for September also were canceled. All announced candidates were disqualified from again standing for president once a new election format was selected. The presidential election was finally held on June 12, 1993, with the inauguration of the new president scheduled to take place August 27, 1993, the eighth anniversary of President Babangida's coming to power.

In historic June 12, 1993 presidential elections that most observers deemed to be Nigeria's fairest, early returns indicated that wealthy Yoruba businessman M.K.O. Abiola had won a decisive victory. However, on June 23, Babangida, using several pending lawsuits as a pretense, annulled the election, throwing Nigeria into turmoil. More than 100 persons were killed in riots before Babangida agreed to hand power to an “interim government” on August 27. Babangida then attempted to renege on his decision. Without popular and military support, he was forced to hand over to Ernest Shonekan, a prominent nonpartisan businessman. Shonekan was to rule until new elections, slated for February 1994. Although he had led Babangida's Transitional Council since early 1993, Shonekan was unable to reverse Nigeria's ever-growing economic problems or to defuse lingering political tension.

With the country sliding into chaos, Defense Minister Sani Abacha quickly assumed power and forced Shonekan's “resignation” on November 17, 1993. Abacha dissolved all democratic political institutions and replaced elected governors with military officers. Abacha promised to return the government to civilian rule but refused to announce a timetable until his October 1, 1995 Independence Day address. Following the annulment of the June 12 election, the United States and other nations imposed various sanctions on Nigeria, including restrictions on travel by government officials and their families and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Additional sanctions were imposed as a result of Nigeria's failure to gain full certification for its counter-narcotics efforts.

Although Abacha's takeover was initially welcomed by many Nigerians, disenchantment grew rapidly. A number of opposition figures united to form a new organization, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which campaigned for an immediate return to civilian rule. Most Nigerians boycotted the elections held from May 23-28, 1994, for delegates to the government-sponsored Constitutional Conference. On June 11, 1994, using the groundwork laid by NADECO, Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding. He reemerged and was promptly arrested on June 23. With Abiola in prison and tempers rising, Abacha convened the Constitutional Conference June 27, but it almost immediately went into recess and did not reconvene until July 11, 1994.

On July 4, a petroleum workers union called a strike demanding that Abacha release Abiola and hand over power to him. Other unions then joined the strike, which brought economic life in around Lagos area and in much of the southwest to a stand-still. After calling off a threatened general strike in July, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) reconsidered a general strike in August, after the government imposed “conditions” on Abiola's release. On August 17, 1994, the government dismissed the leadership of the NLC. Although striking unions returned to work, the government arrested opponents, closed media houses, and moved strongly to curb dissent.

The government alleged in early 1995 that some 40 military officers and civilians were engaged in a coup plot, including former head of state Obasanjo and his deputy, retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. After a secret tribunal, most of the accused were convicted, and several death sentences were handed down. The tribunal also charged, convicted, and sentenced prominent human rights activists, journalists, and others—including relatives of the coup suspects—for their alleged “anti-regime” activities. In October, the government announced that the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC—see below: Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule) and Abacha had approved final sentences for those convicted of participation in the coup plot.

In an October 1, 1995 address to the nation, Gen. Sani Abacha announced the timetable for a 3-year transition to civilian rule. Only five of the political parties which applied for registration were approved by the regime. In local elections held in December 1997, turnout was under 10%. By the April 1998 state assembly and gubernatorial elections, all five of the approved parties had nominated Abacha as their presidential candidate in controversial party conventions. Public reaction to this development in the transition program was apathy and a near-complete boycott of the elections. On December 21, 1997, the government announced the arrest of the country's second highest-ranking military officer, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, 10 other officers, and eight civilians on charges of coup plotting.

Abacha, widely expected to succeed himself as a civilian president on October 1, 1998, remained head of state until his death on June 8 of that year. He was replaced by General Abdulsalami Abubakar. The PRC, under Abubakar, commuted the sentences of those accused in the alleged 1997 coup in July 1998. In March 1999, Diya and 54 others accused or convicted of participation in coups in 1990, 1995, and 1997 were released. Following the death of former head of state Abacha in June, Nigeria released almost all known civilian political detainees, including the Ogoni 19.

During the Abacha regime, the government continued to enforce its arbitrary authority through the federal security system—the military, the state security service, and the courts. Under Abacha, all branches of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses. After Abubakar's assumption of power and consolidation of support within the PRC, human rights abuses decreased.

Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule

During both the Abacha and Abubakar eras, Nigeria's main decision-making organ was the exclusively military Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) which governed by decree. The PRC oversaw the 32-member federal executive council composed of civilians and military officers. Pending the promulgation of the constitution written by the constitutional conference in 1995, the government observed some provisions of the 1979 and 1989 constitutions. Neither Abacha nor Abubakar lifted the decree suspending the 1979 constitution, and the 1989 constitution was not implemented. The judiciary's authority and independence was significantly impaired during the Abacha era by the military regime's arrogation of judicial power and prohibition of court review of its action. The court system continued to be hampered by corruption and lack of resources after Abacha's death. In an attempt to alleviate such problems, Abubakar's government implemented a civil service pay raise and other reforms.

In August 1998, the Abubakar government appointed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for local government councils, state legislatures and governors, the National Assembly, and president. INEC held a series of four successive elections between December 1998 and February 1999. Former military head of state Olusegun Obasanjo, freed from prison by Abubakar, ran as a civilian candidate and won the presidential election. Irregularities marred the vote, and the defeated candidate, Chief Olu Falae, challenged the electoral results and Obasanjo's victory in court.

The PRC promulgated a new constitution, based largely on the suspended 1979 constitution, before the May 29, 1999 inauguration of the new civilian president. The constitution included provisions for a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly, consisting of a 360-member House of Representatives and a 109-member Senate. The executive branch and the office of president retained strong federal powers. The legislature and judiciary, having suffered years of neglect, are finally rebuilding as institutions and beginning to exercise their constitutional roles in the balance of power.

The Obasanjo Administration

The emergence of a democratic Nigeria in May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo became the steward of a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most of its democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion.

The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers who held political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, ordered the release of scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded a number of questionable licenses and contracts let by the previous military regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts.

Most civil society leaders and most Nigerians saw a marked improvement in human rights and democratic practice under Obasanjo. The press enjoyed greater freedom than under previous governments. As Nigeria works out representational democracy, there have been conflicts between the executive and legislative branches over major appropriations and other proposed legislation. A sign of federalism has been the growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between Abuja and the various state capitols over resource allocation.

In the eight years since the end of military rule, Nigeria has witnessed recurrent incidents of ethno-reli-gious, community, and resource-related conflicts. Many of these arose from distorted use of oil revenue wealth, as well as from flaws in the 1999 constitution. In May 1999, violence erupted in Kaduna State over the succession of an Emir, resulting in more than 100 deaths. In November 1999, the army destroyed the town of Odi in Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang. In Kaduna in February-May 2000 over 1,000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Shar'ia in the state. Hundreds of ethnic Hausa were killed in reprisal attacks in southeastern Nigeria. In September 2001, over 2,000 people were killed in inter-religious rioting in Jos. In October 2001, hundreds were killed and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across the Middle-Belt states of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa. On October 1, 2001, President Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence. In 2003, he was re-elected in contentious and highly flawed national elections and state gubernatorial elections, which were litigated over two years. Since 2006, violence, destruction of oil infrastructure, and kidnappings of primarily expatriates in the oil-rich Niger River Delta has intensified as militants demanded a greater share of federal revenue for states in the region, as well as benefits from community development. For many reasons, Nigeria's security services have been unable to respond to the security threat, which is both political and criminal.

In May 2006, the National Assembly soundly defeated an attempt to amend the constitution by supporters of a third presidential term for President Obasanjo. This measure was packaged in a bundle of what were otherwise non-controversial amendments. Nigeria's citizens addressed this issue in a constitutional, democratic, and relatively peaceful process.

Civilian Transition

Nigeria held state legislative and gubernatorial elections on April 14 as well as presidential and national legislative elections on April 21, 2007, in which more than 35 political parties participated. Nigeria missed an opportunity to strengthen an element of its democracy through a sound electoral process. Analysis of the process by most international observers did not conform to what Nigeria's National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported. U.S. and international observers reported overall a seriously flawed process with credible reports of malfeasance and vote rigging in some constituencies. The scope of violence that occurred also was regrettable. There were considerable degrees of difference in the conduct of elections among states, but serious differences were also observed within states during the two polling dates. The main opposition parties, All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) and the Action Congress (AC), as well as numerous smaller political parties and the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) have filed petitions to challenge the results of gubernatorial elections in 34 of Nigeria's 36 states. Challenges to the presidential election have been filed by the ANPP, AC, and others in the Federal Court of Appeals, but the opposition is not unified, and mass protests have not materialized. INEC's principal problems included politicization and lack of independence, lack of transparency in its operations and decision-making, and persistent failure to make adequate logistical arrangements for both voter registration and polling. With INEC's certification of the ruling party' presidential ticket as the winner with over 70% of the vote, Nigeria experienced its first transition of power between civilian administrations when President Obasanjo stepped down on May 29, 2007. Newly-elected President Umaru Yar'adua, a moderate and a respected governor from the northern state of Katsina, pledged publicly to make electoral reform, peace and security in the Niger Delta, and continued electoral reform his top priorities.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Umaru YAR'ADUA

Vice Pres.: Goodluck JONATHAN

Min. of Agriculture & Water Resources: Sayyadi Abba RUMA

Min. of Commerce & Industry: Charles Chukwuma UGWU

Min. of Culture & Tourism: Adetokunbo KAYODE

Min. of Defense: Mahmud Yayale AHMED

Min. of Education: Igwe AJA-NWACHUKWU

Min. of Energy: Umaru YAR'ADUA

Min. of Environment & Housing: Halima Tayo ALAO

Min. of the Federal Capital Territory: Aliyu Modibbo UMAR

Min. of Finance: Shamsuddeen USMAN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ojo MADUEKWE

Min. of Health: Adenike GRANGE

Min. of Information & Communications: John Ogar ADEY

Min. of Internal Affairs: Godwin ABBE

Min. of Justice: Michael Kaase AONDOKAA

Min. of Labor & Productivity: Hassan LAWAL

Min. of Mines & Steel Development: Sarafa Tunji ISOLA

Min. of Science & Technology: Grace EKPIWWHRE

Min. of Transport: Deziani Alison MADUEKE

Min. of Women's Affairs: Saudatu Usman BUGUNDU

Min. of Youth Development: Akinlabe OLASUNKANMI

Min. of State for Agriculture & Water Resources: Adamu Maina WAZIRI

Min. of State for Commerce & Industry: Ahmed Garba BICHI

Min. of State for Culture & Tourism: Aliyu Idi HONG

Min. of State for Defense: Fidelia Auababa NJEZE

Min. of State for Education: Aishatu Kibril DOKKU

Min. of State for Education: Agada Anthony JERRY

Min. of State for Energy (Gas): Odusina Olatunde EMMANUEL

Min. of State for Energy (Petroleum): Henry Odin AJUMOGOBOA

Min. of State for Energy (Power): Fatima Balarabe IBRAHIM

Min. of State for the Federal Capital Territory: John James AKPANUDOEDEHE

Min. of State for Finance: Aderemi BABLOLA

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Baguda M. HIRSE

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Tijani Yahaya KAURA

Min. of State for Health: Gabriel Yajubu ADUKU

Min. of State for Information & Communication: Ibrahim Dasaki NAKADE

Min. of State for Interior: Hassan HARUNA

Min. of State for Mines & Steel Development: Ahmed Mohamed GUSAU

Min. of State for Transport: John Okechukwu EMEKA

Min. & Dep. Chmn., National Planning Commission: Muhammed Sanusi DAGGASI

Min. & Chmn., National Sports Commission: Abdulrahman Hassan GIMBA

Governor, Central Bank: Charles SOLUDO

Ambassador to the US:

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:

Nigeria maintains an embassy in the United States at 3519 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, (phone. 202-986-8400, fax-202-362-6552) and a consulate general in New York at 575 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022, (phone. 212-715-7200).

ECONOMY

Trade

Nigeria is the largest U.S. trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, based mainly on the high level of petroleum imports from Nigeria. Total two-way trade was valued at $30.8 billion in 2006, a 19% increase over 2005. Leading U.S exports to Nigeria were machinery, wheat, and motor vehicles. Leading U.S. imports from Nigeria were oil and rubber products. Nigerian exports to the United State under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), including its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provisions, were valued at $25.8 billion during 2006, a 15% increase over 2005, due to an increase in oil exports. Non-oil AGOA trade (leather products, species, cassava, yams, beans, and wood products) totaled $1.4 million in 2006, almost double the amount in 2005. The United States was the largest foreign investor in Nigeria.

In June 2006, the United States met with Nigeria under the existing Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to cooperate on investment issues and to develop a strategy for Nigeria to diversify its export base, especially in manufactured goods. Under the TIFA, the United States and Nigeria pledged to work together on critical issues such as World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development, intellectual property rights, and trade capacity building.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Nigeria was $25.7 billion in 2006, an increase of $3 billion from $22.6 billion in 2005. U.S. goods exports to Nigeria in 2006 were $2.2 billion, up 38% from the previous year. U.S. imports from Nigeria were $27.9 billion in 2006, up from 15% from 2005. Nigeria is currently the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods.

The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria in 2005 was $874 million, down from $2.0 billion in 2004. U.S. FDI in Nigeria is concentrated largely in the mining and wholesale trade sectors.

Dominated by Oil

The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2002 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a statist economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s accompanied this trend. By 2002 Nigeria's per capita income had plunged to about one-quarter of its mid-1970s high, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria's non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of “informal sector” economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75% of the total economy.

Nigeria's proven oil reserves are estimated to be 36 billion barrels; natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion cubic feet. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and in 2006 its crude oil production averaged around two million barrels per day. Poor corporate relations with indigenous communities, vandalism of oil infrastructure, severe ecological damage, and personal security problems throughout the Niger Delta oil-producing region continue to plague Nigeria's oil sector. Efforts are underway to reverse these troubles. In the absence of coherent government programs, the major multinational oil companies have launched their own community development programs. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was created to help catalyze economic and social development in the region, but it is widely perceived to be ineffective and opaque. The United States remains Nigeria's largest customer for crude oil, accounting for 40% of the country's total oil exports. Nigeria provides about 11% of overall U.S. oil imports and ranks as the fifth-largest source for U.S. imported oil.

The United States is Nigeria's largest trading partner after the United Kingdom. Although the trade balance overwhelmingly favors Nigeria, thanks to oil exports, a large portion of U.S. exports to Nigeria is believed to enter the country outside of the Nigerian Government's official statistics, due to importers seeking to avoid Nigeria's excessive tariffs. To counter smuggling and under-invoicing by importers, in May 2001 the Nigerian Government instituted a 100% inspection regime for all imports, and enforcement has been sustained. On the whole, Nigerian high tariffs and non-tariff barriers are gradually being reduced, but much progress remains to be made. The government also has been encouraging the expansion of foreign investment, although the country's investment climate remains daunting to all but the most determined. The stock of U.S. investment is nearly $7 billion, mostly in the energy sector. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are the two largest U.S. corporate players in offshore oil and gas production. Significant exports of liquefied natural gas started in late 1999 and are slated to expand as Nigeria seeks to eliminate gas flaring by 2008.

Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, and the lack of basic infrastructure. Still, the sector accounts for over 41% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. Agriculture provides a big chunk of non-oil growth, which in 2006 reached 9%. Nigeria is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, or palm oil. Cocoa production, mostly from obsolete varieties and overage trees, is stagnant at around 180,000 tons annually; 25 years ago it was 300,000 tons. An even more dramatic decline in groundnut and palm oil production also has taken place. Once the biggest poultry producer in Africa, corporate poultry output has been slashed from 40 million birds annually to about 18 million. Import constraints limit the availability of many agricultural and food processing inputs for poultry and other sectors. Fisheries are poorly managed. Most critical for the country's future, Nigeria's land tenure system does not encourage long-term investment in technology or modern production methods and does not inspire the availability of rural credit. Oil dependency, and the allure it generated of great wealth through government contracts, spawned other economic distortions. The country's high propensity to import means roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30%. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for relatively low labor costs (10%-15%). Domestic manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets; however, there are signs that some manufacturers have begun to address their competitive-ness

Arguably the government's biggest macroeconomic achievement has been the sharp reduction in its external debt, which declined from 36% of GDP in 2004 to less than 4% of GDP in 2007. In October 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved its first ever Policy Support Instrument for Nigeria. On December 17, the United States and seven other Paris Club nations signed debt reduction agreements with Nigeria for $18 billion in debt reduction, with the proviso that Nigeria pay back its remaining $12 billion in debt by March 2006. The United States was one of the smaller creditors, and received about $356 million from Nigeria in return for over $600 million of debt reduction. Merrill Lynch has won the right to take on $509 million of Nigeria's promissory debt (accrued since 1984) to the “London Club” of private creditors. This arrangement saves Nigeria about $34 million over a simple prepayment of the notes. Nigeria owes some bilateral loans and multilateral institutions over $101 million in oil warrant instrumental debts, which soon might be redeemed via a cash tender offer. Consequently, Nigeria faces intense pressure to accept multibillion dollar loans for railroads, power plants, roads, and other infrastructure. In the light of highly expansionary public sector fiscal policies during 2001, the government has sought ways to head off higher inflation, leading to the implementation of stronger monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and underspending of budgeted amounts. As a result of the CBN's efforts, the official exchange rate for the Naira has stabilized at about 127 Naira to the dollar. The combination of CBN's efforts to prop up the value of the Naira and excess liquidity resulting from government spending led the currency to be discounted by around 20% on the parallel (nonofficial) market. A key achievement of the Policy Support Instrument has been closure of the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates. The Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) is closely tied to the official rate. Under IFEM, banks, oil companies, and the CBN can buy or sell their foreign exchange at government influenced rates. Much of the informal economy, however, can only access foreign exchange through the parallel market. Companies can hold domiciliary accounts in private banks, and account holders have unfettered use of the funds.

Expanded government spending also has led to upward pressure on consumer prices. Inflation, which had fallen to 0% in April 2000, reached 14% by the end of 2003. Inflation was estimated at 8% in early 2007. High world oil prices have resulted in the government now holding $45 billion in foreign exchange reserves. State and local governmental bodies demand access to this “windfall” revenue, creating a tug-of-war between the federal government—which seeks to control spending—and state governments desirous of augmented budgets, preventing the government from making provision for periods of lower oil prices.

One of Nigeria's greatest success stories has been the completion in early 2006 of a major overhaul of its banking system, although some have criticized the pace of consolidation and aggressive CBN supervision. Reforms have reduced the number of banks from 89 to 25, increased a bank's minimal capital requirement to $190 million, and required banks to hold 40% of their deposits in liquid assets. Retail, corporate, and Internet banking are seen as intensively competitive, and the home loan market is considered moderately competitive. Less than 10% of lending is believed to be made to individuals. About 65% of the economically active population is serviced by the informal financial sector, e.g., microfinance institutions, moneylenders, friends, relatives, and credit unions. Since 1999, the Nigerian Stock Exchange has enjoyed strong performance, although equity as a means to foster corporate growth remains underutilized by Nigeria's private sector. Rural communities remain largely unbanked, the real estate sector and small businesses receive a low level of lending, and the credit card market remains at an early stage of development.

Nigeria's publicly owned transportation infrastructure is a major constraint to economic development. Principal ports are at Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can Island), Port Harcourt, and Calabar. Docking fees for freighters are among the highest in the world. Of the 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi.) of roads, more than 15,000 kilometers (10,000 mi.) are officially paved, but many remain in poor shape. Extensive road repairs and new construction activities are gradually being implemented as state governments, in particular, spend their portions of enhanced government revenue allocations. The government implementation of 100% destination inspection of all goods entering Nigeria has resulted in long delays in clearing goods for importers and created new sources of corruption, since the ports lack adequate facilities to carry out the inspection. Four of Nigeria's airports—Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja—currently receive international flights. There are several domestic private Nigerian carriers, and air service among Nigeria's cities is generally dependable. The maintenance culture of Nigeria's domestic airlines is not up to international standards.

Gradual Reform

Nigeria made progress toward establishing a market-based economy in 2006. It privatized Nigeria Telecommunications and its mobile subsidiary as well as the only government-owned petrochemical company. The government also sold its interest in eight oil service companies. Nigeria continued implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff. Nigeria's implementation of non-tariff barriers has been arbitrary and uneven and continues to violate WTO prohibitions against trade bans. However, the government removed some textile items from its list of prohibited imports in 2006. Enforcement of criminal penalties against intellectual property rights (IPR) violations is weak, and firms that are successfully countering IPR piracy have generally done so through civil court cases. The government has recently created an intellectual property commission.

A co-member of the International Advisory Group of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) initiated by the G8, Nigeria's federal government is playing an important role in having volunteered to pilot the new disclosure and validation methodologies. It has completed a comprehensive audit of oil sector payments and government revenues from 1999-2004. However, it is perceived that government contracting remains rife with corruption and kickbacks, and that many state and local officials continue to steal public monies outright.

Nigeria's economic team has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the international community. The team produced an encouraging body of work, notably budgets described as “prudent and responsible” by the IMF and a detailed economic reform blueprint, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Other positive developments have included: (1) government efforts to deregulate fuel prices; (2) Nigeria's participation in the EITI and commitment to the G8 Anticorruption/Transparency Initiative; (3) creation of an effective Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has earned 150 convictions and recovered over $5 billion in mishandled funds; and (4) development of several governmental offices to better monitor official revenues and expenditures.

Nigeria is not on track to meet its Millennium Development Goals because of a lack of policy coordination between the federal, state, and local governments, a lack of funding commitments at the state and local levels; and a lack of available staff to implement and monitor projects on health, poverty, and education.

Investment

Although Nigeria must grapple with its decaying infrastructure and a poor regulatory environment, the country possesses many positive attributes for carefully targeted investment and will expand as both a regional and international market player. Profitable niche markets outside the energy sector, such as specialized telecommunication providers, have developed under the government's reform program. There is a growing Nigerian consensus that foreign investment is essential to realizing Nigeria's vast potential. Companies interested in long-term investment and joint ventures, especially those that use locally available raw materials, will find opportunities in the large national market. However, to improve prospects for success, potential investors must educate themselves extensively on local conditions and business practices, establish a local presence, and choose their partners carefully. The Nigerian Government is keenly aware that sustaining democratic principles, enhancing security for life and property, and rebuilding and maintaining infra-structure are necessary for the country to attract foreign investment.

DEFENSE

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services total approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), and the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards. It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan/Darfur, and Somalia. The Nigerian Navy (7,000) is equipped with frigates, fast attack, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, but most are currently not operational. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic military production capabilities. Before the lifting of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria had turned to China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since independence, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterized by a focus on Africa and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; peaceful settlement of disputes; nonalignment and nonintentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which seeks to harmonize trade and investment practices for its 15 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Over the past decade, Nigeria has played a pivotal role in the support of peace in Africa. It provided the bulk of troops for the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), and is anticipated to do so also in Somalia.

Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbors. A longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula was addressed by International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in 2002. The ICJ awarded most of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula and maritime rights to Cameroon, and the UN established a Mixed Commission on implementing the ICJ ruling. On June 12, 2006 Nigerian President Obasanjo and Cameroonian President Biya signed an agreement in New York on implementing the ICJ decision. Nigeria promptly withdrew its troops within 60 days.

Nigeria is a member of the following international organizations: UN and many of its special and related agencies; World Trade Organization (WTO); International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Bank/IBRD; African Development Bank (AfDB); INTERPOL; Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); African Union (AU); Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) and several other West African bodies; Commonwealth; Nonaligned Movement (NAM); and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), among others.

U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS

With the nullification of Nigeria's June 12, 1993, presidential election, and in light of human rights abuses and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the United States imposed numerous sanctions on Nigeria. After a period of increasingly strained relations, the death of General Abacha in June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new phase of improved bilateral relations. As the transition to democracy progressed, the removal of visa restrictions, increased high-level visits of U.S. officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March, 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria as a key partner in the region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has continued to improve, and cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping, has been excellent.

The government has lent strong diplomatic support to U.S. Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has both condemned the terrorist attacks and supported military action against the Taliban and Al Qaida. Nigeria also has played a leading role in forging an anti-terrorism consensus among states in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated one million Nigerians and Nigerian Americans live, study, and work in the United States, while over 25,000 Americans live and work in Nigeria.

U.S. Foreign Assistance Priorities

“Investing in People” is the top U.S. foreign assistance priority in Nigeria. The U.S. ability to help Nigeria combat public health shortcomings contributes directly to good governance, societal stability, economic growth, and confidence in U.S. concern for the well-being of the Nigerian people. The challenges are considerable. Nigeria has the world's second-lowest rate of immunization coverage, is the global center of transmission of wild polio virus, and has the world's second-highest maternal mortality rate. Malaria causes the preventable deaths of 300,000 children and 7,000 women each year, and Nigeria has the fourth-highest tuberculosis (TB) burden in the world, with 100,000 deaths each year.

Nigeria's low contraceptive prevalence rate of 8.9% and high fertility rate of 5.7 children per woman drives an annual population growth rate of 3.2%, which imposes an unsustainable burden on health care delivery services that are already taxed to the limit. U.S. Government maternal and child health efforts will focus on immunization, polio eradication, birth preparedness, and maternity services.

U.S. efforts to eradicate malaria will focus on the sale of insecticide-treated nets and treatments kits, and provide therapies and intermittent preventive treatment of pregnant women. To reduce death and disability as a result of TB, especially in the vulnerable co-infected HIV/AIDS population, U.S. assistance will strengthen the Nigerian health system, and referral systems between diagnosis and treatment programs for TB and AIDS. Furthermore, the U.S. Government focuses resources on expanding access to quality family planning services and reproductive health care and strives to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate to 14%.

One-third (10 million) of Nigerian children are enrolled in primary school. Only 45% of primary-school aged children have functional numeric skills, and only 28% are literate. The United States hopes to bolster basic education, including at Islamiyya schools, which provide both religious instruction and a secular curriculum, through teacher training and community involvement, and ensure equitable access to quality basic education.

Governing Justly and Democratically: The United States is helping Nigeria make exceptional efforts to develop inclusive, transparent, and effective institutions of democratic governance. U.S. assistance helps rebuild basic mechanisms of democratic governance to make elected officials accountable to constituents through free and fair elections, strong government institutions, and well-organized, informed citizens who demand performance. The U.S. advances rule of law in Nigeria by strengthening the capacity and transparency of law enforcement agencies and judiciary. The United States supports democratic local government and decentralization and improves fiscal administration by maximizing revenue collection in credible audits. It strengthens civil society by promoting existing watchdog groups that have lobbied successfully for more transparency, accountability, and pluralism in Nigeria's fiscal, electoral, conflict management, political, and human rights affairs.

Peace and Security: The United States has supported the peacekeeping and simulation centers at the Armed Forces Staff College—the only one in Africa and a major regional asset—and has continued to provide equipment and training for Nigerian peacekeeping forces while promoting effective civilian oversight of the military and its adherence to human rights norms. The U.S. is building the capacity of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to prevent and respond to regional instability and promote the integration of ECOWAS security mechanisms into a broad Africa framework. It is also funding military-sponsored schools, clinics and basic community services to demonstrate U.S. commitment to help build the nation's infrastructure. Beyond fostering maritime cooperation with security services in the Niger Delta, the United States supports the European Union's leading role in helping Nigeria fight corruption, organized criminal elements, document fraud, drug traffickers, and terrorists. The U.S. will focus on training, developmental and technical aid, and law enforcement cooperation in border control and against arms smuggling and oil theft. Expanded community policing programs will improve Nigeria's human rights record and restore public faith and cooperation with the security services. The U.S. will continue to offer legal reform, training, and technical help to Nigeria's counter-terrorism finance regime.

Economic Growth: The United States is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Finance Ministry, National Planning Commission, and others to improve the environment for investment in agriculture through policy reform at the national and state level. Micro-investment is hindered by lack of access to market-driven financial services and lack in policy that provides for liberalizatio of credit institutions and encourages savings plans with transparency in both the private and public sectors. Federal and state policy strengthening are essential as business decisions and banking regulation take place at both levels. U.S. programs help develop a policy climate in which micro, small and medium enterprises have access to credit, encourage investment, stimulate job growth, and build capacity in both the public and private sectors. Trade initiatives include capacity building in customs regulation and operations, policy reform to encourage internal and external trade, taking advantage of AGOA incentives for bilateral trade, and development of the private sector capacity to meet international trade and export standards.

Ongoing presidential initiatives with Nigeria include the African Growth and Competitiveness Initiative, fighting avian flu, the Initiative to End Hunger in Africa, and the Trans-Sahel Counter-Terrorism Program. Nigeria's eligibility for other regional activities include the Famine Early Warning System, Anti-Corruption Initiative; trafficking in persons; and the Ambassador's Girls Scholarship Fund. Nigeria is a premier participant in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), for which $270 million was committed in FY 2007.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

ABUJA (E) Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central District, 011-234-9-461-4000, Fax 234-9-461-4305, Workweek: Monday-Thursday 7:30am-4:30pm, Friday 7:30am-1:30pm, Website: http://abuja.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Vacant
AMB OMS:Lysa Walston (Tdy)
CDC:John Vertefeuille
ECO:Robert R. Tansey
FCS:Johnny Brown (Resident In Lagos)
FM:Orlando Ocasio
HRO:Anita Brown
MGT:David Yeutter
AMB:Robin R. Sanders
CON:Victoria Coffineau
DCM:Lisa Piascik
PAO:Atim George
GSO:Monique Austin
RSO:Paul Brown
AGR:Ali Abdi (Resident In Lagos)
AID:Sharon Cromer
CLO:Michele Ward, Angela Boynton
DAO:Peter Aubrey
DEA:Sam Gaye (Resident In Lagos)
EEO:Kay Spivey
FMO:Kevin Doyle
IMO:Todd D. Roe
IPO:Josetito L. Nakpil
LEGATT:Mark Johnson (Resident In Lagos)
NAS:Mike Makalou
POL:Walter Pflaumer

ABUJA (E) Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central District, 011-234-9-461-4000, Fax 234-9-461-4305, Workweek: Monday-Thursday 7:30am—4:30pm, Friday 7:30am—:30pm, Website: http://abuja.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Vacant
AMB OMS:Lysa Walston (Tdy)
CDC:John Vertefeuille
ECO:Robert R. Tansey
FCS:Johnny Brown (Resident In Lagos)
FM:Orlando Ocasio
HRO:Anita Brown
MGT:David Yeutter
AMB:Robin R. Sanders
CON:Victoria Coffineau
DCM:Lisa Piascik
PAO:Atim George
GSO:Monique Austin
RSO:Paul Brown
AGR:Ali Abdi (Resident In Lagos)
AID:Sharon Cromer
CLO:Michele Ward, Angela Boynton
DAO:Peter Aubrey
DEA:Sam Gaye (Resident In Lagos)
EEO:Kay Spivey
FMO:Kevin Doyle
IMO:Todd D. Roe
IPO:Josetito L. Nakpil
LEGATT:Mark Johnson (Resident In Lagos)
NAS:Mike Makalou
POL:Walter Pflaumer

LAGOS (CG) 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, 011-234-1-261-0050/0078, Fax 234-1-261-1863, INMARSAT Tel 00-8816-763-10796, Workweek: M-F/ 0730-1600.

DCM OMS:Patricia J. Able
AMB OMS:Diana B. Kniazuk
CG OMS:Laura Reddy
ECO:Vacant
FM:Scott McFadden
MGT:Vick E. Hutchinson
POL ECO:Helen Hudson
AMB:Robert E.Gribbin
CG:Vicki E. Hutchinson
CON:Debra Heien
PAO:Tim Gerhardson
GSO:Neil Richter
RSO:Robert E. Myers
AGR:Ali Abdi
CLO:Patricia McDonald
DAO:Travis Knight
DEA:Sam Gaye
EEO:Kay Spivey
FMO:Sherrie Szymeczek
ICASS:Chair Ae Abuja
IMO:Todd D. Roe
IPO:Kevin Williams
ISO:Onnie B. Ogot
ISSO:Onnie B. Ogot
LAB:Vacant
LEGATT:Ronald N. Nolan
POL:Moved To Abuja
State ICASS:Ae Abuja

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

April 16, 2007

Country Description: Nigeria is a developing country in western Africa that has experienced periods of political instability. Its internal infrastructure is neither fully functional nor well maintained. In 1999, Nigeria returned to civilian rule after 16 years of military rule.

Entry Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The visa must be obtained in advance. Visas cannot be obtained aboard planes or at the airport. Promises of entry into Nigeria without a visa are credible indicators of fraudulent commercial schemes in which the perpetrators seek to exploit the foreign traveler's illegal presence in Nigeria through threats of extortion or bodily harm. U.S. citizens cannot legally depart Nigeria unless they can prove, by presenting their entry visas, that they entered Nigeria legally. Entry information may be obtained at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 3519 International Court, NW, Washington, D.C., 20008, telephone (202) 822-1500, or at the Nigerian Consulate General in New York, telephone (212) 808-0301. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Nigerian embassy or consulate.

Visit the Embassy of Nigeria web site at www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, by calling a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed mugging, assault, burglary, kidnapping and extortion, often involving violence. Carjacking, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during both daylight and nighttime hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond to crimes slowly and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian officials.

Upon arrival in Nigeria, U.S. citizens are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, where they may obtain current safety information and advice on minimizing risks.

Nigerian-operated scams are infamous for their cleverness and ingenuity. These scams target foreigners worldwide posing risks of both financial loss and personal danger to their victims. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings, unsolicited emails, faxes, and letters, as well as by use of credit cards and Internet cafes in Nigeria. No one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines. Expanding bilateral law enforcement cooperation, which has resulted in numerous raids on commercial fraud premises, has reduced the overall level of overt fraud activity, but new types of sophisticated scams are introduced daily.

American citizens are very frequently the victims of Nigerian con men/ women offering companionship through Internet dating websites. These con men/women almost always pose as American citizens visiting or living in Nigeria who unexpectedly experience a medical, legal, financial or other type of “emergency” that requires the immediate financial assistance of the American citizen in the United States. In these cases, we strongly urge the American citizen in the United States to be very cautious about sending money to this person or any unknown person purportedly acting on his/her behalf, or traveling to Nigeria to meet someone they have only known via the Internet and have never actually met in person. Other common scams involve a promise of an inheritance windfall, a promise of work contracts in Nigeria, or overpayment for goods purchased on-line.

Commercial scams or stings that targets foreigners, including many U.S. citizens, continue to be a problem. Such scams may involve U.S. citizens in illegal activity, resulting in arrest, extortion or bodily harm. The scams generally involve phony offers of either outright money transfers or lucrative sales, or contracts with promises of large commissions or upfront payments. Alleged deals frequently invoke the authority of one or more ministries or offices of the Nigerian government and may cite, by name, the involvement of a Nigerian government official. In some scams, government stationery, seals, and offices are used. The ability of U.S. consuls to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited. Since the mid-1990s, several U.S. citizens have been arrested by police officials and held for varying periods on charges of involvement in illegal business scams. Nigerian police do not always inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of a U.S. citizen in distress. The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued advisories to the U.S. business community on doing business in Nigeria. To check on a business's legitimacy while in the United States, contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198.) If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities in Nigeria are poor. Diagnostic and treatment equipment is most often poorly maintained, and many medicines are unavailable. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. This is particularly true of generics purchased at local pharmacies or street markets.

While Nigeria has many well-trained doctors, hospital facilities are generally of poor quality with inadequately trained nursing staff. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether or not their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nigeria is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Roads are generally in poor condition, causing damage to vehicles and contributing to hazardous traffic conditions. There are few traffic lights or stop signs. Lagos, a city of over 10 million people, has only a few operating traffic lights. The rainy season from May to October is especially dangerous because of flooded roads.

Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, and the lack of basic maintenance and safety equipment on many vehicles are additional hazards. Motorists seldom yield the right-of-way and give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists. Gridlock is common in urban areas. Chronic fuel shortages have led to long lines at service stations, which disrupt or block traffic for extended periods.

Public transportation vehicles are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speeds and overcrowding. Passengers in local taxis have been driven to secluded locations where they were attacked and robbed. Several of the victims required hospitalization. The U.S. Embassy advises that public transportation throughout Nigeria is dangerous and should be avoided.

Short-term visitors are urged not to drive. A Nigerian driver's license can take months to obtain, and the international driving permit is not recognized. Major hotels offer reliable car-hire services complete with drivers. Reliable car-hire services can also be obtained at the customer service centers at the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano. Inter-city travelers must also consider that roadside assistance is extremely scarce, and the lack of access to even modest health care facilities means that a traffic incident that might result in a minor injury in the United States could result in death or permanent disability in Nigeria.

All drivers and passengers are reminded to wear seat belts, lock doors, and raise windows. It is important to secure appropriate insurance. It is also important to realize that drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury or death have experienced extra-judicial actions, i.e., mob attacks, in addition to official consequences such as fines and incarceration. Night driving should be avoided. Bandits and police roadblocks are more numerous at night. Streets are very poorly lit, and many vehicles are missing one or both headlights, tail lights, and reflectors.

The Government of Nigeria charges the Federal Road Safety Commission with providing maps and public information on specific road conditions. The Federal Road Safety Commission may be contacted by mail at: Federal Road Safety Commission, National Headquarters, Olusegun Obasanjo Way, PMB 125, Zone 7 Wuse, Abuja; telephone: (234)(09) 523-2702, 5234643, 5234207, or 5231070; email: [email protected]; web site: www.frsc.gov.ng.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by Nigerian carriers, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with Inter-national Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

The Port Harcourt International Airport closed for runway repairs in August 2006. All flights have been redirected to airports in the vicinity.

Special Circumstances: Permission is required to take photographs of government buildings, airports, and bridges. These sites are not always clearly marked, and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation. Permission may be obtained from Nigerian security personnel. Penalties may include confiscation or destruction of the camera, exposure of the film, a demand for payment of a fine or bribe, or physical assault.

The Nigerian currency, the naira, is non-convertible. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Nigeria is a cash economy, and it is usually necessary to carry sufficient currency to cover the expenses of a planned visit. Credit cards are rarely accepted beyond a few upscale hotels. Due to credit card fraud in Nigeria and by cohorts in the United States, credit card use is strongly discouraged. While Citibank cashes some traveler's checks, most other banks do not. American Express does not have offices in Nigeria; however, Thomas Cook does. Inter-bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, though money transfer services are available. For further information, visitors may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subjec to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nigerian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nigeria are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Nigeria are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Nigeria.Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Area, Abuja. The telephone number is [234](9) 461-4000. The email address for the Consular Section in Abuja is [email protected] The U.S. Consulate General is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos. American citizens can call 011 [234] (1) 261-1215 during office hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). For after-hours emergencies, call 011 [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477. The email address for the Consular Section in Lagos is LagosCons2 @state.gov.

The website for the Embassy and the Consulate is http://abuja.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

May 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The application for adoption originates from the social welfare office of the state where the child is located. The government office responsible for adoptions in Nigeria is the magistrate court of the state where the child is located.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Requirements vary from state to state. In some states, including Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebo-nyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and 21 years older than the child (for married couples, at least one parent must meet these age requirements). In most states, married couples must adopt jointly. Single parents may adopt; however, a single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of the opposite sex, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Residency Requirements: Nigerian adoption law requires a parent-child relationship be established before the court decision can be considered final. Each state determines the length of time it takes to establish the parent-child relationship.

Time Frame: Adoption procedures can take from a few months to over a year, depending on the state of origin of the child.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is not aware of any legally recognized Nigerian agencies that assist adopting parents, or of any licensed Nigerian adoption agencies. Foreigners can seek private legal assistance from a Nigerian attorney to facilitate the process of adoption. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos maintains a list of attorneys (http://abuja.usembassy.gov/wwwhcoly.html), but is not aware of any specializing in adoptions. However, there are orphanages, hospitals and other institutions that are relatively more experienced with international adoption. Check with the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for information on these institutions.

Adoption Fees: No standard fee is charged apart from small filing fees to the court. It is illegal for anyone to make or receive payment or any other award for the adoption of a child.

Adoption Procedures: In most Nigerian states, the adoption process begins when an application for an adoption order is made in accordance with local requirements and submitted to the registrar of the competent court. On application for adoption, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child (under the age of 17 years) to represent him/her in the adoption proceedings. The guardian ad litem is the social welfare officer in charge of the area where the juvenile resides, or a probation officer or some other person suitably qualified in the opinion of the court of assignment. The guardian ad litem represents the child's interests until the magistrate questions the adoptive parents and grants the adoption order, at which time legal custody is given to the adoptive parents.

The guardian ad litem investigates the circumstances relevant to the proposed adoption and reports in writing to the court. Prospective adoptive parents must inform the social welfare officer of their intention to adopt at least three months before the court order is made. For at least three consecutive months immediately preceding an adoption order, the child must have been in the physical care and legal custody of the applicant parents in Nigeria. An applicant cannot have the child reside with another family member in lieu of living with the applicant, even if a Power of Attorney is in effect.

The social welfare officer visits the home of the adoptive parents until the officer is satisfied that the juvenile is settled and the prospective adoptive parents are capable of looking after him or her. In such a case, the social welfare officer reports in writing a positive recommendation to the court. The magistrate will meet the adoptive parents in court to confirm their suitability and will issue or deny the adoption order.

After the adoption order has been issued, adoptive parents should obtain a new birth certificate for the child listing them as the child's parents. In some states, after the adoption has been granted, the adoptive parents must obtain the court's permission to remove the child from Nigerian jurisdiction, either temporarily or permanently. In addition, the social welfare officer might be required to submit a letter to the Nigerian immigration office, stating that the adoptive parents are now the legal parents of the child. This letter then permits the adopting parents to apply for a passport to take the child out of Nigeria.

Note: Proxy adoptions are not valid in Nigeria. Adoptive parents who complete adoptions by proxy without fulfilling state requirements risk having their I-600 petitions returned to USCIS for revocation.

Required Documents: The paperwork involved in Nigerian adoptions is extensive and time-consuming to obtain. Documents required include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees (where applicable), which should be original documents. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to consult with a Nigerian attorney about the document requirements for the state where they are adopting.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Court, NWWashington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-775-8400
Fax: 202-775-1385
Web site: http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/f_index.html.

Consulate General of Nigeria,
Atlanta

8060 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel: 770-394-6261
Fax: 770-394-4671
Web site:
http://www.nigeria-consulate-atl.org
Email: [email protected]

Consulate General of Nigeria,
New York

828 2nd Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-850-2200
Web site:
http://www.nigeriahouse.com
Email: [email protected]

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of America
Abuja, Nigeria
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District, Abuja, FCT
(Off Independence Avenue/Near the Ministry of Defense)
Tel.: [234](9) 461-4262
Fax: [234] (9)-461-4171
E-Mail: [email protected]

U.S. Consulate General, Lagos
2 Walter Carrington Crescent
Victoria Island, Lagos
Nigeria
Tel: [234](1) 261-0050, 261-0078

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Nigeria may be addressed to the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

Travel Warning

October 30, 2007

This Travel Warning is being issued to warn U.S. citizens of the possible dangers of travel to Nigeria, and to note the continued unstable security situation in the Niger Delta region. American citizens should defer all but essential travel to Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states because of the very high risk of kidnapping, robbery, and other armed attacks in these areas. American citizens who are resident in the Delta are strongly advised to review their personal security in light of the information contained in this Travel Warning when deciding whether to remain. The ability of the U.S. Government to provide consular services to Americans in these areas may be limited. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Nigeria issued January 19, 2007.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the possible dangers of travel to Nigeria. Periodically, travel by U.S. mission personnel is restricted based on changing security conditions, often due to crime, general strikes, or student/political demonstrations or disturbances. The lack of law and order in Nigeria poses considerable risks to travelers. Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country and tends to peak between November and January, during the holiday period.

After several weeks of armed clashes between heavily-armed rival militias, the security situation in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has stabilized slightly, due to the presence of a large military Joint Task Force (JTF). Despite the JTF presence, however, one expatriate was killed during a kidnapping attempt and at least one other was taken hostage. The restoration of order remains fragile and the potential for violent outbreaks still exists. In 2007, over 150 foreigners in the Niger Delta region have been kidnapped from off-shore and land-based oil facilities, residential compounds, and public roadways mainly in Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states. While most hostages have been released unharmed, two expatriates have died since November 2006 while in captivity and many were held for weeks in hostile conditions. In response to the high number of kidnappings and two car bombs at oil company compounds in Port Harcourt, most oil industry personnel in the Niger Delta removed their dependents from the area and implemented “essential travel only” policies. U.S. citizens and other foreigners have been threatened during labor disputes. Criminal groups have kidnapped and held for ransom expatriate workers, including American citizens, and family members.

Despite Federal and State Government efforts to quell the violence and address concerns voiced by militant leaders, one faction threatened to resume attacks and kidnappings unless its demands are met. Although kidnappings of foreigners have declined since an informal cease-fire in late July, the Department of State continues to advise Americans to defer all but essential travel to Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states at this time. American citizens residing in the Delta are strongly advised to consider the information contained in this Travel Warning when deciding whether to remain.

Crime in Lagos and Abuja is an ongoing problem. Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, kidnappings and extortion, often involving violence. Carjackings, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Traveling outside of major cities during hours of darkness is not recommended. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during both daylight and nighttime hours. Even Victoria and Ikoyi Islands, which are generally safer than other parts of Lagos, have seen an increase in crime, including some involving expatriates.

Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning. The states of Kano and Kaduna are particularly volatile. Rival ethnic groups have clashed violently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city and in Southeast Plateau State. Senior al-Qaida leadership has expressed interest publicly in overthrowing the government of Nigeria. Links also were uncovered connecting Nigerians to al-Qaida in 2004.

Road travel is dangerous. Robberies by armed gangs have been reported on rural roads and within major cities. Travelers should avoid driving at night. Because of poor vehicle maintenance and driving conditions, public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Road travel in Lagos is banned between 7:00 and 10:00 AM on the last Saturday of every month for municipal road cleanup; police vigilantly enforce the ban. Enforcement of aviation safety standards in Nigeria is uneven; civil aviation in Nigeria continues to experience air incidents and accidents, including four crashes with fatalities between October 22, 2005, and October 30, 2006. Incidents included fires on planes, collapsed landing gear, and planes veering off the runway. After each such occurrence, aviation authorities may temporarily shut down the domestic airline involved, ground a number of planes, and close the affected airport. Flights in Nigeria, including international routes, are often delayed or cancelled. Travelers should be prepared for disruptions to air travel to, from, and within Nigeria.

In general, international airlines have paid close attention to conditions at airports in Nigeria and have taken appropriate action. As such, international carriers operating direct flights to Nigeria have experienced far fewer incidents. However, domestic carriers operating within Nigeria and the region are less responsive to local conditions and may present a greater safety risk to travelers. Where possible, international travelers to and from Nigeria should avoid transiting an additional Nigerian city.

Travel by any means within Nigeria is risky. For essential travel, official Americans in Nigeria balance the risk between domestic air and road travel by using direct flights on Virgin Nigeria Airlines or AERO Contractors to cities serviced by these carriers. Currently, however, neither Virgin Nigeria nor AERO appears in most travel agency software. Additional information on current flight schedules is available at http://www.virginnigeria.com and http://www.flyaero.com.

Some Nigeria-based criminals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide. These fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss. Recipients traveling to Nigeria to pursue such fraudulent offers have been subject to physical harm, and local police authorities are often unwilling to help in such cases. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. Under no circumstances should U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa-an invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity. Furthermore, the ability of U.S. Mission officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. Americans who travel to Nigeria should obtain the latest health information before departing the U.S., read the Department's Fact Sheet on Avian Influenza at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html, and consult with their personal physicians concerning avian influenza. The web-sites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov and the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int have up-to-date information on out-breaks of contagious and tropical diseases. U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Nigeria are strongly advised to register through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for up-to-date information on any restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be contacted by phone at [234](9) 461-4000. American citizens may contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos at 011 [234] (1) 261-1215 during business hours. Please call [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477 about emergencies after business hours. You may also visit the U.S. Mission's website at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's most recent Country Specific Information for Nigeria and the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, which are located on the Department's Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

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Nigeria

Compiled from the September 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Republic of Nigeria

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 923,768 sq. km. (356,700 sq. mi.) about the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Cities: Capital—Abuja (pop. est. 100,000). Other cities—Lagos (12 million), Ibadan (5 million), Kano (1 million), Enugu (500,000).

Terrain: Ranges from southern coastal swamps to tropical forests, open woodlands, grasslands, and semidesert in the far north. The highest regions are the Jos Plateau 1,200-2,000 meters above sea level and the mountains along the border with Cameroon.

Climate: Annual rainfall ranges from 381 cm. along the coast to 64 cm. or less in the far north.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nigerian(s).

Population: (2005 est.) 137 million.

Total fertility rate: (avg. number of children per woman) 6.0.

Ethnic groups: (250) Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba are the largest.

Religions: Muslim, Christian, indigenous African.

Languages: English (official), Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, others.

Education: Attendance (second-ary)—male 32%, female 27%. Literacy—39%-51%.

Health: Life expectancy—56 years.

Government

Type: Federal republic.

Independence: October 1, 1960.

Constitution: The 1979 constitution was suspended after 1983, the May 3, 1989 constitution never implemented, and the 1999 constitution (based largely on the 1979 constitution) was promulgated by decree on May 5, 1999. The 1999 constitution came into force on May 29, 1999.

Political subdivisions: 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); states divided into a total of 774 local government areas.

Total government expenditure (2006 budget) $14 billion.

Defense: 4.5% of 2006 budget.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $90.9 billion.

Estimated real growth rate: (2005) 7.0%.

Per capita GDP: (2005 est.) $694.

Inflation: (2005) 11.6%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc.

Agriculture: Products—cocoa, palm oil, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, livestock, groundnuts, cotton.

Industry: Types—textiles, cement, food products, footwear, metal products, lumber, beer, detergents, car assembly.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$52.16 billion: petroleum (95%), cocoa, rubber.

PEOPLE

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for approximately 20 percent of West Africa’s people. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria’s 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, most of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri. The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest.

About half of the Yorubas are Christian and half Muslim. The predominantly Catholic Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, with the Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw (the country’s fourth-largest ethnic group) comprising a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo are the most widely used Nigerian languages.

HISTORY

Before the colonial period, the area which comprises modern Nigeria had an eventful history. More than 2,000 years ago, the Nok culture in the present Plateau state worked iron and produced sophisticated terra cotta sculpture. In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cowrie shells used as currency.

In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and that brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an empire centered in Sokoto.

A British Sphere of Influence

Following the Napoleonic wars, the British expanded trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885, British claims to a sphere of influence in that area received international recognition and, in the following year, the Royal Niger Company was chartered. In 1900, the company’s territory came under the control of the British Government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. In 1914, the area was formally united as the “Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.” Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria’s political life ever since. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative, increasingly federal, basis.

Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern) under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. Under the constitution, each of the three regions retained a substantial measure of self-government. The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense and security, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policies. In October 1963, Nigeria altered its relationship with the United Kingdom by proclaiming itself a federal republic and promulgating a new constitution. A fourth region (the midwest) was established that year. From the outset, Nigeria’s ethnic, regional, and religious tensions were magnified by the significant disparities in economic and educational development between the south and the north.

On January 15, 1966, a small group of army officers, mostly southeastern Igbos, overthrew the government and assassinated the federal prime minister and the premiers of the northern and western regions. The federal military government that assumed power was unable to quiet ethnic tensions or produce a constitution acceptable to all sections of the country. In fact, its efforts to abolish the federal structure greatly raised tensions and led to another coup in July. The coup related massacre of thousands of Igbo in the north prompted hundreds of thousands of them to return to the southeast, where increasingly strong Igbo secessionist sentiment emerged.

In a move that gave greater autonomy to minority ethnic groups, the military divided the four regions into 12 states. The Igbo rejected attempts at constitutional revisions and insisted on full autonomy for the east. Finally, in May 1967, Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region, who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the “Republic of Biafra.” The ensuing civil war was bitter and bloody, ending in the defeat of Biafra in 1970.

Following the civil war, reconciliation was rapid and effective, and the country turned to the task of economic development. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of 1973-74. On July 29, 1975, Gen. Murtala Muhammed and a group of fellow officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing the military government of Gen. Yakubu Gowon delaying the promised return to civilian rule and becoming corrupt and ineffective. General Muhammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by October 1, 1979. Muhammed also announced the government’s intention to create new states and to construct a new federal capital in the center of the country.

General Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup. His chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, became head of state. Obasanjo adhered

meticulously to the schedule for return to civilian rule, moving to modernize and streamline the armed forces and seeking to use oil revenues to diversify and develop the country’s economy. Seven new states were created in 1976, bringing the total to 19. The process of creating additional states continued until, in 1996, there were 36.

The Second Republic

A constituent assembly was elected in 1977 to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity, in effect since the advent of military rule, was lifted. Political parties were formed, and candidates were nominated for president and vice president, the two houses of the National Assembly, governorships, and state houses of assembly. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which a northerner, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was elected president. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly.

In August 1983, Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results.

On December 31, 1983, the military overthrew the Second Republic. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the country’s new ruling body. He charged the civilian government with economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, election fraud, and a general lack of concern for the problems of Nigerians. He also pledged to restore prosperity to Nigeria and to return the government to civilian rule but proved unable to deal with Nigeria’s severe economic problems. The Buhari government was peacefully overthrown by the SMC’s third-ranking member, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in August 1985.

Babangida cited the misuse of power, violations of human rights by key officers of the SMC, and the govern-ment’s failure to deal with the country’s deepening economic crisis as justifications for the takeover. During his first few days in office, President Babangida moved to restore freedom of the press and to release political detainees being held without charge. As part of a 15-month economic emergency, he announced stringent pay cuts for the military, police, and civil servants and proceeded to enact similar cuts for the private sector. Imports of rice, maize, and later wheat were banned. President Babangida demonstrated his intent to encourage public participation in government decision making by opening a national debate on proposed economic reform and recovery measures. The public response convinced Babangida of intense opposition to an economic recovery package dependent on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The Abortive Third Republic

President Babangida promised to return the country to civilian rule by 1990; this date was later extended until January 1993. In early 1989, a constituent assembly completed work on a constitution for the Third Republic. In the spring of 1989, political activity was again permitted. In October 1989 the government established two “grassroots” parties: the National Republican Convention (NRC), which was to be “a little to the right,” and the Social Democratic (SDP), “a little to the left.” Other parties were not allowed to register by the Babangida government.

In April 1990, mid-level officers attempted to overthrow the Babangida government. The coup failed, and 69 accused coup plotters were later executed after secret trials before military tribunals. The transition resumed after the failed coup. In December 1990 the first stage of partisan elections was held at the local government level. While turnout was low, there was no violence, and both parties demonstrated strength in all regions of the country, with the SDP winning control of a majority of local government councils.

In December 1991, gubernatorial and state legislative elections were held throughout the country. Babangida decreed in December 1991 that previously banned politicians would be allowed to contest in primaries scheduled for August 1992. These were canceled due to fraud and subsequent primaries scheduled for September also were canceled. All announced candidates were disqualified from again standing for president once a new election format was selected. The presidential election was finally held on June 12, 1993, with the inauguration of the new president scheduled to take place August 27, 1993, the eighth anniversary of President Babangida’s coming to power.

In the historic June 12, 1993 presidential elections, which most observers deemed to be Nigeria’s fairest, early returns indicated that wealthy Yoruba businessman M.K.O. Abiola had won a decisive victory. However, on June 23, Babangida, using several pending lawsuits as a pretense, annulled the election, throwing Nigeria into turmoil. More than 100 persons were killed in riots before Babangida agreed to hand power to an “interim government” on August 27, 1993. Babangida then attempted to renege on his decision. Without popular and military support, he was forced to hand over to Ernest Shone-kan, a prominent nonpartisan businessman. Shonekan was to rule until new elections, scheduled for February 1994. Although he had led Babangida’s Transitional Council since early 1993, Shonekan was unable to reverse Nigeria’s evergrowing economic problems or to defuse lingering political tension.

With the country sliding into chaos, Defense Minister Sani Abacha quickly assumed power and forced Shonekan’s “resignation” on November 17, 1993. Abacha dissolved all democratic political institutions and replaced elected governors with military officers. Abacha promised to return the government to civilian rule but refused to announce a timetable until his October 1, 1995 Independence Day address.

Following the annulment of the June 12 election, the United States and other nations imposed various sanctions on Nigeria, including restrictions on travel by government officials and their families and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Additional sanctions were imposed as a result of Nigeria’s failure to gain full certification for its counter-narcotics efforts. In addition, direct flights between Nigeria and the United States were suspended on August 11, 1993, when the Secretary of Transportation determined that Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport did not meet the security standards established by the FAA. The FAA in December 1999 certified security at MMIA, opening the way for operation of direct flights between Lagos and U.S. airports.

Although Abacha’s takeover was initially welcomed by many Nigerians, disenchantment grew rapidly. A number of opposition figures united to form a new organization, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which campaigned for an immediate return to civilian rule. The government arrested NADECO members who attempted to reconvene the Senate and other disbanded democratic institutions. Most Nigerians boycotted the elections held from May 23-28, 1994, for delegates to the government-sponsored Constitutional Conference.

On June 11, 1994, using the groundwork laid by NADECO, Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding. He reemerged and was promptly arrested on June 23. With Abiola in prison and tempers rising, Abacha convened the Constitutional Conference June 27, but it almost immediately went into recess and did not reconvene until July 11, 1994.

On July 4, a petroleum workers union called a strike demanding that Abacha release Abiola and hand over power to him. Other unions then joined the strike, which brought economic life in around Lagos area and in much of the southwest to a standstill. After calling off a threatened general strike in July, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) reconsidered a general strike in August, after the government imposed “conditions” on Abiola’s release. On August 17, 1994, the government dismissed the leadership of the NLC and the petroleum unions, placed the unions under appointed administrators, and arrested Frank Kokori and other labor leaders. Although striking unions returned to work, the government arrested opponents, closed media houses, and moved strongly to curb dissent.

The government alleged in early 1995 that some 40 military officers and civilians were engaged in a coup plot. Security officers quickly rounded up the accused, including former Head of State Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy, retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. After a secret tribunal, most of the accused were convicted, and several death sentences were handed down. The tribunal also charged, convicted, and sentenced prominent human rights activists, journalists, and others—including relatives of the coup suspects—for their alleged “anti-regime” activities. In October, the government announced that the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC—see below: Abubakar’s Transition to Civilian Rule) and Abacha had approved final sentences for those convicted of participation in the coup plot.

In late 1994 the government set up the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal to try prominent author and Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others for their alleged roles in the killings of four prominent Ogoni politicians in May 1994. Saro-Wiwa and 14 others pleaded not guilty to charges that they procured and counseled others to murder the politicians. On October 31, 1995, the tribunal sentenced Saro-Wiwa and eight others to death by hanging. In early November Abacha and the PRC confirmed the death sentence. Saro-Wiwa and his eight co-defendants were executed on November 10.

In an October 1, 1995 address to the nation, Gen. Sani Abacha announced the timetable for a 3-year transition to civilian rule. Only five of the political parties which applied for registration were approved by the regime. In local elections held in December 1997, turnout was under 10%. By the April 1998 state assembly and gubernatorial elections, all five of the approved parties had nominated Abacha as their presidential candidate in controversial party conventions. Public reaction to this development in the transition program was apathy and a near-complete boycott of the elections.

On December 21, 1997, the government announced the arrest of the country’s second highest-ranking military officer, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, 10 other officers, and eight civilians on charges of coup plotting. Subsequently, the government arrested a number of additional persons for roles in the purported coup plot and tried the accused before a closed-door military tribunal in April in which Diya and eight others were sentenced to death.

Abacha, widely expected to succeed himself as a civilian president on October 1, 1998, remained head of state until his death on June 8 of that year. He was replaced by Gen. Abdul-salami Abubakar, who had been third in command until the arrest of Diya. The PRC, under new head of state Abubakar, commuted the sentences of those accused in the alleged 1997 coup in July 1998. In March 1999, Diya and 54 others accused or convicted of participation in coups in 1990, 1995, and 1997 were released. Following the death of former head of state Abacha in June, Nigeria released almost all known civilian political detainees, including the Ogoni 19.

During the Abacha regime, the government continued to enforce its arbitrary authority through the federal security system—the military, the state security service, and the courts. Under Abacha, all branches of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses. After Abubakar’s assumption of power and consolidation of support within the PRC, human rights abuses decreased. Other human rights problems included infringements on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and travel; violence and discrimination against women; and female genital mutilation.

Worker rights suffered as the government continued to interfere with organized labor by restricting the fundamental rights of association and the independence of the labor movement. After it came to power in June 1998, the Abubakar government took several important steps toward restoring worker rights and freedom of association for trade unions, which had deteriorated seriously between 1993 and June 1998 under the Abacha regime. The Abubakar government released two imprisoned leaders of the petroleum sector unions, Frank Kokori and Milton Dabibi; abolished two decrees that had removed elected leadership from the Nigeria Labour Congress and the oil workers unions; and allowed leadership elections in these bodies.

Abubakar’s Transition to Civilian Rule

During both the Abacha and Abubakar eras, Nigeria’s main decision making organ was the exclusively military Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) which governed by decree. The PRC oversaw the 32-member federal executive council composed of civilians and military officers. Pending the promulgation of the constitution written by the constitutional conference in 1995, the government observed some provisions of the 1979 and 1989 constitutions. Neither Abacha nor Abubakar lifted the decree suspending the 1979 constitution, and the 1989 constitution was not implemented. The judiciary’s authority and independence was significantly impaired during the Abacha era by the military regime’s arrogation of judicial power and prohibition of court review of its action. The court system continued to be hampered by corruption and lack of resources after Abacha’s death. In an attempt to alleviate such problems, Abubakar’s government implemented a civil service pay raise and other reforms.

In August 1998, the Abubakar government appointed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for local government councils, state legislatures and governors, the national assembly, and president. NEC successfully held these elections on December 5, 1998, January 9, 1999, February 20, and February 27, 1999, respectively. For the local elections, a total of nine parties were granted provisional registration, with three fulfilling the requirements to contest the following elections. These parties were the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Peoples Party (APP), and the predominantly Yoruba Alliance for Democracy (AD). Former military head of state Olusegun Obasanjo, freed from prison by Abubakar, ran as a civilian candidate and won the presidential election. Irregularities marred the vote, and the defeated candidate, Chief Olu Falae, challenged the electoral results and Obasanjo’s victory in court.

The PRC promulgated a new constitution based largely on the suspended 1979 constitution, before the May 29, 1999 inauguration of the new civilian president. The constitution includes provisions for a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly, consisting of a 360-member House of Representatives and a 109-member Senate. The executive branch and the office of president will retain strong federal powers. The legislature and judiciary, having suffered years of neglect, must be rebuilt as institutions.

The Obasanjo Administration

The emergence of a democratic Nigeria in May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo became the steward of a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most of its democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion.

The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers who held political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, ordered the release of scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded a number of questionable licenses and contracts let by the previous military regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts.

Most civil society leaders and most Nigerians see a marked improvement in human rights and democratic practice under Obasanjo. The press enjoys greater freedom than under previous governments. As Nigeria works out representational democracy, there have been conflicts between the Executive and Legislative branches over major appropriations and other proposed legislation. A sign of federalism has been the growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between Abuja and the various state capitols over resource allocation.

Problems of communal violence have confronted the Obasanjo government since its inception. In May 1999 violence erupted in Kaduna State over the succession of an Emir resulting in more than 100 deaths. In November 1999, the army destroyed the town of Odi, Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang.

In Kaduna in February-May 2000 over 1,000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Shar’ia in the State. Hundreds of ethnic Hausa were killed in reprisal attacks in southeastern Nigeria. In September 2001, over 2,000 people were killed in inter-religious rioting in Jos. In October 2001, hundreds were killed and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across the Middle-Belt states of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa. On October 1, 2001, President Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence. Currently, Nigeria has three major political parties. National elections and state gubernatorial elections occurred in 2003. Nigeria reelected Obasanjo as President. The next elections are scheduled for April 2007.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/16/2007

President: Olusegun OBASANJO

Vice President: Atiku ABUBAKAR

Min. of Agriculture & Water Resources: Adamu BELLO

Min. of Commerce & Industry: Aliyu MODIBO

Min. of Culture & Tourism: Babalola BORISHADE

Min. of Defense: Thomas AGUYIIRONSI

Min. of Education: Obiaqeli EZEKWESILI

Min. of Energy: Edmund DAUKOROU

Min. of Environment & Housing: Helen ESUENE

Min. of Federal Capital Territory: Nasir EL-RUFAI

Min. of Finance: Esther NENANDIUSMAN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Joy OGWU

Min. of Health: Eyitayo LAMBO

Min. of Information & Communications: Frank NWEKE

Min. of Internal Affairs: Olu ADENIJI

Min. of Justice: Bayo OJO

Min. of Labor & Productivity: Hassan LAWAL

Min. of Mines & Steel Development: Leslye ABOBIORA

Min. of Presidency (Economic Matters):

Min. of Presidency (Intergovernmental Affairs): Abdallah M. WALI

Min. of Science & Technology: Turner ISOUN

Min. of Solid Minerals: Lesley OBORA

Min. of Sports & Social Development: Bala KAOJE

Min. of Transport: Cornelius ADEBAYO

Min. of Womens Affairs: Maryan CIROMA

Min. of Youth Development: Salome JAKANDA

Min. of State for Agriculture & Water Resources: Bamidele DADA

Min. of State for Agriculture & Water Resources: Grace OGWUCHE

Min. of State for Commerce & Industry: Fidelis TAPGUN

Min. of State for Communications:

Min. of State for Defense: Mike OMOLEMENEM

Min. of State for Education: Adewumi ABITOYE

Min. of State for Education: Sayyadi Abba RUMA

Min. of State for Energy: Ahmed ABDULMAHID

Min. of State for Environment & Housing: Inkra Aliyu BILBIS

Min. of State for the Federal Capital Territory: Desmond AKAWOR

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs Lawan GANA-GUBA:

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Abubakar TANKO

Min. of State for Health: Halima ALAO

Min. of State for Information & National Orientation: Olufemi ANIBABA

Min. of State for Interior: Alawel Broderick BOZIMO

Min. of State for Justice: Min. of State for Mines & Steel Development: Bola Mohamed BORADO

Min. of State for Power & Steel: Aliyu Modibo UMAR

Min. of State for Science & Technology:

Min. of State for Transport & Aviation Sector: Femi FANI-KAYODE

Min. of State for Transport for Water Transportation: Habibu ALIYU

Min. of State for Women & Youth: Olufunke ADEDOYIN

Min. of State for Works: Malam Yahaya ABDULKARIM

Governor, Central Bank: Charles SOLUDO

Ambassador to the US: George OBIOZOR

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Aminu Bashir WALI

Nigeria maintains an embassy in the United States at 3519 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, (tel. 202-986-8400, fax-202-775-1385) and a consulate general in New York at 575 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022, (tel. 212-715-7200).

ECONOMY

Dominated by Oil

The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2002 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a statist economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s accompanied this trend. By 2002 Nigeria’s per capita income had plunged to about one-quarter of its mid-1970s high, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria’s non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of “informal sector” economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75% of the total economy.

Nigeria’s proven oil reserves are estimated to be 25 billion barrels; natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion cubic feet. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and in 2003 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day. Poor corporate relations with indigenous communities, vandalism of oil infrastructure, severe ecological damage, and personal security problems throughout the Niger Delta oil-producing region continue to plague Nigeria’s oil sector. Efforts are underway to reverse these troubles. In the absence of government programs, the major multinational oil companies have launched their own community development programs. A new entity, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has been created to help catalyze economic and social development in the region. Although it has yet to launch its programs, hopes are high that the NDDC can reverse the impoverishment of local communities. The U.S. remains Nigeria’s largest customer for crude oil, accounting for 40% of the country’s total oil exports; Nigeria provides about 11% of overall U.S. oil imports and ranks as the fifth-largest source for U.S. imported oil.

The United States is Nigeria’s largest trading partner after the United Kingdom. Although the trade balance overwhelmingly favors Nigeria, thanks to oil exports, a large portion of U.S. exports to Nigeria is believed to enter the country outside of the Nigerian Government’s official statistics, due to importers seeking to avoid Nigeria’s excessive tariffs. To counter smuggling and under-invoicing by importers, in May 2001 the Nigerian Government instituted a 100% inspection regime for all imports, and enforcement has been sustained. On the whole, Nigerian high tariffs and non-tariff barriers are gradually being reduced, but much progress remains to be made. The government also has been encouraging the expansion of foreign investment, although the country’s investment climate remains daunting to all but the most determined. The stock of U.S. investment is nearly $7 billion, mostly in the energy sector. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are the two largest U.S. corporate players in offshore oil and gas production. Significant exports of liquefied natural gas started in late 1999 and are slated to expand as Nigeria seeks to eliminate gas flaring by 2008.

Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, and the lack of basic infrastructure. Still, the sector accounts for over 41% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. Nigeria is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, and palm oil. Cocoa production, mostly from obsolete varieties and overage trees, is stagnant at around 180,000 tons annually; 25 years ago it was 300,000 tons. An even more dramatic decline in groundnut and palm oil production also has taken place. Once the biggest poultry producer in Africa, corporate poultry output has been slashed from 40 million birds annually to about 18 million. Import constraints limit the availability of many agricultural and food processing inputs for poultry and other sectors. Fisheries are poorly managed. Most critical for the country’s future, Nigeria’s land tenure system does not encourage long-term investment in technology or modern production methods and does not inspire the availability of rural credit.

Oil dependency, and the allure it generated of great wealth through government contracts, spawned other economic distortions. The country’s high propensity to import means roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30%. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for relatively low labor costs (10%-15%). Domestic manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets; however, there are signs that some manufacturers have begun to address their competitiveness.

In October 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved its first ever Policy Support Instrument for Nigeria. On December 17, the United States and seven other Paris Club nations signed debt reduction agreements with Nigeria for $18 billion in debt reduction, with the proviso that Nigeria pay back its remaining $12 billion in debt by March 2006. The United States was one of the smaller creditors, and will receive about $356 million from Nigeria in return for over $600 million of debt reduction.

In the light of highly expansionary public sector fiscal policies during 2001, the government has sought ways to head off higher inflation, leading to the implementation of stronger monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and underspending of budgeted amounts. As a result of the CBN’s efforts, the official exchange rate for the Naira has stabilized at about 112 Naira to the dollar. The combination of CBN’s efforts to prop up the value of the Naira and excess liquidity resulting from government spending led the currency to be discounted by around 20% on the parallel (nonofficial) market. A key condition of the Stand-by Arrangement has been closure of the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates. The Inter Bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) is closely tied to the official rate. Under IFEM, banks, oil companies, and the CBN can buy or sell their foreign exchange at government influenced rates. Much of the informal economy, however, can only access foreign exchange through the parallel market. Companies can hold domiciliary accounts in private banks, and account holders have unfettered use of the funds.

Expanded government spending also has led to upward pressure on consumer prices. Inflation, which had fallen to 0% in April 2000, reached 14% by the end of 2003. Inflation was estimated at 11.6% by year-end in 2005. In 2000 high world oil prices resulted in government revenue of over $16 billion, about double the 1999 level. By the end of 2005, Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves were valued at $28.3 billion as result of high oil prices during the year, a considerable jump from $17 billion just the year before. State and local governmental bodies demand access to this “windfall” revenue, creating a tug-of-war between the federal government—which seeks to control spending—and state governments desirous of augmented budgets, preventing the government from making provision for periods of lower oil prices.

Since undergoing severe distress in the mid-1990s, Nigeria’s banking sector has witnessed significant growth over the last few years as new banks enter the financial market. Harsh monetary policies implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria to absorb excess Naira liquidity in the economy has made life more difficult for banks, some of whom engage in currency arbitrage (round-tripping) activities that generally fall outside legal banking mechanisms. Private sector-led economic growth remains stymied by the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, including the need to duplicate essential infrastructure, the threat of crime and associated need for security counter measures, the lack of effective due process, and non-transparent economic decision making, especially in government contracting. While corrupt practices are endemic, they are generally less flagrant than during military rule, and there are signs of improvement. Meanwhile, since 1999 the Nigerian Stock Exchange has enjoyed strong performance, although equity as a means to foster corporate growth remains underutilized by Nigeria’s private sector.

Nigeria’s publicly owned transportation infrastructure is a major constraint to economic development. Principal ports are at Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can Island), Port Harcourt, and Calabar. Docking fees for freighters are among the highest in the world. Of the 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi.) of roads, more than 15,000 kilometers (10,000 mi.) are officially paved, but many remain in poor shape. Extensive road repairs and new construction activities are gradually being implemented as state governments, in particular, spend their portions of enhanced government revenue allocations.

The government implementation of 100% destination inspection of all goods entering Nigeria has resulted in long delays in clearing goods for importers and created new sources of corruption, since the ports lack adequate facilities to carry out the inspection. Four of Nigeria’s airports—Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja—currently receive international flights. Government-owned Nigerian Airways is virtually moribund due to mismanagement, high debt, and a vastly shrunken fleet. There are several domestic private Nigerian carriers, and air service among Nigeria’s cities is generally dependable. The maintenance culture of Nigeria’s domestic airlines is not up to U.S. standards.

Gradual Reform

Nigeria’s economic team, led by Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala enjoys an excellent reputation in the international community. The team produced an encouraging body of work during the last nine months, notably a FY04 budget described as “prudent and responsible” by the IMF and a detailed economic reform blueprint, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Other positive developments during the past year included: (1) Government efforts to deregulate fuel prices; (2) Nigeria’s participation in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and commitment to the G8 Anticorruption/Transparency Initiative; (3) Creation of an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and (4) Development of several governmental offices to better monitor official revenues and expenditures. During 2000 the government’s privatization program showed signs of life and real promise with successful turnover to the private sector of state-owned banks, fuel distribution companies, and cement plants. However, the privatization process has slowed somewhat as the government confronts key parastatals such as the state telephone company NITEL and Nigerian Airways. The successful auction of GSM telecommunications licenses in January 2001 has encouraged investment in this vital sector.

Investment

Although Nigeria must grapple with its decaying infrastructure and a poor regulatory environment, the country possesses many positive attributes for carefully targeted investment and will expand as both a regional and international market player. Profitable niche markets outside the energy sector, like specialized telecommunication providers, have developed under the government’s reform program. There is a growing Nigerian consensus that foreign investment is essential to realizing Nigeria’s vast but squandered potential. Companies interested in long-term investment and joint ventures, especially those that use locally available raw materials, will find opportunities in the large national market. However, to improve prospects for success, potential investors must educate themselves extensively on local conditions and business practices, establish a local presence, and choose their partners carefully. The Nigerian Government is keenly aware that sustaining democratic principles, enhancing security for life and property, and rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure are necessary for the country to attract foreign investment.

Economic Assistance

The United States assisted with Nigeria’s economic development from 1954 through June 1974, when concessional assistance was phased out because of a substantial increase in Nigeria’s per capita income resulting from rising oil revenue. By 1974, the United States had provided Nigeria with approximately $360 million in assistance, which included grants for technical assistance, development assistance, relief and rehabilitation, and food aid. Disbursements continued into the late 1970s, bringing total bilateral economic assistance to roughly $445 million.

The sharp decline in oil prices, economic mismanagement, and continued military rule characterized Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1983, USAID began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. In 1992, an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program was added to existing health activities. USAID committed $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful Structural Adjustment Program, but later abandoned it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2000 were interrupted by strains in U.S.-Nigerian relations over human rights abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti-narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid-1990s, these problems resulted in the curtailment of USAID activities that might benefit the military Government. Existing health programs were re-designed to focus on working through grassroots Nigerian non-governmental organizations and community groups. As a response to the Nigerian military government’s plans for delayed transition to civilian rule, the Peace Corps closed its program in Nigeria in 1994.

In response to the increasingly repressive political situation, USAID established a Democracy and Governance (DG) program in 1996. This program integrates themes focusing on basic participatory democracy, human and civil rights, women’s empowerment, accountability, and transparency with other health activities to reach Nigerians at the grassroots level in 14 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

The sudden death of Gen. Sani Abacha and the assumption of power by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in June 1998 marked a turning point in U.S.-Nigerian relations. USAID provided significant support to the electoral process by providing some $4 million in funding for international election observation, the training of Nigerian election observers and political party polling agents, as well as voter education activities. A Vital National Interest Certification was submitted to Congress in February 1999 by President Clinton to lift restrictions on U.S. Government interaction with and support to the Government of Nigeria.

Since that time, USAID has supported Nigeria to sustain democracy and to improve governance by providing training on the roles and responsibilities of elected officials in a representative democracy for newly elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels prior to their installation in May 1999 and assisting with conflict prevention and resolution in the Niger Delta, civil military relations, civil society, and political party development. In the economic area USAID supports programs in strengthening economic management and coordination, encouraging private sector development and economic reform, helping Nigeria reap the benefits of AGOA, improved agricultural technology and marketing and smallscale and microenterprise development. In addition, health assistance, focusing on HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and immunization, education, transportation and energy infrastructure, are priorities for bilateral assistance.

DEFENSE

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services total approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), and the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards. It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian Navy (7,000) is equipped with frigates, fast attack Pratt, convenes, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, but most are currently not operational. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities. After the imposition of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria turned to China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since independence, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterized by a focus on Africa and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; peaceful settlement of disputes; nonalignment and nonintentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations.

In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonize trade and investment practices for its 15 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.

Over the past decade, Nigeria has played a pivotal role in the support of peace in Africa. It provided the bulk of troops for the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbors. A longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula was addressed by International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in 2002. The ICJ awarded most of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula and maritime rights to Cameroon, and the UN established a Mixed Commission on implementing the ICJ ruling. On June 12, 2006 Nigerian President Obasanjo and Cameroonian President Biya signed an agreement in New York on implementing the ICJ decision. The agreement calls for the withdrawal of Nigeria’s troops within 60 days.

Nigeria is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its special and related agencies, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Commonwealth, Nonaligned Movement, several other West African bodies, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS

After the June 12, 1993, presidential election was annulled, and in light of human rights abuses and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the United States imposed numerous sanctions on Nigeria. These sanctions included the imposition of Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry into the United States of senior government officials and others who formulated, implemented, or benefited from policies impeding Nigeria’s transition to democracy; suspension of all military assistance; and a ban on the sale and repair of military goods and refinery services to Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador was recalled for consultations for four months after the execution of the Ogoni Nine on November 10, 1995.

After a period of increasingly strained relations, the death of General Abacha in June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new phase of improved bilateral relations. As the transition to democracy progressed, the removal of visa restrictions, increased high-level visits of U.S. officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March, 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria, as a key partner in the region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the democratically elected Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has continued to improve, and cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping, has been very good.

The government has lent strong diplomatic support to the U.S. Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has both condemned the terrorist attacks as well as supported military action against the Taliban and Al Qaida. Nigeria also has played a leading role in forging an anti-terrorism consensus among states in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

ABUJA (E) Address: Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central District; Phone: 011-234-9-461-4000; Fax: 234-9-461-4305; Workweek: Monday-Thursday 7:30am–4:30pm, Friday 7:30am–1:30pm; Website: http://abuja.usembassy.gov.

AMB:John Campbell
AMB OMS:Diana Kniazuk
DCM:Thomas P. Furey
DCM OMS:Patricia Able
POL:Russell Hanks
CON:Victoria Coffineau
MGT:Eva Groening
AFSA:Russell Hanks
AGR:Ali Abdi (resident in Lagos)
AID:Patrick Fleuret
CLO:Fatima Mendelsohn
DAO:Peter Aubrey
DEA:Sam Gaye(resident in Lagos)
ECO:Necia Quast
EEO:Kay Spivey
FCS:Johnny Brown (resident in Lagos)
FMO:Kevin Doyle
GSO:Lucia Verrier
ICASS Chair:Necia Quast
IMO:Todd D. Roe
IPO:Josetito L. Nakpil
ISSO:Todd D. Roe
LEGATT:Mark Johnson (resident in Lagos)
NAS:Robert Downey
PAO:Atim George
RSO:Paul Brown
State ICASS:Quast Necia

Last Updated: 10/12/2006

LAGOS (CG) Address: 2 Walter Carrington Crescent; Phone: 011-234-1-261-0050/0078; Fax: 234-1-261-1863; INMARSAT Tel: 00-8816-763-10796; Workweek: M-F/0730-1600; Website: usembassy.state.gov/Nigeria.

AMB:John F. Campbell
AMB OMS:Patricia J. Able
DCM:Thomas Furey
CG:Brian L. Browne
CG OMS:Dionne M. Sims
PO:Brian L. Browne
POL:moved to Abuja
POL/ECO:Helen Hudson
COM:John F. Campbell
CON:Clarke A. Owen
MGT:Michael A. Delauder
AGR:Ali Abdi
DAO:Travis Knight
DEA:Sam Gaye
ECO:Vacant
EEO:Tamika D. Abbott
FMO:Jeanne M. Miller
ICASS Chair:AE Abuja
IMO:Todd D. Roe
IPO:Phillip C. Brown
ISO:Onnie B. Ogot
ISSO:Onnie B. Ogot
LAB:Vacant
LEGATT:Ronald N. Noland
PAO:Tim gerhardson
RSO:Robert E. Myers
State ICASS:AE Abuja

Last Updated: 11/28/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : January 13, 2006

Country Description: Nigeria is a developing country in western Africa that has experienced periods of political instability. Its internal infrastructure is neither fully functional nor well maintained. In 1999, Nigeria returned to civilian rule after sixteen years of military rule.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The visa must be obtained in advance. Visas cannot be obtained aboard planes or at the airport. Promises of entry into Nigeria without a visa are credible indicators of fraudulent commercial schemes in which the perpetrators seek to exploit the foreign traveler’s illegal presence in Nigeria through threats of extortion or bodily harm. U.S. citizens cannot legally depart Nigeria unless they can prove, by presenting their entry visas, that they entered Nigeria legally. Entry information may be obtained at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 3519 International Court, NW, Washington, D.C., 20008, telephone (202) 822-1500, or at the Nigerian Consulate General in New York, telephone (212) 808-0301. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Nigerian embassy or consulate.

Safety and Security: Parts of Nigeria regularly experience localized civil unrest and violence. The causes and locations vary. States where outbreaks of violence have occurred in the past year include Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, and Rivers. While the Government of Nigeria has authorized vehicle checkpoints to mitigate crime, unauthorized checkpoints continue to be a problem throughout Nigeria.

In the oil-producing region of the Niger River Delta, resident U.S. citizens and other foreigners have frequently been threatened and held hostage during labor disputes. While the U.S. Government will do everything possible to assist in the safe release of all hostages, it is vital that U.S. citizens resident in this area review their employer’s security information and contingency plans. Tourists risk being mistaken for residents and should exercise caution. In April 2004, two Americans were killed while on an oil vessel conducting a fact-finding mission in the Niger River Delta Region. In March/April 2005, Americans aboard oil service vessels in Delta and Rivers States were among those taken hostage during a month-long labor dispute. In January 2006 expatriates were taken hostage when an oil service ship was boarded.

Inter-ethnic fighting continues to be a problem in and around Warri city, located in the Niger River Delta. Due to fighting between ethnic groups in the region, the Consulate in Lagos recommends that American citizen travelers review their itineraries and avoid travel to Warri. Official U.S. Government personnel travel in the region is limited to essential travel only.

The national labor union frequently calls general strikes to protest government policies. Strikers often try to hinder movement of vehicles on main thoroughfares, frequently using violence to discourage travel. During such strikes, U.S. citizens should limit unnecessary travel.

U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos are required to notify their security officer if traveling outside the city of Abuja or outside of Victoria, Ikoyi or Lagos Island. In addition, the Consulate advises its employees to take security precautions when visiting Lagos Island or mainland Lagos after dark. Consulate employees travel in armored vehicles between the islands and Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

There exists little anti-U.S. sentiment among Nigerians. However, there have been several demonstrations against U.S. policy in the Middle East. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and maintain security awareness at all times.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet website where the current Travel Warnings, including the Nigeria Travel Warning, and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, kidnappings and extortion, often involving violence. Carjackings, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during both daylight and nighttime hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond to crimes slowly and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian officials.

Upon arrival in Nigeria, U.S. citizens are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, where they may obtain current safety information and advice on minimizing risks.

Nigerian-operated scams are infamous for their cleverness and ingenuity. These scams target foreigners worldwide posing risks of both financial loss and personal danger to their victims. Scams are often initiated by credit card use, through telephone calls, from use of Internet cafes in Nigeria, and from unsolicited faxes, letters, and e-mails. No one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines.

Recently, many American citizens have become victims of Nigerian conmen/women offering companionship through Internet dating websites. Americans should be very cautious about sending money or traveling to Nigeria to meet someone they have only known via the Internet. Commercial scams or stings that targets foreigners, including many U.S. citizens continue to be a problem. Such scams may involve U.S. citizens in illegal activity, resulting in arrest, extortion or bodily harm. The scams generally involve phony offers of either outright money transfers or lucrative sales, or contracts with promises of large commissions, or up-front payments. Alleged deals frequently invoke the authority of one or more ministries or offices of the Nigerian government and may cite, by name, the involvement of a Nigerian government official. In some scams, government stationery, seals, and offices are used.

Expanding bilateral law enforcement cooperation, which has resulted in numerous raids on commercial fraud premises, has reduced the overall level of overt fraud activity, but new types of sophisticated scams are introduced daily. The ability of U.S. consuls to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited. Since the mid-1990s, several U.S. citizens have been arrested by police officials and held for varying periods on charges of involvement in illegal business scams. Nigerian police do not always inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of a U.S. citizen in distress. The Department of Commerce has issued advisories to the U.S. business community on doing business in Nigeria.

To check on a business’s legitimacy while in the U.S., contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198). If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities in Nigeria are poor. Diagnostic and treatment equipment is most often poorly maintained and many medicines are unavailable. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. This is particularly true of generics purchased at local pharmacies or street markets. While Nigeria has many well-trained doctors, hospital facilities are generally of poor quality with inadequately trained nursing staff. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747). For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO). Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nigeria is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Roads are generally in poor condition, causing damage to vehicles and contributing to hazardous traffic conditions. There are few traffic lights or stop signs. Lagos, a city of over 10 million people, has only a few operating traffic lights. The rainy season from May to October is especially dangerous because of flooded roads.

Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, and the lack of basic maintenance and safety equipment on many vehicles are additional hazards. Motorists seldom yield the right-of-way and give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists. Gridlock is common in urban areas. Chronic fuel shortages have led to long lines at service stations, which disrupt or block traffic for extended periods. Public transportation vehicles are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speeds and overcrowding. Passengers in local taxis have been driven to secluded locations where they were attacked and robbed. Several of the victims required hospitalization. The U.S. Embassy advises that public transportation throughout Nigeria is dangerous and should be avoided.

Short-term visitors are urged not to drive. A Nigerian driver’s license can take months to obtain, and the international driving permit is not recognized. Major hotels offer reliable car-hire services complete with drivers. Reliable car-hire services can also be obtained at the customer service centers at the International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano. Inter-city travelers must also consider that roadside assistance is extremely scarce, and lack of access to even modest health care facilities means that a traffic incident that might result in a minor injury in the United States could result in death or permanent disability in Nigeria.

All drivers and passengers are reminded to wear seat belts, lock doors, and raise windows. It is important to secure appropriate insurance. It is also important to realize that drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury or death have experienced extra-judicial actions, i.e., mob attacks, in addition to official consequences such as fines and incarceration. Night driving should be avoided. Bandits and police roadblocks are more numerous at night. Streets are very poorly lit, and many vehicles are missing one or both headlights, tail-lights, and reflectors.

The government of Nigeria charges the Federal Road Safety Commission with providing maps and public information on specific road conditions. The Federal Road Safety Commission may be contacted by mail at: OjoduIsherri Road, PMB 21510, Ikeja, Lagos; telephone [243] (1) 492-2218 or 492-3369.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Nigeria, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards.

Most Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety. The crashes of Bellview Air on October 22 and Sosoliso Air on December 10 resulted in numerous deaths. On December 19, a Bellview flight made an emergency landing.

Because international flights tend to meet higher safety standards than domestic Nigerian flights, travelers should attempt to get direct international flights to/from their Nigerian destination, rather than transiting another Nigerian city such as Lagos. For domestic travel between Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, the U.S. Government encourages its employees to use Virgin Nigeria Airlines or Aero Contractors. For destinations not served by these airlines, personnel may use other domestic airlines if such travel is deemed safer than travel by road.

Special Circumstances: Permission is required to take photographs of government buildings, airports, and bridges. These sites are not always clearly marked, and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation. Permission may be obtained from Nigerian security personnel. Penalties may include confiscation or destruction of the camera, exposure of the film, a demand for payment of a fine or bribe, or physical assault.

The Nigerian currency, the naira, is non-convertible. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Nigeria is a cash economy, and it is usually necessary to carry sufficient currency to cover the expenses of a planned visit. Credit cards are rarely accepted beyond a few upscale hotels. Due to credit card fraud in Nigeria and by cohorts in the United States, credit card use is strongly discouraged. While Citibank cashes some travelers checks, most other banks do not. American Express does not have offices in Nigeria, but Thomas Cook does have offices in Nigeria. Inter bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, though money transfer services are available. For further information, visitors may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nigerian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nigeria are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Nigeria are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Area, Abuja. The telephone number is [234](9) 461-4000. The U.S. Consulate General is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos. American citizens can call 011 [234](1) 261-1215 during office hours (7:30 a.m. to 4p.m.). For after-hours emergencies, call 011 [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477. The e-mail address for the Consular Section in Lagos is [email protected]

International Adoption : May 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Document and identity fraud related to adoptions is a serious concern in Nigeria. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos requires all adoptions be investigated in person in the state where the adoption took place to verify the authenticity of the information provided in the adoption decrees and I-600 petitions. For security reasons, U.S. government personnel are restricted at times from traveling to certain parts of the country, causing these investigations to take an average of six months.

Nigerian adoption laws are complex and vary from state to state. In general, prospective adoptive parents who intend to adopt a specific child must first obtain temporary custody of the child (i.e., the Nigerian equivalent of foster care). Foster care requirements differ from state to state, and can be as long as one year before an adoption will be granted. Adoptive parents must also be available to be questioned in court by the magistrate considering their adoption request. Proxy adoptions are not valid in Nigeria. Adoptive parents who complete adoptions by proxy without fulfilling state requirements risk having their I-600 petitions returned to USCIS for revocation.

Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain more information on adopting in individual states through the state social welfare office where the adoption will take place.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The application for adoption originates from the social welfare office of the state where the child is located. The government office responsible for adoptions in Nigeria is the magistrate court of the state where the child is located.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Requirements vary from state to state. In some states, including Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and 21 years older than the child (for married couples, at least one parent must meet these age requirements). In most states, married couples must adopt jointly. Single parents may adopt; however, a single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of the opposite sex, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Residency Requirements: Nigerian adoption law requires a parent-child relationship be established before the court decision can be considered final. Each state determines the length of time it takes to establish the parent-child relationship.

Time Frame: Adoption procedures can take from a few months to over a year, depending on the state of origin of the child.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is not aware of any legally recognized Nigerian agencies that assist adopting parents, or of any licensed Nigerian adoption agencies. Foreigners can seek private legal assistance from a Nigerian attorney to facilitate the process of adoption. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos maintains a list of attorneys (http://abuja.usembassy.gov/wwwhcoly.html), but is not aware of any specializing in adoptions. However, there are orphanages, hospitals and other institutions that are relatively more experienced with international adoption. Check with the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for information on these institutions.

Many prospective adoptive parents have found it helpful to initiate the intercountry adoption and U.S. immigration process with the assistance of an adoption agency.

Prospective adoptive parents are advised to research fully any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services.

Adoption Fees: No standard fee is charged apart from small filing fees to the court. It is illegal for anyone to make or receive payment or any other award for the adoption of a child.

Adoption Procedures: In most Nigerian states, the adoption process begins when an application for an adoption order is made in accordance with local requirements and submitted to the registrar of the competent court. On application for adoption, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child (under the age of 17 years) to represent him/her in the adoption proceedings. The guardian ad litem is the social welfare officer in charge of the area where the juvenile resides, or a probation officer or some other person suitably qualified in the opinion of the court of assignment. The guardian ad litem represents the child’s interests until the magistrate questions the adoptive parents and grants the adoption order, at which time legal custody is given to the adoptive parents.

The guardian ad litem investigates the circumstances relevant to the proposed adoption and reports in writing to the court. Prospective adoptive parents must inform the social welfare officer of their intention to adopt at least three months before the court order is made. For at least three consecutive months immediately preceding an adoption order, the child must have been in the physical care and legal custody of the applicant parents in Nigeria. An applicant cannot have the child reside with another family member in lieu of living with the applicant, even if a Power of Attorney is in effect.

The social welfare officer visits the home of the adoptive parents until the officer is satisfied that the juvenile is settled and the prospective adoptive parents are capable of looking after him or her. In such a case, the social welfare officer reports in writing a positive recommendation to the court. The magistrate will meet the adoptive parents in court to confirm their suitability and will issue or deny the adoption order.

After the adoption order has been issued, adoptive parents should obtain a new birth certificate for the child listing them as the child’s parents. In some states, after the adoption has been granted, the adoptive parents must obtain the court’s permission to remove the child from Nigerian jurisdiction, either temporarily or permanently. In addition, the social welfare officer might be required to submit a letter to the Nigerian immigration office, stating that the adoptive parents are now the legal parents of the child. This letter then permits the adopting parents to apply for a passport to take the child out of Nigeria.

Note: Proxy adoptions are not valid in Nigeria. Adoptive parents who complete adoptions by proxy without fulfilling state requirements risk having their I-600 petitions returned to USCIS for revocation.

Documentary Requirements: The paperwork involved in Nigerian adoptions is extensive and time-consuming to obtain. Documents required include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees (where applicable), which should be original documents. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to consult with a Nigerian attorney about the document requirements for the state where they are adopting.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:
3519 International Court, NW Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-775-8400
Fax: 202-775-1385
Web site: http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/f_index.html.

Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta:
8060 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel: 770-394-6261
Fax: 770-394-4671
Web site:
http://www.nigeria-consulate-atl.org
Email: [email protected]

Consulate General of Nigeria, New York:
828 2nd Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-850-2200
Web site:
http://www.nigeriahouse.com
Email: [email protected]

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopting Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Nigeria:
Abuja, Nigeria
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District,
Abuja, FCT
(Off Independence Avenue/Near the Ministry of Defense)
Tel.: [234](9) 461-4262
Fax: [234] (9)-461-4171
E-Mail: [email protected]

U.S. Consulate General, Lagos:
2 Walter Carrington Crescent
Victoria Island, Lagos
Nigeria
Tel: [234](1) 261-0050, 261-0078

Note: Although the U.S. Embassy is in Nigeria’s capital (Abuja), immigrant visa cases are reviewed only at the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos.

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Nigeria may be addressed to the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

Travel Warning : January 19, 2007

This Travel Warning is being reissued to note a further deterioration in the security situation in the Niger Delta region, due to recent car bombings in the city of Port Harcourt and continuing kidnappings of expatriates in that area. American citizens should depart from and defer non-essential travel to Delta, Bayesa, and Rivers states. This Warning also provides an update on aviation safety in Nigeria and addresses upcoming elections. It supersedes the Travel Warning for Nigeria issued August 24, 2006.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria. The lack of law and order in Nigeria poses considerable risks to travelers. Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country and tends to peak between November and January, during the holiday period.

The security situation in the Niger Delta region has deteriorated significantly over the past year. Travel to the region remains dangerous and should be avoided. Throughout the year, a number of expatriate workers in the oil industry, including American citizens, have been held hostage for days or weeks. Hostages haven been taken from oil facilities, public roadways, and within the city of Port Harcourt. While most have been released unharmed, one militant group has threatened to kill oil workers and their families and, in November 2006, a British national was killed during an attempted kidnapping. In addition, U.S. citizens and other foreigners have been threatened and held hostage during labor disputes. Two car bomb explosions at oil company compounds in Port Harcourt on December 18, 2006, prompted a major oil company to withdraw employee dependents from the city. In light of these latest incidents, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers states, and Americans not involved in the performance of essential duties depart from those three states.

Crime in Lagos and Abuja is an ongoing problem. Some expatriates have been robbed in the outlying Lagos suburb of Lekki, and in Abuja, the Maitama area has seen a series of home invasions. In a working class section of mainland Lagos, an October 2005 clash between police and residents left several dead. Even Victoria and Ikoyi Islands, which are generally safer than other parts of Lagos, have experienced attempted bank robberies, and have seen an increase in smash-and-grab car robberies, including some involving expatriates.

Federal and State elections are scheduled for April 2007. Previous elections in Nigeria have sometimes resulted in civil disturbances and unrest leading up to and during the election. U.S. citizens in Nigeria should exercise particular caution during this period. Large public gatherings, political rallies, and demonstrations should be avoided. The U.S. government’s ability to assist American citizens caught up in instances of civil disturbance or unrest may be limited.

Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning. The states of Kano and Kaduna are particularly volatile. Rival ethnic groups have clashed violently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city and in Southeast Plateau State. Senior al-Qaida leadership has expressed interest publicly in overthrowing the government of Nigeria. Links also were uncovered connecting Nigerians to al-Qaida in 2004.

Road travel is dangerous. Robberies by armed gangs have been reported on rural roads and within major cities. Travelers should avoid driving at night. Because of poor vehicle maintenance and driving conditions, public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Road travel in Lagos is banned between 7:00 and 10:00 AM on the last Saturday of every month for municipal road cleanup; police vigilantly enforce the ban.

Enforcement of aviation safety standards in Nigeria is uneven; civil aviation in Nigeria continues to experience air incidents and accidents, including four crashes with fatalities between October 22, 2005, and October 30, 2006. Incidents included fires on planes, collapsed landing gear, and planes veering off the runway. After each such occurrence, aviation authorities may temporarily shut down the domestic airline involved, ground a number of planes, and close the affected airport. Flights in Nigeria, including international routes, are often delayed or cancelled. Travelers should be prepared for disruptions to air travel to, from, and within Nigeria.

In general, international airlines have paid close attention to conditions at airports in Nigeria and have taken appropriate action. As such, international carriers operating direct flights to Nigeria have experienced far fewer incidents. However, domestic carriers operating within Nigeria and the region are less responsive to local conditions and may present a greater safety risk to travelers. Where possible, international travelers to and from Nigeria should avoid transiting an additional Nigerian city. Travel by any means within Nigeria is risky. For essential travel, official Americans in Nigeria balance the risk between domestic air and road travel by using direct flights on Virgin Nigeria Airlines or AERO Contractors to cities serviced by these carriers. Currently, however, neither Virgin Nigeria nor AERO appears in most travel agency software. Additional information on current flight schedules is available at http://www.VirginNigeria.com and http://www.acn.aero/cgi-bin/airkiosk.

Some Nigeria-based criminals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide. These fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss. Recipients traveling to Nigeria to pursue such fraudulent offers have been subject to physical harm, and local police authorities are often unwilling to help in such cases. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. Under no circumstances should U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa—an invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity. Furthermore, the ability of U.S. Embassy officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is limited. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. See the Department of State’s publications “Tips For Business Travelers To Nigeria” at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_2113.html, and “Nigerian Advanced Fee Fraud” at http://www.state.gov/www/regions/africa/naffpub.pdf.

Americans who travel to Nigeria should obtain the latest health information before departing the U.S., read the Department’s Fact Sheet on Avian Influenza at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html, and consult with their personal physicians concerning avian influenza. The websites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov and the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int have up-to-date information on outbreaks of contagious and tropical diseases.

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Nigeria are strongly advised to register through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

Periodically, travel by U.S. mission personnel is restricted based on changing security conditions, often due to crime, general strikes, or student/political demonstrations or disturbances. U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for up-to-date information on any restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be contacted by phone at [234](9) 461-4000. American citizens may contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos at 011 [234](1) 261-1215 during business hours. For after-hours emergencies call [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477. You may also visit the U.S. Embassy’s website at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s most recent Consular Information Sheet for Nigeria and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, which are located on the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

views updated

NIGERIA

Compiled from the June 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Federal Republic of Nigeria

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 923,768 sq. km. (356,700 sq. mi.) about the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Cities: Capital—Abuja (pop. est. 100,000). Other cities—Lagos (12 million), Ibadan (5 million), Kano (1 million), Enugu (500,000).

Terrain: Ranges from southern coastal swamps to tropical forests, open woodlands, grasslands, and semidesert in the far north. The highest regions are the Jos Plateau 1,200-2,000 meters above sea level and the mountains along the border with Cameroon.

Climate: Annual rainfall ranges from 381 cm. along the coast to 64 cm. or less in the far north.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nigerian(s).

Population: (est.1999) 120 million.

Total fertility rate: (avg. number of children per woman) 6.0.

Ethnic groups: (250) Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba are the largest.

Religions: Muslim, Christian, indigenous African.

Languages: English (official), Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, others.

Education: Attendance (secondary)—male 32%, female 27%. Literacy—39%-51%.

Health: Life expectancy—56 years.


Government

Type: An elected civilian government took office on May 29, 1999, following 15 years of military rule.

Independence: October 1, 1960.

Constitution: The 1979 constitution was suspended after 1983, the May 3, 1989 constitution never implemented, and the 1999 constitution (based largely on the 1979 constitution) was promulgated by decree on May 5, 1999. The 1999 constitution came into force on May 29, 1999. Subdivisions: 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); states divided into a total of 774 local government areas.

Total government expenditure: $9.47 billion.

Defense: 10% of 1996 budget.


Economy

GDP: (1998 est.) $36 billion.

Estimated real growth rate: (2000) 2.7%.

Per capita GDP: (1999 est.) $300. Inflation: (2000 est) 6.6%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc.

Agriculture: Products—cocoa, palm oil, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, livestock, groundnuts, cotton.

Industry: Types—textiles, cement, food products, footwear, metal products, lumber, beer, detergents, car assembly.

Trade: (1997) Exports—$15.2 billion: petroleum (98.4%), cocoa, rubber.




PEOPLE

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for approximately one-quarter of West Africa's people. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, most of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri. The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest.


About half of the Yorubas are Christian and half Muslim. The predominantly Catholic Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, with the Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw (the country's fourth-largest ethnic group) comprising a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo are the most widely used Nigerian languages.




HISTORY

Before the colonial period, the area which comprises modern Nigeria had an eventful history. More than 2,000 years ago, the Nok culture in the present Plateau state worked iron and produced sophisticated terra cotta sculpture. In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cowrie shells used as currency.


In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and that brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an empire centered in Sokoto.

A British Sphere of Influence

Following the Napoleonic wars, the British expanded trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885, British claims to a sphere of influence in that area received international recognition and, in the following year, the Royal Niger Company was chartered. In 1900, the company's territory came under the control of the British Government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. In 1914, the area was formally united as the "Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria." Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative, increasingly federal, basis.


Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern) under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. Under the constitution, each of the three regions retained a substantial measure of self-government. The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense and security, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policies. In October 1963, Nigeria altered its relationship with the United Kingdom by proclaiming itself a federal republic and promulgating a new constitution. A fourth region (the mid-west) was established that year. From the outset, Nigeria's ethnic, regional, and religious tensions were magnified by the significant disparities in economic and educational development between the south and the north.


On January 15, 1966, a small group of army officers, mostly southeastern Igbos, overthrew the government and assassinated the federal prime minister and the premiers of the northern and western regions. The federal military government that assumed power was unable to quiet ethnic tensions or produce a constitution acceptable to all sections of the country. In fact, its efforts to abolish the federal structure greatly raised tensions and led to another coup in July. The coup related massacre of thousands of Igbo in the north prompted hundreds of thousands of them to return to the southeast, where increasingly strong Igbo secessionist sentiment emerged.

In a move that gave greater autonomy to minority ethnic groups, the military divided the four regions into 12 states. The Igbo rejected attempts at constitutional revisions and insisted on full autonomy for the east. Finally, in May 1967, Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region, who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the "Republic of Biafra." The ensuing civil war was bitter and bloody, ending in the defeat of Biafra in 1970.


Following the civil war, reconciliation was rapid and effective, and the country turned to the task of economic development. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of 1973-74. On July 29, 1975, Gen. Murtala Muhammed and a group of fellow officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing the military government of Gen. Yakubu Gowon delaying the promised return to civilian rule and becoming corrupt and ineffective. General Muhammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by October 1, 1979. Muhammed also announced the government's intention to create new states and to construct a new federal capital in the center of the country.


General Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup. His chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, became head of state. Obasanjo adhered

meticulously to the schedule for return to civilian rule, moving to modernize and streamline the armed forces and seeking to use oil revenues to diversify and develop the country's economy. Seven new states were created in 1976, bringing the total to 19. The process of creating additional states continued until, in 1996, there were 36.


The Second Republic

A constituent assembly was elected in 1977 to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity, in effect since the advent of military rule, was lifted. Political parties wereformed, and candidates were nominated for president and vice president, the two houses of the National Assembly, governorships, and state houses of assembly. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which a northerner, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was elected president. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly.

In August 1983, Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results.

On December 31, 1983, the military overthrew the Second Republic. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the country's new ruling body. He charged the civilian government with economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, election fraud, and a general lack of concern for the problems of Nigerians. He also pledged to restore prosperity to Nigeria and to return the government to civilian rule but proved unable to deal with Nigeria's severe economic problems. The Buhari government was peacefully overthrown by the SMC's third-ranking member, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in August 1985.


Babangida cited the misuse of power, violations of human rights by key officers of the SMC, and the government's failure to deal with the country's deepening economic crisis as justifications for the takeover. During his first few days in office, President Babangida moved to restore freedom of the press and to release political detainees being held without charge. As part of a 15-month economic emergency, he announced stringent pay cuts for the military, police, and civil servants and proceeded to enact similar cuts for the private sector. Imports of rice, maize, and later wheat were banned. President Babangida demonstrated his intent to encourage public participation in government decision making by opening a national debate on proposed economic reform and recovery measures. The public response convinced Babangida of intense opposition to an economic recovery package dependent on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.


The Abortive Third Republic

President Babangida promised to return the country to civilian rule by 1990; this date was later extended until January 1993. In early 1989, a constituent assembly completed work on a constitution for the Third Republic. In the spring of 1989, political activity was again permitted. In October 1989 the government established two "grassroots" parties, the National Republican Convention (NRC), which was to be "a little to the right," and the Social Democratic (SDP), "a little to the left." Other parties were not allowed to register by the Babangida government.


In April 1990, mid-level officers attempted to overthrow the Babangida government. The coup failed, and 69 accused coup plotters were later executed after secret trials before military tribunals. The transition resumed after the failed coup. In December 1990 the first stage of partisan elections was held at the local government level. While turnout was low, there was no violence, and both parties demonstrated strength in all regions of the country, with the SDP winning control of a majority of local government councils.

In December 1991, gubernatorial and state legislative elections were held throughout the country. Babangida decreed in December 1991 that previously banned politicians would be allowed to contest in primaries scheduled for August 1992. These were canceled due to fraud and subsequent primaries scheduled for September also were canceled. All announced candidates were disqualified from again standing for president once a new election format was selected. The presidential election was finally held on June 12, 1993, with the inauguration of the new president scheduled to take place August 27, 1993, the eighth anniversary of President Babangida's coming to power.


In the historic June 12, 1993 presidential elections, which most observers deemed to be Nigeria's fairest, early returns indicated that wealthy Yoruba businessman M.K.O. Abiola had won a decisive victory. However, on June 23, Babangida, using several pending lawsuits as a pretense, annulled the election, throwing Nigeria into turmoil. More than 100 persons were killed in riots before Babangida agreed to hand power to an "interim government" on August 27, 1993. Babangida then attempted to renege on his decision. Without popular and military support, he was forced to hand over to Ernest Shonekan, a prominent nonpartisan businessman. Shonekan was to rule until new elections, scheduled for February 1994. Although he had led Babangida's Transitional Council since early 1993, Shonekan was unable to reverse Nigeria's evergrowing economic problems or to defuse lingering political tension.


With the country sliding into chaos, Defense Minister Sani Abacha quickly assumed power and forced Shonekan's "resignation" on November 17, 1993. Abacha dissolved all democratic political institutions and replaced elected governors with military officers. Abacha promised to return the government to civilian rule but refused to announce a timetable until his October 1, 1995 Independence Day address.

Following the annulment of the June 12 election, the United States and other nations imposed various sanctions on Nigeria, including restrictions on travel by government officials and their families and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Additional sanctions were imposed as a result of Nigeria's failure to gain full certification for its counter-narcotics efforts. In addition, direct flights between Nigeria and the United States were suspended on August 11, 1993, when the Secretary of Transportation determined that Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport did not meet the security standards established by the FAA. The FAA in December 1999 certified security at MMIA, opening the way for operation of direct flights between Lagos and U.S. airports.


Although Abacha's takeover was initially welcomed by many Nigerians, disenchantment grew rapidly. A number of opposition figures united to form a new organization, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which campaigned for an immediate return to civilian rule. The government arrested NADECO members who attempted to reconvene the Senate and other disbanded democratic institutions. Most Nigerians boycotted the elections held from May 23-28, 1994, for delegates to the government-sponsored Constitutional Conference.


On June 11, 1994, using the groundwork laid by NADECO, Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding. He reemerged and was promptly arrested on June 23. With Abiola in prison and tempers rising, Abacha convened the Constitutional Conference June 27, but it almost immediately went into recess and did not reconvene until July 11, 1994.

On July 4, a petroleum workers union called a strike demanding that Abacha release Abiola and hand over power to him. Other unions then joined the strike, which brought economic life in around Lagos area and in much of the southwest to a standstill. After calling off a threatened general strike in July, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) reconsidered a general strike in August, after the government imposed "conditions" on Abiola's release. On August 17, 1994, the government dismissed the leadership of the NLC and the petroleum unions, placed the unions under appointed administrators, and arrested Frank Kokori and other labor leaders. Although striking unions returned to work, the government arrested opponents, closed media houses, and moved strongly to curb dissent.


The government alleged in early 1995 that some 40 military officers and civilians were engaged in a coup plot. Security officers quickly rounded up the accused, including former Head of State Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy, retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar' Adua. After a secret tribunal, most of the accused were convicted, and several death sentences were handed down. The tribunal also charged, convicted, and sentenced prominent human rights activists, journalists, and others—including relatives of the coup suspects—for their alleged "anti-regime" activities. In October, the government announced that the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC—see below: Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule) and Abacha had approved final sentences for those convicted of participation in the coup plot.


In late 1994 the government set up the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal to try prominent author and Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others for their alleged roles in the killings of four prominent Ogoni politicians in May 1994. Saro-Wiwa and 14 others pleaded not guilty to charges that they procured and counseled others to murder the politicians. On October 31, 1995, the tribunal sentenced Saro-Wiwa and eight others to death by hanging. In early November Abacha and the PRC confirmed the death sentence. Saro-Wiwa and his eight co-defendants were executed on November 10.

In an October 1, 1995 address to the nation, Gen. Sani Abacha announced the timetable for a 3-year transition to civilian rule. Only five of the political parties which applied for registration were approved by the regime. In local elections held in December 1997, turnout was under 10%. By the April 1998 state assembly and gubernatorial elections, all five of the approved parties had nominated Abacha as their presidential candidate in controversial party conventions. Public reaction to this development in the transition program was apathy and a near-complete boycott of the elections.


On December 21, 1997, the government announced the arrest of the country's second highest-ranking military officer, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, 10 other officers, and eight civilians on charges of coup plotting. Subsequently, the government arrested a number of additional persons for roles in the purported coup plot and tried the accused before a closed-door military tribunal in April in which Diya and eight others were sentenced to death.


Abacha, widely expected to succeed himself as a civilian president on October 1, 1998, remained head of state until his death on June 8 of that year. He was replaced by Gen. Abdul-salami Abubakar, who had been third in command until the arrest of Diya. The PRC, under new head of state Abubakar, commuted the sentences of those accused in the alleged 1997 coup in July 1998. In March 1999, Diya and 54 others accused or convicted of participation in coups in 1990, 1995, and 1997 were released. Following the death of former head of state Abacha in June, Nigeria released almost all known civilian political detainees, including the Ogoni 19.


During the Abacha regime, the government continued to enforce its arbitrary authority through the federal security system—the military, the state security service, and the courts. Under Abacha, all branches of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses. After Abubakar's assumption of power and consolidation of support within the PRC, human rights abuses decreased. Other human rights problems included infringements on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and travel; violence and discrimination against women; and female genital mutilation.

Worker rights suffered as the government continued to interfere with organized labor by restricting the fundamental rights of association and the independence of the labor movement. After it came to power in June 1998, the Abubakar government took several important steps toward restoring worker rights and freedom of association for trade unions, which had deteriorated seriously between 1993 and June 1998 under the Abacha regime. The Abubakar government released two imprisoned leaders of the petroleum sector unions, Frank Kokori and Milton Dabibi; abolished two decrees that had removed elected leadership from the Nigeria Labour Congress and the oil workers unions; and allowed leadership elections in these bodies.


Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule

During both the Abacha and Abubakar eras, Nigeria's main decision making organ was the exclusively military Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) which governed by decree. The PRC oversaw the 32-member federal executive council composed of civilians and military officers. Pending the promulgation of the constitution written by the constitutional conference in 1995, the government observed some provisions of the 1979 and 1989 constitutions. Neither Abacha nor Abubakar lifted the decree suspending the 1979 constitution, and the 1989 constitution was not implemented. The judiciary's authority and independence was significantly impaired during the Abacha era by the military regime's arrogation of judicial power and prohibition of court review of its action. The court system continued to be hampered by corruption and lack of resources after Abacha's death. In an attempt to alleviate such problems, Abubakar's government implemented a civil service pay raise and other reforms.


In August 1998, the Abubakar government appointed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for local government councils, state legislatures and governors, the national assembly, and president. NEC successfully held these elections on December 5, 1998, January 9, 1999, February 20, and February 27, 1999, respectively. For the local elections, a total of nine parties were granted provisional registration, with three fulfilling the requirements to contest the following elections. These parties were the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the All Peoples Party (APP), and the predominantly Yoruba Alliance for Democracy (AD). Former military head of state Olusegun Obasanjo, freed from prison by Abubakar, ran as a civilian candidate and won the presidential election. Irregularities marred the vote, and the defeated candidate, Chief Olu Falae, challenged the electoral results and Obasanjo's victory in court.


The PRC promulgated a new constitution based largely on the suspended 1979 constitution, before the May 29, 1999 inauguration of the new civilian president. The constitution includes provisions for a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly, consisting of a 360-member House of Representatives and a 109-member Senate. The executive branch and the office of president will retain strong federal powers. The legislature and judiciary, having suffered years of neglect, must be rebuilt as institutions.


The Obasanjo Administration

The emergence of a democratic Nigeria in May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo became the steward of a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most of its democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion.

The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers who held political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, ordered the release of scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded a number of questionable licenses and contracts let by the previous military regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts.


Most civil society leaders and most Nigerians see a marked improvement in human rights and democratic practice under Obasanjo. The press enjoys greater freedom than under previous governments. As Nigeria works out representational democracy, there have been conflicts between the Executive and Legislative branches over major appropriations and other proposed legislation. A sign of federalism has been the growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between Abuja and the various state capitols over resource allocation.


Problems of communal violence have confronted the Obasanjo government since its inception. In May 1999 violence erupted in Kaduna State over the succession of an Emir resulting in more than 100 deaths. In November 1999, the army destroyed the town of Odi, Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang. In Kaduna in February-May 2000 over 1,000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Shar'ia in the State. Hundreds of ethnic Hausa were killed in reprisal attacks in southeastern Nigeria. In September 2001, over 2,000 were people were killed in inter-religious rioting in Jos. In October 2001, hundred were killed and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across the Middle-Belt states of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa. On October 1, 2001, President Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence. Currently, Nigeria has three major political parties. National elections and state gubernatorial elections occurred in 2003. Nigeria reelected Obas anjo as President.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 7/24/03


President: Obasanjo, Olusegun

Vice President: Abubakar, Atiku

Min. of Agriculture: Bello, Adamu

Min. of Aviation: Yuguda, Isa

Min. of Commerce: Waziri, Idris

Min. of Communications: Adebayo, Cornelius

Min. of Cooperation & Integration: Guba, Lawan Gana

Min. of Culture & Tourism: Ogbuewu, Franklin

Min. of Defense: Kwankaso, Rabiu

Min. of Education: Osuji, Fabian

Min. of Environment: Mande, Bala, Col.

Min. of Federal Capital Territory: El- Rufai, Nasir

Min. of Finance: Okonjo-Iweala, Ngozi

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Adeniji, Olu

Min. of Health: Lambo, Eyitayo

Min. of Housing & Urban Development: Osomo, Mobolaji

Min. of Industries: Mohammed, Magaji

Min. of Information: Chikelu, Chukwuemeka

Min. of Internal Affairs: Ayu, Iyorcha

Min. of Justice: Olujinmi, Akinlolu

Min. of Labor & Productivity: Akwanga, Hussaini

Min. of Police Affairs: Bozimo, Broderick

Min. of Power & Steel: Imoke, Liyel

Min. of Presidency (Economic Matters):

Min. of Presidency (Inter-Govt. Affairs): Nweke, Frank

Min. of Science & Technology: Isoun, Turner

Min. of Solid Minerals: Ugbesa, Mangu Odion Min. of Sports & Social Development: Mohammed, Musa, Col.

Min. of Transport: Sekibo, Abiye

Min. of Water Resources: Shagari, Muktari

Min. of Women & Youth: Akpan, Rita

Min. of Works: Ogunlewe, Adeseye

Min. of State for Agriculture: Dada, Bamidele

Min. of State for Communications:

Min. of State for Defense: Oritsejafo, Roland

Min. of State for Education: Musa, Bintu Ibrahim

Min. of State for Environment:

Min. of State for the Federal Capital Territory:

Min. of State for Finance: Esther-Usman, Nenadi

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Sambawa, Samaila Saidu

Min. of State for Health:

Min. of State for Industries:

Min. of State for Internal Affairs: Tanko, Abubakar

Min. of State for Justice:

Min. of State for Power & Steel: Umar, Aliyu Modibo

Min. of State for Science & Technology:

Min. of State for Transport: Musa, Mohammed

Min. of State for Water Resources:

Min. of State for Women & Youth: Adedoyin, Olufunke

Min. of State for Works: Shehu, Saleh Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:,



Nigeria maintains an embassy in the United States at 1333 - 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, (tel. 202-986-8400, fax-202-775-1385) and a consulate general in New York at 575 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022, (tel. 212-715-7200).




ECONOMY


Dominated by Oil

The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2000 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a statist economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s accompanied this trend. By 2000 Nigeria's per capita income had plunged to about one-quarter of its mid-1970s high, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria's non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of "informal sector" economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75% of the total economy.

Nigeria's proven oil reserves are estimated to be 25 billion barrels; natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion cubic feet. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and in mid-2001 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day. Poor corporate relations with indigenous communities, vandalism of oil infrastructure, severe ecological damage, and personal security problems throughout the Niger Delta oil-producing region continue to plague Nigeria's oil sector. Efforts are underway to reverse these troubles. In the absence of government programs, the major multinational oil companies have launched their own community development programs. A new entity, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has been created to help catalyze economic and social development in the region. Although it has yet to launch its programs, hopes are high that the NDDC can reverse the impoverishment of local communities. The U.S. remains Nigeria's largest customer for crude oil, accounting for 40% of the country's total oil exports; Nigeria provides about 10% of overall U.S. oil imports and ranks as the fifth-largest source for U.S. imported oil.


The United States is Nigeria's largest trading partner after the United Kingdom. Although the trade balance overwhelmingly favors Nigeria, thanks to oil exports, a large portion of U.S. exports to Nigeria is believed to enter the country outside of the Nigerian Government's official statistics, due to importers seeking to avoid Nigeria's excessive tariffs. To counter smuggling and under-invoicing by importers, in May 2001 the Nigerian Government instituted a 100% inspection regime for all imports, and enforcement has been sustained. On the whole, Nigerian high tariffs and non-tariff barriers are gradually being reduced, but much progress remains to be made. The government also has been encouraging the expansion of foreign investment, although the country's investment climate remains daunting to all but the most determined. The stock of U.S. investment is nearly $7 billion, mostly in the energy sector. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are the two largest U.S. corporate players in offshore oil and gas production. Significant exports of liquefied natural gas started in late 1999 and are slated to expand as Nigeria seeks to eliminate gas flaring by 2008.

Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, and the lack of basic infrastructure. Still, the sector accounts for over 41% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. Nigeria is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, and palm oil. Cocoa production, mostly from obsolete varieties and overage trees, is stagnant at around 180,000 tons annually; 25 years ago it was 300,000 tons. An even more dramatic decline in groundnut and palm oil production also has taken place. Once the biggest poultry producer in Africa, corporate poultry output has been slashed from 40 million birds annually to about 18 million. Import constraints limit the availability of many agricultural and food processing inputs for poultry and other sectors. Fisheries are poorly managed. Most critical for the country's future, Nigeria's land tenure system does not encourage long-term investment in technology or modern production methods and does not inspire the availability of rural credit.


Oil dependency, and the allure it generated of great wealth through government contracts, spawned other economic distortions. The country's high propensity to import means roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30%. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for relatively low labor costs (10%-15%). Domestic manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets; however, there are signs that some manufacturers have begun to address their competitiveness.


Nigeria's official foreign debt is about $28.5 billion, about 75% of which is owed to Paris Club countries. A large chunk of this debt is interest and payment arrears. In August 2000 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Nigeria signed a one-year Stand-by Arrangement (SBA), leading to a debt rescheduling agreement in December between Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors. By August 2001, despite continued dialogue with the IMF, Nigeria had been unable to implement many of the SBA conditions. The IMF consented to extend its SBA by a few months and seek out revised targets and conditions for a new agreement. As of September 2001, only a few of Nigeria's creditor governments had signed bilateral rescheduling agreements. Any long-term debt relief will require strong and sustained economic reforms over a number of years.


In the light of highly expansionary public sector fiscal policies during 2001, the government has sought ways to head off higher inflation, leading to the implementation of stronger monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and underspending of budgeted amounts. As a result of the CBN's efforts, the official exchange rate for the Naira has stabilized at about 112 Naira to the dollar. The combination of CBN's efforts to prop up the value of the Naira and excess liquidity resulting from government spending led the currency to be discounted by around 20% on the parallel (nonofficial) market. A key condition of the Stand-by Arrangement has been closure of the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates. The Inter Bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) is closely tied to the official rate. Under IFEM, banks, oil companies, and the CBN can buy or sell their foreign exchange at government influenced rates. Much of the informal economy, however, can only access foreign exchange through the parallel market. Companies can hold domiciliary accounts in private banks, and account holders have unfettered use of the funds.

Expanded government spending also has led to upward pressure on consumer prices. Inflation which had fallen to 0% in April 2000 reached 14.5% by the end of the year and 18.7% in August 2001. In 2000 high world oil prices resulted in government revenue of over $16 billion, about double the 1999 level. State and local governmental bodies demand access to this "windfall" revenue, creating a tug-of-war between the federal government, which seeks to control spending, and state governments desirous of augmented budgets preventing the government from making provision for periods of lower oil prices.


Since undergoing severe distress in the mid-1990s, Nigeria's banking sector has witnessed significant growth over the last few years as new banks enter the financial market. Harsh monetary policies implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria to absorb excess Naira liquidity in the economy has made life more difficult for banks, some of whom engage in currency arbitrage (round-tripping) activities that generally fall outside legal banking mechanisms. Private sector-led economic growth remains stymied by the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, including the need to duplicate essential infrastructure, the threat of crime and associated need for security counter measures, the lack of effective due process, and nontransparent economic decision making, especially in government contracting. While corrupt practices are endemic, they are generally less flagrant than during military rule, and there are signs of improvement. Meanwhile, since 1999 the Nigerian Stock Exchange has enjoyed strong performance, although equity as a means to foster corporate growth remains underutilized by Nigeria's private sector.

Nigeria's publicly owned transportation infrastructure is a major constraint to economic development. Principal ports are at Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can Island), Port Harcourt, and Calabar. Docking fees for freighters are among the highest in the world. Of the 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi.) of roads, more than 15,000 kilometers (10,000 mi.) are officially paved, but many remain in poor shape. Extensive road repairs and new construction activities are gradually being implemented as state governments, in particular, spend their portions of enhanced government revenue allocations. The government implementation of 100% destination inspection of all goods entering Nigeria has resulted in long delays in clearing goods for importers and created new sources of corruption, since the ports lack adequate facilities to carry out the inspection. Four of Nigeria's airports—Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja—currently receive international flights. Government-owned Nigerian Airways is virtually moribund due to mismanagement, high debt, and a vastly shrunken fleet. There are several domestic private Nigerian carriers, and air service among Nigeria's cities is generally dependable. The maintenance culture of Nigeria's domestic airlines is not up to U.S. standards.


Gradual Reform

The Obasanjo government supports "private-sector" led, "market oriented" economic growth and has begun extensive economic reform efforts. Although the government's anti-corruption campaign has so far been disappointing, progress in injecting transparency and accountability into economic decision making is notable. The dual exchange rate mechanism formally abolished in the 1999 budget remains in place in actuality. During 2000 the government's privatization program showed signs of life and real promise with successful turnover to the private sector of state-owned banks, fuel distribution companies, and cement plants. However, the privatization process has slowed somewhat as the government confronts key parastatals such as the state telephone company NITEL and Nigerian Airways. The successful auction of GSM telecommunications licenses in January 2001 has encouraged investment in this vital sector.


Although the government has been stymied so far in its desire to deregulate downstream petroleum prices, state refineries, almost paralyzed in 2000, are producing at much higher capacities; by August 2001 gasoline lines disappeared throughout much of the country. The government still intends to pursue deregulation despite significant internal opposition, particularly from the Nigerian Labor Congress. To meet market demand the government incurs large losses importing gasoline to sell at subsidized prices.


Investment

Although Nigeria must grapple with its decaying infrastructure and a poor regulatory environment, the country possesses many positive attributes for carefully targeted investment and will expand as both a regional and international market player. Profitable niche markets outside the energy sector, like specialized telecommunication providers, have developed under the government's reform program. There is a growing Nigerian consensus that foreign investment is essential to realizing Nigeria's vast but squandered potential. Companies interested in long-term investment and joint ventures, especially those that use locally available raw materials, will find opportunities in the large national market. However, to improve prospects for success, potential investors must educate themselves extensively on local conditions and business practices, establish a local presence, and choose their partners carefully. The Nigerian Government is keenly aware that sustaining democratic principles, enhancing security for life and property, and rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure are necessary for the country to attract foreign investment.


Economic Assistance

The United States assisted with Nigeria's economic development from 1954 through June 1974, when concessional assistance was phased out because of a substantial increase in Nigeria's per capita income resulting from rising oil revenue. By 1974, the United States had provided Nigeria with approximately $360 million in assistance, which included grants for technical assistance, development assistance, relief and rehabilitation, and food aid. Disbursements continued into the late 1970s, bringing total bilateral economic assistance to roughly $445 million.


The sharp decline in oil prices, economic mismanagement, and continued military rule characterized Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1983, USAID began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. In 1992, an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program was added to existing health activities. USAID committed $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful Structural Adjustment Program, but later abandoned it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2000 were interrupted by strains in U.S.-Nigerian relations over human rights abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti-narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid-1990s, these problems resulted in the curtailment of USAID activities that might benefit the military Government. Existing health programs were re-designed to focus on working through grassroots Nigerian non-governmental organizations and community groups. As a response to the Nigerian military government's plans for delayed transition to civilian rule, the Peace Corps closed its program in Nigeria in 1994.

In response to the increasingly repressive political situation, USAID established a Democracy and Governance (DG) program in 1996. This program integrates themes focusing on basic participatory democracy, human and civil rights, women's empowerment, accountability, and transparency with other health activities to reach Nigerians at the grassroots level in 14 of Nigeria's 36 states.


The sudden death of Gen. Sani Abacha and the assumption of power by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in June 1998, marked a turning point in U.S.-Nigerian relations. USAID provided significant support to the electoral process by providing some $4 million in funding for international election observation, the training of Nigerian election observers and political party polling agents, as well as voter education activities. A Vital National Interest Certification was submitted to Congress in February 1999 by President Clinton to lift restrictions on U.S. Government interaction with and support to the Government of Nigeria.


Since that time, USAID has supported Nigeria to sustain democracy and to improve governance by providing training on the roles and responsibilities of elected officials in a representative democracy for newly elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels prior to their installation in May 1999 and assisting with conflict prevention and resolution in the Niger Delta, civil military relations, civil society, and political party development. In the economic area USAID supports programs in strengthening economic management and coordination, encouraging private sector development and economic reform, helping Nigeria reap the benefits of AGOA, improved agricultural technology and marketing and smallscale and microenterprise development. In addition, health assistance, focusing on HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and immunization, education, transportation and energy infrastructure, are priorities for bilateral assistance.




DEFENSE

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services total approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), and the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards. It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian Navy (7,000) is equipped with frigates, fast attack Pratt, convenes, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, but most are currently not operational. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities. After the imposition of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria turned to China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since independence, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterized by a focus on Africa and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; peaceful settlement of disputes; nonalignment and nonintentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nonaligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations.


In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonize trade and investment practices for its 16 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.

Nigeria has played a central role in the ECOWAS efforts to end the civil war in Liberia and contributed the bulk of the ECOWAS peacekeeping forces sent there in 1990. Nigeria also has provided the bulk of troops for ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone.


Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbors. A longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula is to be resolved by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Nigeria released about 150 Cameroonian prisoners of war in late 1998.


Nigeria is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its special and related agencies, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Commonwealth, INTEL-SAT, Nonaligned Movement, several other West African bodies. The Babangida regime joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), though President-elect Obasanjo has indicated he might reconsider Nigeria's membership.




U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS

After the June 12, 1993, presidential election was annulled, and in light of human rights abuses and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the United States imposed numerous sanctions on Nigeria. These sanctions included the imposition of Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry into the United States of senior government officials and others who formulated, implemented, or benefited from policies impeding Nigeria's transition to democracy; suspension of all military assistance; and a ban on the sale and repair of military goods and refinery services to Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador was recalled for consultations for four months after the execution of the Ogoni Nine on November 10, 1995.

After a period of increasingly strained relations, the death of General Abacha in June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new phase of improved bilateral relations. As the transition to democracy progressed, the removal of visa restrictions, increased highlevel visits of U.S. officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March, 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria, as a key partner in the region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the democratically elected Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has continued to improve, and cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping, has been good.


The government has lent strong diplomatic support to the U.S. Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has both condemned the terrorist attacks as well as supported military action against the Taliban and Al Qaida. Nigeria also has played a leading role in forging an anti-terrorism consensus among states in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Abuja U.S. Embassy (E), 9 Mambilla St., Off Aso Drive, Maitama District • P.O. Box 5760, Garki, Abuja, Tel [234] (09) 523-0916/0960/5857/2235; Admin Fax 523-2083; POL Fax 523-0353; PAS Tel 523-5226/7, PAS Fax 523-5228; CON Fax 523-5228.

AMB: Howard F. Jeter
AMB OMS: [Vacant]
DCM: Tim Andrews
POL: Brian Browne
CON: Tiffany Parker
MGT: Dean Wooden
ECO: David Krzywda
INL: Garace Reynard
RAO: Michael Higgins
RSO: Tom Richardson
IPO: Fred Reichard
PAO: Claudia Anyaso
AID: Dawn Liberi
DAO: COL Terence Tidler
ODC: MAJ Andrew Overfield
CDC: Wayne Duncan
CLO: Lori Meyer
MGT: Dean Wooden

Lagos (CG), B>2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Tel [234] (1) 261-0050, Fax 261-9856; CON Tel 261-1215; COM Tel 261-0241, Fax 261-1863; ADM Tel 261-1303; AID Tel 261-4621.

CG: Robyn E. Hinson-Jones
CG OMS: Carolyn Brooks
POL: Diane Shelby
MGT: [Vacant]
CON: Ronald Kramer
ECO: Joe Gregoire
PAO: Atim George
IRM: Mark Butchart
RMO: Robert Frampton
FBI: Michael Bonner
USSS: Robert Stano
AGR: Jamie Rothschild
COM: Miguel Pardo de Zela
DEA: Andre Kellum
LAB: Michael Veasey
RSO: James Pelphrey
BPAO: [Vacant]
CLO: [Vacant]
DAO: LTC Kevin Fossett, USMC


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
August 29, 2003


Country Description: Nigeria is a developing West African country that has experienced periods of political instability. Its internal infrastructure is neither fully functional nor well maintained. In 1999, Nigeria returned to civilian rule after sixteen years of military rule.

Entry and Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The visa costs $100 and must be obtained in advance. Promises of entry into Nigeria without a visa are credible indicators of fraudulent commercial schemes in which the perpetrators seek to exploit the foreign traveler's illegal presence in Nigeria through threats of extortion or bodily harm. U.S. citizens cannot legally depart Nigeria unless they can prove, by presenting their entry visas, that they entered Nigeria legally. Entry information may be obtained at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2201 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 822-1500, or at the Nigerian Consulate General in New York, telephone (212) 808-0301. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Nigerian embassy or consulate.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: Parts of Nigeria regularly experience localized civil unrest and violence. The causes and locations vary. States where outbreaks of violence have occurred in the past year include Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Plateau, Enugu, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo, Benue, and Kaduna.


While the Government of Nigeria has authorized vehicle checkpoints to mitigate crime, unauthorized checkpoints continue to be a problem throughout Nigeria.


In the oil-producing region of the Niger River Delta, resident U.S. citizens and other foreigners have frequently been threatened and held hostage during labor disputes. While the U.S. Government will do everything possible to assist in the safe release of all hostages, it is vital that U.S. citizens resident in this area review their employer's security information and contingency plans. Tourists risk being mistaken for residents and should exercise caution. Throughout 2002-03 there were a number of occupations of U.S. oil company facilities and ships in the Niger Delta region; in at least three of the incidents, groups of women were involved in peaceful takeovers to help gain jobs and community investment from the oil companies. Inter-ethnic fighting continues to be a problem in and around Warri city, located in the Niger River Delta. Due to fighting between ethnic groups in the region, the Consulate in Lagos recommends that American citizen travelers review their itineraries and avoid travel to Warri. Official U.S. Government personnel travel in the region is limited to essential travel only.

U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos are required to notify their security officer if traveling outside the city of Abuja or outside of Victoria, Ikoyi or Lagos Island. In addition, the Consulate advises its employees to take security precautions when visiting Lagos Island or mainland Lagos after dark. Consulate employees travel in armored vehicles between the islands and Murtala Mohammed International Airport.


There exists little anti-U.S. sentiment among Nigerians. However, there have been several demonstrations against U.S. policy in the Middle East. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and maintain security awareness at all times.


Crime: Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, kidnappings and extortion, often involving violence. Carjackings, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during daylight and at nighttime hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond to crimes slowly and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian officials.


Upon arrival in Nigeria, U.S. citizens are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, where they may obtain current safety information and advice on minimizing risks.


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa," provide useful information regarding personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you in finding appropriate medical care, contacting family members or friends, and explaining how funds can be transfer red. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.


Commercial, Financial, and Identity Fraud: Nigerian-operated scams are infamous for their cleverness and ingenuity. These scams target foreigners worldwide posing risks of both financial loss and personal danger to their victims. Scams are often initiated by credit card use, through telephone calls, from use of Internet cafes in Nigeria, and from unsolicited faxes, letters, and e-mails. No one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines.

A major and continuing problem is the commercial scam or sting that targets foreigners, including many U.S. citizens. Such scams may involve U.S. citizens in illegal activity, resulting in arrest, extortion or bodily harm. The scams generally involve phony offers of either outright money transfers or lucrative sales, or contracts with promises of large commissions, or up-front payments. Alleged deals frequently invoke the authority of one or more ministries or offices of the Nigerian government and may cite, by name, the involvement of a Nigerian government official. In some scams, government stationery, seals, and offices are used.


Expanding bilateral law enforcement cooperation, which has resulted in numerous raids on commercial fraud premises, has reduced the overall level of overt fraud activity, but new types of sophisticated scams are introduced daily. The ability of U.S. Consuls to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited. Since the mid-1990s, several U.S. citizens have been arrested by police officials and held for varying periods on charges of involvement in illegal business scams. Nigerian police do not always inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of a U.S. citizen in distress. The Department of Commerce has issued advisories to the U.S. business community on doing business in Nigeria. The Department of Commerce in Washington, the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, and the American Embassy in Abuja can provide business travelers with further details.


Prior to involvement in any business transaction originating from an invitation from Nigeria or West Africa, you should also contact your local U.S. Secret Service office. The telephone number is usually found in a U.S. telephone directory or by going to the U.S. Secret Service website and reading the section on Nigerian scams also known as "4-1-9" fraud at http://www.usss.treas.gov.

For additional information, please consult the Department of State's publications, "Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria," "Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud," and "Advance Fee Business Scams, " available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.


Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Nigeria are poor. Diagnostic and treatment equipment is most often poorly maintained and many medicines are unavailable. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. This is particularly true of generics purchased at local pharmacies or street markets. While Nigeria has many well-trained doctors, hospital facilities are generally of poor quality with inadequately trained nursing staff. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars (US). Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at telephone 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/fraud.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nigeria is provided for general reference only; it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Roads are generally in poor condition, causing damage to vehicles and contributing to hazardous traffic conditions. There are few traffic lights or stop signs. Lagos, a city of over 10 million people, has only a few operating traffic lights. The rainy season from May to October is especially dangerous because of flooded roads.

Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, and the lack of basic maintenance and safety equipment on many vehicles are additional hazards. Motorists seldom yield the right-of-way and give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists. Gridlock is common in urban areas. Chronic fuel shortages have led to long lines at service stations, which disrupt or block traffic for extended periods.


Public transportation vehicles are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speeds and overcrowding. Passengers in local taxis have been driven to secluded locations where they were attacked and robbed. Several of the victims required hospitalization. The U.S. Embassy advises that public transportation throughout Nigeria is dangerous and should be avoided.


Short-term visitors are urged not to drive. A Nigerian driver's license can take months to obtain, and the international driving permit is not recognized. Major hotels offer reliable car-hire services complete with drivers. Reliable car-hire services can also be obtained at the customer service centers at the International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano. Inter-city travelers must also consider that roadside assistance is extremely scarce, and lack of access to even modest health care facilities means that a traffic incident that might result in a minor injury in the United States could result in death or permanent disability in Nigeria.


All drivers and passengers are reminded to wear seat belts, lock doors, and raise windows. It is important to secure appropriate insurance. It is also important to realize that drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury or death have experienced extra-judicial actions, i.e., mob attacks, in addition to official consequences such as fines and incarceration. Night driving should be avoided. Bandits and police roadblocks are more numerous at night. Streets are very poorly lit, and many vehicles are missing one or both headlights, taillights, and reflectors.

The government of Nigeria charges the Federal Road Safety Commission with providing maps and public information on specific road conditions. The Federal Road Safety Commission may be contacted by mail at: Ojodu-Isherri Road, PMB 21510, Ikeja, Lagos; telephone [243] (1) 492-2218 or 492-3369.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.


Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers, nor economic authority to operate such services between the United States and Nigeria, the FAA has not yet formally assessed Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone 618-229-4801.


Photography Restrictions: Permission is required to take photographs of government buildings, airports, and bridges. These sites are not always clearly marked, and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation. Permission may be obtained from Nigerian security personnel. Penalties may include confiscation or destruction of the camera, exposure of the film, a demand for payment of a fine or bribe, or physical assault.


Currency Issues: The Nigerian currency, the naira, is non-convertible. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Nigeria is a cash economy, and it is usually necessary to carry sufficient currency to cover the expenses of a planned visit. Credit cards are rarely accepted beyond a few upscale hotels. Due to credit card fraud in Nigeria and by cohorts in the United States, credit card use is strongly discouraged. While Citibank cashes some travelers checks, most other banks do not. American Express does not have offices in Nigeria, but Thomas Cook does have offices in Nigeria. Interbank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, though money transfer services are available. For further information, visitors may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which often differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses may not be accorded overseas. Persons violating Nigerian law, even unknowingly, may be arrested, imprisoned, and/or expelled. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nigeria are strictly enforced. Those arrested routinely face prolonged detention before trial, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Jail conditions are far below western standards.


Children's Issues: While Nigeria recognizes dual nationality, Nigerian-American children (with minors defined in Nigeria as those under age 21) may be prevented from leaving Nigeria if the child's father has not authorized the departure. For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://www.travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone 1-888-407-4747.

Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations: U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Nigeria. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja now provides full non-emergency and emergency consular services. Non-emergency, as well as emergency, consular services are also available at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos.


The U.S. Embassy is located at 9 Mambilla, Maitama District, Abuja. The telephone number is [234](9) 523-0916. The Internet address for the US Embassy in Nigeria is http://usembassy.state.gov/nigeria. The U.S. Consulate General is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos. American citizens can call 011 [234](1) 261-1215 during office hours (7:30 a.m. to 4p.m.). For after-hours emergencies, call 011 [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477. The e-mail address for the Consular Section in Lagos is [email protected]


Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria

A major development affecting business travelers to Nigeria is commercial fraud or scams. The Department of State has prepared this publication for you, the U.S. business traveler. It will help you to identify business scams, provide you with information about what the U.S. Government can or cannot do to assist you, and how you can protect yourself.


Nigeria is an oil-rich West African nation of over 88 million inhabitants. It offers the experienced and determined U.S. businessperson a potentially rewarding business opportunity. As in any market, results are usually obtained through solid research and hard work. The business opportunity that arrives on a silver platter carried by a stranger should be rigorously evaluated by an objective and disinterested party.

The U.S. Government, through district offices of the Department of Commerce and the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria, can provide some useful initial information. For example, if you have received a proposal for a business transaction from Nigeria that seems too good to be true, it may be a scam. You can fax FCS a request for verification of the bona fides of your correspondent. Your fax should include copies of any correspondence you have received from your Nigerian counterpart.


Recognizing a Business Scam


Each week, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria (along with many other embassies) handles several "scam" cases in which businesspeople, many of them experienced in overseas transactions, have lost to confidence operators sums ranging from a few thousand to upwards of one million dollars.


Frequently, persons who have come to Nigeria to "finalize" such deals have been threatened or assaulted; in a few cases, scam victims have been killed. Unfortunately, local police and other officials have not provided assistance to those caught up in scams. (Although Nigerian immigration officials recently began warning likely victims upon arrival at Lagos airport, the U.S. Embassy's ability to help those already in the hands of their " business associates" is extremely limited.)


Caution, therefore, should be exercised when contemplating any business deal in Nigeria. Scams range from attempts to engage American businesspeople in fictitious money-transfer schemes to fraudulent solicitations to supply goods in fulfillment of nonexistent Nigerian government contracts. Many scam operators are very sophisticated and may take victims to staged meetings, often held in borrowed offices at Nigerian government ministries. They do their research and can often provide plausible, but nonexistent, orders, written on seemingly genuine Ministerial stationery, replete with official stamps and seals.


Simply stated, Nigerian business scams are not always easy to recognize, and any unsolicited business proposal should be carefully scrutinized. There are, nevertheless, some indicators that are warnings of a probable scam. Look out for:


  • Any offer of a substantial percentage of a large sum of money to be transferred into your account, in return for your "discretion" or "confidentiality";
  • Any deal that seems too good to be true;
  • Requests for signed and stamped, blank letterhead or invoices, or for bank account information;
  • Requests for urgent air shipment, accompanied by an instrument of payment whose genuineness cannot immediately be established;
  • Solicitation letters claiming the soliciting party has personal ties to high Nigerian officials;
  • Requests for payment in U.S. dollars, in advance, of transfer taxes or incorporation fees;
  • Statements that your name was provided to the soliciting party either by someone you do not know or by "a reliable contact;"
  • Promises of advance payment for services to be provided to the Nigerian government;
  • Claims that a Nigerian visa is not necessary or that arrival in Nigeria should be overland from a neighboring country;
  • Resistance by Nigerian partners to your checking in with the U.S. Embassy;
  • Any offer to supply crude oil; and
  • Any offer of a charitable donation.

The indicators listed above are some of the most common and reliable hallmarks of Nigerian scam operations. The list is not all-inclusive, and scam operators are constantly weaving new elements into their schemes. The best rule to follow is that any unsolicited business proposal originating from Nigeria be carefully checked out before any funds are committed, any goods or services are provided, or any travel is undertaken.


"How Do the Scams Work?"


Nigerian business scams are confidence schemes, designed to exploit the trust you develop in your Nigerian partner and to bilk you of goods, services or money. The scams are flexible, and operators adapt them to take the greatest advantage of the target (you). It is not possible to describe here how each of several hundred different scams works, but here are brief descriptions of the most common schemes.


Money Transfer: The operator claims to have a large sum of money, usually millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten gains, which needs to be transferred to a "safe" bank account abroad. The Central Bank of Nigeria is often, though by no means always, mentioned. You, as the bank account owner, are promised a percentage of the huge sum, just for use of your account. You may be asked to provide blank, signed invoices, letterhead and bank account information, or to send money for transfer taxes. Some businesses have found their accounts looted by the persons to whom they sent account information.


Fraudulent Order: The operator usually places a small ($1000 or so) order, paying with a genuine cashier's check drawn on a European bank. The operator then places another, somewhat larger order, again paying with a genuine instrument. Then, you receive an order by DHL. Your Nigerian partner urgently needs a large quantity of your product air-shipped. Confident in your partner, you ship, but, this time, the cashier's check (which looks the same) is a fake. Experienced U.S. businesspeople today usually require either full payment in advance of shipment or an irrevocable letter of credit confirmed by a U.S. bank.

Charitable Donation: The operator offers to donate to your organization, asking for bank account information (see Money Transfer, above). Then, the operator loots your account or asks for advance payment of a fee to pay inheritance taxes, various government fees and taxes, or to ensure conversion of naira into dollars.


Government Contract: The operator claims to have a Nigerian government contract and needs your company's expertise to carry out the job. The operator scams you by collecting thousands of dollars in "fees" before you can do business. When fees are legitimate, they are published by Ministries and do not exceed $215.


Crude Oil: The operator claims to have an allocation of crude oil to sell you - cheap. Sometimes, the operator claims to be working on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Then come demands for various fees to supply you with the crude; of course, you never get your cargo. The Crude Oil Marketing Division of the NNPC is the only authorized seller of the Corporation's crude. Businesses lacking experience with Nigeria's petroleum industry should approach with great caution any proposal involving crude oil sales.


Business Opportunity: The operator convinces you to explore a business opportunity by visiting Nigeria. Once you arrive, the operator takes charge of your life, trying to keep you from contacting friends, family, or the U.S. Embassy. By various means, sometimes including violence or threats of violence, the operator extracts money from you. This type of scam becomes particularly dangerous for a victim who has entered Nigeria without a valid Nigerian visa, issued by a Nigerian Embassy or Consulate. All travelers must have a visa prior to arrival in Nigeria and must pass through immigration formalities upon entry into the country. Letters addressed to immigration officials have no validity.

Anyone telling you otherwise is either misinformed or a scam artist.


Conversion of Hard Currency (Black Money) The operator shows you a large sum of bills-purportedly U.S. dollars that require cleaning to remove the black waxy material. You are asked to provide money for the cleaning in return for a commission. Of course the bills are not real and you end up with a suitcase of blank paper.


Purchase of Real Estate: Operator offers to serve as broker in selling real estate that either is not for sale or is nonexistent. You are asked to pay the broker's commission.


Clearinghouse: To add credibility to business scams in Nigeria, Nigerian and non-Nigerian criminals serve as third parties claiming to be clearinghouses or venture capital organizations for the Central Bank of Nigeria. These clearinghouses launder your money or divert it directly to criminals in Nigeria.


"How Can I Check Out a Business Proposal?"


If you are in the U.S., contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198).


If you are in Nigeria or elsewhere abroad, contact the Commercial Section (FCS) at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, 9 Mambilla, Maitama District, Abuja, Nigeria (Tel: 234-9-523-0916) or Consulate General in Lagos, 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria (Tel: 234-1-261-0050). The Consulate General's e-mail address is [email protected]


"What If I Think I am Already Involved in a Scam?"


If you are in the U.S., contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the Department of Commerce (see address above). You may also wish to contact the local police, as well, if threats have been made against you.

If you are in Nigeria, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy (see address above). Marine Guards are present at the Embassy 24 hours per day and can alert a duty officer if you telephone or visit outside of normal working hours.


"What Can the U.S. Embassy Do?"


The U.S. Embassy will try to help you leave Nigeria unharmed, perhaps including regularization of immigration status, replacement of your passport, communication with relatives in the U.S., and, if necessary, provision of an emergency repatriation loan.


To date, however, the U.S. Embassy has never been able to recover a scam victim's money.


Travel Warning
December 29, 2003


This Travel Warning is being issued to update information on religious/ethnictensions, and fraudulent practices. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued June 26, 2003.


The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria. Conditions in Nigeria pose considerable risks to travelers.


Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country. Kidnapping for ransom of persons associated with the petroleum sector, including U.S. citizens, remains common in the Niger Delta area.


Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning. Rival ethnic groups have clashed violently, most recently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city.


Periodically, travel by U.S. mission personnel is restricted based on changing security conditions. U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for the most up-to-date information on these restrictions.

Use of public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Most Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety.


Nigerian-based business and individuals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide. These fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss. Recipients pursuing such fraudulent offers open themselves to the possibility of physical harm if they travel to Nigeria. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. An invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity. Under no circumstances should U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa. Furthermore, the ability of U.S. Embassy officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is extremely limited.


Worldwide cautions pertaining to terrorist threats should be read by all prospective travelers to Nigeria and are applicable to all American citizens and facilities in Nigeria. Please see the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.


Information on travel and security in Nigeria may be obtained from the Department Of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States; or, from overseas, call 1-317-472-2328. The Internet address for the US Embassy in Nigeria is http://usembassy.state.gov/nigeria. The U.S. embassy in Nigeria can be contacted by phone at [234](9) 523-0916. American citizens may contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos at 011 [234](1) 261-1215 during business hours. For after hours emergencies call [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477.

U.S. citizens should also read the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Nigeria and the Department's brochures, "Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria" and "Advance Fee Business Scams." All are available at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and on the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website, http://travel.state.gov.

views updated

NIGERIA

Compiled from the January 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Republic of Nigeria


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 923,768 sq. km. (356,700 sq. mi.) about the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Cities: Capital—Abuja (pop. est. 100,000). Other cities—Lagos (12 million), Ibadan (5 million), Kano (1 million), Enugu (500,000).

Terrain: Ranges from southern coastal swamps to tropical forests, open woodlands, grasslands, and semidesert in the far north. The highest regions are the Jos Plateau 1,200-2,000 meters above sea level and the mountains along the border with Cameroon.

Climate: Annual rainfall ranges from 381 cm. along the coast to 64 cm. or less in the far north.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nigerian(s).

Population: (2003 est.) 133 million.

Total fertility rate: (avg. number of children per woman) 6.0.

Ethnic groups: (250) Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba are the largest.

Religions: Muslim, Christian, indigenous African.

Languages: English (official), Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, others.

Education: Attendance (secondary)—male 32%, female 27%. Literacy—39%-51%.

Health: Life expectancy—56 years.

Government

Type: Federal republic.

Independence: October 1, 1960.

Constitution: The 1979 constitution was suspended after 1983, the May 3, 1989 constitution never implemented, and the 1999 constitution (based largely on the 1979 constitution) was promulgated by decree on May 5, 1999. The 1999 constitution came into force on May 29, 1999.

Administrative subdivisions: 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); states divided into a total of 774 local government areas.

Total government expenditure: $7 billion.

Defense: 10% of 2003 budget.

Economy

GDP: (2003 est.) $43 billion.

Estimated Real growth rate: (2003) 3.5%.

Per capita GDP: (2002 est.) $290.

Inflation: (2004 est) 14%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc.

Agriculture: Products—cocoa, palm oil, yams, cassava, sorghum, millet, corn, rice, livestock, groundnuts, cotton.

Industry: Types—textiles, cement, food products, footwear, metal products, lumber, beer, detergents, car assembly.

Trade: (2000) Exports—$21.4 billion: petroleum (98.%), cocoa, rubber.


PEOPLE

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accounts for approximately 20 percent of West Africa's people. Although less than 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, at least 24 cities have populations of more than 100,000. The variety of customs, languages, and traditions among Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups gives the country a rich diversity. The dominant ethnic group in the northern two-thirds of the country is the Hausa-Fulani, most of whom are Muslim. Other major ethnic groups of the north are the Nupe, Tiv, and Kanuri. The Yoruba people are predominant in the southwest.

About half of the Yorubas are Christian and half Muslim. The predominantly Catholic Igbo are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, with the Efik, Ibibio, and Ijaw (the country's fourth-largest ethnic group) comprising a substantial segment of the population in that area. Persons of different language backgrounds most commonly communicate in English, although knowledge of two or more Nigerian languages is widespread. Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo are the most widely used Nigerian languages.


HISTORY

Before the colonial period, the area which comprises modern Nigeria had an eventful history. More than 2,000 years ago, the Nok culture in the present Plateau state worked iron and produced sophisticated terra cotta sculpture. In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cowrie shells used as currency.

In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and that brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an empire centered in Sokoto.

A British Sphere of Influence

Following the Napoleonic wars, the British expanded trade with the Nigerian interior. In 1885, British claims to a sphere of influence in that area received international recognition and, in the following year, the Royal Niger Company was chartered. In 1900, the company's territory came under the control of the British Government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. In 1914, the area was formally united as the "Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria." Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, with consequences felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British Government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative, increasingly federal, basis.

Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern) under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. Under the constitution, each of the three regions retained a substantial measure of self-government. The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense and security, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policies. In October 1963, Nigeria altered its relationship with the United Kingdom by proclaiming itself a federal republic and promulgating a new constitution. A fourth region (the midwest) was established that year. From the outset, Nigeria's ethnic, regional, and religious tensions were magnified by the significant disparities in economic and educational development between the south and the north.

On January 15, 1966, a small group of army officers, mostly southeastern Igbos, overthrew the government and assassinated the federal prime minister and the premiers of the northern and western regions. The federal military government that assumed power was unable to quiet ethnic tensions or produce a constitution acceptable to all sections of the country. In fact, its efforts to abolish the federal structure greatly raised tensions and led to another coup in July. The coup related massacre of thousands of Igbo in the north prompted hundreds of thousands of them to return to the southeast, where increasingly strong Igbo secessionist sentiment emerged.

In a move that gave greater autonomy to minority ethnic groups, the military divided the four regions into 12 states. The Igbo rejected attempts at constitutional revisions and insisted on full autonomy for the east. Finally, in May 1967, Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region, who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the "Republic of Biafra." The ensuing civil war was bitter and bloody, ending in the defeat of Biafra in 1970.

Following the civil war, reconciliation was rapid and effective, and the country turned to the task of economic development. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of 1973-74. On July 29, 1975, Gen. Murtala Muhammed and a group of fellow officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing the military government of Gen. Yakubu Gowon delaying the promised return to civilian rule and becoming corrupt and ineffective. General Muhammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by October 1, 1979. Muhammed also announced the government's intention to create new states and to construct a new federal capital in the center of the country.

General Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup. His chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, became head of state. Obasanjo adhered

meticulously to the schedule for return to civilian rule, moving to modernize and streamline the armed forces and seeking to use oil revenues to diversify and develop the country's economy. Seven new states were created in 1976, bringing the total to 19. The process of creating additional states continued until, in 1996, there were 36.

The Second Republic

A constituent assembly was elected in 1977 to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity, in effect since the advent of military rule, was lifted. Political parties were formed, and candidates were nominated for president and vice president, the two houses of the National Assembly, governorships, and state houses of assembly. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which a northerner, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was elected president. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly.

In August 1983, Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results.

On December 31, 1983, the military overthrew the Second Republic. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the country's new ruling body. He charged the civilian government with economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, election fraud, and a general lack of concern for the problems of Nigerians. He also pledged to restore prosperity to Nigeria and to return the government to civilian rule but proved unable to deal with Nigeria's severe economic problems. The Buhari government was peacefully overthrown by the SMC's third-ranking member, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in August 1985.

Babangida cited the misuse of power, violations of human rights by key officers of the SMC, and the government's failure to deal with the country's deepening economic crisis as justifications for the takeover. During his first few days in office, President Babangida moved to restore freedom of the press and to release political detainees being held without charge. As part of a 15-month economic emergency, he announced stringent pay cuts for the military, police, and civil servants and proceeded to enact similar cuts for the private sector. Imports of rice, maize, and later wheat were banned. President Babangida demonstrated his intent to encourage public participation in government decisionmaking by opening a national debate on proposed economic reform and recovery measures. The public response convinced Babangida of intense opposition to an economic recovery package dependent on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The Abortive Third Republic

President Babangida promised to return the country to civilian rule by 1990; this date was later extended until January 1993. In early 1989, a constituent assembly completed work on a constitution for the Third Republic. In the spring of 1989, political activity was again permitted. In October 1989 the government established two "grassroots" parties: the National Republican Convention (NRC), which was to be "a little to the right," and the Social Democratic (SDP), "a little to the left." Other parties were not allowed to register by the Babangida government.

In April 1990, mid-level officers attempted to overthrow the Babangida government. The coup failed, and 69 accused coup plotters were later executed after secret trials before military tribunals. The transition resumed after the failed coup. In December 1990 the first stage of partisan elections was held at the local government level. While turnout was low, there was no violence, and both parties demonstrated strength in all regions of the country, with the SDP winning control of a majority of local government councils.

In December 1991, gubernatorial and state legislative elections were held throughout the country. Babangida decreed in December 1991 that previously banned politicians would be allowed to contest in primaries scheduled for August 1992. These were canceled due to fraud and subsequent primaries scheduled for September also were canceled. All announced candidates were disqualified from again standing for president once a new election format was selected. The presidential election was finally held on June 12, 1993, with the inauguration of the new president scheduled to take place August 27, 1993, the eighth anniversary of President Babangida's coming to power.

In the historic June 12, 1993 presidential elections, which most observers deemed to be Nigeria's fairest, early returns indicated that wealthy Yoruba businessman M.K.O. Abiola had won a decisive victory. However, on June 23, Babangida, using several pending lawsuits as a pretense, annulled the election, throwing Nigeria into turmoil. More than 100 persons were killed in riots before Babangida agreed to hand power to an "interim government" on August 27, 1993. Babangida then attempted to renege on his decision. Without popular and military support, he was forced to hand over to Ernest Shonekan, a prominent nonpartisan businessman. Shonekan was to rule until new elections, scheduled for February 1994. Although he had led Babangida's Transitional Council since early 1993, Shonekan was unable to reverse Nigeria's evergrowing economic problems or to defuse lingering political tension.

With the country sliding into chaos, Defense Minister Sani Abacha quickly assumed power and forced Shonekan's "resignation" on November 17, 1993. Abacha dissolved all democratic political institutions and replaced elected governors with military officers. Abacha promised to return the government to civilian rule but refused to announce a timetable until his October 1, 1995 Independence Day address.

Following the annulment of the June 12 election, the United States and other nations imposed various sanctions on Nigeria, including restrictions on travel by government officials and their families and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Additional sanctions were imposed as a result of Nigeria's failure to gain full certification for its counter-narcotics efforts. In addition, direct flights between Nigeria and the United States were suspended on August 11, 1993, when the Secretary of Transportation determined that Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport did not meet the security standards established by the FAA. The FAA in December 1999 certified security at MMIA, opening the way for operation of direct flights between Lagos and U.S. airports.

Although Abacha's takeover was initially welcomed by many Nigerians, disenchantment grew rapidly. A number of opposition figures united to form a new organization, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which campaigned for an immediate return to civilian rule. The government arrested NADECO members who attempted to reconvene the Senate and other disbanded democratic institutions. Most Nigerians boycotted the elections held from May 23-28, 1994, for delegates to the government-sponsored Constitutional Conference.

On June 11, 1994, using the groundwork laid by NADECO, Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding. He reemerged and was promptly arrested on June 23. With Abiola in prison and tempers rising, Abacha convened the Constitutional Conference June 27, but it almost immediately went into recess and did not reconvene until July 11, 1994.

On July 4, a petroleum workers union called a strike demanding that Abacha release Abiola and hand over power to him. Other unions then joined the strike, which brought economic life in around Lagos area and in much of the southwest to a standstill. After calling off a threatened general strike in July, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) reconsidered a general strike in August, after the government imposed "conditions" on Abiola's release. On August 17, 1994, the government dismissed the leadership of the NLC and the petroleum unions, placed the unions under appointed administrators, and arrested Frank Kokori and other labor leaders. Although striking unions returned to work, the government arrested opponents, closed media houses, and moved strongly to curb dissent.

The government alleged in early 1995 that some 40 military officers and civilians were engaged in a coup plot. Security officers quickly rounded up the accused, including former Head of State Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy, retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. After a secret tribunal, most of the accused were convicted, and several death sentences were handed down. The tribunal also charged, convicted, and sentenced prominent human rights activists, journalists, and others—including relatives of the coup suspects—for their alleged "anti-regime" activities. In October, the government announced that the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC—see below: Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule) and Abacha had approved final sentences for those convicted of participation in the coup plot.

In late 1994 the government set up the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal to try prominent author and Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others for their alleged roles in the killings of four prominent Ogoni politicians in May 1994. Saro-Wiwa and 14 others pleaded not guilty to charges that they procured and counseled others to murder the politicians. On October 31, 1995, the tribunal sentenced Saro-Wiwa and eight others to death by hanging. In early November Abacha and the PRC confirmed the death sentence. Saro-Wiwa and his eight co-defendants were executed on November 10.

In an October 1, 1995 address to the nation, Gen. Sani Abacha announced the timetable for a 3-year transition to civilian rule. Only five of the political parties which applied for registration were approved by the regime. In local elections held in December 1997, turnout was under 10%. By the April 1998 state assembly and gubernatorial elections, all five of the approved parties had nominated Abacha as their presidential candidate in controversial party conventions. Public reaction to this development in the transition program was apathy and a near-complete boycott of the elections.

On December 21, 1997, the government announced the arrest of the country's second highest-ranking military officer, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya, 10 other officers, and eight civilians on charges of coup plotting. Subsequently, the government arrested a number of additional persons for roles in the purported coup plot and tried the accused before a closed-door military tribunal in April in which Diya and eight others were sentenced to death.

Abacha, widely expected to succeed himself as a civilian president on October 1, 1998, remained head of state until his death on June 8 of that year. He was replaced by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who had been third in command until the arrest of Diya. The PRC, under new head of state Abubakar, commuted the sentences of those accused in the alleged 1997 coup in July 1998. In March 1999, Diya and 54 others accused or convicted of participation in coups in 1990, 1995, and 1997 were released. Following the death of former head of state Abacha in June, Nigeria released almost all known civilian political detainees, including the Ogoni 19.

During the Abacha regime, the government continued to enforce its arbitrary authority through the federal security system—the military, the state security service, and the courts. Under Abacha, all branches of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses. After Abubakar's assumption of power and consolidation of support within the PRC, human rights abuses decreased. Other human rights problems included infringements on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and travel; violence and discrimination against women; and female genital mutilation.

Worker rights suffered as the government continued to interfere with organized labor by restricting the fundamental rights of association and the independence of the labor movement. After it came to power in June 1998, the Abubakar government took several important steps toward restoring worker rights and freedom of association for trade unions, which had deteriorated seriously between 1993 and June 1998 under the Abacha regime. The Abubakar government released two imprisoned leaders of the petroleum sector unions, Frank Kokori and Milton Dabibi; abolished two decrees that had removed elected leadership from the Nigeria Labour Congress and the oil workers unions; and allowed leadership elections in these bodies.

Abubakar's Transition to Civilian Rule

During both the Abacha and Abubakar eras, Nigeria's main decisionmaking organ was the exclusively military Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) which governed by decree. The PRC oversaw the 32-member federal executive council composed of civilians and military officers. Pending the promulgation of the constitution written by the constitutional conference in 1995, the government observed some provisions of the 1979 and 1989 constitutions. Neither Abacha nor Abubakar lifted the decree suspending the 1979 constitution, and the 1989 constitution was not implemented. The judiciary's authority and independence was significantly impaired during the Abacha era by the military regime's arrogation of judicial power and prohibition of court review of its action. The court system continued to be hampered by corruption and lack of resources after Abacha's death. In an attempt to alleviate such problems, Abubakar's government implemented a civil service pay raise and other reforms.

In August 1998, the Abubakar government appointed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for local government councils, state legislatures and governors, the national assembly, and president. NEC successfully held these elections on December 5, 1998, January 9, 1999, February 20, and February 27, 1999, respectively. For the local elections, a total of nine parties were granted provisional registration, with three fulfilling the requirements to contest the following elections. These parties were the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the All Peoples Party (APP), and the predominantly Yoruba Alliance for Democracy (AD). Former military head of state Olusegun Obasanjo, freed from prison by Abubakar, ran as a civilian candidate and won the presidential election. Irregularities marred the vote, and the defeated candidate, Chief Olu Falae, challenged the electoral results and Obasanjo's victory in court.

The PRC promulgated a new constitution based largely on the suspended 1979 constitution, before the May 29, 1999 inauguration of the new civilian president. The constitution includes provisions for a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly, consisting of a 360-member House of Representatives and a 109-member Senate. The executive branch and the office of president will retain strong federal powers. The legislature and judiciary, having suffered years of neglect, must be rebuilt as institutions.

The Obasanjo Administration

The emergence of a democratic Nigeria in May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo became the steward of a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most of its democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion.

The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers who held political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, ordered the release of scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded a number of questionable licenses and contracts let by the previous military regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts.

Most civil society leaders and most Nigerians see a marked improvement in human rights and democratic practice under Obasanjo. The press enjoys greater freedom than under previous governments. As Nigeria works out representational democracy, there have been conflicts between the Executive and Legislative branches over major appropriations and other proposed legislation. A sign of federalism has been the growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between Abuja and the various state capitols over resource allocation.

Problems of communal violence have confronted the Obasanjo government since its inception. In May 1999 violence erupted in Kaduna State over the succession of an Emir resulting in more than 100 deaths. In November 1999, the army destroyed the town of Odi, Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang. In Kaduna in February-May 2000 over 1,000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Shar'ia in the State. Hundreds of ethnic Hausa were killed in reprisal attacks in southeastern Nigeria. In September 2001, over 2,000 were people were killed in inter-religious rioting in Jos. In October 2001, hundred were killed and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across the Middle-Belt states of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa. On October 1, 2001, President Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence. Currently, Nigeria has three major political parties. National elections and state gubernatorial elections occurred in 2003. Nigeria re elected Obasanjo as President.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/17/05

President: Olusegun OBASANJO
Vice President: Atiku ABUBAKAR
Min. of Agriculture: Adamu BELLO
Min. of Aviation: Isa YUGUDA
Min. of Commerce: Idris WAZIRI
Min. of Communications: Cornelius ADEBAYO
Min. of Cooperation & Integration: Lawan Gana GUBA
Min. of Culture & Tourism: Franklin OGBUEWU
Min. of Defense: Rabiu KWANKASO
Min. of Education: Fabian OSUJI
Min. of Environment: Bala MANDE , Col.
Min. of Federal Capital Territory: Nasir EL-RUFAI
Min. of Finance: Ngozi OKONJO IWEALA
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Olu ADENIJI
Min. of Health: Eyitayo LAMBO
Min. of Housing & Urban Development: Mobolaji OSOMO
Min. of Industries: Magaji MOHAMMED
Min. of Information: Chukwuemeka CHIKELU
Min. of Internal Affairs: Iyorcha AYU
Min. of Justice: Akinlolu OLUJINMI
Min. of Labor & Productivity: Hassan LAWAL
Min. of Police Affairs: Broderick BOZIMO
Min. of Power & Steel: Liyel IMOKE
Min. of Presidency (Economic Matters):
Min. of Presidency (Inter-Govt. Affairs): Frank NWEKE
Min. of Science & Technology: Turner ISOUN
Min. of Solid Minerals: Mangu Odion UGBESA
Min. of Sports & Social Development: Musa MOHAMMED , Col.
Min. of Transport: Abiye SEKIBO
Min. of Water Resources: Muktari SHAGARI
Min. of Women & Youth: Rita AKPAN
Min. of Works: Adeseye OGUNLEWE
Min. of State for Agriculture: Bamidele DADA
Min. of State for Communications:
Min. of State for Defense: Roland ORITSEJAFO
Min. of State for Education: Bintu Ibrahim MUSA
Min. of State for Environment:
Min. of State for the Federal Capital Territory:
Min. of State for Finance: Nenadi ESTHER-USMAN
Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Abubakar TANKO
Min. of State for Health:
Min. of State for Industries:
Min. of State for Internal Affairs: Saidu SAMAILA
Min. of State for Justice:
Min. of State for Power & Steel: Aliyu Modibo UMAR
Min. of State for Science & Technology:
Min. of State for Transport: Mohammed MUSA
Min. of State for Water Resources:
Min. of State for Women & Youth: Olufunke ADEDOYIN
Min. of State for Works: Saleh SHEHU
Governor, Central Bank: Charles SOLUDO
Ambassador to the US: George OBIOZOR
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Aminu Bashir WALI

Nigeria maintains an embassy in the United States at 3519 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, (tel. 202-986-8400, fax-202-775-1385) and a consulate general in New York at 575 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022, (tel. 212-715-7200).


ECONOMY

Dominated by Oil

The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2002 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a statist economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s accompanied this trend. By 2002 Nigeria's per capita income had plunged to about one-quarter of its mid-1970s high, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria's non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of "informal sector" economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75% of the total economy.

Nigeria's proven oil reserves are estimated to be 25 billion barrels; natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion cubic feet. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and in 2003 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day. Poor corporate relations with indigenous communities, vandalism of oil infrastructure, severe ecological damage, and personal security problems throughout the Niger Delta oilproducing region continue to plague Nigeria's oil sector. Efforts are underway to reverse these troubles. In the absence of government programs, the major multinational oil companies have launched their own community development programs. A new entity, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has been created to help catalyze economic and social development in the region. Although it has yet to launch its programs, hopes are high that the NDDC can reverse the impoverishment of local communities. The U.S. remains Nigeria's largest customer for crude oil, accounting for 40% of the country's total oil exports; Nigeria provides about 7-9% of overall U.S. oil imports and ranks as the fifth-largest source for U.S. imported oil.

The United States is Nigeria's largest trading partner after the United Kingdom. Although the trade balance overwhelmingly favors Nigeria, thanks to oil exports, a large portion of U.S. exports to Nigeria is believed to enter the country outside of the Nigerian Government's official statistics, due to importers seeking to avoid Nigeria's excessive tariffs. To counter smuggling and under-invoicing by importers, in May 2001 the Nigerian Government instituted a 100% inspection regime for all imports, and enforcement has been sustained. On the whole, Nigerian high tariffs and non-tariff barriers are gradually being reduced, but much progress remains to be made. The government also has been encouraging the expansion of foreign investment, although the country's investment climate remains daunting to all but the most determined. The stock of U.S. investment is nearly $7 billion, mostly in the energy sector. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are the two largest U.S. corporate players in offshore oil and gas production. Significant exports of liquefied natural gas started in late 1999 and are slated to expand as Nigeria seeks to eliminate gas flaring by 2008.

Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, and the lack of basic infrastructure. Still, the sector accounts for over 41% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. Nigeria is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, and palm oil. Cocoa production, mostly from obsolete varieties and overage trees, is stagnant at around 180,000 tons annually; 25 years ago it was 300,000 tons. An even more dramatic decline in groundnut and palm oil production also has taken place. Once the biggest poultry producer in Africa, corporate poultry output has been slashed from 40 million birds annually to about 18 million. Import constraints limit the availability of many agricultural and food processing inputs for poultry and other sectors.

Fisheries are poorly managed. Most critical for the country's future, Nigeria's land tenure system does not encourage long-term investment in technology or modern production methods and does not inspire the availability of rural credit.

Oil dependency, and the allure it generated of great wealth through government contracts, spawned other economic distortions. The country's high propensity to import means roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30%. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for relatively low labor costs (10%-15%). Domestic manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets; however, there are signs that some manufacturers have begun to address their competitiveness.

Nigeria's official foreign debt is about $32 billion, about 75% of which is owed to Paris Club countries. A large chunk of this debt is interest and payment arrears. In August 2000 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Nigeria signed a one-year Standby Arrangement (SBA), leading to a debt rescheduling agreement in December between Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors. Nigeria does not have a formal IMF program, but relations with the IMF and the World Bank have improved since April 2003. Any long-term debt relief will require strong and sustained economic reforms over a number of years.

In the light of highly expansionary public sector fiscal policies during 2001, the government has sought ways to head off higher inflation, leading to the implementation of stronger monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and underspending of budgeted amounts. As a result of the CBN's efforts, the official exchange rate for the Naira has stabilized at about 112 Naira to the dollar. The combination of CBN's efforts to prop up the value of the Naira and excess liquidity resulting from government spending led the currency to be discounted by around 20% on the parallel (nonofficial) market. A key condition of the Stand-by Arrangement has been closure of the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates. The Inter Bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) is closely tied to the official rate. Under IFEM, banks, oil companies, and the CBN can buy or sell their foreign exchange at government influenced rates. Much of the informal economy, however, can only access foreign exchange through the parallel market. Companies can hold domiciliary accounts in private banks, and account holders have unfettered use of the funds.

Expanded government spending also has led to upward pressure on consumer prices. Inflation which had fallen to 0% in April 2000 reached 14% by the end of 2003 In 2000 high world oil prices resulted in government revenue of over $16 billion, about double the 1999 level. State and local governmental bodies demand access to this "windfall" revenue, creating a tug-of-war between the federal government, which seeks to control spending, and state governments desirous of augmented budgets preventing the government from making provision for periods of lower oil prices.

Since undergoing severe distress in the mid-1990s, Nigeria's banking sector has witnessed significant growth over the last few years as new banks enter the financial market. Harsh monetary policies implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria to absorb excess Naira liquidity in the economy has made life more difficult for banks, some of whom engage in currency arbitrage (round-tripping) activities that generally fall outside legal banking mechanisms. Private sector-led economic growth remains stymied by the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, including the need to duplicate essential infrastructure, the threat of crime and associated need for security counter measures, the lack of effective due process, and nontransparent economic decisionmaking, especially in government contracting. While corrupt practices are endemic, they are generally less flagrant than during military rule, and there are signs of improvement. Meanwhile, since 1999 the Nigerian Stock Exchange has enjoyed strong performance, although equity as a means to foster corporate growth remains underutilized by Nigeria's private sector.

Nigeria's publicly owned transportation infrastructure is a major constraint to economic development. Principal ports are at Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can Island), Port Harcourt, and Calabar. Docking fees for freighters are among the highest in the world. Of the 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi.) of roads, more than 15,000 kilometers (10,000 mi.) are officially paved, but many remain in poor shape. Extensive road repairs and new construction activities are gradually being implemented as state governments, in particular, spend their portions of enhanced government revenue allocations. The government implementation of 100% destination inspection of all goods entering Nigeria has resulted in long delays in clearing goods for importers and created new sources of corruption, since the ports lack adequate facilities to carry out the inspection. Four of Nigeria's airports—Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja—currently receive international flights. Government-owned Nigerian Airways is virtually moribund due to mismanagement, high debt, and a vastly shrunken fleet. There are several domestic private Nigerian carriers, and air service among Nigeria's cities is generally dependable. The maintenance culture of Nigeria's domestic airlines is not up to U.S. standards.

Gradual Reform

Nigeria's economic team, led by Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala enjoys an excellent reputation in the international community. The team produced an encouraging body of work during the last nine months, notably a FY04 budget described as "prudent and responsible" by the IMF and a detailed economic reform blueprint, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Other positive developments during the past year included: (1) Government efforts to deregulate fuel prices; (2) Nigeria's participation in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and commitment to the G8 Anticorruption/Transparency Initiative; (3) Creation of an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and (4) Development of several governmental offices to better monitor official revenues and expenditures. During 2000 the government's privatization program showed signs of life and real promise with successful turnover to the private sector of state-owned banks, fuel distribution companies, and cement plants. However, the privatization process has slowed somewhat as the government confronts key parastatals such as the state telephone company NITEL and Nigerian Airways. The successful auction of GSM telecommunications licenses in January 2001 has encouraged investment in this vital sector.

Investment

Although Nigeria must grapple with its decaying infrastructure and a poor regulatory environment, the country possesses many positive attributes for carefully targeted investment and will expand as both a regional and international market player. Profitable niche markets outside the energy sector, like specialized telecommunication providers, have developed under the government's reform program. There is a growing Nigerian consensus that foreign investment is essential to realizing Nigeria's vast but squandered potential. Companies interested in long-term investment and joint ventures, especially those that use locally available raw materials, will find opportunities in the large national market. However, to improve prospects for success, potential investors must educate themselves extensively on local conditions and business practices, establish a local presence, and choose their partners carefully.

The Nigerian Government is keenly aware that sustaining democratic principles, enhancing security for life and property, and rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure are necessary for the country to attract foreign investment.

Economic Assistance

The United States assisted with Nigeria's economic development from 1954 through June 1974, when concessional assistance was phased out because of a substantial increase in Nigeria's per capita income resulting from rising oil revenue. By 1974, the United States had provided Nigeria with approximately $360 million in assistance, which included grants for technical assistance, development assistance, relief and rehabilitation, and food aid. Disbursements continued into the late 1970s, bringing total bilateral economic assistance to roughly $445 million.

The sharp decline in oil prices, economic mismanagement, and continued military rule characterized Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1983, USAID began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. In 1992, an HIV/AIDS prevention and control program was added to existing health activities. USAID committed $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful Structural Adjustment Program, but later abandoned it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2000 were interrupted by strains in U.S.-Nigerian relations over human rights abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti-narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid-1990s, these problems resulted in the curtailment of USAID activities that might benefit the military Government. Existing health programs were re-designed to focus on working through grassroots Nigerian non-governmental organizations and community groups. As a response to the Nigerian military government's plans for delayed transition to civilian rule, the Peace Corps closed its program in Nigeria in 1994. In response to the increasingly repressive political situation, USAID established a Democracy and Governance (DG) program in 1996. This program integrates themes focusing on basic participatory democracy, human and civil rights, women's empowerment, accountability, and transparency with other health activities to reach Nigerians at the grassroots level in 14 of Nigeria's 36 states.

The sudden death of Gen. Sani Abacha and the assumption of power by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in June 1998, marked a turning point in U.S.-Nigerian relations. USAID provided significant support to the electoral process by providing some $4 million in funding for international election observation, the training of Nigerian election observers and political party polling agents, as well as voter education activities. A Vital National Interest Certification was submitted to Congress in February 1999 by President Clinton to lift restrictions on U.S. Government interaction with and support to the Government of Nigeria.

Since that time, USAID has supported Nigeria to sustain democracy and to improve governance by providing training on the roles and responsibilities of elected officials in a representative democracy for newly elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels prior to their installation in May 1999 and assisting with conflict prevention and resolution in the Niger Delta, civil military relations, civil society, and political party development. In the economic area USAID supports programs in strengthening economic management and coordination, encouraging private sector development and economic reform, helping Nigeria reap the benefits of AGOA, improved agricultural technology and marketing and smallscale and microenterprise development. In addition, health assistance, focusing on HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and immunization, education, transportation and energy infrastructure, are priorities for bilateral assistance.


DEFENSE

Active duty personnel in the three Nigerian armed services total approximately 76,000. The Nigerian Army, the largest of the services, has about 60,000 personnel deployed in two mechanized infantry divisions, one composite division (airborne and amphibious), the Lagos Garrison Command (a division size unit), and the Abuja-based Brigade of Guards. It has demonstrated its capability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain battalions in support of peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian Navy (7,000) is equipped with frigates, fast attack Pratt, convenes, and coastal patrol boats. The Nigerian Air Force (9,000) flies transport, trainer, helicopter, and fighter aircraft, but most are currently not operational. Nigeria also has pursued a policy of developing domestic training and military production capabilities. After the imposition of sanctions by many Western nations, Nigeria turned to China, Russia, North Korea, and India for the purchase of military equipment and training.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since independence, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterized by a focus on Africa and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; peaceful settlement of disputes; nonalignment and nonintentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nonaligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations.

In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonize trade and investment practices for its 16 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.

Nigeria has played a central role in the ECOWAS efforts to end the civil war in Liberia and contributed the bulk of the ECOWAS peacekeeping forces sent there in 1990. Nigeria also has provided the bulk of troops for ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone.

Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbors. A longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula was addressed by International Court of Justice in The Hague. Nigeria released about 150 Cameroonian prisoners of war in late 1998.

Nigeria is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its special and related agencies, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Commonwealth, INTELSAT, Nonaligned Movement, several other West African bodies. The Babangida regime joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), though President-elect Obasanjo has indicated he might reconsider Nigeria's membership.


U.S.-NIGERIAN RELATIONS

After the June 12, 1993, presidential election was annulled, and in light of human rights abuses and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the United States imposed numerous sanctions on Nigeria. These sanctions included the imposition of Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry into the United States of senior government officials and others who formulated, implemented, or benefited from policies impeding Nigeria's transition to democracy; suspension of all military assistance; and a ban on the sale and repair of military goods and refinery services to Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador was recalled for consultations for four months after the execution of the Ogoni Nine on November 10, 1995.

After a period of increasingly strained relations, the death of General Abacha in June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new phase of improved bilateral relations. As the transition to democracy progressed, the removal of visa restrictions, increased highlevel visits of U.S. officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March, 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria, as a key partner in the region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the democratically elected Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has continued to improve, and cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping, has been good.

The government has lent strong diplomatic support to the U.S. Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has both condemned the terrorist attacks as well as supported military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Nigeria also has played a leading role in forging an anti-terrorism consensus among states in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

ABUJA (E) Address: 9 Mambilla St. Off Aso Drive, Maitama District; Phone: 011-234-09-523-0916; Fax: 234-09-523-0353; Workweek: Monday-Thursday 7:30am-4:30pm, Friday 7:30am-1:30pm; Website: http://abuja.usembassy.gov

AMB:John Campbell
AMB OMS:Diana Kniazuk
DCM:Thomas P. Furey
DCM OMS:Karen D. Miles
POL:James Maxstadt
CON:Cristina Marko
MGT:Warrington E. Brown
AFSA:Russell Hanks
AGR:Jamie Rothschild (resident in Lagos)
AID:Dawn M Liberi
CLO:Deborah George-Barnes
DAO:Sue Ann Sandusky
DEA:Jeffrey Shoen (resident in Lagos)
ECO:Joseph Gregoire
EEO:Cristina Marko
FCS:Micheal McGee (resident in Lagos)
FMO:Tedla Yitna
GSO:Edward Burkhalter
ICASS Chair:Dawn Liberi
IMO:Todd Roe
IPO:Glenwood R. Jarman
ISSO:Juan Brooks
LEGATT:Kevin Peterson (resident in Lagos)
PAO:Claudia E Anyaso
RSO:Jerald H. Barnes
SPSH:Angela Jarman
State ICASS:Claudia Anyaso
Last Updated: 1/11/2005

LAGOS (CG) Address: 2 Walter Carrington Crescent; Phone: 011-234-1-261-0050/0078; Fax: 234-1-261-1863; INMARSAT Tel: 00-8816-763-10796; Workweek: M–F/0730-1600; Website: usembassy.state.gov/nigeria

AMB:John F. Campbell
DCM:Rick L. Roberts
CG:Brian L. Browne
CG OMS:Carolyn O. Brooks
PO:Brian L. Browne
POL:Position moved to Abuja
POL/ECO:Vacant
COM:John F. Campbell
CON:Ronald J. Kramer
MGT:Irvin Hicks, Jr.
AFSA:Jessica L. DavisBa
AGR:Jamie Rothschild
AID:Dawn Liberi
CLO:Felicia Wheeler
DAO:Timothy L. Lohof
DEA:Jeffrey A. Schoen
ECO:Vacant
EEO:Carolyn O. Brooks
FCS:Michael L. McGee
FMO:Thea M. Wargowsky
GSO:Ayemere E. Okojie
ICASS Chair:AE Abuja
IMO:James H. Porter
IPO:Griffith C. Murray
ISO:Dwayne E. Singleton
ISSO:Vacant
LAB:Vacant
LEGATT:Kevin C. Peterson
NAS:Garace A. Reynard
PAO:Atim E. George
RAMC:AE Pretoria
RSO:Kevin A. Maloy
State ICASS:AE Abuja
Last Updated: 7/25/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

June 3, 2004

Country Description: Nigeria is a developing West African country that has experienced periods of political instability. Its internal infrastructure is neither fully functional nor well maintained. In 1999, Nigeria returned to civilian rule after sixteen years of military rule.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The visa must be obtained in advance. Promises of entry into Nigeria without a visa are credible indicators of fraudulent commercial schemes in which the perpetrators seek to exploit the foreign traveler's illegal presence in Nigeria through threats of extortion or bodily harm. U.S. citizens cannot legally depart Nigeria unless they can prove, by presenting their entry visas, that they entered Nigeria legally. Entry information may be obtained at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 3519 International Court, NW, Washington, D.C., 20008, telephone (202) 822-1500, or at the Nigerian Consulate General in New York, telephone (212) 808-0301. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Nigerian embassy or consulate.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Safety and Security: Parts of Nigeria regularly experience localized civil unrest and violence. The causes and locations vary. States where outbreaks of violence have occurred in the past year include Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Ondo. While the Government of Nigeria has authorized vehicle checkpoints to mitigate crime, unauthorized checkpoints continue to be a problem throughout Nigeria.

In the oil-producing region of the Niger River Delta, resident U.S. citizens and other foreigners have frequently been threatened and held hostage during labor disputes. While the U.S. Government will do everything possible to assist in the safe release of all hostages, it is vital that U.S. citizens resident in this area review their employer's security information and contingency plans. Tourists risk being mistaken for residents and should exercise caution. Throughout 2002-03 there were a number of occupations of U.S. oil company facilities and ships in the Niger Delta region; in at least three of the incidents, groups of women were involved in peaceful takeovers to help gain jobs and community investment from the oil companies. In April 2004, two Americans were killed while on an oil vessel conducting a fact-finding mission in the Niger River Delta Region.

Inter-ethnic fighting continues to be a problem in and around Warri city, located in the Niger River Delta. Due to fighting between ethnic groups in the region, the Consulate in Lagos recommends that American citizen travelers review their itineraries and avoid travel to Warri. Official U.S. Government personnel travel in the region is limited to essential travel only.

U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos are required to notify their security officer if traveling outside the city of Abuja or outside of Victoria, Ikoyi or Lagos Island. In addition, the Consulate advises its employees to take security precautions when visiting Lagos Island or mainland Lagos after dark. Consulate employees travel in armored vehicles between the islands and Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

There exists little anti-U.S. sentiment among Nigerians. However, there have been several demonstrations against U.S. policy in the Middle East. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and maintain security awareness at all times.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Crime: Visitors and resident Americans have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, kidnappings and extortion, often involving violence. Carjackings, roadblock robberies, and armed break-ins are common in many parts of Nigeria. Visitors to Nigeria, including a number of American citizens, have been victims of armed robbery on the road from Murtala Mohammed International Airport during daylight and at nighttime hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond to crimes slowly and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian officials.

Upon arrival in Nigeria, U.S. citizens are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, where they may obtain current safety information and advice on minimizing risks.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Commercial, Financial, and Identity Fraud: Nigerian-opera