Photos of Nigeria



In ancient and pre-colonial times, the area of present-day Nigeria was occupied by a great diversity of ethnic groups with very different languages and traditions. British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa's most populous country grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy. After independence in 1960, politics were marked by coups and mostly military rule, until the death of a military head of state in 1998 allowed for a political transition. In 1999, a new constitution was adopted and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of institutionalizing democracy and reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through decades of corruption and mismanagement. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country's history. National and state elections in 2011 and 2015 were generally regarded as credible. The 2015 election was also heralded for the fact that the then-umbrella opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, defeated the long-ruling People's Democratic Party that had governed since 1999, and assumed the presidency, marking the first peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. Presidential and legislative elections were held in early 2019 and deemed broadly free and fair despite voting irregularities, intimidation, and violence.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon

Geographic coordinates

10 00 N, 8 00 E


total: 923,768 sq km

land: 910,768 sq km

water: 13,000 sq km

country comparison to the world: 33

Area - comparative

about six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California

Land boundaries

total: 4,477 km

border countries (4): Benin 809 km, Cameroon 1975 km, Chad 85 km, Niger 1608 km


853 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north


southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north


mean elevation: 380 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Chappal Waddi 2,419 m

Natural resources

natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 78% (2018 est.)

arable land: 37.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 7.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 33.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 9.5% (2018 est.)

other: 12.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

2,930 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

largest population of any African nation; significant population clusters are scattered throughout the country, with the highest density areas being in the south and southwest as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

periodic droughts; flooding

Geography - note

the Niger River enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea

People and Society


219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

country comparison to the world: 6


noun: Nigerian(s)

adjective: Nigerian

Ethnic groups

Hausa 30%, Yoruba 15.5%, Igbo (Ibo) 15.2%, Fulani 6%, Tiv 2.4%, Kanuri/Beriberi 2.4%, Ibibio 1.8%, Ijaw/Izon 1.8%, other 24.7% (2018 est.)

note: Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups


English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages


Muslim 53.5%, Roman Catholic 10.6%, other Christian 35.3%, other .6% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Nigeria’s population is projected to grow from more than 186 million people in 2016 to 392 million in 2050, becoming the world’s fourth most populous country. Nigeria’s sustained high population growth rate will continue for the foreseeable future because of population momentum and its high birth rate. Abuja has not successfully implemented family planning programs to reduce and space births because of a lack of political will, government financing, and the availability and affordability of services and products, as well as a cultural preference for large families. Increased educational attainment, especially among women, and improvements in health care are needed to encourage and to better enable parents to opt for smaller families.

Nigeria needs to harness the potential of its burgeoning youth population in order to boost economic development, reduce widespread poverty, and channel large numbers of unemployed youth into productive activities and away from ongoing religious and ethnic violence. While most movement of Nigerians is internal, significant emigration regionally and to the West provides an outlet for Nigerians looking for economic opportunities, seeking asylum, and increasingly pursuing higher education. Immigration largely of West Africans continues to be insufficient to offset emigration and the loss of highly skilled workers. Nigeria also is a major source, transit, and destination country for forced labor and sex trafficking.

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.7% (male 45,571,738/female 43,674,769)

15-24 years: 20.27% (male 22,022,660/female 21,358,753)

25-54 years: 30.6% (male 32,808,913/female 32,686,474)

55-64 years: 4.13% (male 4,327,847/female 4,514,264)

65 years and over: 3.3% (male 3,329,083/female 3,733,801) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 86

youth dependency ratio: 80.9

elderly dependency ratio: 5.1

potential support ratio: 19.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18.6 years

male: 18.4 years

female: 18.9 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 207

Birth rate

34.38 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Death rate

8.89 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Net migration rate

-0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Population distribution

largest population of any African nation; significant population clusters are scattered throughout the country, with the highest density areas being in the south and southwest as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 52% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

14.862 million Lagos, 4.103 million Kano, 3.649 million Ibadan, 3.464 million ABUJA (capital), 3.171 million Port Harcourt, 1.782 million Benin City (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.3 years (2013 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

917 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Infant mortality rate

total: 58.23 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 63.67 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 52.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 60.87 years

male: 59.07 years

female: 62.78 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 217

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 92.6% of population

rural: 63.6% of population

total: 77.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 7.4% of population

rural: 36.4% of population

total: 22.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 80.2% of population

rural: 39.5% of population

total: 59.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 19.8% of population

rural: 60.5% of population

total: 40.3% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: leptospirosis and schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever

note: on 7 October 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Travel Health Notice for a Yellow Fever outbreak in Nigeria; a large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria began in September 2017; the outbreak is now spread throughout the country with the Nigerian Ministry of Health reporting cases of the disease in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory; the CDC recommends travelers going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there; those never vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid travel to Nigeria during the outbreak
note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Nigeria; as of 6 April 2021, Nigeria has reported a total of 163,330 cases of COVID-19 or 79.23 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 1 cumulative death per 100,000 population; as of 19 March 2020, the Government of Nigeria has restricted entry into Nigeria for travelers from the following high incidence countries: China, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, US, UK, Netherlands, and Switzerland


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 62%

male: 71.3%

female: 52.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 9 years

female: 8 years (2011)


Country name

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Nigeria

conventional short form: Nigeria

etymology: named for the Niger River that flows through the west of the country to the Atlantic Ocean; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"

Government type

federal presidential republic


name: Abuja

geographic coordinates: 9 05 N, 7 32 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Abuja is a planned capital city, it replaced Lagos in 1991; situated in the center of the country, Abuja takes its name from a nearby town, now renamed Suleja

Administrative divisions

36 states and 1 territory*; Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Federal Capital Territory*, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara


1 October 1960 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day (National Day), 1 October (1960)


history: several previous; latest adopted 5 May 1999, effective 29 May 1999

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of both houses and approval by the Houses of Assembly of at least two thirds of the states; amendments to constitutional articles on the creation of a new state, fundamental constitutional rights, or constitution-amending procedures requires at least four-fifths majority vote by both houses of the National Assembly and approval by the Houses of Assembly in at least two thirds of the states; passage of amendments limited to the creation of a new state require at least two-thirds majority vote by the proposing National Assembly house and approval by the Houses of Assembly in two thirds of the states; amended several times, last in 2018

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Nigeria

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 15 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu BUHARI (since 29 May 2015); Vice President Oluyemi "Yemi" OSINBAJO (since 29 May 2015); note - the president is both chief of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces

head of government: President Maj.Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu BUHARI (since 29 May 2015); Vice President Oluyemi "Yemi" OSINBAJO (since 29 May 2015)

cabinet: Federal Executive Council appointed by the president but constrained constitutionally to include at least one member from each of the 36 states

elections/appointments: president directly elected by qualified majority popular vote and at least 25% of the votes cast in 24 of Nigeria's 36 states; president elected for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 February 2019 (next to be held in February 2023); note: the election was scheduled for 16 February 2019, but postponed on 16 February 2019

election results: Muhammadu BUHARI elected president; percent of vote - Muhammadu BUHARI (APC) 53%, Atiku ABUBAKER (PDP) 39%, other 8%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
Senate (109 seats - 3 each for the 36 states and 1 for Abuja-Federal Capital Territory; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)
House of Representatives (360 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 23 February 2019 (next to be held on 23 February 2023); note: election was scheduled for 16 February 2019 but was postponed on 15 February 2019
House of Representatives - last held on 23 February 2019 (next to be held on 23 February 2023); note: election was scheduled for 16 February 2019 but was postponed on 15 February 2019

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 65, PDP 39, YPP 1, TBD 3; composition - men 103, women 6, percent of women 5.5%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 217, PDP 115, other 20, TBD 8; composition - men 346, women 14, percent of women 3.9%; note - total National Assembly percent of women 4.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 15 justices)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, a 23-member independent body of federal and state judicial officials; judge appointments confirmed by the Senate; judges serve until age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; Federal High Court; High Court of the Federal Capital Territory; Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory; Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory; state court system similar in structure to federal system

Political parties and leaders

Accord Party or ACC [Mohammad Lawal MALADO]
All Progressives Congress or APC [Adams OSHIOMHOLE]
All Progressives Grand Alliance or APGA [Victor Ike OYE]
Democratic Peoples Party or DPP [Biodun OGUNBIYI]
Labor Party or LP [Alhai Abdulkadir ABDULSALAM]
Peoples Democratic Party or PDP [Uche SECONDUS]
Young Progressive Party or YPP [Kingsley MOGHALU]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jane Bassey ADAMS (since 2 December 2020)

chancery: 3519 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 516-4277

FAX: [1] (202) 362-6541

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mary Beth LEONARD (since 24 December 2019)

telephone: [234] (9) 461-4000

embassy: Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, Abuja

mailing address: P. O. Box 5760, Garki, Abuja

FAX: [234] (9) 461-4036

consulate(s): Lagos

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green; the color green represents the forests and abundant natural wealth of the country, white stands for peace and unity

National symbol(s)

eagle; national colors: green, white

National anthem

name: Arise Oh Compatriots, Nigeria's Call Obey

lyrics/music: John A. ILECHUKWU, Eme Etim AKPAN, B.A. OGUNNAIKE, Sotu OMOIGUI and P.O. ADERIBIGBE/Benedict Elide ODIASE

note: adopted 1978; lyrics are a mixture of the five top entries in a national contest


Economic overview

Nigeria is Sub Saharan Africa’s largest economy and relies heavily on oil as its main source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. Following the 2008-09 global financial crises, the banking sector was effectively recapitalized and regulation enhanced. Since then, Nigeria’s economic growth has been driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services. Economic diversification and strong growth have not translated into a significant decline in poverty levels; over 62% of Nigeria's over 180 million people still live in extreme poverty.

Despite its strong fundamentals, oil-rich Nigeria has been hobbled by inadequate power supply, lack of infrastructure, delays in the passage of legislative reforms, an inefficient property registration system, restrictive trade policies, an inconsistent regulatory environment, a slow and ineffective judicial system, unreliable dispute resolution mechanisms, insecurity, and pervasive corruption. Regulatory constraints and security risks have limited new investment in oil and natural gas, and Nigeria's oil production had been contracting every year since 2012 until a slight rebound in 2017.

President BUHARI, elected in March 2015, has established a cabinet of economic ministers that includes several technocrats, and he has announced plans to increase transparency, diversify the economy away from oil, and improve fiscal management, but has taken a primarily protectionist approach that favors domestic producers at the expense of consumers. President BUHARI ran on an anti-corruption platform, and has made some headway in alleviating corruption, such as implementation of a Treasury Single Account that allows the government to better manage its resources and a more transparent government payroll and personnel system that eliminated duplicate and "ghost workers." The government also is working to develop stronger public-private partnerships for roads, agriculture, and power.

Nigeria entered recession in 2016 as a result of lower oil prices and production, exacerbated by militant attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region, coupled with detrimental economic policies, including foreign exchange restrictions. GDP growth turned positive in 2017 as oil prices recovered and output stabilized.

Real GDP growth rate

0.8% (2017 est.)

-1.6% (2016 est.)

2.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

11.3% (2019 est.)

12.1% (2018 est.)

16.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,032,048,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,009,748,000,000 (2018 est.)

$990.7 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 23

GDP (official exchange rate)

$475.062 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,136 (2019 est.)

$5,155 (2018 est.)

$5,190 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 176

Gross national saving

23.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

19.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

18.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 21.1% (2016 est.)

industry: 22.5% (2016 est.)

services: 56.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 80% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 5.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 14.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 11.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -13.2% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 56.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.2 (2020)

Trading score: 29.2 (2020)

Enforcement score: 61.5 (2020)

Agricultural products

cassava, yams, maize, oil palm fruit, rice, vegetables, sorghum, groundnuts, fruit, sweet potatoes


crude oil, coal, tin, columbite; rubber products, wood; hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry: 10%

services: 20% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.8%

highest 10%: 38.2% (2010 est.)


revenues: 12.92 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 19.54 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

21.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

19.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$10.38 billion (2017 est.)

$2.714 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24


$1.146 billion (2017 est.)

$34.7 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Exports - partners

India 16%, Spain 10%, United States 7%, France 7%, Netherlands 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, scrap vessels, flexible metal tubing, cocoa beans (2019)


$32.67 billion (2017 est.)

$35.24 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Imports - partners

China 30%, Netherlands 11%, United States 6%, Belgium 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, wheat, laboratory glassware, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$38.77 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$25.84 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Debt - external

$26.847 billion (2019 est.)

$22.755 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Exchange rates

nairas (NGN) per US dollar -

383.5 (2020 est.)

362.75 (2019 est.)

363 (2018 est.)

192.73 (2014 est.)

158.55 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 62% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 91% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 30% (2019)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 146,075

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 184,013,243

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 88.18 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: one of the larger telecom markets in Africa; most Internet connections are via mobile networks; foreign investment presence, particularly China; market competition; LTE-A technologies available but GSM technology dominate; mobile penetration rate of 123% and 173 million subscribers; unified licensing regime; government committed to expanding broadband penetration; in Q1 2018, the Nigerian Communications Commission approved seven licenses to telecom companies to deploy fiber optic cable in the six geopolitical zones and Lagos; operators invest in base stations to take care of network congestion (2020)

domestic: fixed-line subscribership remains less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular services growing rapidly, in part responding to the shortcomings of the fixed-line network; multiple cellular providers operate nationally with subscribership base over 88 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 234; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC, NCSCS,  MainOne, Glo-1 & 2, ACE, and Equiano fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and South and West Africa; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

nearly 70 federal government-controlled national and regional TV stations; all 36 states operate TV stations; several private TV stations operational; cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; network of federal government-controlled national, regional, and state radio stations; roughly 40 state government-owned radio stations typically carry their own programs except for news broadcasts; about 20 private radio stations; transmissions of international broadcasters are available; digital broadcasting migration process completed in three states in 2018 (2019)

Internet users

total: 85,450,052

percent of population: 42% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 73,965

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 13 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 104

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 8,169,192 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 19.42 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 40 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 10 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)

under 914 m: 3 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 14 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2013)

under 914 m: 3 (2013)


5 (2013)


124 km condensate, 4045 km gas, 164 km liquid petroleum gas, 4441 km oil, 3940 km refined products (2013)


total: 3,798 km (2014)

standard gauge: 293 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

narrow gauge: 3,505 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

note: as of the end of 2018, there were only six operational locomotives in Nigeria primarily used for passenger service; the majority of the rail lines are in a severe state of disrepair and need to be replaced

country comparison to the world: 54


total: 195,000 km (2017)

paved: 60,000 km (2017)

unpaved: 135,000 km (2017)

country comparison to the world: 29


8,600 km (Niger and Benue Rivers and smaller rivers and creeks) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 15

Merchant marine

total: 728

by type: general cargo 15, oil tanker 110, other 603 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 31

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Bonny Inshore Terminal, Calabar, Lagos

LNG terminal(s) (export): Bonny Island

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Nigerian Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Coast Guard), Air Force; Ministry of Interior: Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC, a paramilitary agency commissioned to assist the military in the management of threats to internal security, including attacks and natural disasters) (2021)

Military expenditures

0.5% of GDP (2019)

0.5% of GDP (2018)

0.4% of GDP (2017)

0.4% of GDP (2016)

0.4% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 158

Military and security service personnel strengths

size estimates for the Nigerian Armed Forces vary; approximately 135,000 active personnel (100,000 Army; 20,000 Navy/Coast Guard; 15,000 Air Force); est. 80,000 Security and Civil Defense Corps (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Nigerian Armed Forces' inventory consists of a wide variety of imported weapons systems of Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, Russian (including Soviet-era), and US origin; since 2010, Nigeria has received equipment from some 20 countries with China, Russia, and the US as the leading suppliers; Nigeria has been the largest arms importer in sub-Saharan Africa since 2014 and in recent years has undertaken a significant air force modernization program, importing aircraft from Pakistan, Russia, and the US; Nigeria is also developing a defense-industry capacity, including small arms, armored personnel vehicle, and small-scale naval production (2020)

Military deployments

200 Ghana (ECOMIG); MNJTF (1 brigade or approximately 3,000 troops committed; note - the national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations are conducted periodically) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; in 2020, there were 98 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region; although a 24% decrease from the total number of incidents in 2019, it included all three hijackings and 9 of 11 ships fired upon worldwide; while boarding and attempted boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews are the most common types of incidents, almost a third of all incidents involve a hijacking and/or kidnapping; in 2020, a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, representing 95% of kidnappings worldwide; approximately 51% of all incidents of piracy and armed robbery are taking place off Nigeria, which is a decrease from the 71% in 2019 and an indication pirates are traveling further to target vessels; Nigerian pirates are well armed and very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2021-002 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 9 January 2021, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Military - note

the Nigerian Armed Forces are used primarily for internal security operations; in the northeast, the military is conducting counterinsurgency/counter-terrorist operations against the Boko Haram (BH) and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) terrorist groups, where it has deployed as many as 70,000 troops at times and jihadist-related violence has killed an estimated 35,000 people, mostly civilians, since 2009 (as of Dec 2020); in the northwest, it faces threats from criminal gangs, bandits, and militants associated with ongoing farmer-herder violence, as well as BH and ISWA terrorists; the military also focuses on the Niger Delta region to protect the oil industry against militants and criminal activity, although the levels of violence there have decreased in recent years


Terrorist group(s)

Boko Haram; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – West Africa; Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru) (2020)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Joint Border Commission with Cameroon reviewed 2002 ICJ ruling on the entire boundary and bilaterally resolved differences, including June 2006 Greentree Agreement that immediately cedes sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with a phaseout of Nigerian control within two years while resolving patriation issues; the ICJ ruled on an equidistance settlement of Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea, but imprecisely defined coordinates in the ICJ decision and a sovereignty dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River all contribute to the delay in implementation; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries; location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 63,791 (Cameroon) (2021)

IDPs: 2,878,931 (northeast Nigeria; Boko Haram attacks and counterinsurgency efforts in northern Nigeria; communal violence between Christians and Muslims in the middle belt region, political violence; flooding; forced evictions; cattle rustling; competition for resources) (2021)

Illicit drugs

a transit point for heroin and cocaine intended for European, East Asian, and North American markets; consumer of amphetamines; safe haven for Nigerian narcotraffickers operating worldwide; major money-laundering center; massive corruption and criminal activity; Nigeria has improved some anti-money-laundering controls, resulting in its removal from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) Noncooperative Countries and Territories List in June 2006; Nigeria's anti-money-laundering regime continues to be monitored by FATF