Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world. Beyond this, there are so many things that are special about the country nicknamed “The Giant of Africa.”
What is so special about Nigeria? You should read this post if you are visiting this country for the first time. We have put together a list of fun facts that you should know about Nigeria.
Ready to learn more about Nigeria? Let’s get started.
Facts you should know about Nigeria
Fact #1 – Nigeria has an estimated population of about 200 million people. It is believed in most quarters that this figure is not accurate and the population is a few million higher. Anyways, with this number, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It is also the seventh most populous country in the world.
Fact #2 – Despite the large population, there are two major religions in Nigeria. The way it looks, Nigeria is practically split down the middle with half of the population being Christian. The other half is made up of Muslims. However, a small handful is traditionalists and atheists are very rare.
Fact #3 – A town in Nigeria known as Igbo-Ora is believed to be the home of twins. Why is this so? This town holds the world record for the largest number of twin births in the world. A visit to this town shows that almost every household boasts of at least a set of twins.
In case you are wondering why they have so many multiple births in this region, let’s help you. The Yoruba people of Western Nigeria believe it is because of the consumption of lots of okra leaves and yams. Certain fertility experts also argue that yams carry a natural hormone that facilitates multiple ovulation. Anyways, there’s still no scientific proof to certify the reason for this occurrence.
Fact #4 – Nigeria is a multi-lingual country. This may not be surprising but the fact that there are about 520 different dialects spoken should surprise you. With this figure, Nigeria sits at number three in Africa in terms of the number of dialects spoken. The major native languages in Nigeria are Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa.
However, the lingua franca of Nigeria is English. The average Nigerian is able to converse in English. Pidgin English is a variant of the English language that is spoken in Nigeria. It is quite interesting and learning to speak as a foreigner will endear you to the locals.
Fact #5 – The country’s capital was moved from Lagos to Abuja in 1991. What many people don’t know is that while Lagos was the first official capital city, it is not the first capital of Nigeria. Shocked?
The first capital city of Nigeria is in fact Calabar. It assumed this status in 1884 after a treaty was signed between England and the King and Chiefs. This area used to be known as Akwa Akpa at the time. It served as the administrative headquarters of the Southern Protectorate until 1905. This is when the capital was moved to Lagos.
Fact #6 – Lagos State has the highest population of all the States in Nigeria, closely followed by Kano. This city is regarded as the commercial hub of the country and most people dub it Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Lagos is also nicknamed “Africa’s Apple” in relation to New York, the fourth most populous State in America. Most businesses still have their commercial headquarters in Lagos even though they should have moved to Abuja. One of the funniest facts about Lagos is that it has the smallest land mass of all the States in the country.
Fact #7 – The Nigerian movie industry is known as Nollywood. Currently, it is the second-largest producer of movies in the world behind Bollywood. At least, 50 movies are produced in Nollywood every week.
Looking beyond this, Nollywood is worth a whopping $5.1 billion and it generates $600 million yearly. The industry boasts of employing over a million individuals currently. This number includes actors, directors, producers, publicists, and cameramen to mention a few. Finally, after agriculture, Nollywood is the second-largest employer of labor in Nigeria.
Fact #8 – The richest man in Africa is from Nigeria and his name is Aliko Dangote. He is the CEO of Dangote Group that produces several items including cement, sugar, flour, salt, etc. His company also has interests in agriculture, banking, and most recently, petroleum.
Many people do not know this but Dangote has been around for a very long time. He used to work for his uncle, Sani Dangote, before establishing his own company. Today, the Dangote group has interests in so many African countries.
There’s something else you should know about the business mogul, Aliko Dangote. He is a lover of football and a staunch supporter of Arsenal FC. Several times, it has been rumored that he wants to buy the club over. We may see this happen in the next few years.
Fact #9 – Nigeria is deemed to have the largest economy in Africa and this is not just because of its population. The country focuses a lot of its commercial energy on exports. This is probably the biggest contributor to the above fact.
Currently, the agricultural sector of the economy is the highest employer of labor. It employs at least 70 percent of the total population. Notwithstanding, the petroleum sector is still the biggest exporter in the Nigerian economy. It accounts for at least 90 percent of the total exports from Nigeria.
Fact #10 – This one is a little strange if you are not native to Africa. Nigeria is one of the African countries that consider the left hand as unclean. It means that you cannot use it to collect items from other people, especially elder ones.
Most young kids are trained to use their right hands to eat, write, and carry out several tasks. By the way, it is absurd to shake someone else’s hand with your left hand in Nigeria. Do you see why we labeled it strange?
Fact #11 – Nigeria gained its independence from the British on October 1, 1960. Three years later it became a Republic which is why it bears the official name the “Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
To date, Nigeria is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. This organization is made up of the United Kingdom and its former and existing colonies. Formerly, there were 54 member countries but The Gambia pulled out in 2013.
Nigeria is also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).
Fact #12 – The most popular sport in Nigeria is football or soccer. Almost every Nigerian you meet loves soccer. The average Nigerian male is able to play soccer and understands the rules.
Nigeria has a rich footballing heritage being crowned African champions thrice. The country has also produced a number of “African Player of the Year” winners including Kanu Nwankwo and Victor Ikpeba. Most importantly, most Nigerian males are supporters of foreign football clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
Fact #13 – Nigeria has the seventh-largest democracy in the world. The country has been in and out of democracy a couple of times. However, in 1999, the Head of State, Rtd. Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar handed over power to a democratically elected government.
This marked the beginning of the Fourth Republic with the President at the time being Olusegun Obasanjo. Since then, Nigeria has had three other presidents including the current president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Also Read: Dating a Nigerian Man? A few things to Know
Fact #14 – Nigeria plays home to the largest bridge in the whole of West Africa. This bridge is located in Lagos State and is known as the Third Mainland Bridge. It was constructed by the renowned Julius Berger Construction Company and commissioned in 1991.
The bridge is called “Third Mainland Bridge” because it is the third of all the bridges connecting Lagos Mainland to the Island. Many people don’t know this but the original name of the bridge is “Ibrahim Babangida Bridge.”
Fact #15 – The first foreign nationals to visit Nigeria were Europeans. However, they were not English as many believe. They were Portuguese and this was in 1472 AD.
Fact #16 – The oldest record of civilization in West Africa was recorded in Nigeria. They are the artworks known as the Nok heads. These artworks are related to the Nok People and they existed between 1500 BC and 500 AD.
These art pieces were excavated by a team of archeologists in 1944 led by Bernard Fagg. They were located around Southern Kaduna in an area inhabited by the Ham people. To date, this is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Nigeria.
Fact #17 – Nigeria plays home to the oldest boat in the world currently. This boat is known as the Dufana Canoe and it is also the oldest boat in Africa. It is estimated that the boat is 6,500 years old.
Fact #18 – The Niger Delta is the third largest delta in the world.
There are several other facts about Nigeria. What this tells us is that Nigeria is a great country with amazing people. It is worth visiting when you have the opportunity to. There’s a lot to explore in terms of cuisine, art, music, and tourism.
18 Interesting Facts About Nigeria © www.travelvisa.ng