59 Amazing Things You Should Know About Nigeria

Nicknamed the ” Giant of Africa,” Nigeria is home to hundreds of different ethnicities, languages and butterfly species.
As Nigeria celebrate her 59th Independence Anniversary, below are 59 Facts O’News feels you should know about the largest black nation in the world.

  1. The Nigerian National Anthem is an awe-inspiring, passion-rousing melodious 2-stanza poem. Pa. Benedict Odiase, a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Director of Music in the Nigeria Police Band at the time, took the words of the anthem and organised them in a song which we know today as the “Arise, O Compatriots”. The phrases and lines of five different authors were used in the song. The authors are: Eme Etim Akpan, John A. Ilechukwu, B. A. Ogunnaike, P. O. Aderibigbe and Dr. Sota Omoigui.  The other preceeding anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was composed by Lillian Jean Williams and Frances Berda composed the music.
  2. Prof. (Mrs) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin, à Princess from the Iji ruling house in Saki, Oyo State wrote the national pledge in 1976. Her inquisitive children made her compose it because they were familiar with the tradition at an American school and during studies at Accra Ghana. This inspired her to write beautiful and patriotic words and they were published in the Daily Times in July 1976 titled “Loyalty to the Nation, Pledge”. Barrister Adewusi, a friend of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and the author read it before Obasanjo and in August 1976, Obasanjo decided to introduce the pledge being the head of the state at that time.
  3. Nigeria is a Federal republic with two legislative houses (Senate [109]; House of Representatives [360]).
  4. Travel Visa was not required to travel to the United Kingdom up till 1984.
  5. The Nation’s population is 200,788,000 (2019 est.) ranking the 6th largest as of 2018 and by 2030, the population is projected at 263,839,000.
  6. The total area (square kilometre) is 923,769
  7. Like her other African countries with lower life expectancy usually due to poverty index, the average male lives up to 56.9 years and females 60.6 years (2017)
  8. The Urban-Rural Population as of 2018 is Urban: 50.3% and Rural: 49.7%
  9. 68.9% male are literate over 49.3% of the female. This percentages is for the population aged 15 and above. (2015)
  10. Nigeria’s movie production industry, nicknamed “Nollywood”, is the second-largest in the world by volume. About 200 movies are produced every week, which means that Nollywood produces more than 10 000 movies per year!
  11. About 75% of the total population of Nigeria uses social media on a regular basis and majority uses a smartphone rather than a computer or laptop.
  12. There are 521 languages spoken in Nigeria making her the fourth most in the world. Some of the major languages are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba but English is the official language.
  13. There are over 250 ethnic groups with a distinct culture and traditions.
  14. One out of every 5 African is a Nigerian.
  15. The ancient Benin Kingdom had Street lights before the emergence of Street lights in Europe. The street lights were fueled by palm oil.
  16. The Yorubas, predominant in the West of Nigeria, and their bloodlines worldwide have the highest rate of twinning (having twins) in the world.
  17. The town of Igbo-Ora is known as the nation’s home of twins. Many of the local Yoruba people believe their consumption of yams and okra leaves to be the cause of their high birth rate of twins. While some fertility experts believe that certain yams contain a natural hormone that could cause multiple ovulation, there is no scientific evidence of this phenomenon.
  18. A Fulani man, Malam Umaru Altine, was the first elected Mayor of Enugu, in the Eastern part of Nigeria, and was even re-elected for a second term.
  19. Crispin Curtis Adeniyi-Jones (1876-1957) whose named after a street in Ikeja, ‘Adeniyi-Jones’ was a medical director from Sierra Leone (a Saro). He was also a co-founder of NNDP and won one of the Lagos 3 legislative council seats in 1923 hence represented for 15 yrs.
  20. Like in other African countries, some Nigerians consider the left hand to be unclean and using it to be a sign of disrespect. Those that believe this do not eat, shake hands or receive items with their left hand.
  21. The major drainage areas in Nigeria are the Niger-Benue basin, the Lake Chad basin, and the Gulf of Guinea basin.
  22. The northern-dwelling Hausa, one of the most numerous groups in the country, have become integrated with the smaller Fulani group, whose members conquered Hausaland in the early 19th century; the great majority of both are Muslims. Town-dwelling Fulani intermarry freely with the Hausa and other groups, and they continue to control the administration of the Hausa towns. The cattle-herding rural Fulani, who generally do not intermarry, speak the Fulani language, Fula, rather than Hausa. (Britannica)
  23. The Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria, lives in small decentralized and democratic settlements. The largest political unit is the village, which is ruled by a council of elders (chosen by merit, not heredity) rather than by a chief.
  24. Hausa was an official language of the northern states from 1951 to 1967. It is the most widely spoken language, although English is the official language of Nigeria. In addition to English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, and English Creole are widely spoken. Many of the languages exist in written form. (Britannica).
  25. A first Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi hid former South African President, Nelson Mandela, for six months in Nigeria to evade his arrest by the apartheid regime.
  26. In 1984 under the disciplinary Buhari/Idiagbon government, there was a sophisticated attempt to kidnap and repatriate ex-civilian regime minister of transport, Umaru Dikko from the UK, anesthetized in a freight crate, for the embezzlement of $1bn under the Shagari regime.
  27. The idea of international law in Nigeria was generated in Badagry when Richard Lander, one of the first British explorers, was tried in 1825 by a jury of elders through the means of  the customs and traditions at the Vlekete Slave Market. Lander’s trial for treason, a crime punishable by death, became the first trial of an alien in Nigeria. He was, however, set free on account of his innocence.
  28. The first European slave merchant that ever stepped on Nigerian soil touched down in Badagry in the 1660s; his grave lies at the palace of Akran of Badagry till today. Badagry, through the inglorious activities of slave trade, became the first major slave port in Nigeria.
  29. The Adubi war in 1918 was a major uprising by 30,000 Abeokuta Ebga warriors against the colonial government for colonization, taxation and slave labor. One British was killed and rail and telegraph lines destroyed. The British rewarded their soldiers with medals for quelling the uprising. Awape Adediran a Molashin/ Kingmaker was imprisoned for his active involvement.
  30. The first Teaching Training College in Nigeria was established on Topo Island by the Roman Catholic Missionaries in 1893. Earlier in 1876, they had established the first Agricultural School in Nigeria on the same island.
  31. The British Government hoisted its flag in Badagry in 1842 to stop slave trade, which had been globally abolished since 1817.
  32. The gospel of Jesus Christ was first preached in Nigeria in 1843 just as the first Christmas celebration held in Nigeria was observed in December of the same year in Badagry.
  33. Western education in Nigeria took root in Badagry with the establishment of the first Elementary School called the ‘Infant of the church’ in 1843. It later metamorphosed into St. Thomas Anglican Primary School, Badagry.
  34. The (Western) architectural evolution in Nigeria also started in Badagry in 1845, when the first ever storey building was built by the missionaries; (it still stands today).
  35. A brand new car sold for ₦2000 in 1975 while the ticket to London was less than ₦100 in 1975.
  36. In 1976, 75 kobo exchanged for one British Pound and 60 kobo for one US dollar.
  37. Nigeria is home to 5 of the 10 richest pastors in the entire world, with net worth’s according to Forbes, from $10-150 million. These pastors imclude, David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, Chris Oyakhilome, Mathew Ashimolowo and Temitope Joshua.
  38. The designer of the famous car, Chevrolet Volt is a Nigerian – Jelani Aliyu from Sokoto State.
  39. The world’s fastest computer was designed by renowned Scientist and Inventor, Philip Emeagwali.
  40. On May 7 2016, 43 of 96 graduands for Doctor of Pharmacy in Howard University, Washington DC were Nigerians. More so, 16 of the 23 awards for the day went to Nigerians.
  41. There are over 180 million Nigerians worldwide and 0.14% of them (250,000) have traceable criminal records – this is less than 1% but the global media credit Nigeria with negatives more often.
  42. The Dufuna Canoe is the second oldest water going vessel ever unearthed and the oldest in Africa. It was between 8000 to 8500 years old when it was uncovered in Northern Nigeria.
  43. Nigeria is home to the largest single monument in Africa, the Sungbo Eredo – this was the largest city in the medieval world. It took over a million more man hours to build than the great pyramid of Giza.
  44. The Walls of Benin (800-1400AD) in present day Edo State, are the longest ancient earthworks in the world, and probably the largest man-made structure on earth. They enclose 6500 square kilometers of community lands that connected about 500 communities. At over 16000km long, it was thought to be twice the length of the Great Wall of China, until it was announced in 2012 (after five years of meticulous measurement by Chinese surveyors) that the Great Wall is about 21,000km long.
  45. The Niger-Delta (second largest delta on the planet), has the highest concentration of monotypic fish families in the world, and is also home to sixty percent of Nigeria’s mangrove forests. You should know too that Nigeria’s mangrove forests are the largest in Africa and third largest on earth.
  46. The Anambra waxbill, a small bird of many beautiful colours, is found only in Southern Nigeria and nowhere else on earth.
  47. Sarki Abdullah Burja of Kano (ruled 1438-1452 AD), the 18th ruler of Ancient Kano, created the first Golden Age in Northern Nigeria and ushered in a period of great prosperity. During his reign, Hausa became the biggest indigenous language spoken in Africa after Swahili. He is on the list of 50 Greatest Africans in Robin Walker’s wonderful book, “When We Ruled”.
  48. According to the World Resources Institute, Nigeria is home to 4,715 different types of plant species, and over 550 species of breeding birds and mammals, making it one of the most ecologically vibrant places of the planet.
  49. Nigeria has the highest paid legislators in the entire world.
  50. Based on amount squandered, of an income of $81 billion per year, Nigeria is the most corrupt nation in the world.
  51. Cross River State: The Ejagham (Ekoi) people in the Southeast are believed to have originated the Nsibidi (Nsibiri) writing system which later spread to the Efik, Igbo, Ibibio, Efut, Banyang and Annag people.
  52. Seven percent of the total languages spoken in the world are spoken in Nigeria.
  53. Nigeria’s Third Mainland Bridge is the second largest bridge in Africa. The Third Mainland Bridge works in conjunction with 2 other bridges – the Carter and Eko bridges) connect Lagos Island with the mainland. It was commissioned in 1990 by General Ibrahim Babangida, being the longest bridge in entire the Africa which later was throned by the 6th October Bridge in 1996. The bridge spans 11.8 kilometers from Owonronshoki to the Adeniji Adele Interchange located in Lagos Island.It’s official name however is Ibrahim Babangida Bridge.
  54. Lord Lugard estimated in 1904 that there were 170 walled towns still in existence in the whole of just the Kano province of northern Nigeria. He described Kano: ‘Commercial emporium of the western Sudan.’ Of its wall, he said, ‘I have never seen, nor even imagined, anything like it in Africa.’
  55. Confusing evolution scientists, the 13,000 yr old Iwo-Eleru cave skull in Ondo, the oldest human fossil remains found in West Africa, has ‘ancient’ (140,000 yr old Laetoli) features, yet lived in more modern times.
  56. Ancient Greeks appear to have Nigerian roots as supported by the Benin Haplogroup or Haplogroup 19. According to Jide Uwechia, ‘The Benin Haplotype (which originates from Nigeria, West Africa) accounts for HbS associated chromosomes in Sicily Northern Greece.’
  57. The Obasanjo military regime converted Nigeria from a Parliamentary system to a Presidential system of government.
  58. Nigeria along with Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritania are the nations with 6 coups.
  59. The city of Lagos’ population is more than all of the eastern United States combined
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