22 Things You Didnt Know About Nigeria.
Today being Nigeria 57th Independence Day, you may want to know few facts about the most populous Africa black nation, ‘Nigeria’, a country in West Africa having boundaries with Niger and Chad Republic in the north, Cameroon on the eastern part, Benin Republic on the western border and the Atlantic Ocean at the southern end. Geographically, Nigerian terrain changes from the high savanna-covered plateaus in the north to the oil-rich Niger Delta in the southern part down to the rain forest belt region towards the coast. Despite the insecurity and some slight political instabilities facing the country, there are some interesting facts about my country Nigeria that are worth knowing. 22 Things You didnt know about Nigeria.
1. Largest Producers of Crude Oil among Africa and 12th largest producer of crude oil in the world (averaging 2,525,000 barrels per day) and the 8th largest exporter. Nigeria has the 10th largest proven reserves of petroleum worldwide. Petroleum plays an important role in the countrys economy and contributes to more than 85% of the total governments revenue.
2. Ogun State Has the Highest Number of Universities in Nigeria. Ogun State is one of the states in the western part of the country and it has a total of nine registered universities, making it the state with the highest number of Universities in Nigeria
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3. Nigeria is home to seven percent (7%) of the total languages spoken on earth. Taraba state alone has more languages than 30 African countries. The importance of this fact is appreciated when one understands that language is the soul of culture (as Ngugi wa Thiongo famously said). It is language that births the proverbs, riddles, stories and other aspects of culture that give us identity. UNESCO puts forward that the worlds languages represents an extraordinary wealth of creativity. Linguistic diversity correlates with cultural diversity. This means Nigeria can look inwards and drive itself to become the greatest hub for cultural tourism on earth, and consequently empower its citizens tremendously in the process.
4. Nigeria is most Populous Country in Africa. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the 8th most populous in the world with a population of more than 160 million people. The next African country to come close is Ethiopia with a population count of 84 million. That is just about half of Nigerian population.
5. 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.
6. Christianity and Islam Are The 2 Major Religions. The major religion in Nigeria are Christianity and Islam. About half of the Yorubas are Christians and half Muslim, though many maintain traditional beliefs. The Igbos in the southeast are mostly Christian; The Hausa/Fulani in the northern Nigeria are mostly Islamic and dominated by the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. Southern Nigeria is more westernized and urbanized than the north, with the Yoruba in the southwest and the Igbo in the southeast.
7. The Yoruba tribe has the highest rate of twin births in the world. Igbo-Ora, a little town in Oyo state, has been nicknamed Twin capital of the World because of its unusually high rate of twins that is put as high as 158 twins per 1000 births. In a video, I watched last year on YouTube presented by Titi (a white lady who speaks Yoruba), and which was centered on twin births in Igbo-Ora, one of the locals boasted that every family in the town has at least one twin!
8. Sarki Muhammad Kanta The Great of Kebbi, was the only ruler who resisted control by Songhai, West Africas greatest empire at that time. He founded and ruled the Hausa city-state of Kebbi around 1600 A.D and built Surame its capital, a planned city which was almost impossible to penetrate during war. In fact, UNESCO describes Surame as one of the wonders of human history, creativity and ingenuity, and probably the most massive stone-walled constructions in West Africa. He is listed in Robin Walkers 50 Greatest Africans.
9. 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.
10. Africas oldest known boat is The Dufuna canoe which was discovered in Dufuna village, Yobe state, by a Fulani Herdsman in May 1987, while he dug a well. Various radio-carbon tests conducted in laboratories of reputable universities in Europe and America indicate that the canoe is over 8,000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the world. The discovery of the canoe has completely changed accepted theories of the history and sophistication of marine technology in Africa.
11. 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 Walkers wonderful book, When We Ruled.
12. The Jos Plateau Indigobird, a small reddish-brown bird, is found nowhere else on the planet but Plateau state, Nigeria.
13. The Anambra waxbill, a small bird of many beautiful colors, is found only in Southern Nigeria and nowhere else on earth.
14. Ile-Ife, in present day Osun State, was paved as early as 1000AD, with decorations that originated from Ancient America suggesting there might have been contact between the Yorubas and the Ancient Americans half a millennium before Columbus discovered America.
15. More Than 250 Ethnic Groups. Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups however, there are 3 dominant tribes: the Ibo (Igbo), Hausa- Fulani and Yoruba which make up 18%, 29% and 21% respectively.
16. Niger River is West Africas Largest River. The longest and largest river in West Africa is the river Niger from where Nigeria derives her name. River Niger spans about 4,180 km (2,600 mi) from its source is in the Highlands of Guinea in southeastern Guinea. It courses in a crescent through Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, and eventually emptying into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean after passing through a massive delta, known as the Niger Delta or the Oil Rivers.
17. One of the Oldest Locations of Human Existence. Evidence from archaeological discoveries have shown that there was a history of human existence in Nigeria which has been dated to as far back as 9000 BC. The Nok civilization (around 500 BC-200 AD) is the earliest known civilization here.
18. Home of Nollywood. Nollywood is the name given to the Nigerian movie industry and it has recently been ranked the second largest producers of movies in the world; just trailing behind Bollywood; the Indian film industry and ahead of Americas Hollywood. Nollywood produces up to 200 movies every single week and her movies has won half of the yearly awards for best picture since 2005.
19. Largest Diversity of Butterfly. Nigeria boasts in being the most suitable habitat for the worlds largest diversity of the most colorful creatures the butterflies. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State in the southern part of the country harbors the worlds largest diversity of butterflies.
20. The Niger Delta (which is the 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 Nigerias mangrove forests. You should know too that Nigerias mangrove forests are the largest in Africa and third largest on earth.
21. The Longest Bridge in Africa. The Third Mainland Bridge (in Lagos State) connecting Lagos Island to the mainland is the longest bridge in Africait measures about 11.8km. The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi express way and Lagos-Ibadan express way, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. There is also a link midway through the bridge that leads to the Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. The bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990.
22. Sungbos Eredo, a 160-km rampart equipped with guard houses and moats, is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument (or ancient fortification if you like) in Africa. It is located in present-day Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and when it was built a millennium ago, it required more earth to be moved during construction than that used for building the Great Pyramid of Giza (one of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World). The most astonishing thing is that Sungbos Eredo was the biggest city in the world (bigger than Rome and Cairo) during the Middle Ages when it was built!