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Last updated: February 2019

[Key socio-economic indicators, 1; Country focus, 6.5.4]

Nigeria is a Federal Presidential Republic. It is divided into 36 states, and Abuja, which has the status of Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The 36 states and the FCT are grouped into six geopolitical zones:

  • North Central (7 states): Niger, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa (Nassarawa), Kwara and FCT
  • North East (6 states): Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe
  • North West (7 states): Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa
  • South East (5 states): Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia and Anambra
  • South South (6 states): Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Rivers, Cross River and Delta
  • South West (6 states): Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Lagos and Ogun
Figure 8. Map 2: @DFAT 2018 [16]

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with an estimated population of 193 million. It is a highly diverse country with regard to ethnic groups and languages. There are more than 250 ethnic groups of which the largest groups are: Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo/Bini. The main spoken languages, of the 519 living languages in the country, include English, pidgin English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Ijaw. English or pidgin English and Hausa are used for inter-ethnic communication.

In the north, the main ethnic groups are Hausa and Fulani, and several other groups such as Kanuri in the North East. The Middle Belt has many smaller, differing but related groups. Nigeria’s south is divided into a Yoruba-speaking area in the west and an Igbo-speaking area in the east. The main group in the Niger Delta are the Ijaw, although there are several other smaller ethnic groups. It should also be noted that parts of Nigeria are multi-ethnic, especially the urban areas.

The religious adherence of the population is nearly equally divided between Christians and (predominantly Sunni) Muslims, while a minority is composed of practitioners of indigenous religions or persons with no religious affiliation. Religious syncretism, the mix of religious practices from different traditions, is also common.




[16] Australia, DFAT, Country Information Report Nigeria, 9 March 2018, url , p. 2. [back to text]