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Why Geography

The largest and most populous (120 million) nation in Africa, Nigeria also has some 200 ethnic groups, major corruption and billions of dollars in annual oil income. The Hausa and Fulani, Yoruba, and Ibo ethnic groups comprise about two thirds of the population. The remaining third is divided into nearly 200 ethnic groups. Half the population is Muslim (mainly in the north) and 40 percent are Christian (mainly in the south), the remaining ten percent are indigenous beliefs. The oil wealth is in the south, along the coast, but the Moslem majority has consistently thrown its weight around to retain control over that wealth. Moreover, endemic political and commercial corruption has assured that little of that wealth reached the majority of the people. Since independence from Britain in 1960, the country has been ruled by a succession of elected and military governments. The latest military group took over in 1993 and were replaced by an elected government in May of 1999. But little has changed.