Nigeria Geography

Nigeria, often referred to as the “giant of Africa”, is a regional power in West Africa. With its 196 million residents, Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa, but also ranks among the eight largest oil exporters in the world due to its abundant oil reserves.


Like other African countries, Nigeria is a product of the colonial era in its current demarcation. In May 2015, Muhammadu Buhari took over the presidency. Now the population is excited to see how and whether Buhari will master the country’s numerous urgent challenges.


Due to its large oil and gas reserves, Nigeria is considered to be the continent’s strongest economy. However, the focus on petroleum has led to the neglect of the agricultural sector. Despite the immense income from oil exports, a large part of the population struggles with poverty problems.

Official name: Federal Republic of Nigeria

Area: 923,768 km²

Residents: 140 million (2006 census), 196 million (2019 estimate)

Growth of population: 2.6% per year (2019)

Seat of government: Abuja

Official language: English

Regional languages: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and approx. 400 other languages

Location and size

Located on the west coast of Africa, Nigeria has only one natural border with the Atlantic coast in the south of the country. According to a2zgov, the country borders with Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Chad to the northeast and Cameroon to the east. This demarcation is the result of the European colonial policy of the 19th century.

With a total area of 923,768 km², Nigeria is two and a half times the size of the Federal Republic of Germany. The longest extension from west to east is 1,300 km, from north to south 1,100 km. The coastline is 853 km.

Basic data

The Federal Foreign Office, the BBC and the Encyclopaedia Britannica provide basic information about Nigeria. In addition, the CIA World Factbook, the World Bank and the Federal Statistical Office contain data and figures on various Subject areas. The Munzinger country profile also offers comprehensive information on topics such as politics, population, economy, social affairs and education. The official website of the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics provides up-to-date statistics on the country.

In the HDR 2019 of the UN Development Program for Human Development, Nigeria ranks 158th out of 189 countries examined and in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2020 on environmental issues, the country has deteriorated from 100th (2018) to 151st place out of 180 nations examined.

The Bertelsmann Transformation Index provides information on the quality of governance every two years.

Natural conditions


From a topographical point of view, the land in the coastal area consists mainly of mangrove swamps, characterized by watercourses and lagoons. Inland there is a lowland and hilly country with tropical rainforest. In the middle of the country the landscape changes into hilly plateaus with individual island mountains. While wet savannah vegetation predominates here, there is dry savannah vegetation in the north with its dry grassland and semi-desert regions. The Onlinenigeria portal offers detailed explanations of the different vegetation zones in Nigeria.

Niger and Benue are the main rivers in Nigeria. The Niger, which gave the country its name, flows through the country from northwest to south over a length of 1,170 km and fans out into the Niger Delta with its confluence with the Atlantic Ocean. The Kainji reservoir on the Niger in northwestern Nigeria was dammed in 1968 by the Kainji Dam. The dam is of great importance for the country’s energy generation.


Nigeria’s wildlife is very diverse. As a result of the intensive settlement and extensive clearing of rainforests in the south of the country, however, some animal species are threatened with extinction. The Kainji National Park in the north-west and the Yankari National Park in the north-east of the country serve to protect these animal species in addition to promoting tourism. Over 50 different species of mammals, such as lions, buffalos, hippos, antelopes and monkey species as well as crocodiles and more than 300 different bird species can be found in the national parks.


The climate of Nigeria is determined by the change from rainy (May to October) and dry season (November to April). While the rainy season in the north lasts only four months (June to September), it is more pronounced on the coast with nine months (March to November). In the coastal and rainforest areas there is a warm, humid climate with annual rainfall of 1500-3000 mm, temperatures between 28-35 °C and a relative humidity of 80-100%. The amount of rain decreases sharply from south to north.

Inland and in the north (savannah areas) there is a hot, dry climate with annual rainfall of 500-1300 mm, temperatures of up to 40 °C and a relative humidity of 70%.

The climate change has a major impact on Nigeria. The periods of extreme heat and drought are increasing. Many millions of Nigerians have no access to air conditioning or electricity and are therefore suffering from increasing heat waves. The periods of drought also have negative effects on Nigeria’s water-intensive agriculture. In the north of the country in particular, the increasing heat waves create conflicts within the population.

Nigeria Overview

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