Nigeria Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Nigeria: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, about 214 million people live in Nigeria. This makes Nigeria the most populous country on the continent. Current life expectancy is 51.3 years for men and 51.7 years for women. The birth rate of 45.4 per 1,000 people contrasts with a death rate of 15.4 per 1,000 people.

Ethnic composition

The largest and most politically influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa and Fulbe (29%), the Yoruba (20%) and the Ibo (12%). The north of Nigeria is ruled by the Muslim Haussa Fulbe. But up to 400 other ethnic minorities live in the country. They include the Ijaw (11%), the Kanuri (8%), the Ibibio (4.5%) and the Tiv (3.5%). In the past there have always been brutal clashes between individual ethnic groups. Individual ethnic minorities resisted the politically dominant Hausa and Yoruba, especially in the 1960s, with fatalities. Interesting but also frightening in Nigeria is the formation of vigilante groups, gangs (area boys), protection troops, militias and secret societies that have been formed since the end of the military dictatorship in 1999.

A European minority of around 16,000 people also live in Nigeria. These are mostly British.

Religious affiliation

Slightly more than 50% of the residents of Nigeria are Christians (about 2/3 of them are Protestant) and about 50% are Muslim.

Natural religions are also common. Most of the Christians live in the south and the Muslims more in the north of the country. At the “border” between the two religions in the state of Plateau there are always bloody clashes between the Muslim Hausa Fulani nomads and the local Christians. In 2001 around 1,000 people were killed. In January 2010, 300 people – mostly Muslims – died and in March 2010 around 500 people, mostly Christians. The mining town of Jos is a particular focus of violence. Reasons for the riots include the tendencies towards Islamization, which have been observed more and more since the democratization of Nigeria from 1999 onwards. In addition, the extremist Islamic sect “Boko Haram” is striving

National languages

The official language of Nigeria is English. The most important colloquial languages are Yoruba in the southwest of the country, Ibo/Igbo in the southeast, Hausa in the north and Fulbe. There are also around 400 other languages in use. In northern Nigeria, because of the Muslim faith, the Arabic language is also found.

English or Nenglish?

Even if English is one of the official languages in the country, you shouldn’t be surprised if you quickly discover that Nigerian English (Nenglisch) often contradicts the English we know. Examples? Instead of “I don’t know” one usually hears “I no know” and instead of “I know” “I know now”. Instead of “don’t”, “done” is often used, and in Nigeria people prefer to use “no” instead of “don’t”. The strong Nigerian accent makes things just as difficult as the fact that in the country – as in other parts of Africa – politeness is usually not used, which can sound very harsh. It is not meant to be rude. Therefore, one should not flinch offended when, for example, instead of a friendly “Could you hand me the cup, please” only hear: “Bring hammer” or simply “Hammer now”. Another confusion is the duplication of numbers, so that instead of “Ten Dollars” you hear “Ten ten Dollars”.

Capital and other larger cities


Abuja, Nigeria’s capital since 1991, is located in the west of the country and, with a population of 2.7 million, extends exactly between the Christian south and the Muslim north. It is the seat of the Secretariat of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), a federation of African states that was created on the model of the European Union. Abuja is a drawing board city – clean, safe, artificial and controlled in its growth. In contrast to the preppy flair of the urban artifact, there are hardly any, and if so, only overpriced leisure opportunities in Abuja. There are no theaters and no opera houses. There are only two cinemas and only one small animal park, which for financial reasons cannot afford to care for predators. The cityscape itself is characterized by modern buildings. At the moment, the 170 meter high Millennium Tower is still being built, a gigantic leisure complex that, for financial reasons, cannot be completed until the next few years. Buildings worth seeing in Abuja are the National Mosque, the Christian Nigerian National Church, the Presidential Complex and the Abuja Stadium. The largest park is the Millennium Park in the center of Abuja. According to Abbreviation Finder, NGA stands for Nigeria in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.


Since smoking is illegal in the streets of Abuja and even smokers who have smoked in their own car have already been punished, it is better not to get caught with a glowing stick.


The capital of the Nigerian state Oyo is inhabited by about 3,600,000 people and is – after Lagos and Kano – Nigeria’s third largest city. Ibadan spreads in the southwest of the country and is architecturally characterized by Africa’s first high-rise, the Cocoa House, as well as the Bower’s Tower, an observation tower on the Oke Aàre hill. Ibadan also has Nigeria’s oldest university, founded in 1948, and the Mapo Hall, a colonial-style town hall.


Around 1,500,000 people live in Kaduna, a city that is one of the political and religious strongholds of the Muslim north of Nigeria. Kaduna, also known as the trade fair city, is also economically important and the headquarters of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.


Nigeria’s second largest city has a population of around 3,600,000 and spreads across the north of the country. The clay remnants of the former city wall are among the structurally outstanding components of the city. These are almost 20 kilometers long and are reminiscent of the pre-colonial urban structure. Architecturally, Kano is dominated by the Great Emir’s Palace and the Great Mosque.


Nigeria’s largest and former capital, Lagos, with around 18 million residents, is one of the largest and most populous cities in Africa and the world, alongside Cairo and Kinshasa. In terms of area, the city is roughly the same size as the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Lagos spreads along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea and, in addition to the mainland, extends over several islands that are connected to the Nigerian mainland by three bridges. The city, which is blessed with numerous beautiful beaches, is the focus of inner Nigerian migration. The gigantic number of immigrants is reflected in urban chaos, in which life predominantly takes place on the streets. The city is also the hub of the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood), owns one of the most important theaters in Nigeria with the National Arts Theater and is considered the country’s financial and banking center. But Lagos is also the most expensive city in Nigeria. The most outstanding buildings in the city include the National Museum in Onikan, the National Theater and the Surulere National Stadium.

Port Harcourt

The capital of the Nigerian state Rivers spreads out with about 1.2 million residents in the south of the country. It was founded by the British in 1912 and has recently had to look back on a violent past, which was marked by ethnic-religious conflicts and the kidnappings of foreigners.

Nigeria: geography, map

Land area

Nigeria covers an area of a total of 923,768 square kilometers. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Nigeria. Thereof:

  • ForestAround 10% of the country is forested.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 44% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 36% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing peanuts, cocoa, oil palms, rubber and cotton.

National borders

Nigeria shares a border with the following four countries:

Benin with a length of 773 km,

Cameroon with a length of 1,690 km,

Chad with a length of 87 km and

Niger with a length of 1,497 km.

Longitude and latitude

Nigeria extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 04 ° to 14 ° north latitude Δλ = from 002 ° 40 ‘to 014 ° 40’ east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Nigeria, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without summer time) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = 0 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest sun in Lagos

Lagos lies at a northern latitude of around φ = 06 °.

If the declination δ of the sun has a value of 06 °, and the sun’s image point is thus exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular to the city. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 23 days after March 21st and 23 days before September 21st (for details see position of the sun).


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination is north of the latitude of Lagos, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.


Chappal Waddi

The highest mountain in the country is the Chappal Waddi with a height of 2,419 m. Other high mountains are:

  • the Dimlang with a height of 2,042 m
  • the Sara peak with a height of 1.690 m
  • the Mount Kagora m with a height of 1,635.



The longest river in the country is the Niger with a total length of 4,181 km. Other rivers in the country are:

  • the Benua
  • the kaduna
  • the Hadejia
  • the cross,
  • the ogun
  • the Oshun


Lake Chad

The largest lake in the country is Lake Chad, which is located in the border region of Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon and the area of which cannot be specified precisely because it varies with the seasons and also shrinks over longer periods of time.

Lake Chad is extremely shallow (only 3 m in the south, 7 m in the north), and its size has therefore always been subject to extreme fluctuations. Scientists assume that about 30,000 years ago Lake Chad still had an area of 370,000 km² and was therefore the largest lake on earth at the time. Since then, it has been steadily silting up. At the last high point, in 1963, the lake had an area of 12,700 km². Other larger lakes in Nigeria are:

  • the Kainji Reservoir
  • the Tisa reservoir.

Gulf of Guinea, Atlantic

Nigeria borders in the south of the country with a coastline of 855 km directly on the Gulf of Guinea, which is part of the Atlantic. You can find a detailed description of these seas at Goruma under the following links:

– Atlantic Ocean

– Gulf of Guinea

Nigeria Population