Nigeria, a country blessed with approximately 160 million people stands as the giant of Africa and the seventh most populous nation in the world. Nigeria continues to attract people from neighbouring countries and foreign investors alike, as it is one of the liveliest places in Africa and home to Lagos one of the most prominent citadel city of industry and commerce in sub-Saharan Africa. Its journey as an independent nation may have started in the 60’s but its history and culture dates far back to the precolonial era.
Contrary to what several people believe, many aspects of modern day life in Nigeria began to take shape as various states began to thrive and a sudden bloom in the economy saw an increase in the influx of investors.
State of the art facilities began to spring up across major cities like Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
The elite few began to spend more on leisure life, various resorts in Lagos and across major states, luxury hotels like Federal Palace Hotel Lagos became the hub of relaxation for elites who required top notch service.
Listed below are 25 interesting/fun facts about Nigeria and its people.
- Nigeria was formed under Governor Frederick Lugard in 1914.
- Nigerians make up one-fifth of the total population of Black Africa.
- The Nigerian currency was introduced in 1959.
- With 521 languages, Nigeria is the third most multi lingual country in the world according to ethnologue.
- In the 1850s, Kano, one of the largest cities in Africa, made 10 million sandal pairs and 5 million hides for export annually.
- In 1246 AD the Kanemi of Borno created a sensation in Tunisia when he sent a gift of a giraffe to Al-Mustapha, king of Tunis.
- In 1000AD, Queen Luwo, the twenty-first Ooni of Ile-Ife supervised the design and construction of the streets with quartz pebble and broken pottery. Originally created to pave the way for the queen so as not to soil her clothing and feet during the rainy season. By the 14th and 15th centuries, apaadi Luwo had become part of the architectural heritage of Ife.
- Lord Lugard described Kano: ‘Commercial emporium of the western Sudan.’ Of its wall, he said, ‘I have never seen, nor even imagined, anything like it in Africa.’ He estimated in 1904 that there were 170 walled towns still in existence in the whole of just the Kano province of northern Nigeria.
- The Guinness Book of World Records (1974) describes the walls of Benin City as the world's second largest man-made structure after China's Great Wall. “The Walls of Benin City was the world's largest man-made earth structure.” Fred Pearce wrote in New Scientist. Finished in 1460, the Benin Iya or moat is a historic world defence wonder. Before it was ravaged by the British in 1897, it was known as one of the largest man made structure lengthwise and considered as the largest earth work in the world by most.
- Established in 1965, Cocoa house in the city of Ibadan, Oyo state was once the tallest building in tropical Africa.
- Discovered in 1928, Nigeria’s North and North Central region hosts West Africa’s oldest civilization; the Nok, which flourished between 1000 BC and 300 BC.
- In 1976, 75 kobo exchanged for one British Pound and 60 kobo for one US dollar.
- 5 of the 10 richest pastors in the entire world are Nigerians, with net worth’s according to Forbes, from $10-150 million. They include; Pastors, David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, Chris Oyakhilome, Temitope Joshua and Mathew Ashimolowo.
- A brand new car sold for N2000 in 1975.
- A ticket to London was less than N100 in 1975.
- Until 1984, travel visa was not required to travel to the United Kingdom.
- King of Kanem-Bornu, Idrîs Aloma (1571-1603) went on pilgrimage and came across firearms. He brought some guns back, along with Turks to train his army on how to use them.
- The north was the more literate part of Nigeria in the past. According to Lord Luggard, there were 25,000 Qur’anic Arabic schools with about 250,000 pupils in the north.
- Legendary Fela’s mother, Mrs. Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti was one of the delegates that negotiated Nigeria’s independence in Britain.
- The Adubi war in 1918 was a major uprising by 30,000 Abeokuta Egba warriors against the colonial government for colonization, taxation and slave labor. One British was killed, rail and telegraph lines were destroyed. The British rewarded their soldiers with medals for quelling the uprising.
- Nigeria’s north (719,000 sq. km), makes up 80% of Nigeria’s land mass. It is four times the South in size.
- Repatriated Brazilian and Cuban slaves were known as the Amaros; they are the ‘Aguda’ people of Lagos today.
- According to U.S Bureau Census data, Nigerian immigrants have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing every other ethnic group in the country,
- The Yoruba ethnic group and its bloodlines have the highest rate of twins in the world.
- Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote is the richest Black person in the world, with a net worth of $16.1bn.