Floods are submerging whole houses in Nigeria. At least 80 have died trying to escape the rising waters of the River Niger. More than 1,000 migrants have been stranded on the riverbanks.
I had always dreamed of visiting Nigeria, one of the most influential countries in Africa. It was only when I started studying International Politics at the University of Manchester that I discovered how different the country could be from the one I had read about in school books.
The country has a long history of political turmoil. Its capital, Abuja, is currently the capital of Nigeria. With a population of over 160 million, it is one of Africa’s most populous countries. While the economy fluctuates between boom to bust, the society is always torn by internal political conflict and ethnic riots.
I was about to embark on a journey that would take me across Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. I would discover how the country has developed over the last six decades and how it is trying to cope with the consequences of the global economic crisis on African soil.
I would travel to a country that the media often overlooks, where a recent uprising has shaken up the government into trying to address the growing social tensions.
What is Nigeria?
Nigeria is the world’s most populous country. It is the second most populous country in Africa as well as Africa’s most populous country between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.
It has an almost 100% literacy rate. While the country has a long political history, the recent uprisings in the 1990s and the 2000s have led to massive political change. The country was founded as a British colony in 1911.
The Nigerian government has been trying to become wealthy and become a middle-income nation from the mid-20th century onwards. While many commentators have predicted that the country would be plunged into poverty by the end of the century, it has succeeded in becoming an economic giant which has been exporting oil and making profits.
The growth of Nigeria
The city of Lagos, in the south of the country, is Africa’s largest city with an approximate population of 2 million residents. Lagos is the biggest city that Nigeria will ever see. If it has the