Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country and is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies. Nigeria is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations, and the African Union.
Located in West Africa and named for the Niger River, Nigeria is one of the most developed countries in Africa. The country has an extensive and spectacular coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in addition to sharing borders with Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon. The southern portion of the country is wetter and more forested and the northern part of the country is a dry Savanna. There is also a rainforest in the eastern part of the country. The tropical forest region provides timber production and fruit trees, including citrus, palms, cocoa and rubber. Nigeria has tremendous natural resources, including agriculture, minerals, waterways and forests and is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer. The country has a well-educated population and is respected globally as one of the major power players in Africa, along with South Africa.
Essential Facts about Nigeria
- Although the official language in Nigeria is English, the country contains more than 250 ethnic groups who speak more than 500 different languages.
- The official currency is the Nigerian Naira, abbreviated NGN. The Naira is further subdivided into 100 kobo.
- Nigeria is composed of 36 states and has a centralized capital city, Abuja, located in the middle of the country.
- With a population of 10 million, Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and is also a major port.
- The main religions in Nigeria are about Islam (about 50 percent of the population) and Christianity (about 40 percent of the population). The remaining 10 percent of the population observes a large number of indigenous religions. The constitution in Nigeria guarantees freedom of religion.
- With about 150 million people, Nigeria has the largest population among African countries. The country also has a high population growth rate, about 3 percent each year, due to recent declines in infant mortality.
- More than 60 percent of the Nigerian population is involved in producing food and cash crops, including maize, rice, beans, onions and cotton.
- Nigeria has a very diverse and sophisticated art culture that dates back several thousand years. The earliest known sculptures are terra cotta figurines that date back to 500 B.C.
Due to Nigeria’s location near the Equator, the climate is fairly hot and temperatures across the country have little variation across seasons. The temperature range is about 22 to 36 degrees Celsius, with a wet season that lasts from November until March and a dry season the rest of the year. The hottest part of the year is in February and March.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in major cities in Nigeria is quite high, and one bedroom apartments typically cost around $1,500 per month. However, the country has made recent efforts to develop more affordable housing for students.
Non-Nigerian students must have a visa to enter the country and must also have a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) that they receive after arriving in Nigeria. The student must show that they have been accepted at a Nigerian university and that they have paid their tuition fees. The CERPAC is good for two years and has a fee of $US 200 per year. Students should use a CR (Concessionary) form to apply for the CERPAC and must report to a CERPAC office for capture of their digital personal identification. After this is complete and all paperwork is received, the student receives a temporary card, which is valid until the permanent card arrives.
Study in Nigeria
Higher Education in Nigeria
The Federal Ministry of Education oversees higher education in Nigeria. The country uses the traditional three-tier degree system of bachelor, master and PhD degrees and there are three types of institutions of higher education – universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. In addition to Master of Art and Master of Science degrees, institutions also award specialized master degrees such as Master of Architecture, Master of Engineering, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Library Science, Master of Education, Master of Laws and Master of Public Administration.
There are more than 30 federal and state universities, some of which specialize in technology, agriculture or other academic disciplines. There are also more than 20 federal and state polytechnics. Together, these institutions graduate more than 70,000 students each year in a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, business studies and architecture. Dozens of private institutions of higher education exist as well, bring the total number of universities and other institutions to more than 110.
Tuition at federal and state schools is very low, about $US 1,000 per year for African students and only slightly higher for foreign students. The academic calendar is based on semesters and generally runs from September through June. Many masters degree programs can be completed in one year.
Why Study in Nigeria?
In addition to studying in English, students will obtain a quality education at a very reasonable price in Nigeria. Students who do not speak English as a first language will be able to hone their English skills, making them more valuable to international businesses. In addition, students who are from Africa or who plan to work in Africa after they complete their studies will find the multi-cultural experience in Nigeria, along with social and extra-curricular activities, to be very educational.
Although Nigeria has a National Health Insurance System for Nigerian citizens, international students should plan to obtain private health insurance or health insurance from their home country that is valid in Nigeria. The Nigerian health care system uses both government and private facilities.
Do not rush introductions in Nigeria. Take the time to ask people about their families and get to know them a bit before engaging in other discussions.
Hierarchical structures are important in Nigeria and older people are given a great deal of respect. Also be sure to address people by their proper academic or professional titles.