Nigeria is a western African country located at the geographical coordinates of 10° N and 8° E. It shares its northern border with the Republic of Niger and Chad, and to its west is the Republic of Benin. To its eastern border is the Republic of Cameroon and the Atlantic Ocean covers the southern part with a coastline of 853 km. Nigeria has a total area of 923, 768 sq. km and its capital city is Abuja.
Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups all across and it is also the most populous African nation. Some of the major ethnic groups are Hausa and Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio and Tiv. The majority of the Nigerian population are Muslims and Christians. The official language is English but numerous other indigenous languages are spoken, such as Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Fulani.
Jollof rice is one of the popular dishes of Nigeria. It is also known as benachin which means ‘one pot’. This dish is comprised of rice, tomato paste, tomatoes, red pepper and salt. Tomatoes, spices and onions are fried in coconut oil and rice is added to the mixture and then fried altogether. Meat and other vegetables are also mixed while preparing this dish.
Maafe is another popular Nigerian dish. It is prepared by cooking lamb, chicken or beef meat with a sauce based on groundnut and tomatoes. Some of the other ingredients used while cooking Maafe are cabbages, onions and other root or leafy vegetables.
- Jollof rice
Suya is a kind of chicken, fish or beef kebab. It originated from northern Nigeria among its Hausa tribe. The meats are seasoned with tankora, a mixture of spices such as ginger, powdered groundnuts, cayenne pepper, onion powder and paprika. The pieces of meats are then skewered in sticks and cooked in an open fire like barbeque.
Moin moin is a staple food of Nigeria which was originated from the Yoruba tribe of the south-western Nigeria. This is a pudding rich in protein because of its ingredients which comprises of black-eyed beans that are to be washed and peeled before cooking, onions and a mixture of ground peppers such as chilli, bell peppers and scotch bonnet.
- Moin Moin
The most popular traditional festival of Nigeria is the annual Argungu fishing festival which is held every year in the month of February or March, in the town of Argungu which is in the state of Kebbit. During this festival, the locals get into any water body along with fishing nets. Catching fish has always been the spirit of the festival and to encourage them there are the drummers who stand near the water and beat the drums. There are also competitions held during the festival such as canoe racing, diving competition and fishing competition.
There are three major Muslim festivals celebrated in Nigeria, namely, Eid Al-Fitr which is a three-day festival celebrated at the end of the month of Ramadan, Eid Al-Mawlid which is the celebration of prophet Muhammed’s birthday and Eid Al-Kabir also known as Festival of Sacrifice commemorating Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael as a symbol of devotion to God.
Nigeria is also home to some of the endemic species of the world especially birds. One of the endemic birds is the Jos Plateau Indigobird which is scientifically known as Vidua maryae. It is a 12 cm long small reddish-brown bird which was discovered in 1968 and is found only in the Jos Plateau of Nigeria. Another bird whose existence can be found only in Nigeria is the Anambra waxbill, scientifically known as Estrilda poliopareia.
- Jos Plateau Indigobird
Jos Plateau Indigobird Anambra waxbill
Sclater’s Guenon is another species which is known to be endemic to Nigeria. It is also known as Sclater’s monkey and the Nigerian monkey. The scientific name of this species is Cercopithecus sclateri.
- Sclater’s Guenon
Moreover, Nigeria is also home to the Niger Delta which is not only the second largest delta in the world but also has the highest population of the genera of fishes which has only one species. The Niger Delta also covers 60% of the Nigeria’s mangrove forests which are the largest in Africa and third largest in the world.