Nigeria Country Profile
Officially, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria is located in West Africa, bordering Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, with a coastline on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.
Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous kingdoms and states over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, but became a formally independent federation in 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999.
With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world, with 250 ethnic groups speaking over 500 languages. The official language of Nigeria is English. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north, with a minority practicing religions indigenous to Nigeria.
Despite Nigeria having the world's 20th largest economy as of 2015, its Human Development Index, ranks 152nd in the world, with insufficient job opportunities for its youthful populations, causing many to migrate for work.
What human rights reasons are forcing people to leave Nigeria?
The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram continues to conduct abductions, suicide bombings, and attacks on civilian targets in the North east of the country, killing thousands of people and displacing many more.
In 2018 at least 1,600 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced as a result of violence resulting from a decades old communal conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt.
In the same year, civil society led campaigns against arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture, exposing human rights abuses by security agencies, including by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
In Nigeria, a law was passed criminalizing public show of same sex amorous relationships, same sex marriages, and the registration of gay clubs, societies, and organizations, resulting in many people being arrested, detained, and prosecuted based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Human Rights Watch