Nigeria Overview Part III

Energy and mining

Nigeria has deposits of coal, marble and tin, but oil is the main resource in the subsoil. Discovered in the Niger Delta in the 1950s, it soon transformed Nigeria into one of the largest producers in the world. There are deposits of natural gas, but the export of the product is hampered by distances. The country’s economy depends heavily on international oil prices. Much of the energy consumed in Nigeria comes from hydroelectric plants, among which Kainji stands out.


Although it has grown since the 1970s, the Nigerian industrial sector is still underdeveloped and employs a small contingent of labor. The most important industrial sectors are the production of beverages, tobacco, transportation equipment and automobiles, chemicals, textiles and food. Large industries are concentrated in the coastal area, especially around Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Finance and trade

The main sources of government income are direct taxes on oil exploration and mining royalties. The largest public expenditures are for state aid, defense, administration, health and education. The Central Bank, created in 1959, with branches in all capitals, disciplines the conduct of commercial banks in the country. In 1976, foreign banks were forced to sell sixty percent of their shares to Nigerians.

The domestic trade of staple foods is structured as follows: the southern states supply bananas, cassava and fruit to the northern states; these provide meat, beans, onions and vegetables to those in the south. Both regions receive yams and potatoes from the central states. Women play a key role in the trade in food and manufactured goods. There are few department stores. Most of the products are sold in open markets or in isolated stores.

Trade between Nigeria and other African countries is small. The main markets for Nigerian exports – basically oil, cocoa, palm oil, wood and tin – are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. The largest imports are consumer and non-durable goods, raw materials raw materials, machinery and automobiles, from Japan and western Europe.

Transport and communications

River navigation, formerly the main form of transport, has remained relatively important on the Niger and Benuê rivers. Most of Nigerian foreign trade takes place through the ports of Lagos and Port Harcourt; Lagos and Kano have international airports. Almost all major cities are connected by regular airlines. The rail network has two main routes of penetration from the coast to the interior, which connect Lagos with Kano and Port Harcourt with Maiduguri. The internal transport of passengers and cargo is done by road. The central government takes care of the main highways, which connect the state capitals. The only express highway in the country, opened in 1978, connects Lagos to Ibadan.


Between the sixth and third centuries BC, there existed in Nigeria the “Nok civilization”, which worked with iron and tin, knew agriculture and statuary art, and influenced later civilizations.

Native States

According to, the modern Nigerian state brings together numerous peoples of diverse historical evolution. The Islamization of the northern peoples was due to contacts, by the Sahara, with the Muslim states of North Africa. In the 11th century the vast empire of Kanem-Bornu was formed around Lake Chad. Several Islamist Hausa states, such as Kano, Zaria and Gobir, have remained for centuries and have sometimes formed confederations for mutual defense.

The Fulas, nomadic shepherds of uncertain origin, also Islamized, merged in part with the Hausa. In the early 19th century, Sheikh Fula Usman (Othman) dan Fodio subjected almost all Hausa kingdoms and created an empire that lasted until the arrival of the British colonizer at the end of the century.

The central zone of Nigeria was occupied by a multitude of peoples who did not reach a remarkable degree of civilization; only their historical memory remains, as in the case of the Ibo peoples of the southeast. In the southwest, however, large states of the Yoruba and Benis were formed. When the first European ships reached the coasts of the Gulf of Guinea, the King of Benin extended his power over a wide coastal strip west of the mouth of Niger. For centuries, the kingdom owed much of its wealth to trade with Europeans, who did not attempt to occupy the country and limited themselves to establishing factories on the coast.

Nigeria Energy and mining