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Location: Nigeria is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea

between Benin and Cameroon.

Size: Nigeria has an area of 923,768 square kilometers, including

about 13,000 square kilometers of water.

Land Boundaries: Nigeria shares borders with Cameroon (1,690 kilometers) in the east, Niger (1,497 kilometers) in the north, Benin (773 kilometers) in the west, and Chad (87 kilometers) in the northeast.

Disputed Territory: Nigeria and Cameroon have held bilateral meetings to resolve disputes concerning the two countries’ shared land and maritime boundary. Nigeria has not fulfilled its pledge to cede the Bakasi Peninsula, which juts into the Gulf of Guinea, to Cameroon, despite the International Court of Justice’s ruling in favor of Cameroon in 2002.

Length of Coastline: Nigeria’s coastline along the Gulf of Guinea totals 853 kilometers.

Maritime Claims: Nigeria claims a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles, and a continental shelf to a depth of 200 meters or to the depth of exploitation.

Topography: Nigeria has five major geographic regions: a low coastal zone along the Gulf of Guinea; hills and low plateaus north of the coastal zone; the Niger-Benue river valley; a broad stepped plateau stretching to the northern border that has elevations exceeding 1,200 meters; and a mountainous zone along the eastern border, which includes the country’s highest point, Chappal Waddi (2,419 meters).

Principal Rivers: Nigeria has two principal river systems: the Niger-Benue and the Chad. The Niger River, the largest in West Africa, flows 4,000 kilometers from Guinea through Mali, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria before emptying into the Gulf of Guinea. The Benue, the Niger’s largest tributary, flows 1,400 kilometers from Cameroon into Nigeria, where it empties into the Niger River. The country’s other river system involves various rivers that merge into the Yobe River, which then flows along the border with Niger and empties into Lake Chad.

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Climate: Nigeria’s climate is arid in the north, tropical in the center, and equatorial in the south. Variations are governed by the interaction of moist southwest monsoon and dry northeast winds. Mean maximum temperatures are 30º C–32º C in the south and 33º C–35º C in the north. High humidity is characteristic from February to November in the south and from June to September in the north. Low humidity coincides with the dry season. Annual rainfall decreases northward; rainfall ranges from about 2,000 millimeters in the coastal zone (averaging more than 3,550 millimeters in the Niger Delta) to 500–750 millimeters in the north.

Natural Resources: Nigeria’s primary natural resources consist of natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, and zinc. Nigeria has proven oil reserves of 35.9 billion barrels, the tenth largest reserves in the world. Proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 185 trillion cubic feet, the seventh largest reserves in the world and the largest in Africa. Estimates for oil and natural gas reserves are as of January 2006. The country also has an abundance of arable land.

Land Use: In 2005 Nigeria’s land use was as follows: arable land, 33 percent; permanent crops, 3 percent; and other, 64 percent.

Environmental Factors: In Nigeria urbanization and industrialization have led to a waste management crisis, resulting in widespread air, water, and soil pollution. Oil spills, natural gas flaring, automobile emissions, the open burning and dumping of waste, and improperly constructed landfills all contribute to serious environmental damage. Nigeria plans to phase out natural gas flaring by 2008 by converting natural gas into liquefied natural gas. Another major environmental issue is deforestation and the attendant loss of arable land as a result of logging, burning, and overgrazing by livestock. The area occupied by forests has been cut roughly in half since 1990.

Time Zone: Nigeria observes Nigeria Standard Time, which is Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour.

PUBLISHER / AUTHOR: This series of profiles of foreign nations is part of the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The profiles offer brief, summarized information on a country's historical background, geography, society, economy, transportation and telecommunications, government and politics, and national security. In addition to being featured in the front matter of published Country Studies, they are now being prepared as stand-alone reference aides for all countries in the series, as well as for a number of additional countries of interest. The profiles offer reasonably current country information independent of the existence of a recently published Country Study and will be updated annually or more frequently as events warrant.

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