Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country (170 million).  It is a bit more than twice the size of California with only 3% of the population over 65.  It is an interesting country — amazingly wealthy in natural resources (31st in the world in GDP) yet more than 70% of the populace live below the poverty line.  The country’s leadership over the years has been corrupt, venal and self-serving sending billions out of the country for personal bank accounts. 

There are three main tribes in Nigeria:  the Yoruba (21%), the Hausa/Fulani (29%) and the Ibo (Igbo) (18%).   While there are hundreds of indigenous languages, English is the official language of the country.  The majority of Yoruba are Christian though there is a large population of Muslims among the Yoruba.  It is interesting that Muslim and Christian Yoruba get along just fine, they often intermarry and attend one another’s worship services.  The Ibo are primarily Christian.  It’s the Hausa who are 95% Muslim that have caused strife — not only in Nigeria but also in the international community.  Many Hausa are of the Boko Haram school — violent jihadists who want to impose sharia law.   Hausa Muslims do not get along with the Yoruba Muslims (or anyone else for that matter).  This has been a cause for ongoing and well-publicized violence in the North against Christians and non-Hausa Muslims.

There are many Nigerians in Chicago and nearly all are Yoruba.  A large number of cab drivers are Nigerian (see my post of August 19, 2012).   Most seem to be Christian though many are Muslim.  Yorubas and Ibos assimilate well among other Africans.  I have only had Hausa cab drivers on a few occasions.  All – from the north (mainly Maiduguri) – have been in that tiny minority of Christians.  All left Nigeria because of persecution and violence.  Given the strategic location of Nigeria (coastal West Africa) and its tactical resources (mainly oil), this is one country we should really want to understand . . . . .

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