As the eighth most populated nation in the world, more people call Nigeria their home than any other country in Africa. Located in West Africa on the east coast of the Gulf of New Guinea, the Niger and Benue Rivers converge and form a “Y” that separates the country into three sections and three major ethnic groups-the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. English is the official language, but the many tribal groups also speak 521 other languages. This former English colony holds the distinction for having more sets of twins born here than in any other country in the world.
Nigeria is one of the world’s leaders in petroleum resources and exportation. Weak and corrupt governments have made the Nigerian economy far too dependent on the exportation of oil, and most of the oil profits have remained in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Most of Nigeria’s work force is engaged in agriculture and 70 percent of Nigerians are classified as living below the poverty line. In recent years, however, a new civilian government has renewed its focus on the people, and the Nigerian economy has become one of the fastest growing in the world.
The Nigerian population is split more or less equally between Christianity and Islam with a small percentage that practice indigenous religions. Evangelicals represent 30% of the Christian segment. Many people have beliefs that reflect the influence of their indigenous roots and are part of their Christian and Muslim practices. Muslim and Christian relations in Nigeria are strained, and violence has resulted in loss of life in both groups. Facing Muslim persecution, Christians are working to reach the unreached people groups of Nigeria.