Nigeria is located in West Africa. The country has a compact area of 923,768 square kilometers (356,376 square miles). This land mass extends from the Gulf of Guinea in the south to the Sahel (the shore of the Sahara Desert) in the North.
Comparatively, Nigeria is slightly more than twice the size of California, or the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona combined.
Nigeria is divided into 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory. These states are further divided into 774 local government areas. Additionally, the country comprises 6 zones which include:
- South-West: Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo
- South-South: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-river, Delta, Edo, Rivers
- South-East: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Aguno, Imo
- North-West: Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara
- North-Central: Benue, Kogi, kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau
- North-East: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Tarab and Yobe
Initially, Nigeria was made up 3 regions post-independence. These included the Northern region with the centre in Kaduna and Hausa as a main dominated nation, the West with its centre located in Ibadan and it’s mainly population as the Yoruba nation) and the East with the centre in Enugu and main nations occupying this territory being Igbo, Edo (Bini) and Ibibio.
In 1967, the country evolved from the region based system to a state based one and was initially made up of 12 States. The number of states continued to increase over the years and eventually stopped at 36 which is the current number.
The smallest state in Nigeria by land mass is Lagos. The state is located on the shores of the Gulf of Benin and the Lagos lagoon. Administratively, it consists of a huge number of areas which are scattered at large distances and are connected by highways. Also, Lagos is the largest industrial and commercial center in West Africa. The land mass of Lagos is 3 345 km2. The population density in Lagos is the highest in Nigeria. Despite the fact that state is the smallest in the country in terms of land mass, it remains the state with the highest number of residents largely due to the influx of people from all parts of the country in to the state.
The second smallest state in Nigeria is Anambra. This is one of the enterprising states of the South-East. The administrative centre of the state is the city of Awka. The major cities are Onitsha and Nnewi. The state is named after the river Anambra.
Kano is the second most populous state of the country and it is the economic hub of Northern Nigeria. Kano is a major trading centre of cotton, cattle and peanuts. Also, the state is known for its extremely high-quality leather: dyed goatskin which is sold in North Africa, and thence is taken to Europe, where such materials are called Moroccan leather. The land mass of Kano is 20 131 km2.
Below is the ranking of the states in the country based on population, land mass and population density.
States | Population (2006) | Landmass (km2) | Population Density (km2)
Kano State | 9,383,682 | 20,680.00 | 454
Lagos State | 9,013,534 | 3,345.00 | 2,695
Kaduna State | 6,066,562 | 43,460.00 | 140
Katsina State | 5,792,578 | 26,785.00 | 216
Oyo State | 5,591,589 | 27,460.00 | 204
Rivers State| 5,185,400 | 11,077.00 | 468
Bauchi State | 4,676,465 | 64,605.00 | 72
Jigawa State | 4,348,649 | 22,605.00 | 192
Benue State | 4,219,244 | 34,059.00 | 124
Anambra State | 4,182,032 | 4,844.00 | 863
Borno State | 4,151,193 | 71,130.00 | 58
Delta State | 4,098,391 | 18,050.00 | 227
Imo State | 3,934,899 | 5,430.00 | 725
Niger State | 3,950,249 | 13,930.00 | 284
Akwa Ibom State | 3,920,208 | 6,187.00 | 634
Ogun State | 3,728,098 | 16,762.00 | 222
Sokoto State | 3,696,999 | 25,973.00 | 142
Ondo State | 3,441,024 | 14,606.00 | 236
Osun State | 3,423,535 | 10,245.00 | 334
Kogi State | 3,278,487 | 32,440.00 | 284
Zamfara State | 3,259,846 | 39,762.00 | 82
Enugu State | 3,257,298 | 12,440.00 | 262
Kebbi State | 3,238,628 | 41,855.00 | 77
Edo State | 3,218,332 | 17,450.00 | 184
Plateau State | 3,178,712 | 58,030.00 | 55
Adamawa State | 3,168,101 | 36,917.00 | 86
Cross River State | 2,888,966 | 21,050.00 | 137
Abia State | 2,833,999 | 5,420.00 | 441
Ekiti State | 2,384,212 | 6,353.00 | 375
Kwara State | 2,371,089 | 37,700.00 | 63
Gombe State| 2,353,879 | 18,768.00 | 125
Yobe State | 2,321,591 | 45,270.00 | 51
Taraba State | 2,300,736 | 55,920.00 | 54
Ebonyi State | 2,173,501 | 5,530.00 | 393
Nasarawa State | 1,863,275 | 27,117.00 | 69
Bayelsa State | 1,703,358 | 10,773.00 | 158
Abuja (FCT) | 1,405,201 | 7,315.00 | 192
In terms of population density, Nigeria has one of the highest in Africa. It ranges from 100 persons per square kilometer in the northeastern and west-central regions to more than 500 persons per square kilometer in the south and northwestern regions.
Generally, the Nigerian population is relatively young. According to a 2000 estimate of the age structure, the largest segment of the population (53%) and this is comprised of individuals who are between 15 and 64 years old. This percentage included 33,475,794 males and 32,337,193 females. The second largest segment (44%) was between 0 and 14 years old and included 27,181,020 males and 26,872,317 females.
The smallest segment (3%) were individuals 65 years and older, including 1,729,149 males and 1,722,349 females. The estimated sex ratio of the total population in 2000 was 1.02 males to 1 female while life expectancy at birth for the total population was 51.56 years: 51.58 years for males, and 51.55 years for females.
With the influence of education, especially among women, and the availability of birth control information, including family planning, it is expected that the population growth in the country will be controlled. Also, Nigeria has been receiving assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and implement its population control plan.