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Nigeria General Information
 
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Nigeria Geography
 
 
 

Located at the extreme inner corner of the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa, Nigeria occupies an area of 923,768 sq. km (356,669 sq mi), extending 1,127 km (700 mi) east to west, and 1,046 km (650 mi) north to south.

Comparatively, the area occupied by Nigeria is slightly more than twice the size of the state of California.

It is bordered by Chad on the northeast, by Cameroon on the east, by the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea) on the south, by Benin (formerly Dahomey) on the west, and by Niger on the northwest and north, with a total boundary length of 4,900 km (3,045 mi), of which 853 km (530 mi) is coastline. The borders between Nigeria and Chad and Nigeria and Cameroon are disputed, and there have been occasional border clashes.

Nigeria's capital city, Abuja, is located in the centre of the country.

Along the entire coastline of Nigeria lies a belt of mangrove swamp forest from 16 to 96 km (10-60 mi) in width, which is intersected by branches of the Niger and innumerable other smaller rivers and creeks. Beyond the swamp forest is a zone, from 80 to 160 km (50-100 mi) wide, of undulating tropical rain forest.

The country then rises to a plateau at a general elevation of about 600 m (2,000 ft) but reaches a maximum of 2,042 m (6,700 ft) on the eastern border in the Shebshi Mountains, and the vegetation changes from woodland to savanna, with thick forest in the mountains. In the extreme north, the country approaches the southern part of the Sahara.

The Niger, the third-largest river of Africa, enters Nigeria from the northwest and runs in a southeasterly direction, meeting its principal tributary, the Benue, at Lokoja, about 550 km (340 mi) from the sea. It then flows south to the delta, through which it empties into the Gulf of Guinea via numerous channels. Other main tributaries of the Niger are the Sokoto and Kaduna rivers. The second great drainage system of Nigeria flows north and east from the central plateau and empties into Lake Chad. Kainji Lake, in the northwest, was created by construction of a dam on the Niger above Jebba.

Although Nigeria lies wholly within the tropical zone, there are wide climatic variations in different regions of the country. Near the coast, the seasons are not sharply defined. Temperatures rarely exceed 32°C (90°F), but humidity is very high and nights are hot.

Inland, there are two distinct seasons: a wet season from April to October, with generally lower temperatures, and a dry season from November to March, with midday temperatures that surpass 38°C (100°F) but relatively cool nights, dropping as low as 12°C (54°F). On the Jos Plateau, temperatures are more moderate.

Average rainfall along the coast varies from about 180 cm (70 in) in the west to about 430 cm (170 in) in certain parts of the east. Inland, it decreases to around 130 cm (50 in) over most of central Nigeria and only 50 cm (20 in) in the extreme north.

Two principal wind currents affect Nigeria. The harmattan, from the northeast, is hot and dry and carries a reddish dust from the desert; it causes high temperatures during the day and cool nights. The southwest wind brings cloudy and rainy weather.


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