Subject Material

Nigeria - Balancing on the Edge of Ethnic Conflicts

Published: 16.02.2012, Updated: 04.03.2017
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What do you know about Nigeria? Have you heard anything about it in the news lately? Find it on the world atlas link below and describe its location.

World Atlas 

Nigeria is an interesting country in many respects. It is Africa’s most populous country with 155 million people (est. 2011), according to the CIA World Factbook. It is also, alongside South Africa, another member of the English-speaking world and a regional superpower. It is said that “When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations catch cold.”
A Nigerian military policeman turns back women at suicide bomber detonation siteA Nigerian military policeman turns back women at suicide bomber detonation site
Fotograf: Rebecca Blackwell

CIA World Factbook

The CIA edits and publishes the World Factbook in order to provide civil servants with succinct information (geography, people and society, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, transnational issues) about all the countries that the US government acknowledges as states. This publication, which is updated regularly, is available for free on the Internet, and is a great resource for anyone who wants to read up on a country in an efficient manner.

CIA - The World Factbook 

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English - Official Language.

Nigeria has chosen English as its official language. This choice seems to be directly motivated by the large number of ethnic groups (more than 250) and indigenous languages (over 500) present on Nigerian soil. In other words, English works as a lingua franca – a language that makes communication possible between people who don’t share a mother tongue.

It has been said that a compromise is good if it leaves everyone a little bit dissatisfied. In other words, it is rarely an ideal solution. However, what is the alternative? Some would win it all, but some would also lose everything. In some contexts, such complete defeats are not acceptable, and they may very well lead to conflict and the use of force. Thus, the choice of an official language that was commonly shared throughout the population – even though it was probably inspired by pragmatism, with (one might suppose) very few people being really thrilled about it – seems like a wise one. Not giving the upper hand to some ethnic groups, at the expense of others, may have contributed to the neutralization of a probable and predictable source of unrest. 

Further Reading

Find out more about Nigeria here: Nigeria - Introduction 

 

Vocabulary

Glossary task with words from both this text and "Nigeria - Introduction". You will find the English words in the texts. You can also add more words to the list and create your own task.
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Forfatter: Amendor
 
Match the word with the correct explanation.
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Websearch

  1. Skim through the Factbook’s Nigerian section The online Factbook - CIA and find out what it can tell you about Nigeria as a multicultural society.
    Key
    How many of these did you find?
    1. “British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa’s most populous country grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960.”
    2. “Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions.”
    3. “Ethnic groups: Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%”
    4. “Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%”
    5. “Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages”
    6. “Legal system: mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law”
    7. “nearly 70 federal-government-controlled national and regional TV stations; all 36 states operate TV stations; several private TV stations operational”
    8. “communal violence between Christians and Muslims since President OBASANJO’s election in 1999; displacement is mostly short-term) (2007)”
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Oral Presentation

Give a brief oral presentation of Nigeria based on what you remember. Make sure you add expressions to create fluency, such as also, in addition, on the other hand, still, likewise, etc.

 

Writing

Write a short introduction to Nigeria based on what you remember. Make sure you add expressions to create fluency, such as also, in addition, on the other hand, still, likewise, etc.

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