Customs and traditions
Nigeria is geographically extensive and has a
very large population with different ethnicity, language
and religion. It brings with it an enormous diversity of
local traditions. How Nigerians should keep their vast
country together and create a common national feeling
has been a constant concern.
Since independence in 1960, all the country's
governments have seen sport as a means to unite the
people in common enthusiasm and pride. The authorities
have therefore built sports facilities and organized
competitions, mainly with neighboring countries.
Football is a national sport, and the national team is
called the Golden Eagles. Nigeria has also gained
success in basketball and boxing, for example.
Overview of the capital city of Nigeria, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Depending on different natural conditions, different
areas have their own, traditional dishes. Transport
difficulties still make use of locally produced raw
materials to a large extent.
Muslims in northern Nigeria refrain from pork and
alcohol for religious reasons but prefer to eat beans,
sorghum, rice and meat. Further south, jams and cassava
are central elements of the kitchen. The cassava is
bumped and ground into garri, which is the basic food
for many. Other starchy plants are also eaten, along
with small amounts of meat which is a bit of a luxury
food for many Nigerians. Peanuts are often mixed in the
food. People living along the coast or near rivers or
lakes eat a lot of fish. In the cities, ready-made
dishes are often purchased from special chop bars or
restaurants or from street vendors. You drink a lot of
tea, especially in the north. Local beer and palm wine
are also produced in the south.
In the traditional kitchen, spicy stews are common.
As the food is cooked outdoors over an open fire, it is
practical to put everything in the same pot. The main
meal is the lunch, which is often eaten at the river,
served from large, common dishes. In the traditional way
you eat directly with your hands, although some believe
that you should only use the right hand. Guests are
usually provided with a spoon. Often the different sexes
eat separately, although smaller children get food from
their mother's plate. In addition to lunch, you will
have a light, early breakfast and sometimes a late
supper, similar to lunch.
Traditions and holidays
Local parties to thank traditional gods or ancestors
for good harvest, hunting or fishing happiness have in
some cases developed into larger events. At Argungu in
the state of Kebbi in the north every year since 1934,
thousands of fishermen compete for a few hours to pull
up the largest catch from a river where they are not
allowed to fish for the rest of the year. During the
same festival, which lasts for a few days, riders from
the Fulani people also appear on richly decorated horses
Large parts of Nigeria belong to the West African Jam
Belt, where the annual jam harvest is celebrated in many
places. In Igboland in the east, this year's harvest is
inaugurated with a party in August or September. The
party starts with a local king or elder tasting the new
jam. This iri-ji (the "eating of the new jam")
is now celebrated in a modernized form by igbo groups
throughout Nigeria as "igbo day", something that
politicians and igbo nationalist groups are trying to
exploit. However, a common date for the igbo day has not
Nigeria's National Day falls on October 1. May 1 is
also a holiday, as well as Democracy Day on May 29, when
celebrating the reintroduction of democracy in 1999.
At Christmas and Easter, national holidays, as well
as at the Muslim holidays, include id al-Maulud
(the Prophet's birthday), id al-fitr (the feast
that ends the fasting month of Ramadan) and id al-adha
(the sacrificial feast). Holidays often result in leave
for most employees, no matter what religion they belong
to. The Muslim weekends follow an international, Muslim
lunar calendar and fall at different times from one year
Even Christians living in Muslim-dominated areas tend
to celebrate the Ramadan to a certain extent by avoiding
parties and gatherings before dark. A special Nigerian
feature of Ramadan - with roots in Yorubaland - is
street musicians who wake up Muslim households hours
before dawn so that they can both pray and eat a hearty
breakfast before today's fast. Both Christmas and ID al-fitr
are primarily seen as family holidays, and both
Christian and Muslim city dwellers tend to greet
relatives and friends in their old hometowns during
these weekends. The children receive sweets and gifts.
Catholics hear during the Christmas night midnight mass,
while some Protestants entertain themselves all night
until it is time to visit Santa. Light decorations and
other public Christmas decorations occur and artificial
Christmas trees are said to be popular.
"Boko Haram in practice defeated"
The president says that the Islamists are "technically" defeated. Buhari has
previously promised that the army will crush Boko Haram before the turn of the
year. Just a few days later, more than 50 people are killed during a two-day
long homicide in northeast Nigeria.
Biafra activist again charged
New charges are brought against activist Nnamdi Kanu shortly after a previous
case against him has been closed. The charges are reported for terrorism and
terrorist financing. Kanu leads the banned organization Biafra's indigenous
people (Ipob), which strives to create an independent state for the Igbo people
in the southeast. When it was announced a few days earlier that Kanu would be
released from prison, five people in the city of Onitsha were shot to death by
security forces as celebrations broke out on the streets. The chief of police
has ordered reinforcements to southeastern Nigeria, where the demands for an
independent Biafra increase almost half a century after the civil war (see
Shiites killed in clashes with the army
At least 60 members of the Shiite group Nigeria's Islamic Movement (IMN) are
killed at a religious parade in the city of Zaria. IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky is
seriously injured and arrested. Religious leaders urge the government and the
army to avoid a new religious conflict at all costs, similar to that of Sunni
New government ready
More than five months after Buhari's accession, Nigeria receives a new
government consisting of 36 ministers and deputy ministers. The President
himself takes care of the important post of Minister of Oil. Nigeria gets a
female finance minister in Kemi Adeosun, who previously worked at an investment
bank. Retired General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali becomes Minister of Defense,
Former Army Chief Abdulrahman Dambazau becomes Minister of Internal Affairs and
Lawyer Geoffrey Onyeama becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Violence during November
About 30 people are killed when an explosive charge explodes in a crowd in
the city of Yola in the northeast. A few days earlier, President Buhari
announced during a visit to the city that Boko Haram is close to being defeated.
Violence in October
About 20 are killed in suicide bombings in Abuja and over 50 die in blast
attacks against mosques in the northeast. Attacks are carried out almost daily.
Throughout, Boko Haram is believed to be behind them.
3,500 dead in Islamist violence during the year
Amnesty International reports that 3,500 people have been killed in "Boko
Haram-related" violence so far this year. The figure also applies to neighboring
countries, but the great majority of deaths have occurred in Nigeria. AFP News
Agency estimates that at least 1,260 people have been killed in Nigeria alone
since President Buhari took office on May 29.
Buhari recognizes private assets
The president has $ 150,000 in his bank account, but also owns five homes,
two clay pits and shares in three companies. The purpose of the open accounting
of private property and assets is to counteract corruption. Buhari's
representative Goodluck Jonathan refused to disclose his fortune.
2.1 million homeless because of the terror
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports on the people in
northeastern Nigeria who have become homeless due to the domination of Boko
Haram over the past six years.
Violence during September
At least 50 and maybe over 100 die when several explosive charges explode in
the city of Maiduguri.
Explosion in Borno
At least 47 people are killed and at least 50 injured in an attack in a
The military command is replaced
Buhari replaces the heads of the army, the air force and the navy, as well as
the head of the defense intelligence service and the national security adviser.
The change of personality is a sign that the president is seeking a new strategy
for the efforts against Boko Haram.
Violence in July
Just over the first five days of the month, over 250 deaths are reported in
various forms of terrorist acts in the country. About 150 are reported to have
been shot dead in assault against three villages in the state of Borno.
The Board of the Oil Company is set aside
Buhari dismisses the entire board of the state NNPC, which is notorious for
corruption. Four state governors are commissioned to investigate why about $ 21
billion, which the company is said to have earned, has not been transferred to
the Treasury. The missing money represents more than half of NNPC's total
revenue since 2012.
Summit on Boko Haram
President Buhari invites the leaders of the four neighboring countries to a
summit that results in an agreement to form a joint military force. Nigeria will
lead the force, which however will have its headquarters in Chad's capital
N'Djamena. By July, the force should be ready. The other three participating
countries are Cameroon, Niger and Benin.
The military moves headquarters to Maiduguri
The move from Abuja is in accordance with a promise made by Buhari in his
installation figure. The aim is for the leadership to be closer to the center of
events in the fight against Boko Haram.
The military is accused of abuse
Amnesty International accuses the army of serious abuse during its efforts
against Boko Haram for four years. More than 7,000 men and boys have died in the
military's custody. A total of at least 17,000 have died in the conflict since
2009. Over 20,000 have been arrested in the pursuit of militant Islamists during
the period. Several high ranking officers are identified in the report accusing
them of murder, torture and "disappearance". Some of the victims must have been
only nine years old, and one method used is to have the arrested starved killed.
Violence in June
Many tens of people die in attacks during the month. In a first video
recording since Boko Haram affiliated with IS (see March 2015) shows how wounded
Nigerian soldiers are shot in the head and a civilian-clad man is beheaded.
Buhari takes office
In his inaugural speech on May 29, the new president promises, among other
things, to bring in the hard gloves against Boko Haram, whom he calls "a godless
group that stands as far from Islam as one can imagine".
Female genital mutilation is prohibited
One of the last laws that President Jonathan signs means that female genital
mutilation becomes illegal. The law also means that it is forbidden for a man to
abandon his wife and children without financial support.
Alarm about rising suicide
The UN Children's Fund Unicef reports that 27 suicide attacks have been
carried out so far this year, compared with 26 throughout 2014. Three-quarters
of them have been carried out by women or children, some only seven years old.
Children are often assumed not to know that they carry explosives.
Violence in May
Several dozen people are killed mainly in the areas around Maiduguri in
Abducted women and girls
According to Amnesty International, Boko Haram has carried away at least
2,000 women and girls since the beginning of 2014. The report is presented just
one year after the kidnapping of 219 school girls in the state of Borno. The
military says they know that these girls have been divided into three or four
groups and are held in different militia camps. In a week, a total of about 700
are released from Boko Haram camp in the huge Zambian forest near the border
On April 11, elections are held by governors and state parliament. It is
quickly apparent that APC retains its newly acquired takeover and receives a
majority of the Governor's positions.
Violence in April
At least 200 people are reported to have been killed in a Boko Haram attack
on the city of Damasak. Over 400 children are kidnapped and thousands of people
flee the nearby border to Niger.
In the parliamentary elections, the newly formed party gets its own majority
in both chambers. In the presidential election, Buhari gets 54 percent of the
vote against 45 percent for Jonathan. This is the first time in Nigeria that a
sitting president will not be re-elected. Jonathan is praised for his early
defeat and congratulates Buhari on the victory. He urges his followers to accept
the result without protest. The peaceful shift of power is considered as an
example for the entire African continent.
Predominantly quiet choice
The election is partly characterized by hassles with the appliances that will
read the biometric voting cards and many polling stations are only opened
several hours after the appointed time, which leads to the election being
extended by one day. Nonetheless, domestic and international observers
tentatively say that despite the shortcomings of the elections on March 28 and
29, the elections were conducted in a credible way.
The Boko Haram headquarters destroyed
The day before the election, the army states that the headquarters of the
city of Gwoza is occupied.
Ground forces and flights from Niger and Chad are said to have launched an
offensive against Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. Shortly thereafter,
Nigeria's army is said to have recaptured a large number of places and driven
out Boko Haram from almost the entire northeast region controlled by the
The AU approves international strength
The African Union is giving its go-ahead to plans to deploy up to 10,000
people in the fight against Boko Haram. The force is headquartered in Chad's
capital N'Djamena. Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Gabon have promised to
contribute with soldiers.
Boko Haram loyal to the Islamic State
The Nigerian group informally merges with IS, which controls large parts of
Iraq and Syria. The message is provided by Nigerian Islamist leader Abubakar
Shekau. There have been signs of cooperation between the two terrorist movements
for some time. On an audio tape, a spokesman for IS says the Islamic State
welcomes the cooperation and extension of the "emirate" to West Africa.
Violence during March
Dozens of people die during the month of the attack, mainly in Borno.
Olusegun Obasanjo leaves PDP
The former president abandons the ruling party.
The selection is postponed
The election commission's decision to postpone the election for six weeks is
justified by the serious security situation. The Commission says voters' safety
cannot be guaranteed as early as February because the military is busy fighting
Boko Haram. Presidential and parliamentary elections are postponed to March 28,
and governor and state elections to April 11.
Chadian soldiers in Nigeria
The soldiers fight battles with Boko Haram in two smaller towns near the
border with Cameroon. A Chadian spokesman says a few hundred Islamists have been
Violence in February
The official human rights commission NHRC writes that violence directly
related to the electoral movement required at least 58 people's lives. Seven
people die in a suicide attack where the perpetrator is believed to have been
only seven years old. The army announces the withdrawal of Baga, which Boko
Haram took in January.
150,000 refugees in neighboring countries
According to the UNHCR UNHCR, about 100,000 Nigerians have moved to Niger
since May 2013 and about 35,000 to Cameroon. About 10,000 have traveled to Chad
alone since New Year 2015.
Damage for oil spills
After three years of negotiations, the Shell oil company agrees to pay
damages to the municipality of Bodo in the Niger Delta and its residents for
two major oil spills in 2008. More than 15,000 residents receive about USD
3,200 each, corresponding to about three annual salaries, and the municipality
receives 30 million dollar. Shell pays out $ 83 million in total.
City is destroyed in massacres
The city of Baga and surrounding villages are subject to a multi-day attack
by Boko Haram. The jihadist group occupies a military base that is the
headquarters of an international force. Soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Chad
abandon the facility without resisting. Most of Baga is burnt down and many
residents flee across Lake Chad. How many people die remains unclear, the
figures vary between a few hundred and 2,000 casualties (see also April 2013).
Violence in January
In addition to the massacres in Baga, Boko Haram carries out a host of other
attacks. On a couple of occasions, 10-year-old girls are reported to have
committed suicide attacks, in Yobe and in Borno. Villages are burned down and
people are robbed.