Driving Directions Nigeria
NIGERIA is a large federal republic in West Africa that extends from the Gulf of Guinea north to the border with Niger. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and one of the most powerful and vital.
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Nigeria’s topography, climate, and natural vegetation vary considerably. The coastal belt is a region of sandy beaches, lagoons, and swampy mangrove forests. Beyond this lies a part of tropical rainforest with the land gradually rising towards extensive central and northern plateaux. Surrounding the mesas are savannah plains that grade into semidesert and desert in the extreme north of the country.
Crossing the eastern border with Cameroon is the high Adamawa Plateau (Massif de I’Adoumaoua), where Nigeria’s highest peak, Vogel (2,042 meters or 6,699 feet), is located.
The Niger river system, with its many tributaries, drains the country, and Lake Chad stretches across the far northeastern border. The climate varies from a humid, hot equatorial type in the south to more arid conditions with extreme temperatures in the north. The north is also affected by the dry harmattan wind from the Sahara.
The rainy season varies according to the area, but there is considerably less rainfall in the north than in the south. Wildlife is diverse, but animal numbers have declined in many areas due to human activity.
About 75 percent of the land is suitable for agriculture, and subsistence farmers raise a wide variety of crops. The main agricultural products are cocoa beans, rubber, groundnuts, and cotton, with only cocoa being of any export significance. The economy is heavily dependent upon the exploitation of vast oil and natural gas reserves, but other mineral resources include extensive deposits of coal, iron ore, and salt.
Nigeria achieved full independence in 1960. Still, due to several factors, including the elaborate ethnic make-up of the country, the country’s progress has frequently been interrupted by strife and internal dissent.
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Nigeria sits on the center of the African Tectonic Plate. It lies entirely in the tropics, with its southern edge being only a few degrees above the equator and its northern border well below the Tropic of Cancer. The country’s outstanding geographic feature is the basin of the Niger and Benue Rivers, running east and west through the center of the country. South of the basin is generally less than 304 meters (1,000 feet), except for a few plateau surfaces. To the north of the basin, a broad plateau occupies the country to its northern border with elevations from 304 meters to 1,219 meters (1,000 to 4,000 feet). In the east, the country contains mountainous regions, in which the highest point is located.
Nigeria faces the Gulf of Guinea, which is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The Bight of Benin is to the west and the Bight of Biafra to the southeast; both of these are inlets of the Gulf of Guinea. There are several lagoons along with the westerly coastal areas.
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The Tropics is the name given to the world’s region that lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Cancer is the parallel of latitude located at 23°30’ north of the equator. The Tropic of Capricorn is located at the parallel of latitude that is 23°30’ south of the equator. These imaginary lines mark the boundaries of an area in which the Sun will appear to be directly overhead, or at a 90° angle from Earth, at noon. North or south of these lines, the Sun’s angle at noon appears to be less than 90°. The lines were named for the Sun crosses’ constellations during the solstices (Capricorn on December 21 or 22 and Cancer on June 21 or 22).
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