Nigeria Travel Information

Photo Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999 and a peaceful transition to civilian government completed. The new president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, the OBASANJO administration must defuse longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, if it is to build a sound foundation for economic growth and political stability. Nigeria covers an area of 923,768 sq km (356,669 sq mi). At its widest, it measures about 1,200 km (about 750 mi) from east to west and about 1,050 km (about 650 mi) from north to south. The country's topography ranges from lowlands along the coast and in the lower Niger Valley to high plateaus in the north and mountains along the eastern border. Much of the country is laced with productive rivers. The Nigerian ecology varies from tropical forest in the south to dry savanna in the far north, yielding a diverse mix of plant and animal life. Human population and development pose serious threats to both the ecological and the human environment.
The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on oil for more than 97% of export earnings and 80% of federal revenue. New oil wealth and general economic decline fueled massive migration to the cities and did little to reverse widespread poverty, especially in rural areas, and the collapse of even basic infrastructure and social services. Nigerian oil reserves are 25 billion barrels, and gas reserves are over 100 trillion cubic feet. Due to OPEC quota cutbacks and mounting community problems in oil producing areas, daily production has fallen to about two million barrels, of which 40% is exported to the United States.
Permission is required to take photographs of government buildings, airports, bridges, or official-looking buildings. These sites are not always clearly marked, and application of these restrictions is subject to interpretation. Permission may be obtained from Nigerian security personnel. Penalties may include confiscation or breaking of the camera, exposure of the film, a demand for payment of a fine or bribe, or a roughing-up. The Nigerian currency, the naira, is non-convertible. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Nigeria is a cash society, and it is usually necessary to bring sufficient currency to cover the expenses of a planned visit. Credit cards are rarely accepted beyond a few hotels. Due to the prevalence of credit card fraud in Nigeria, credit card use is not advised. While Citibank cashes travelers checks, most other banks do not. American Express does not have offices in Nigeria, but Thomas Cook does have offices there. Inter-bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, though money transfer services are widespread.

Important: Travel to Nigeria may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Nigeria visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Federal Republic of Nigeria
Capital city: Abuja
Area: 923,768 sq km
Population: 170,123,740
Ethnic groups: Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups
Languages: English
Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Government: federal republic
Chief of State: President Goodluck JONATHAN
Head of Government: President Goodluck JONATHAN
GDP: 414 billion
GDP per captia: 2,600
Annual growth rate: 7.4%
Inflation: 10.8%
Agriculture: cocoa, peanuts, cotton, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava
Major industries: crude oil, coal, tin, columbite
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon
Trade Partners - exports: US 29.1%, India 11.6%, Brazil 7.8%, Spain 7.1%, France 5%, Netherlands 4.3%
Trade Partners - imports: China 17.3%, US 9.1%, India 5%, Netherlands 4.9%, South Korea 4.7%