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Sub-Saharan Africa


Nigeria is not included in the Gender Inequality Index. Women should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.


Nigeria has a Workplace Index score of 5.9, a Marketplace Index score of 5.0 and a Community and Environment Index score of 6.1 in the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, where countries receive scores between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 reflects a need for basic children’s rights due diligence, while a higher score reflects a need for enhanced or heightened due diligence. Children should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though. 

Persons with Disabilities

Due to differences in data collection and definitions it is difficult to compare countries on disability prevalence rates. Persons with disabilities should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.

Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, main minorities and indigenous peoples in Nigeria are Hausa/Fulani (29 %), Yoruba (21 %), Igbo (Ibo) (18 %), Ijaw (10 %), Kanuri (4 %), Ibibio-Efik (3.5 %), Tiv (2.5 %), Edo (Bini) (less than 1 %), Nupe (less than 1 %). Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with an estimated 184 million people. It is also a country of stunning diversity, with some 250 different ethno-linguistic groups. Demographic data are politically sensitive in Nigeria and the last census, conducted in 2006, did not collect or analyze data disaggregated by ethnicity, religion or language. However, four groups – Fulani (Fula), Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo – account for around 68 % of the total population. Hausa and the traditionally pastoralist Fulani (Fula) peoples are concentrated in the north and practice Islam. Together they constitute around 29 % of the population and have dominated Nigerian politics. In Kaduna state, where Hausa and Fulani form a majority, predominantly Christian minority groups include the Katab, Kaje, Gbabyi, Numana, Kono, Kagoma and Chawai. Most of the Kanuri inhabit an area in north-eastern Nigeria near Lake Chad. Even though Kanuri language, culture and history are distinctive, other elements of their society are similar to Hausa. The Kanuri subsistence economy is based on agriculture, with peanuts grown as a cash crop. With much overlap, a belt of other peoples occupy the area between the predominately Kanuri north-east and predominantly Hausa and Fulani north. The middle belt area of Nigeria, from the Cameroon highlands on the east to the Niger River valley on the west, includes some 50 to 100 linguistic and ethnic groups, ranging from larger Tiv and Nupe to much smaller language groups. The Nupe inhabit primarily west-central Nigeria. They speak a Niger-Congo language related to Yoruba and Igbo and practice Islam. They live in villages growing yams, cassava and maize and raising goats, sheep and chickens. They are noted for their weaving, metalwork, embroidery, bead making, and carpentry. Plateau State, just east of the centre of the middle belt is especially diverse. Among the main minority groups there are Berom, Tarok, Jawara and Gemai. The state is also religiously diverse, with Christians in a majority, a sizeable Muslim minority, and many people who still practice traditional beliefs. The south is divided into a western, Yoruba-speaking, area and an eastern, Igbo-speaking area, a middle section of related, but differing groups and areas of Niger Delta peoples on the eastern and central coasts. Yorubas are dominant in the south-west. Igbos form a regional majority in the south-east, but have faced marginalization within the broader context of Nigeria. Edo, or Bini, are a people of southern Nigeria who primarily inhabit an area including the city of Benin in Edo state in southern Nigeria. They comprise a number of sub-groups who share the common Edo language. They grow yams and other vegetables for subsistence and cacao, oil palms and rubber for cash crops. Trade is large-scale and complex. The Ibibio-Efik form a group of six related peoples inhabiting the lower Cross River in Cross River state in south-eastern Nigeria. During the 20th century a large part of the Efik population moved from the towns and settled in farming villages in the forest. Most are subsistence farmers and rainforest cultivators of yams, taro and cassava, but two subgroups are fishers. Ibibio-Efik had a long history of contact with Europeans, in particular slave traders. Market trading and handicrafts are well developed. Ibibio-Efik society has been deeply affected by the pull of migration to Lagos and Port Harcourt. Islam is the religion of just over half of all Nigerians and is the dominant religion in the north. Christianity, practiced by almost half of the population, is dominant in the south. The remaining population holds traditional religious beliefs.

These broad patterns in Nigeria’s ethno-linguistic and religious patchwork are overlaid with the complication of substantial movements of people among the country’s various regions – resulting, for example, in a sizeable Christian minority in the north and a large Muslim minority in the south. The central plateau region is particularly diverse. Though English is the official language, Hausa and Pidgin are most widely spoken in practice.

Migrant Workers​

According to the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers, migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is 3 % in the subregion Sub-Saharan Africa.

Persons in Armed Conflict

Nigeria ranks 12 out of 179 countries in the Fragile States Index, where a high rank equals high fragility. For monthly crisis updates, check out CrisisWatch

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