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Nigeria is a Federal Constitutional Republic comprising thirty six states and one Federal Capital Territory. Abuja is the capital of the Republic and Lagos is the largest city and the country’s commercial centre. Nigeria declared its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960 and established the Federal Republic on 1 October 1963.

The President of the Federal Republic is Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party, who assumed the presidency on 6 May 2010 on the death of his predecessor. Dr Jonathan was confirmed as president in national elections in April 2011. Arch. Namadi Sambo, a former governor of Kaduna state, was appointed Vice President on 18 May 2010. The next elections are due in 2015.

Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. The population of the country is estimated at 170 million, making it Africa’s most populous nation.

Nigeria’s nominal GDP for 2011, estimated by the IMF, was $244 billion, making it the second largest economy in Africa after South Africa. GDP growth is projected at a rate in excess of 6% per annum over the next five years. Nigeria has significant oil and gas reserves. Oil reserves stood at 37.2 billion barrels as at the end of 2011, with production of 2.45 million barrels per day during that year. Gas reserves were approximately 180.5 trillion cubic feet as at the end of 2011. Nigeria also has significant mineral wealth, including coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc.