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Introduction Nigeria is a country located on the coast of western Africa It has an area of 356669 square miles 923768 square km It is bordered to the north by Niger the east by Chad and Cameroon the south by the Gulf of Guinea and to the west by Benin Nigeria is not only large in size--it is larger than the US state of Texas--it is also Africas most populous country However Nigerias most diverse feature is its people More than 400 languages are spoken including Yoruba Igbo Fula Hausa Edo Ibibio Tiv and English The country has abundant natural resources notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas The economy The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa Since the late 1960s it has been based primarily on the petroleum industry A series of world oil price increases from 1973 produced rapid economic growth in transportation construction manufacturing and government services Because this led to a great shifting of rural people into the larger urban centres agricultural production stagnated to such an extent that cash crops like palm oil peanuts groundnuts and cotton were no longer significant export commodities in addition from about 1975 Nigeria was forced to import such basic commodities as rice for domestic consumption This system worked well as long as revenues from petroleum remained constant but since the late 1970s the agricultural sector has been in continuing crisis because of the fluctuating world oil market Although much of the population remained engaged in farming too little food was produced requiring increasingly costly imports The various governments most of them military-run have dealt with this problem by banning agricultural imports and by focusing albeit briefly on various agricultural plans In the late 1990s the government shifted its policy toward privatizing many state-run enterprises--especially in communication power and transportation--in order to enhance the quality of service and reduce dependence on the government At the end of the 20th
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