Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Discovery of oil in Nigeria shifted power

Africa's most populous nation is divided almost evenly between Muslims and Christians. Though Christian sects are growing rapidly, Muslims still retain a slight edge with an estimated 50 percent of the population. President Umaru Yar'Adua is Muslim, and in 2000 as governor of Katsina state introduced Islamic law.

Muslims are concentrated in the rural north, a result of trans-Saharan trade that made that region the economic center of activity beginning more than 1000 years ago.

That economic center shifted permanently in the mid 20th century with the discovery of vast oil reserves in the south, where political power has also concentrated. The wealth generated by oil exports (about 83 percent of government revenue) had the unintended consequence of decimating the agricultural sector and increasing poverty in the north. Rampant government corruption has distorted the oil revenue sharing program and now per capita income is lower than when Nigeria became independent in 1960.

For several years, militants in the south have waged a successful campaign against oil companies, cutting oil production by half. This has periodically driven up oil prices on the world market, which ultimately is felt by drivers in the United States, which consumes nearly half of the oil Nigeria produces.

By the numbers

148 million population of Nigeria

75 million Muslim population

1.5 million Barrels of oil produced per day, less than half of capacity

5th rank of Nigeria among oil exporters to United States

Sources: U.S. State Department, Pew Forum, UPI and Times staff

Discovery of oil in Nigeria shifted power 07/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 30, 2009 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.