Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south in the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of 923,769 square kilometres (356,669 sq mi), and with a population of over 225 million, it is the most populous country in Africa, and the world's sixth-most populous country. Nigeria borders Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The largest city in Nigeria is Lagos, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and the second-largest in Africa.
The Benin ivory mask from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria's multiple ethnic groups. The country has 527 languages, seven of which are extinct. Nigeria also has over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausas that are predominantly in the north, the Yorubas who predominate in the southwest, and the Igbos in the southeast. There are many other ethnic groups with sizeable populations across the different parts of the country. The Kanuri people are located in the northeast part of Nigeria, the Tiv people of north central and the Efik-Ibibio are in the south south. The Bini people are most frequent in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland.
Nigeria's other ethnic groups, sometimes called 'minorities', are found throughout the country but especially in the north and the middle belt. The traditionally nomadic Fulani can be found all over West and Central Africa. The Fulani and the Hausa are mostly Muslim, while the Igbo are mostly Christian and so are the Bini and the Ibibio. The Yoruba are predominantly of mixed Muslim and Christian backgrounds.The Yoruba make up about 21% of the country's population – estimated to be over 225 million – and about half of the Yoruba are Muslim, with the other half being Christian. Indigenous religious practices remain important to all of Nigeria's ethnic groups however, and frequently these beliefs are blended with Christian or Muslim beliefs, a practice known as syncretism.