Nigerian Colonization History and Economy

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Nigeria

Nigerian History

Nigeria was colonized by the British in 1850. They started their colonization in Lagos then started making treaties with the mainland groups. The British first took over Southern Nigeria naming it “The British Protectorate of Southern Nigeria”. It wasn’t until 1914 when the British had full control of Nigeria and changed the name to “The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria”. In 1957 Nigeria was granted autonomy and on October 1st, 1960 Nigeria got their independence from Britain. At first Nigeria ran their government similar to how Britain runs but in 1963 they declared themselves a republic. The lasting affect that this colonization had on the country is that a majority of the South of Nigeria is Catholic Christians. The British mainly ruled the country from the South and had the most influence in southern Nigeria.

One of Nigeria’s largest conflicts happened shortly after they gained their independence. The Nigerian Civil War started when a provincial Governor, C.O. Ojukwu wanted his province, Biafra, to be independent and named himself president. As Linda Polman says in her book The Crisis Caravan, Ojukwu didn’t have much support and the Nigerian government would have ended the rebellion if it wasn’t for humanitarian aid. The Nigerian Government blockaded all roads leading to Biafra in order to stop Ojukwu from gaining food and supplies for his hopeless cause. Ojukwu appealed to the world saying the Nigerian Government was trying to commit genocide and gained the support of private humanitarian aid. Ojukwu exploited this aid by requiring the organizations to use pay to use his planes making the humanitarian aid support his cause. Because of this support the war lasted over two years and caused 2 million deaths, most from starvation. At the end of the war Ojukwu’s army had to use most of the money and food aid to buy more weapons so when the Nigerian Government did arrive the rebel army was militarily well prepared but were so starved they couldn’t fight.


Nigerian Economy

Nigeria is very dependent on oil. Oil provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings and 65% of budgetary revenues.This is boosting Nigeria’s economy which is predicted to 6.8% this year. What matters most right now in Nigeria is to make structural reforms in order to maximize economic potential. Nigeria has a long history of instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management.  They use to be a heavy agriculture exporter but now must import because of the mass population growth and more focus placed toward producing oil.


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