Nigeria is an interesting unexplored paradise. A country with vibrant diverse cultures, exciting festivals, rich history, equatorial forests, clean un-spoilt beaches, exotic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, towering rocks, rolling hills, ancient caves and hospitable people.
Although fast food is growing in popularity in Nigeria, most of the people prefer eating at home. Below are some of the most popular Nigerian dishes:
Obe Ata (pepper soup): this is a thick sauce made by boiling ground tomatoes, ground pepper, meat or fish, meat or fish broth (depending on whether you are using meat or fish), onions, vegetable oil or palm oil and other spices.
Obe Egusi (plain): made by grinding melon seeds and then cooking them with meat and spices. It usually ends up being yellowish-orange in colour.
Amala: dish made from yams. First, the yams are ground and dried to form a powder. This powder is then put into boiling water, and stirred / beaten, until it has a thick smooth form. The cooked product is dark brown in colour.
Markets are the most interesting places to shop. Special purchases include Adire (patterned, indigo-dyed cloth), batiks and pottery from the Southwest, leatherwork and Kaduna cotton from the North, and carvings from the East. Designs vary greatly, many towns having their own distinctive style.
Other purchases include herbs, beadwork, basketry, etc.
Nigeria is well connected by a wide network of all-season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation.
Nigeria’s economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all comers: individuals, corporate organizations, and government agencies that invest in almost full range of economic activities. Since 1995, the government introduced some bold economic measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy. This they did by: halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; reducing the debt burden; stabilizing the exchange rate of the Naira; and correcting the balance of payments disequilibria.
New Yam Festival
New Yam Festival is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the Igbos. The individual Ibo communities each have a day for this August occasion. Invitation to the new yam festival is usually open to everyone. What this means is that there is abundant food not just for the harvesters but also for friends and well-wishers.
Arugungu Fishing Festival
This is a leading tourist attraction in the area. The festival originated in August 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu made a historic visit. Since then, it’s become a celebrated yearly event, held between February and March.
Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish is harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish. Furthermore, there’s canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and, of course, swimming. The festival marks the end of the growing season and the harvest.
Yankari National Park
This can be reached by road from Jos airport through Bauchi state route. There are species of large mammals, such as elephants, hippopotami, lions, and about 153 known species of birds, fish, reptiles, and monkeys. It is also rich in ethno-historical and archaeological attractions.
Kainji Lake National Park
It can be reached through Lokoja, from Lagos through Ibadan, Ilorin, and Jebba. The park is full of diverse wildlife. Available in the park are chalets, restaurants, conference halls, and a waterbus for lake cruising.
Gashaka Gumte National Park
This park is regarded as the most scenic of all the parks in the country. It is full of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, etc. It comprises two sectors, each rich in its own unique flora and fauna species. The park contains some historic sites, one of which is the old German Fort at the Gashaka hill.
Farin Ruwa Water Falls
The Farin Ruwa Falls is one of the most spectacular natural features in Nigeria. The force of its gushing water is so torrential that from afar it could be mistaken for white smoke, which earns it the name.
This very important mineral deposit is found near the Nkpologu campus of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). The hill, which is more than 300 metres above sea level and almost half a kilometre long, has silica an important raw material for the manufacture of glass.
The surrounding environment is very captivating with hills, valleys, and plains so beautifully wrapped up that one cannot ignore the breath taking views and awe inspiring blend.
The Mambilla Plateau
This is a plateau of about 1,830 metres above the sea level. It has temperate climate within the tropical region. It has an undulating landscape free of insects. One can find here temperate crops, such as the avogad’s pear, strawberries, and coffee. The popular Mambilla Tourist Centre is located at Gembu in the high land.
Located in the outskirts of Wase town about 216 kilometres south-east of Jos. Available records indicate that this beautiful massive dome shaped rocky inselberg is one out of only five in the world. It is one of the very few breeding places for white pelican birds in Africa. The remarkable rock, which rises abruptly to 350 metres above the plain of Wase town is a centre of attraction for curious geographers, geologists, mountaineers, and bird watchers.
The wonders of Allah’s (swt) creations are visible aplenty in Nigeria. If one simply wishes to witness serene untouched beauty of nature and the wild life, Nigeria comes highly recommended as a promising destination.
Islam in Nigeria
Contributed by Affaf Jamal
The spread of Islam in Nigeria dates back to the eleventh century. Islam was for quite some time the religion of the court and commerce, and was spread peacefully by Muslim clerics and traders. Later, a Muslim revival took place in western Africa, in which Fulani cattle-driving people, who had adopted Islam, played a central role. The Fulani scholar Uthman dan Fodio launched a Jihad in 1804 that lasted for six years, aiming to revive and purify Islam. It united the Hausa states under Shariah law. In 1812, the Hausa dynasties became part of the Caliphate of Sokoto. The Sokoto Caliphate ended with partition in 1903 when the British incorporated it into the colony of Nigeria and the Sultan’s power was transferred to the High Commissioner. However, many aspects of the caliphate structure, including the Islamic legal system, were retained and brought forward into the colonial period. Presently, Muslims constitute 50% of the population, whereas Christianity and other indigenous beliefs constitute 40% and 10% respectively.