Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents



Government: Federal republic under strong presidential administration. Became parliamentary democracy at independence; under military rule 1966 to 1979, 1983- . Constitution of 1979 amended February 1984. New constitution promulgated 1989 and scheduled to take effect January 1993; provides for three independent branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial. National Assembly dissolved in 1983, had not been reinstated as of mid-1991. Transition to civilian rule scheduled to be completed January 1993.

Administrative Divisions: Thirty states divided into local councils; Federal Capital Territory of Abuja projected to become partially operational as national capital in 1991 as federal departments transfer from Lagos.

Judicial System: Legal system based on English common law modified by Nigerian rulings, constitution of 1979, legislative enactments, and decrees of military government in effect. Draft constitution of 1989 to take effect at start of Third Republic. Customary and Muslim sharia law recognized in personal status matters. Federal system included Supreme Court, federal courts of appeal, and federal high courts. Supreme Court had original jurisdiction in constitutional disputes.

Politics: In 1989 two political parties established by government: National Republican Convention, slightly right of center, and Social Democratic Party, slightly left of center. Presidential elections scheduled for December 1992.

Foreign Relations: Nonaligned; active member of United Nations, Organization of African Unity, Commonwealth of Nations, and Economic Community of West African States. Main principles of foreign policy: noninterference in internal affairs and inviolability of national borders in Africa.

Data as of June 1991