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The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
A minority of the population practise religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate).The territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria; it lasted until the 1903 break-up of the Empire into various European colonies.It comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located.Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) become one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.
Other major slaving ports in Nigeria were located in Badagry, Lagos on the Bight of Benin and on Bonny Island on the Bight of Biafra.Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan.Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri.The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD.Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.With approximately 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.