Country Profile: Nigeria

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Nigeria’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has legal status.

Country Background

Nigeria is a country located in Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad. Nigeria is bounded by Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. The capital of Nigeria is Abuja. The official language of Nigeria is English; in addition, there are over 500 indigenous languages spoken in Nigeria, including Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), and Fulani. The country’s population in 2017 was approximately 190.8 million. Nigeria is a predominantly Muslim country, with about 50% of the population Muslim, 40% Christian, and 10% indigenous beliefs. Nigeria is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Nigeria is referred to as a federal presidential republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The current Constitution of Nigeria was adopted in 1999. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legal system of Nigeria is a mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has constitutional status in Nigeria. However, the degree of influence sharīʿa has in the Nigerian legal system varies by state. . . .

Read Nigeria’s profile.