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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has done some extensive research into Nigeria and the various socio-economic problems facing the country.
Some of the research documents have now been made available to the public. In this research paper released in 2011, the Agency took a close look at the main causes of Nigeria’s myriad problems and these causes are still valid today.
1. Rapid population growth
Nigeria’s rising population
According to the CIA’s estimate back in 1986, the Nigerian population will continue to rise and this will make it difficult to achieve national unity.
The report predicted a population of about 211 million by 2010. As at 2013, the Nigerian population was about 173.6 million, so while the numbers are not exact, population growth is one of the factors contributing t Nigeria’s problems.
2. A fast-growing youth population
Recruitment exercise of Nigeria
On the Nigerian youth, the document says: “The majority of young people between 15 and 24 are poorly educated and lack well-paying jobs. As a group they will increasingly strain an already overloaded educational system and face dim employment prospects.”
The document predicted that this youths will rise in numbers and provide a fertile ground for recruitment by radical political leaders and religious zealots. The truth of that prediction is seen today in election thuggery and religious violence.
3. Regionalism.

Nigeria’s regions
Against a background of rapid population growth and sluggish economic advancement the CIA predicted north-south rivalries rising from regional competition over the limited social and economic resources.
Also the report says: “We expect that the northern religious leaders will be especially frustrated by the ongoing migration of northern youths, seeking jobs and schooling in southern cities. Reinforcing the fear that their traditional power is being eroded in favor of better educated more Western oriented southerners.”
This might explain the rivalries we experience today.  


4. Ethnicity
Nigeria’s ethnic regions
Ethnic divisiveness is also one of the major problems highlighted in this CIA document. It is predicted that the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups would double in size and this would put a huge strain on dwindling resources.
The scramble for limited national resources will deepen the crack in the unity of the country alog ethnic lines.
5. Religion
Religions in Nigeria
On how religion is a problem, the document says: “Religious tensions coinciding with ethnic and regional factionalism will continue to polarize Nigerians and could become more contentious.”
50 percent of the population is Muslim and concentrated in the north and 40 percent who are Christians are in the south, the remaining 10 percent who are adherents to traditional beliefs are scattered all over the country, the document explains.
6. Explosive city growth
Lagos, Nigeria
The CIA speaks on how explosive growth in Nigeria’s cities and urban centres will lead to pressure on infrastructure like housing, power, water, sewage, drainage and roadways.
The continuing migration pattern will lead to more unemployment and deterioration of infrastructure across the country.

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