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Nigeria Education Facts


The school should be free of charge and compulsory for nine years for all children in Nigeria. In reality, many children receive no or very poor schooling. At least a third of the adult population cannot read and write, which is a high figure for Africa as well.

The nine-year school duty was introduced as early as 1976. When democracy was reintroduced in 1999, new commitments were made on education for all. The proportion of children in the school also increased gradually, as did the literacy of the general population. But despite increased funding, teaching has hardly improved, and the criticism is harsh on the lack of quality. Private schools have grown in number, but only have the well-ordered advice to send their children there. Otherwise, there is a severe shortage of teachers and school premises, and the teachers have paid so poorly that they cannot live on their wages. School classes have grown in size, it happens that a teacher has 100 children in the class in the lower stages.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Nigeria, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

The children have formal schooling from the age of six. Most go to school for at least a few years. But every fifth child does not complete the first six-year stage, and many take more than six years to do so. Some start later, others fail for long periods but then come back to school. Many children assist in family farming or work as a domestic help or street vendor.

For some, it is a long road and difficult to get to school. More boys than girls go to school, even though the difference is leveling out. Especially in Northern Nigeria, there are many children who do not attend school at all.

In the northeastern part of the country, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram’s violence since 2009 has hit hard on the school system, which the group explicitly opposes. In the city of Maiduguri, tens of thousands of people who have moved from their homes have been housed in schools. After a military offensive in 2015 that drove the group to retreat, nearly 100 state schools were opened, which have been closed for almost two years.

After the first six years follow three years of high school and then high school, but fewer than half of the children attend the upper classes. The children are taught the first years in a local language but start with English in the third. In the higher classes are English teaching languages.

The college has been greatly expanded for a few decades. In the 1960s, there were five universities, now there are about 100 and a wide range of vocational colleges. The universities were previously well regarded, but the lack of resources has eroded the quality. Many of the best teachers apply abroad. State universities have often been closed, sometimes monthly, due to extensive teacher strikes.

  • Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Nigeria, including compulsory schooling and higher education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

64.1 percent (2010)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

38 (2010)

Reading and writing skills

51.1 percent (2008)



The electoral movement is starting

November 17

The electoral movement before the presidential and parliamentary elections on February 16, 2019 begins. Among 73 presidential candidates are sitting President Buhari and the main challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. More than 84 million Nigerians have registered to vote, which is 18 percent more than at the 2015 election when there were just under 69 million registered voters.


Many dead in Shiite protests

October 29th

The Shi’ite Muslim group IMN continues to protest in Abuja, demanding the release of detained leader Zakzaky (see December 2015). Police strike and protests demand new deaths. The death toll varies between different sources, from 6 according to the military to at least 39 according to IMN. More than 120 IMN supporters are injured, several of them seriously. Around 400 IMN supporters are arrested. Amnesty International says police have used violence and there is evidence that Shia Muslims have been shot with automatic weapons. Religious leaders have on several occasions urged the government and the army to avoid at all costs a new religious conflict similar to that of Sunni Boko Haram.

Three dead in Shiite protests

October 27th

Three members of the Shiite Muslim group Nigeria’s Islamic Movement (IMN) are killed in clashes with police during a demonstration in Abuja. The protesters demand that IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky be released from the detention center where he has been sitting since 2015 (see December 2015). Religious leaders have urged the government and the army to avoid a new religious conflict at all costs, similar to that of Sunni Boko Haram.

Female presidential candidate emerges

October 8

Obiageli Ezekwesili, best known as the founder and front figure of the campaign “#BringBackOurGirls” whose goal was to free 276 girls captured by Boko Haram in Chibok in Northern Nigeria 2014, announces that she is running in the February 2019 presidential election. has been Minister of Education and Vice President of the World Bank.

Buhari is challenged by Abubakar

October 7

The PDP elects former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the northeastern state of Adamawa as his candidate in the presidential election in February 2019. He has been presidential candidate four times before without winning the elections. Adamawa, among others, defeats Senate Speaker Bukola Saraki in the fight to become the opposition’s representative. Both the APC and the PDP’s candidate are Muslim from Northern Nigeria, as it is a tradition that the presidential post should rotate between Christians in the South and Muslims in the North at intervals of two terms.

Buhari is elected presidential candidate

October 6

President Muhammadu Buhari is elected at a party congress in Abuja formally to be the ruling APC candidate in the February 2019 presidential election.

Violence is increasing in Plateau

October 2

At least 13 people are killed when peasants from the peoples’ group praise and shepherds from Fulani gather in Jol in the state of Plateau in central Nigeria. The violence follows a fire fight between the same groups a few days earlier in the same area. At that time eleven people were killed. The level of violence in Plateau has been relatively low for the past three years, but is expected to increase as the elections in February 2019 approach. The state often suffers from violence between different ethnic and religious groups in election times.


Minister leaves the government

September 29th

Equality Minister Aisha Alhassan leaves Buhari’s government and APC. She states to the media that the reason is that she has been refused to run for governor.

APC wins even election in Osun

September 27th

In the governor election in the state of Osun on September 22, Ademola Adeleke from the opposition party PDP gets 33.2 percent of the vote against 33.1 percent for Gboyega Oyetola, candidate for Buhari’s ruling APC. The Election Commission cannot announce any winner, since the victory margin is less than the number of void votes. The election gets a lot of attention as Adeleke is the uncle of Afro pop star Davido, whose real name is David Adedeji Adeleke and who has been active in the uncle’s election campaign. According to Nigerian and foreign election observers, the election was peaceful and can be described as free and fair. On September 27, the two top candidates will face each other in a decisive election round. Now get Oyetola 35.4 percent of the votes compared to 35.3 percent for Adeleke. This means that Oyetola’s victory margin is less than 500 votes. The PDP refuses to acknowledge the election result. The turnout is low, 46 percent.


Continued Islamist attacks in the Northeast

August 8th

At least 17 government soldiers are killed in the state of Borno – in what is described as a third Islamist attack against a military base in the northeast in a month. In the latest attack, Boko Haram members also raid the camp in the village of Garunda on weapons and vehicles. On July 14, jihadists attacked a military base in Jilli, in the neighboring state of Yobe, where dozens of soldiers were killed, injured or disappeared. The base in Garunda had just been set up by soldiers who managed to escape the attack in Jilli. The day before, on July 13, more than 20 soldiers and several military vehicles disappeared following an attack on a military column in Borno. On July 29, at least eleven soldiers were also killed in an attack on a base near Monguno in Borno.

Parliament is occupied by the security service

August 7th

Armed men who belong to the security service DSS temporarily take up the National Assembly and prevent members and journalists and others from entering both chambers. It is unclear what is causing the intervention, but speculation exists that the president’s supporters in the APC are planning to dismiss Senate President Bukola Saraki. The ruling party has invited Saraki to resign (see also July 31, 2018). The day after the temporary takeover of Parliament, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo dismissed with immediate effect DSS Chief Lawal Musa Daura, citing “a serious violation of the constitutional order”. Osinbajo is acting head of state while President Buhari is on vacation.


Power jump from the government party

31 July

Senate President Bukola Saraki leaves the ruling party APC and returns to his former party PDP. The message comes the week after about 50 members of both National Assembly chambers also left the APC. The majority are believed to have joined the PDP, at Saraki’s request. As President of the Senate, Saraki is the country’s third highest-ranking politician. The sacking represents a severe blow to the APC and is expected to reduce President Buhari’s chances of being re-elected in February 2019. Bukola Saraki is a former governor of Kwara who during his time as President has been charged with corruption. He has recently been released in the Supreme Court from all charges, but he is still under investigation in connection with a bank robbery.

APC is shattered

July 5

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ruptures since a faction announces that it no longer supports President Muhammadu Buhari’s government as it accuses of incompetence. The members of the faction now form the Reform APC (R-APC) under the leadership of Buhari ally Buba Galadima.


Violence is increasing the pressure on the president

June 27

Demands are mounting on President Buhari to improve security – or resign – after more than 200 people have been killed in new outbreaks of livestock-feeding fulani and agricultural plague in the state of Plateau. The conflict is feared to grow into a greater security threat than the Northeast jihadists.

Bloody attack in Borno

June 16

More than 40 people were killed in an attack in the city of Damboa in Borno, just hours after the army chief urged displaced residents to return home with the motivation that it was now safe. Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attack where six girls – estimated to have been 7-10 years old – are blown up in the air among people who were on their way home after celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. After the explosions, armor shots are fired at the crowd.


Separatist protest cripples in the southeast

30 May

A strike announced by Igbo separatists in south-eastern Nigeria is causing a great deal of community life to stop, not least in the states of Enugu and Anambra. Markets, banks and schools are closed while security forces patrol the streets. The strike is held on the anniversary of the independence of Biafra in 1967 (see Modern History).

Violent clash in Kaduna

May 5th

About 70 people are killed in fighting erupting in Birnin Gwari in the state of Kaduna, between a village militia and a bunch of former cattle thieves who have now switched to pure bandit business. Many children are among the victims.

Many victims in concerted suicide

May 1

A large number of people are killed in two suicides that are carried out simultaneously against a mosque and a marketplace in Mubi in the state of Adamawa in the northeast. The number of victims varies, but according to an eyewitness, at least 86 are dead. Boko Haram is suspected of the attack that should have been carried out by two young boys. Mubi was held by Boko Haram for a period of 2014 and has been subject to several attacks since then (see November 2017).


The United States promises support against Islamists

May 28

President Muhammadu Buhari receives praise from his US counterpart Donald Trump during a US visit for increased support for the fight against Boko Haram. Trump also comments on the conflict in central Nigeria between nomadic herdsmen and resident farmers by saying that “we have a serious problem with Christians being murdered”.

Attack on church in Benue

April 24

At least 18 people, including two priests, were killed in an attack on a church in the state of Benue in central Nigera. About 30 livestock attendants attacked the church in connection with an early morning prayer and also have set fire to over 60 buildings. The attack fuels fierce voices claiming that Muslims are guilty of genocide against Christians in the area (see also January 11, 2018).

UN: “Over 1,000 children abducted”

April 13

The UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​reports that more than 1,000 children have been abducted by jihadists since 2013. Among them, the 276 schoolgirls in Chibok are included (see April 2014). Schools are often targets for Boko Haram, especially if they are secular, as the Islamist group opposes modern education. According to Unicef, at least 2,295 teachers have been murdered and over 1,400 schools destroyed by extremists since the conflict erupted in 2009.

The president is up for re-election

April 9

President Muhammadu Buhari intends to take part in the 2019 presidential election, his office announces. There has been much speculation over whether 74-year-old Buhari would run for re-election, especially as he has been ill and spent three months in the UK for health care in 2017.

Big Boko Haram attack in Borno

2 April

At least 20 people are killed and over 80 injured in coordinated attacks on two villages and a military base near Maiduguri. Seven suicide bombers are said to have detonated themselves in the villages near the base, while 18 people attacked the base where a long battle broke out.


Nigeria waives free trade agreement

21 March

Nigeria chooses not to participate when 44 African states sign a new free trade agreement, AFCFTA. The business community has objected to the content. The agreement must be ratified at national level before it can take effect, but is seen by many as an important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.

Most kidnapped girls free

21 March

Boko Haram returns to Dapchi and releases almost all the schoolgirls who were abducted a month earlier (see February 19). Five girls died in connection with the kidnapping and one Christian girl is still reported to remain with the jihadists. According to media reports, the ransom has been paid and some prisoner exchanges have taken place, but that rejects the authorities. The girls will now be flown to Abuja with a military aircraft.

Senator reveals major remuneration

the 12th of March

A senator belonging to the ruling party APC, Shehu Sani, reveals that all senators receive the equivalent of $ 37,500 a month in “expense reimbursement”, without further specifications, in addition to the salary of just over $ 2,000. Sani says that the lack of transparency in the National Assembly is a problem and claims that many people enter politics because the compensation is so generous, rather than ideological. The data from Sani arouses strong indignation in social media.

Assistance work is interrupted after attack

March 1st

Three aid workers and eleven members of the security forces are killed in an attack on a military base in Rann, near the border with Cameroon in the state of Borno. Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attack. Afterwards both Doctors Without Borders and the UN withdraw their staff from the area.


New kidnapping of schoolgirls

February 19

Jihadists storm a school and take away schoolgirls in Dapchi in the state of Yobe, bordering Borno in the northeast. From the beginning there is confusion as the authorities claim that school girls who are missing only hid from the perpetrators. But after a few days it is clear that 110 girls have been robbed. The attack is similar to that in Chibok in Borno (see April 2014). Over 100 of the Chibok girls are still missing.

Nineteen killed in suicide

February 17th

Three suicide bombers take 19 people to death at a fish market in Borno. Some 70 people are also injured, of which around 20 are critical.

Many are released after mass trial

February 16th

A further 475 people have been released following one of several mass trials against suspected Boko Haram members, the Justice Department said. Most cases are closed in the absence of evidence. A total of 1,669 cases have now been clarified since the trial began (see October 2017), and more than 1,000 people have been set free. At the same time, 45 have been sentenced to prison for between 2 and 15 years, 28 have been transferred to other courts and 82 have pleaded guilty in exchange for shorter sentences when they have already been remanded.

Boko Haram hostage released

February 10

Thirteen people arrested by the Islamist group Boko Haram are released. There are ten women who were abducted during an attack on a police column and three university teachers who were kidnapped during an oil expedition (see July 2017). The International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) has contributed as a mediator. No details of the settlement are published. The ICRC was also involved when some of the schoolgirls from Chibok (see April 2014) were released in October 2016 and May 2017.

Boko Haram leaders warn of continued attacks

6th of February

Abubakar Shekau, who heads a group within Boko Haram, says in a video recording that the attempts to expel the Islamists from the Zambian forest have failed, and that Boko Haram will continue its attacks. The statement comes after the military once again claimed that the jihadist group had been defeated.


Mass burial following outbreak of violence in Benue

January 11

Tens of thousands of mourners end up at a mass funeral for victims of a violent outbreak in Benue between Muslim herdsmen and Christian peasants. Around 80 people are reported to have been killed since New Year and 80,000 have been forced to leave their homes. The violence has been triggered by a new law that prohibits nomads from moving through the state. The law aims to induce nomadic fulani to go to livestock management on farms, to prevent recurring clashes with resident peasants. The violence has claimed the lives of thousands of people in recent years and is one of Nigeria’s most serious security concerns.

Major offensive against Boko Haram

January 9

Nigeria, along with Cameroon, Niger and Chad, launched an offensive against Boko Haram in the state of Borno, says the military. The offensive is aimed partly at the faction led by Abubakar Shekau in the Zambian Forest, and partly by the one led by Mamman Nur in the area around Lake Chad. According to the military, a large number of jihadists have been killed for a few days while hundreds must have surrendered themselves. Nurse’s faction, Iswap, recently took on an attack on a military base at the end of December when nine soldiers were killed.

Boko Haram takes on the assault wave

January 2

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says in a video recording that the jihadist group is behind a series of attacks conducted in northeastern Nigeria over the weekends. Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in recent months. This applies to both assault on military columns and suicide bombers on civilians, often in marketplaces. Despite this, in his New Year’s speech, President Buhari reiterated that Boko Haram has been defeated and that it is merely “isolated attacks”. The day after the video was released, 14 people were killed in a suicide attack against a mosque near the Cameroon border.

Many dead in attack in the south

January 1st

At least 16 people are killed in a raid on churchgoers who were on their way home after a midnight mass on New Year’s Eve in the state of Rivers on the coast. Rivalry between criminal gangs is said to be behind the attack. Violent crime is widespread in the area; a few days later, at least seven people were killed in a similar attack five miles from the site of the church oath.

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