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Nigeria: Introduction

Nigeria: Introduction

 

Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of geography and population, being divided into thirty six federal states with a total population of approximately 155 million. The country is known for its cultural diversity, owing to the fact that it has identified over 250 different ethnic groups. Nigeria gained Independence from the British Empire in 1960, and there have been numerous subsequent drives to ensure that the people of Nigeria work to develop their culture, with the support of both civilian and military governments. Nigeria’s national cultural policy can be seen as an instrument of promoting national identity, as well as communication and cooperation among the different Nigerian and African cultures in general. Indeed, the Nigerian Constitution highlights the fact that consideration is given to the country’s cultural diversity. However, federal cultural policies represent both an affirmation and development of a particular ethnic culture.

Nigeria’s national cultural policy is clear and strategically directed towards the analysis and understanding of Nigerian cultural life, cultural values and cultural needs, as well as the expectations of its people. Policy also is aimed at developing cultural infrastructure, and introducing new cultural technologies into activities. The cultural policy supports the establishment of links between culture and education; especially between education and different cultural industries such as mass media. Most important, the policy is geared towards the building up of a national cultural identity, and parallel affirmation of the cultural identities of different ethnic groups. In fact it has been reiterated on numerous occasions by officials that the policy is one of the most important areas of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation.

Nigeria’s culture (in particular, film and music) plays a crucial role in international relations, now more than ever. Cultural exchange has fostered a greater understanding of this nation state, and has caused global interest in its culture to increase dramatically.

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