[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 18:49 GMT
Nigeria census reveals no change
By Alex Last
BBC News, Lagos

Nigerians crowd during previous census
Nigeria's population has seen a 63% increase in just 15 years
Figures released from Nigeria's census say the country's mainly Muslim northern states accounted for just over half of the country's 140m population.

This is roughly the same result as shown in the last census 15 years ago.

The northern state of Kano was the most populous with 9.4 million people, just ahead of Lagos state with nine million.

Previous results have been mired in controversy, but the issues of religion and ethnicity were deliberately excluded from March's questionnaire.

The results maintain the status quo, despite claims by many in the largely Christian south that they are numerically superior. But why does all this matter?

Well, religion and ethnicity are major issues in Nigeria and some had hoped to use the census to justify demands for more recognition and power, especially with elections approaching in just a few months' time.

Total: 140m
Men: 71.7m
Women: 68.3m

A state's population affects its budget and to an extent its representation in government.

More generally, in national politics, the larger a region's population the more it claims a right to the country's leadership.

This year, the major contenders for the presidency are all Muslim men from the north.

Such is the inherent controversy of the statistics, a person's religion and ethnicity were deliberately left off the questionnaire when the census was conducted last March.

But aside from this internal competition, one statistic from the census makes interesting reading:

Nigeria's population is now 140m, an increase of 63% in just 15 years.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific