Many religions are followed in Nigeria. The constitution guarantees religious freedom. Christians predominantly live in the south of the country, whereas Muslims live predominantly in the north. Native religions in which people believe in deities, spirits and ancestor worship, are spread throughout the country.
Many Muslims and Christians may also intertwine their beliefs with more unorthodox indigenous ones.
The major Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter are recognized as national holidays. Muslims observe Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, and the two Eids. Working hours in the north often vary from those in the south so that Muslims do not work on their holy day, which is Friday.
Along with South Africa, Nigeria is considered a super-power in the African continent and consequently Nigerians are generally proud of their country. It has the largest population in Africa and the land is endowed with vast quantities of natural resources.
It is the sixth largest oil-producing nation and has a well-educated and industrious society. They are fond of the expression, “When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations (with the exception of South Africa) catch cold.”
Extended families are still the norm and are in fact the backbone of the social system. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and in-laws all work as a unit through life.
Family relationships are guided by hierarchy and seniority. Social standing and recognition is achieved through extended families.
Similarly a family’s honour is influenced by the actions of its members. Individuals turn to members of the extended family for financial aid and guidance, and the family is expected to provide for the welfare of every member. Although the role of the extended family is diminishing somewhat in urban areas, there remains a strong tradition of mutual caring and responsibility among the members.
Nigeria is a hierarchical society. Age and position earns, even demands, respect. Age is believed to confer wisdom so older people are granted respect.
The oldest person in a group is revered and honoured. In a social situation, they are greeted and served first. In return the most senior person has the responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.