Abuja, Nigeria

The Nigerian team is led by Dr. Clement Adebamowo and includes researchers from the Institute of Human Virology and the Nigerian Research Consortium.




Nigeria at a Glance

Capital: Abuja

Area: 923,768 sq km
Population: 177,155,754
Median age: total: 18.2 years
Urban population: 49.6% of total population
Life expectancy: male: 51.63 yr ; female: 53.66 yr
Per Capita GDP: $2,800

Language:   English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages

Location:   Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon

Agriculture:   Cocoa, peanuts, cotton, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish

Diet and culture:

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Nigeria. European explorers and traders introduced several food staples to western Africa, such as beans, cassava, and maize. These foods were introduced to the explorers while on journeys to America; they, in turn, brought the foods to western Africa. Asian seasonings such as pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg were also brought back, and are still used to flavor dishes.

Nigeria has such a variety of people and cultures that it is difficult to pick one national dish. Each area has its own regional favorite that depends on customs, tradition, and religion. The different foods available also depend on the season: the “hungry season” is before the rains arrive in March, and the “season of surplus” follows the harvest in October and November. Fruits, however, are enjoyed year-round. A large part of Nigeria lies in the tropics, where many fruits are available. Some of the popular fruits are oranges, melons, grapefruits, limes, mangoes, bananas, and pineapples.

People of the northern region (mostly Muslim, whose beliefs prohibit eating pork) have diets based on beans, sorghum (a type of grain), and brown rice. The Hausa people of this region also like to eat meat in the form of tsere or suya (kebabs, which are chunks of roasted, skewered meat). Muslims love to drink tea, making coffeehouses popular places to socialize.

The people from the eastern part of Nigeria, mostly Igbo/Ibo, eat gari (cassava powder) dumplings, pumpkins, and yams. Yams are usually eaten in place of potatoes and are an important part of the Nigerian diet.



Yam Fufu

Traditional Nigeria yam fufu


Kashi Pilaf Fufu

Wazabia whole grain fufu, crafted at the Harvard School of Public Health by Drs. Donna Spiegelman and Sally Akarolo-Anthony



Ugali and Cabbage