Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Present-day Nigeria has been the site of numerous kingdoms and tribal states spanning over a millennium. The modern state has its origins in British colonization during the late 19th to early 20th centuries, with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate. During the colonial period, the British set up administrative and legal structures whilst retaining traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria achieved independence in 1960, but plunged into a two-year civil war several years later. It has since alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, with its 2011 presidential elections being viewed as the first to be conducted reasonably freely and fairly. Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. The country is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Regarding religion, Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the northern and southwestern regions. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to Igbo and Yoruba peoples. In 2014, Nigeria’s economy (GDP) became the largest in Africa, worth more than $500 billion, and overtook South Africa to become the world’s 21st largest economy. Furthermore, the debt-to-GDP ratio is only 11 percent (8 percent below the 2012 ratio). By 2050, Nigeria is expected to become one of the world’s top 20 economies. The country’s oil reserves have played a major role in its growing wealth and influence. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank and has been identified as a regional power in Africa. It is also a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe’s next “BRIC-like” economies. It is also listed among the “Next Eleven” economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, OPEC, and the United Nations among other international organizations. Since 2002, the North East of the country has seen sectarian violence by Boko Haram, an Islamist movement that seeks to abolish the secular system of government and establish Sharia law in the country. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014 claimed that Boko Haram attacks have left at least 12,000 people dead and 8,000 people crippled. At the same time, neighboring countries, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger joined Nigeria in a united effort to combat Boko Haram in the aftermath of a world media highlighted kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls and the spread of Boko Haram attacks to these countries.