Glossary: middle belt

DEFINITION:
Traditionally an ethnic and political zone stretching from east to west across the central section of Nigeria and inhabited by many minor ethnic groups who had been unable to obtain significant political influence because of long-term dominance by the Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri emirates. As used by economists and geographers, the term does not always coincide with ethnic and political divisions but usually designates the area between the characteristic northern and southern economies; in this context the area extends roughly from 7o30N to 11oN. Since the civil war of 1967-70 and the replacement of the former administrative regions by states, use of the term has diminished among Nigerians who wish to downplay the regional connotation formerly attached to it.

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