Maiduguri, also called Yerwa by its locals, is the capital and the largest city of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria. The city sits along the seasonal Ngadda River which disappears into the Firki swamps in the areas around Lake Chad. Maiduguri was founded in 1907 as a military outpost by the British and has since grown rapidly with a population exceeding a million by 2007.
The region was home to the Kanem-Bornu Empire for centuries. Maiduguri actually consists of two cities: Yerwa to the West and Old Maiduwuri to the east. Old Maiduguri was selected by the British as their military headquarters while Yerwa was selected at approximately the same time by Shehu Abubakar Garbai of Borno to replace Kukawa as the new traditional capital of the Kanuri people.
Maiduguri is one of the sixteen LGAs that constitute the Borno Emirate, a traditional state located in Borno State, Nigeria.
Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as hot semi-arid (BSh).
The highest record temperature was 47 °C (117 °F) on 28 May 1983, while the lowest record temperature was 5 °C (41 °F) on 26 December 1979.
Maiduguri is estimated to have a population of 1,907,600, as of 2007. Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri, Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups. There is also a considerable Christian population and people from Southern states such as the Igbo, Ijaw, and Yoruba.
Maiduguri is home to three markets which include an ultra modern “Monday market” that has a spectacular satellite image view. There is an ancient museum, and the city is served by the Maiduguri International Airport.
The city has one of the best layouts in Nigeria. The values of land and properties are high. A 2009 survey of property markets in Nigeria positioned Maiduguri as the third most expensive for buying and renting in after Abuja and Lagos.
Maiduguri is the principal trading hub for north-eastern Nigeria. Its economy is largely based on services and trade with a small share of manufacturing. The city lies at the end of a railway line connecting Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kafanchan, Kuru, Bauchi, and finally Maiduguri.
Maiduguri has one of the best-equipped universities and hospitals in Nigeria: The University of Maiduguri attracts foreign students from neighbouring countries especially Cameroon and Niger Republic. The College of Medical Sciences is amongst the top five best medical schools in Nigeria. Other higher institutions include Ramat Polytechnic, College of Agriculture and College of Education, and El-kanemi College of Islamic Theology.
As of 2011, the Future Prowess Islamic School provided a free, co-ed Western and Islamic education to orphans and vulnerable children.
It is home to the El-Kanemi Warriors, a football team and the city has an active local football league. The Kyarimi Park is the oldest and largest zoo in Nigeria. The zoo attracts thousands of visitors per year. The city is within a short driving distance to picnic areas in Alo Lake and Zambiza game reserve.
Since the mid-1960s, Maiduguri has witnessed outbreaks of large inter-religious riots. Members of religious sects led intercomunal violence in 1982 and 2001.
On 18 February 2006, riots related to the Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten left at least 15 people dead, and resulted in the destruction of approximately 12 churches. Soldiers and police quelled the riots, and the government temporarily imposed a curfew.
In 2002, a Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf founded the Islamist group Boko Haram in Maiduguri, establishing a mosque and an Islamic school that attracted children from poor Muslim families from both Nigeria and neighbouring countries. In July 2009, Maiduguri was the scene of major religious violence throughout Northeast Nigeria committed by Boko Haram, which left over 700 people dead.
On May 14, 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Northeast Nigeria, including Borno State, due to the rebel activity of Boko Haram. The entire city was under overnight curfew, and trucks have been prevented from entering the city. Twelve areas of the city that are known to be strongholds of Boko Haram are under permanent curfew. On 18 June 2013, Boko Haram militants attacked a school as students were taking an exam; nine students were killed.
On January 10, 2015, a bomb attack was executed at the Monday Market in Maiduguri, killing 19 people. The city is considered to be at the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency. In the early hours of 25 January, Boko Haram launched a major assault on the city. On January 26, CNN reported that the attack on Maiduguri by “hundreds of gunmen” had been repelled, but the nearby town of Monguno was captured by Boko Haram. The Nigerian Army claimed to have successfully repelled another attack on Maiduguri on January 31, 2015. On February 17, 2015, Monguno subsequently fell to the Nigerian military in a coordinated air and ground assault. On 7 March 2015, five suicide bomb blasts left 54 dead and 143 wounded. On May 30, 2015, Boko Haram launched another attack on the city, killing thirteen people.
The Giwa barracks and detention centre in Maiduguri has been subject to multiple attacks by Boko Haram. In 2014, reports suggested that 600 people were killed in an attack, though most were detainees killed by soldiers. It was attacked in January/February 2015, bombed in March 2015, and attacked again in May 2015.
In May 2016, Amnesty International released a report on the Giwa barracks detention centre, calling it a “place of death.” The report alleges the facilities house about 1,200 people (including 120 children) and that many of these were detained arbitrarily. It further claims that 149 detainees had died in the first half of 2016, including 11 children.