Formally known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United States established diplomatic relations in 1960, following Nigeria’s independence from the United Kingdom. From 1966-1999 Nigeria experienced a series of military coups, excluding the short-lived second republic between 1979-1983. The 30-month long civil war, which ended in January 1970, resulted in 1-3 million casualties. Following the 1999 inauguration of a civilian president, the U.S.-Nigerian relationship began to improve, as did cooperation on foreign policy goals such as regional peacekeeping.
Nigeria's economic growth has been largely fueled by oil revenues. Although the country conducted successful elections in 2011, it faces formidable challenges in consolidating democratic order, including terrorist activities, sectarian conflicts, and public mistrust of the government. Nigeria has yet to develop effective measures to address corruption, poverty, and ineffective social service systems, and mitigate the violence. Under the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, the two countries hold talks on five key areas: good governance, transparency, and integrity; energy and investment; regional security; Niger Delta; and agriculture and food security.