"The U.S. government considers its strategic relationship with Nigeria, Africa's largest producer of oil and its second largest economy, to be among the most important on continent. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with more than 170 million people, roughly divided between Muslims and Christians. U.S. diplomatic relations with Nigeria, which is among the top five suppliers of U.S. oil imports, have improved since the country made the transition from military to civilian rule in 1999, and Nigeria is a major recipient of U.S. foreign aid. The country is an influential actor in African politics, having mediated disputes in several African countries and ranking among the top five troop contributors to U.N. peacekeeping missions. […] Inter-communal conflicts are common in parts of Nigeria. Thousands have been killed in periodic ethno-religious clashes in the past decade. The attempted terrorist attack on an American airliner by a Nigerian in December 2009 and the resurgence of a militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, have also heightened concerns about extremist recruitment in Nigeria, which has one of the world's largest Muslim populations. […] The Obama Administration has been supportive of Nigeria's recent reform initiatives, including anti-corruption efforts, economic and electoral reforms, energy sector privatization, and programs to promote peace and development in the Niger Delta. In 2010, the Administration established the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, a strategic dialogue to address issues of mutual concern. Congress regularly monitors Nigerian political developments and has expressed concerns with corruption, human rights abuses, and environmental damage in the Delta, as well as with the threat of violent extremism in Nigeria."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33964