Nigeria scored three goals in the first half to kill off Mali's hopes of reaching the Afcon final on Wednesday.
Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses was in top form and it was his ability that broke the deadlock in the first semi-final after 25 minutes.
Bursting down the right flank, he crossed into the six-yard box where Elderson Echiejile was on hand to score his first international goal, heading low past Mali goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa.
The dominance continued as Mali’s backline were again cut to shreds.
Once more, Moses was the architect; his cross field run created indecision among the defence, before his delightful pass set Emmanuel Emenike free.
The striker opted to play in his partner Ideye Brown, who made no mistake from close range.
Before half time, Nigeria all but ended the match as a contest.
Nigeria were awarded a free kick for a tackle on Moses, and Emenike, one of the heroes against the Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals, made no mistake.
Ahmed Musa, who came on for Moses, made it 4-0 on the hour mark.
A late consolation goal by Mady Diarra, meant little to a Mali side so outclassed on such a major stage.