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With regard to ethnic breakdown, the Hausa-Fulani make up 29 percent of the population, followed by the Yoruba with 21 percent, the Igbo with 18 percent, the Ijaw with 10 percent, the Kanuri with 4 percent, the Ibibio with 3.5 percent, and the Tiv with 2.5 percent.Major urban centers include Lagos, Ibidan, Kaduna, Kano, and Port Harcourt. English is the official language of Nigeria, used in all government interactions and in state-run schools.Prior to colonization, these languages were the unifying languages of the southwest and southeast, respectively, regardless of ethnicity.

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Today those who are not ethnic Yorubas or Igbos rarely speak Yoruba or Igbo.

Pidgin, a mix of African languages and English, also is common throughout southern Nigeria.

Today it is often used in ethnically mixed urban areas as a common form of communication among people who have not had formal education in English. Because there is little feeling of national unity among Nigeria's people, there is little in terms of national symbolism.

What exists was usually created or unveiled by the government as representative of the nation. The flag is divided vertically into three equal parts; the center section is white, flanked by two green sections.

Abuja is in a federal territory that is not part of any state.

While Abuja is the official capital, its lack of adequate infrastructure means that Lagos remains the financial, commercial, and diplomatic center of the country. Nigeria has the largest population of any African country.

In July 2000, Nigeria's population was estimated at more than 123 million people.

At about 345 people per square mile, it is also the most densely populated country in Africa. Despite the rampages of AIDS, Nigeria's population continues to grow at about 2.6 percent each year. Nearly 45 percent of its people are under age fourteen.

The dry, open grasslands of the savanna make cereal farming and herding a way of life for the Hausa and the Fulani.

The wet tropical forests to the south are good for farming fruits and vegetables—main income producers for the Yoruba, Igbo, and others in this area.

Politically, Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states.