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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.
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.
Unofficially, the country's second language is Hausa.
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 Niger and Benue Rivers come together in the center of the country, creating a "Y" that splits Nigeria into three separate sections.
In general, this "Y" marks the boundaries of the three major ethnic groups, with the Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the southwest, and the Igbo in the southeast.
This general lack of Nigerian nationalism coupled with an ever-changing and often ethnically biased national leadership, have led to severe internal ethnic conflicts and a civil war.