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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.However, since the coming of the British and the introduction of mission schools in southern Nigeria, English has become the language common to most people in the area.Politically, Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states.
Nigeria covers an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers), or about twice the size of California.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.The small ethnic groups living along the coast, such as the Ijaw and the Kalabari, are forced to keep their villages small due to lack of dry land.Living among creeks, lagoons, and salt marshes makes fishing and the salt trade part of everyday life in the area.
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She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country's landscape. More than 250 ethnic tribes call present-day Nigeria home.