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.
In northern Nigeria many people who are not ethnic Hausas speak both Hausa and their own tribal language.Hausa is the oldest known written language in West Africa, dating back to before 1000 The dominant indigenous languages of the south are Yoruba and Igbo.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.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.
The three largest and most dominant ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo (pronounced ee-bo).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.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.It basically uses English words mixed into Yoruban or Igbo grammar structures.