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"Two weeks later he started asking me for money." The man masquerading as John Hawkins claimed he was being fined by the government for the tax that he owed.

But West Mercia Police visited Ms Fowkes and broke the news that she was the victim of a con artist.

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.

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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.

Today bloody confrontations between or among members of different ethnic groups continue. Nigeria is in West Africa, along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and just north of the equator.

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.

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.

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).

The Niger and Benue Rivers come together in the center of the country, creating a "Y" that splits Nigeria into three separate sections.

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