Ethnic Groups In Nigeria And Their Culture

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Nigeria, a country with 36 states including its federal capital territory (Abuja) is blessed with several Ethnic groups and also known as the “Giants of Africa. An Ethnic group also is known as ethnicity is a community or population of people that identify with each other a common cultural background, common ancestry, common language, history society or nation. These ethnic groups make Nigeria a more interesting country to be.  We have over 250 ethnic groups and more than 525 Spoken Languages in Nigeria, out of which English is the official Language. The major ethnic groups in Nigeria are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, and Tiv, these groups are famous and they constitute the larger percent of the total number of Ethnic groups in Nigeria. The like Hausas are the largest of all the ethnic groups followed by the Yorubas then the Igbos. These Ethnic groups speak diverse languages according to their various historical backgrounds. Nigeria is therefore referred to as the most famous Country with more than 170 million of people living across the country, therefore known as the most populated country in Africa .we  will be discussing here the Ethnic groups in Nigeria and Their Languages.

List Of Ethnic Groups In Nigeria
List Of Ethnic Groups In Nigeria

Here are the few things we will be covering in this write-up

  • What Are The Ethnic Group We Have In Nigeria
  • Ethnic Groups In Nigeria And Their Languages
  • What Are The Ten Ethnic Group In Nigeria
  • What Are The Different Ethnic Groups
  • Ethnic Groups In Nigeria And Their Culture


The major Ethnic groups in Nigeria are as follows;

  • Hausa

The Hausas constitute the largest part in the Ethnic Group in Nigeria, they make up 25 % of the Nigerian population and they speak the Hausa language. Their major and famous language is the Hausa language though they have different dialect their general language is Hausa. The Hausas are the people from the following States: Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Niger, Taraba, Sokoto Zamfara etc. They reside almost everywhere in the country. These states are located in the northern part of the country, and whenever these people find themselves in the country, they still respect their culture; in fact, with this attitude, one will know they are the Hausas. The most attractive of it all is that majority of them practice Islamic religion. Their major occupation is rearing of cattle, farming, driving, and trading.

  • Yoruba

The Yorubas are the second largest ethnic group in Nigeria and making up to 21% of the Nigerian population. The language they speak is the Yoruba language though each one of them has their dialect which they speak also. Yoruba people practice both Christianity and Islam, not only that some practice and believe in their ancestral and traditional beliefs. These people have cultural traditions which they are practicing till date; they respect and cherish these cultures well and they are part of their everyday living for some of them that practice these cultures. The cultures are music cultural festivals, traditional Yoruba arts, and architecture. They are from the following states: Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, but their residence is not always everywhere all over the country, they choose where they can stay carefully. These states are located in the southwest and Northcentral of the country. They don’t really have a major occupation but they are hardworking people.


  • Igbo

The Igbo people constitute 18% of the country population, their major language is Igbo, they primarily settled in the Southeastern part of Nigeria but they reside almost everywhere all over Nigeria and they don’t rely on a centralized community. Their main occupation is trading, and some of them engage in handiwork. They are diligent people. They are from the following states: Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo. Rivers is sometimes categorized under this Ethnic group.


  • Ijaw

These people in this Ethnic Group are known especially because of their interesting culture, food, and attire. They make up 10% of the Nigerian population. The Ijaws people are from Niger Delta State but they reside in States like Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Ondo. They have lands extremely rich in oil and this has lead to high oil explorations which is unsafe ecologically. Their major occupations are Fishing and farming.

  • Kanuri

The people from this ethnic group originated from the Kanem-Bornu empire. Kanem-Bornu empire is an empire in the 16th and 17th Century cut across middle Africa. These people mainly reside in Maiduguri (Northeastern region of Nigeria) and Niger state (North central region of Nigeria). Their language is in two form that is they have two dialects which are Manga Kanuri and Yerwa. They have similar fashion with the Hausas, their women mostly dressed in colorful scarfs and they always have their lips painted in black, they are always on henna designs and jewelry. Their major occupation is farming and they are well known for their complex economy made of agriculture (Millet farming), Commerce, construction and transportation and they find their occupation from them.

  • Ibibio

The oldest and ancient of all ethnic groups in the Ibibio ethnic group, located in the south of the country. They have a talent with artistic culture of wooden carvings, masks making and weaving. They speak Ibibio language and also speak Anaang, Efik, and Ibeano. They reside in Akwa Ibom. Their culture is ‘fattening room’. The fattening room is an ancient practice where young ladies are dressed elegantly in preparation for marriage/womanhood. Their major occupation is farming and fishing, some of them in the highland are farmers and the rest in the riverine areas are fishermen.

  • Tiv

Tiv is one of the major Ethnic Group in Nigeria, people of Tiv have an interesting culture, one of which is the traditional dance, they called it “Swange dance” and their fashion style is called A’nger material, the material is made of interwoven black and white striped material. They reside in Benue state. Their major occupation is Agricultural product and trading. They have a rich cultural heritage and history.

Some Other Ethnic Groups in Nigeria and their Culture

  • Fulani

The Fulanis are the ‘fula’ or ‘Fulbe’, they are different from the Hausa, but they reside majorly in the Hausa state, the Northern part of the country and they are small in Nigeria population.  Their major occupation is pasture farming or animal grazing and their nomadic women make fresh cow milk and do business with it, they also handicrafts, weaving and knitting.

  • Igala

Igala people reside in Kogi State, they have a ruler whose name is Atah, they speak Igala language. Their major occupation is farming and Fishing,

  • Idoma

The Idoma people reside in Benue State where they have 9 local governments and they have an interesting culture which makes them well recognized, these people value and cherish their culture well and they still continue in it. The culture includes their traditional rites, artistic expression, and music.

  • Itsekiri

The Itsekiri people are an ancient ethnic group from Niger Delta, to be precise Delta state. They reside in the following State: Edo, Warri, and Ondo. Their major occupation is Trading and fishing.

  • Efik

The Efik people reside in Cross River state and they are known for their interesting cultural heritage, they have a tasty soup call “EdikangIkong”, they also have a famous dance called Ekombi dance, this dance shows the rhythmic movement of the sea waves as well as their cultural festivals. Their cultures are interesting and they still practice it till date. They speak  Efik language.

Other Minor ethnic groups in Nigeria are; Urhobo, Gbagyi, Nupe, Berom, Esan, Jukun, Kilba, Ogu, Mumuye, Anaang, Chamba, Ikwere, Ogoni, Tarok, Igede, Kalabari, Baribu, Ika, Nupe, Isoko and so many others.

Nigerian Language Tribes and Ethnic Groups

Nigeria is made up of numerous ethnic groups which the Hausa, Yoruba and the Igbo constitute the larger percentage of the total. Among these ethnic groups are over 371 tribes. Each of these tribes has their unique dialect and culture. The following are tribes in Nigeria; it will provide a better understanding of this unique country Nigeria.  Here are some the ethnic groups or tribes in Nigeria:

  • Yoruba
  • Hausa
  • Igbo
  • Fulfude
  • Isekiri (Itsekiri)
  • Lyala (lyalla)
  • Izere, Jahuna (Jahunawa)
  • Jaku
  • Jara (JaarJarawaJarawa-Dutse)
  • Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa)
  • Jero
  • Jibu
  • Jidda-Abu
  • Jimbin (Jimbinawa)
  • Jirai
  • Jonjo (Jenjo)
  • Jukun, Benue
  • Kabba, Kadara
  • Gbo
  • Ajawa
  • Akaju-Ndem
  • Akweya-Yachi
  • Alago
  • Amo
  • Anaguta
  • Anang
  • Angas
  • Arabic
  • Attakar
  • Auyoka
  • Awori
  • Ayu
  • Babur
  • Bachama
  • Bachere
  • Bade
  • Bahumono
  • Bakulung
  • Bali
  • Banso
  • Baruba
  • Bashiri
  • Basa
  • Bobua
  • Boki (Nki)
  • Bokkos
  • Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa)
  • Bole (Bolewa)
  • Bomboro
  • Buduma
  • Burak
  • Mbube
  • Miango
  • Miligili (Migili)
  • Miya (Miyawa)
  • Mobber
  • Montol
  • Moruwa(Moro’a, Morwa)
  • Muchaila
  • Mumuye
  • Mundang
  • Munga (Mupang)
  • Ndoro, Ngamo
  • Ngizim
  • Ngweshe Nunku
  • Nupe
  • Nyandang
  • Ododop
  • Ogori
  • Okobo (Okkobor)
  • Okpamheri
  • Olulumo
  • Oron
  • Owan
  • Owe
  • Oworo
  • (Pa’awaAfawa)
  • Qua
  • Rebina (Rebinawa)
  • Srubu (Surubu)
  • Sukur
  • Sura
  • Tangale
  • Tigon
  • Tikar
  • Tiv
  • TUfia
  • Ukelle
  • Ukwani (Kwale)
  • Uncinda
  • Zayam (Zeam)
  • Zul (Zulawa)

Conclusion On Ethnic Groups In Nigeria And Their Culture

Nigeria is an interesting country to be with unique ethnic groups and tribes as well as cultures which make them outstanding and the most populated country in Africa. The Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo constitute about 70% of the country’s population, all other tribes are embedded in these three Ethnic groups in Nigeria. Therefore the information here about Ethnic Groups in Nigeria are valid and are provided for Enlightenments.

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