The Intriguing Ethnic Tribes of Nigeria

Africa has always been the country with immense diversity in a number of aspects. The country is filled with enticing cultures, heritage, languages, religions and most significantly the number of ethnic tribes. Talking about Nigerian tribes and their varied sizes, a consideration that has to be taken is the fact that many of the members of few tribes are scattered all around the globe as well. The differences between these tribes impact the country as a whole, but watching them live as a united country is mesmerizing on its own.

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Apart from the very well known tribes, there are still a myriad of tribes people are oblivious to. There are about 500+ ethnic tribes amongst which three tribes have received the spotlight as being the largest of all.

Hausa- Fulani:

Being the largest tribe of Nigeria, the inhabitants can predominantly be found in about 10 states or more with traces in some other parts of the country as well. The origin of this tribe goes back to a myth which tells the story of a man who in fear of his father’s wrath ran from the east and  eventually found a group of people that happens to be the today’s Hausa tribe. Hausa and Fulana were two different tribes with different origins of West Africa, but however, religion, intermarriage and the embrace of the Hausa language of the Fulani have united them all as one. Hence, Hausa-Fulani tribe.

Their residence land is known as the Hausaland which is located around the Niger River along with other members living in the northern and western parts of Nigeria. The majority of the tribe lives in the rural area and have occupations involving growing cattle and crops.

Their primary identity is represented by the morals and ethics of Islam and this is how they dominate over the Nigerian society both socially and politically. Both men and women observe The Islamic way of life  stringently. They have adopted the Sharia, system of Islamic law, in about 11 of the northern states of the country. The Hausa tribe before 11th century AD practiced Adoricism but only converted to Islam as a part of their deal with the large number of traders coming in.

Besides that, the spotlight of the society always goes for the males and thus they are more known as a culture which is extremely patriarchal. Hausa people are mostly well-achieved entrepreneurs and great traders and organizers.

Hausa is also one of the highly spoken languages in Nigeria with over 15 million fluent speakers. Currently, it represents itself as the number one language in sub-Saharan African region and entails the greatest number of first language speakers. If one aspires to hear the most oldest and the traditional Hausa dialect, Sakota, located in the northern part of Nigeria, is the place to be.


Igbo takes pride in being the primary ethnic group of the southeastern corner of Nigeria representing about 18% of the population of the country. The tribe has a concentrated history dating back to 4500 BC. As a victim of unfair treatment in the Hausa-Fulani dominates areas, they slouched towards Christianity rather than Islam. Their society is a decentralized one and is also non-hierarchical. Currently there are less politically dominant but there was a time during British colonial rule when they served under government and military roles .

There are over 24 million people who  are fluent versed in the Igbo language which contains over 20 dialects. As  a matter of fact, the several of these have played a major role in laying the foundation for the literature we see today in their country. Igbo has also been used as a means to spread the Gospel among these people.

Igbo originates from one of the most ancient kingdoms of Nigeria, Nri Kingdom. These people have intense love for music and have instilled their passion into the invention and use of myriad instruments. This includes the use of wind or strings to create beautiful music. Their culture pertains colourful costumes as their traditional wear. However, they know only wear them on special occasions. They also believe that kinship and family is an important part of their lives through which they demonstrate respect and loyalty to their culture. Considering all these morals and values they adhere to, it can be said hat they are one of the most family oriented cultures amongst all tribes of Nigeria.  If you’re getting an excellent promotional deal and cheapest tickets to Nigeria, you should avail the opportunity instantly to uplift yourself amongst these beautiful people.

The majority of the Igbo members live in the rural areas of Nigeria and are active in the agricultural sector where they grow taro, yams and cassava. A share of the population are employed in metal work and crafting as well. The culture allows women to pursue jobs such a producing pottery things, wool fabrics and clothes.


Yoruba represents the majority in Lagos being the second most populous city in Africa. They are seemingly known as one of the most urban ethnic groups of Nigeria. After the independence, they also became dwarfed by the dominance of the Hausa-Fulani tribe. Regardless, in 1999 Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria’s president who was a Christian Yoruba.

The tribe has shown their uniqueness by the way of pluralism which extends of their religious views. As Islam and Christianity simultaneously spread over the numerous ethnic tribes, they embraced both alongside their own traditional beliefs. This has helped them surpass the religious conflicts and survive in modern times.  Although they hold onto their ancient traditions and beliefs, these are open-minded people who acquire modern way of living smoothly.

The tribe speaks Eridi language which is spoken not just on the Yoruba land, rather all around the globe wherever they reside. Most of the Yorubas are employed as farmers throughout their lives, but they also excel in trading crafting. The women also play a part in increasing the source of income through dressmaking and pottery. Nevertheless, Yoruba tribe is also famous for producing many talented, educated and high-esteemed people amongst which is Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Prize winner in the field of literature.

Although these three exemplify as the largest ethnic groups of Nigeria, a large number of them are not so behind after all. All these ethnic groups are separated in a number of ways and therefore confrontation between them is a common happening in the country. However, to balance and maintain the unity within, all the major ethnic tribes have formed militias to guard their interests, cut down violence and make Nigeria peaceful as a whole.

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