Top 10 Major Tribes In Nigeria
Top 10 Major Tribes In Nigeria
There are more than 300 tribes in Nigeria, with more than 500 languages. They all have a significant impact on shaping the culture of the country. Checkout the most popular tribes in Nigeria and the States you
can find them.
How Many Tribes Are In Nigeria?
Nigeria is a Giant of african countries. Scientists have different data about the number of tribes in Nigeria,
some speak about 250 tribes, others about 371. It is considered that major tribes in Nigeria are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulani.
Two principal tribes in Nigeria Hausa and Yoruba have a huge influence on the course of population of the country.
1. Hausa Tribe
Hausa Tribe is the most biggest tribe in Nigeria and most speaking language in Nigeria and Niger country. The population of this ethnic group is 67 million people it is about of the country population. The ethnic group has homogenized culture.
Hausa people are known for growing crops and trading.
This tribe practices Islam as the main religion, 100% of Hausa people are Muslims.
The Hausa people can be found in Nigeria, Niger conuntry, Gabon, Chad and Ghana, Hausa people also have 3 states in Nigeria namely Sokoto, Kano and Katsina, the Hausa speaking people occupied most northern Nigeria towns and cities, in some northern towns Hausa language has become commercial language that you must learn when you are on that communities, especially if you are trader.
Hausa people speak language of Chadic group of Afro-Asiatic type. The main city of Hausa is Zazzau, Daura, Kano, Zaria and others.
This town is considered as a spiritual center of this tribe for the past centuries.
2. Yoruba Tribe
The population of this tribe is ahead of Igbo tribe Nigeria population.
Yoruba people are the second most influential ethnic group among all tribes in Nigeria.
Their religions are Islam and Christianity , but Yaruba people still practice elements of ancestors religious.
They are one of the top most educated people in Nigeria but they are not much practicing agriculture, majority of them that are uneducated are Mechanics, there’s no doubt that 80% of mechanics in Nigeria are Yoruba people, they can be found all over Nigeria but have few population in North West and North East of Nigeria.
According to North Central public opinion, Yoruba people has high rate on tribalism, they are not much friendly with other tribes in Nigeris but only love them selves.
Their living region is South Western of Nigeria, Yoruba tribe occupied all South Western States of Nigeria and also has more population in some towns in Kwara state along with Nupe people.
Yoruba ethnic group has own tonal language.
Yoruba is known as the most urbanized tribe of Africa. For centuries they had been living in fortresses cities. Ibadan – one of the main Yoruba cities was one of the biggest cities.
Today Lagos can be considered as main Yoruba city. Ile Ife city is the spiritual center of Yoruba tribe.
3. Igbo Tribe
Igbo tribe are the 3rd most popular tribe in Nigeria, their society is not hierarchical, the Igbo area is an important part of the oil trade in Nigeria’s southeastern region.
In 1967 there was a war between Nigerian government and Igbo people which also known as Biafra war that declared sovereign state that was made up of mainly the South Eastern part region of
Nigeria and few parts of South South Region which later retret before the war end.
The wars last for morethan 2years and After GeneraI Ojukwu surrender to Nigerian head of state.
During and after the Biafra War, Igbo tribe suffered alot, the civil war caused many lost of property in South East region, some people lost all their property and houses by Air Force Bombing and Artillery Firefly, this cause disaster in their land many years ago in Igbo land but now their region is second most developed region in Nigeria.
igbo ethnic group is the most popular in the South Eastern Region part of Nigeria.
Igbo living area is southeastern and south-central Nigeria. Their language contains regional many dialects. They are known as farmers, craftsmen, and traders. The
main religion is Christianity. As a result of Biafran War, Igboland was devastated. But at present time the economy of Eastern region has improved, with many billionaires living and doing businesses across the East. The tribe has well developed visual art, dance forms, music, and attire.
4. Fulani Tribe
This tribe has been intertwined with the Hausa tribe. There are many cases of intermarriage of Fulani and Hausa people. Fulani adopted Islam as main religion of tribe. Together with Hausa, they h
ave a great political influence in Nigeria. The main occupation of the Fulanis is cattle rearing. Fulani is a semi-sedentary tribe. They are spread in North Eastern part of Nigeria with centers is Sokoto, Kano and Bauchi states.
5. Nupe people Tribe
The Nupe people people speak a language of the Nupoid group in the branch of the Niger-Congo language family.
Nupe people people are peacefull and agriculturalists tribe in Nigeria, they are called different names by other various tribes in Nigeria. The Yoruba people refer to them as Takpa, the Hausa peopld call them Nufawa (Plural) or Banufe (Singular).
The Gbagyi (Gwari / Gbari) refer to them as Anupeyi.
The Nupe people refer to themselves as Nupenchizhi (Plural) and Nupenchi (Singular). The Nupe comprises other related ethnic groups or sub-tribes namely; Dibo, Abawa, Kakanda, Kupa, Gana-Gana and Kupa
The Nupe are organized into a number of
closely related territorial groups, The Kede and
Batachi are river people, subsisting primarily by
fishing and trading; the other Nupe are farmers,
who grows the staple crops millet, sorghum,
yams, bambara nut, milo, sher butter tree’s,
potato, maize, gunea corn, cassava, ground nut,
rice. The Nupe are noted throughout Nigeria for
glass beads, fine leather strew hat, spoon,
work, hoe, brass trays, fine cloths, kpasa yard
as well as many things in Central Bida, Niger
The Nupe people trace their origin to Tsoede
who fled the court of Idah and established a
loose confederation of towns along the Niger in
the 15th century. The proximity of Nupe people to the
Yoruba Igbomina people in the south and to the
Yoruba Oyo people in the southwest led to
cross-fertilization of cultural influences through
trade and conflicts over the centuries.
Many Nupe people were converted to Islam at the end
of the eighteenth century by Mallam Dendo, a
wandering preacher, and were incorporated into
the Fulani Empire established by the Jihad led
by Usman dan Fodio after 1806.
Nupe peope are Nupoid-
speaking people living near the confluence of
the River Nigers and Kaduna rivers in west-
central Nigeria. The Nupe people live in the
heart of Nigeria, spread over the low basin
formed by the two rivers, Niger and Kaduna
where Nupe people popularly refer to Niger as
“Edu” and Kaduna as “Lavun.”
There are probably about 5.2 million Nupe people,
principally in Niger state
, although a small but
growing diaspora of Nupe people can be found in
Knowle in the West Midlands of England.
The Nupe people can be found in Niger state
, Kwara state, Kogi state, FCT Abuja and Kaduna state. They are primarily Muslims , with a few Christians and followers of African Traditional Religion (Witchcraft).
The Nupe people have several local, traditional rulers, the top emir in Nupe kingdom is the Emir of Bida knows as Etsu Nupe Yahaya Abubakar, follow by the Etsu Agaie, Etsu Lapai, Etsu Patigi, Etsu Tsonga, Etsu Tsaragi, Etsu Lafiyagi and Etsu Bassa Nge.
6. Gbagyi Tribe
Gbagyi or Gwari (also spelled Gbari
by Nupe‘s) are peaceful, agriculturalist and Nupoid-
speaking people living in North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria.
The Gbagyi people predominantly live in the Niger
state , Kaduna States and the Federal
Capital Territory. They are also found
in Nasarawa state and in central
Gbagyi is the second most most populated
ethnic Group in North Central of
Nigeria after Nupe people and also
indigenous in Abuja the Federal Capital
Territory of Nigeria, where their
major occupation is farming.
- SEE ALSO:
Top 10 Popular
Rivers In Nigeria
Gbagyi people are related to the Nupe people , Koro People , Kambari People , these 3 ethnic group are part of the Niger-Congo family branch and according to Gbagyi Anthropologist it is said they migrated from Borno into the Abuja region , they inhabit the.western parts of Abuja the southern Niger state
and according to Dr. Mailafiya Filaba he claimed the Koro and Gbagyi people migrated from Borno and
still living together in Central parts of Present day Nigeria they can be indetify with the Nupe ethnic group, Koro ethnic group, Gade ethnic.group, Kambari ethnic group and other ethnic groups with a common tribal marks and traditions.
Gbagyi people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria with an estimated population figure put at 5.8 million, spread in four States, including the FCT and located in thirty local Government areas, according to the 2006 National Population Census f igures.
7. Kanuri Tribe
The Kanuri are a cluster of peoples
speaking related Nilo-Saharan dialects
which were absorbed by the Bornu
empire and merged into a complex
Kanuri live in
Bornu and Yobe States in
northeastern Nigeria, Diffa and Zinder
provinces in the southeast Republic
of Niger, Lac Prefecture and southern
Kanem Prefecture in western Chad
and northern Cameroon.
They live in the delta of River Niger. The tribe constitutes 10% of the Nigerian population. This ethnical group lives in the extremely oil-rich area. Their society is divided into 50 kinship clans.They are fishermen and farmers. 70% of Ij
aw people are Christians.
The largest population of Kanuri
reside in the northeast corner of
Nigeria, where the ceremonial
Emirate of Borno traces direct
descent from the Kanem-Bornu
empire, founded sometime before
1000 CE. Some 4 million Kanuri
speakers live in Nigeria, not including
the some 300,000 speakers of the
Manga or Mangari dialect. The Nga
people in Bauchi State trace their
origins to a Kanuri diaspora.
8. Ijaw Tribe
Ijo, also called Ijaw, people of the
forests of the River Niger delta in
Nigeria comprising a large number of
formerly autonomous groups. They
speak languages of the Ijoid branch
of the Niger-Congo language family.
They live in the delta of Niger River. The tribe constitutes 10% of the Nigerian population. This ethnical group lives in the extremely oil-rich area. Their society is divided into 50 kinship clans.They are fishermen and farmers. 70% of Ijaw people are Christians.
West of the main Niger outlets each
group occupies a cluster of villages
linked by loose ties of cooperation,
mainly against outsiders. Its members
claim descent from a common
ancestor. At group and village levels
government is by assemblies of
elders, often presided over by priests.
The economy is based on fishing,
palm oil collecting, and floodland
agriculture, formerly, when the
economy was based primarily on
fishing, each group claimed a
distinctive culture and political
autonomy, after contact with
European merchants about 1500,
however, the communities of Bonny,
Calabar, and Nemke began trading
first in slaves and then in palm oil.
9. Ebira Tribe
Ebira or Egbira people are an ethno-
linguistic group of central Nigeria .
Many Ebira people are from Kogi
State, Kwara State, Nasarawa State
and Edo State .
Okene was said to be the
administrative centre of the Ebira-
speaking people in Kogi state before
kogi was formed from Kwara, not far
from the Niger-Benue confluence.
Since the formation of the state, the
Ebira Ta’o people are found in four
local governments namely: Adavi ,
Ajaokuta , Okehi and Okene each with
their administration headquarters.
Ebira Koto are found in Kogi and
KotonKarfe LGA Bassa LGA, Lokoja in
Kogi and Abaji LGA in the Federal
Capital Territory, and Nasarawa in
Toto LGA. Another, the Eganyi are
found in Ajaokuta LGA. And the
Etuno can be found in Igarra town of
Akoko-Edo LGA, Edo state.
The Apete is presently the title
instrument of Ozumi of Okene. After
migration from Kwararafa, they
originally settled with the Igalas and
both groups lived together for about
300 years.  A dispute between the
two groups led to a parting of ways,
and the Ebiras moved southwest of
the River Niger to their ancestral
home called Ebira Opete an area
around Ajaokuta .  Other groups
later moved south to found Okengwe,
Uboro and Okehi.
10. Tiv Tribe
Tiv , people living on both sides of the Benue River in Nigeria; they speak a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family. The Tiv are subsistence farmers whose main crops are yams, millet, and sorghum, all of which are eaten as porridge or are made more palatable by their combination in sauces and stews.
Although goats and chickens are plentiful, few cattle are kept because of the tsetse fly . The polygynous Tiv family occupies a cluster of round huts surrounding a reception hut; brothers usually live next to one another. Tiv social organization is based on patrilineages that are closely associated with particular geographic features; in segmentary lineage systems such as the Tiv’s, a given lineage may be associated, more or less exactly, to a particular village, a group of lineages to a larger district, and so on.
Genealogies go back many generations to a single ancestor; the descendants (through the male line) of each person in the genealogy thus form a territorial kinship group. The force of patrilineal descent, while dominant in Tiv institutions, is balanced by institutions such as age grades (groups of men of about the same age who provide mutual assistance and allies against lineage pressure), cooperative groups, and institutionalized friendships.
Although traditionally the Tiv had no chiefs (political decisions were made by lineage elders), the British administration established a paramount chief in 1948. The Tiv’s complex system of exchange marriage was outlawed in 1927 and was replaced by marriage with bridewealth. Some Tiv have converted to Christianity, and a lesser number have adopted Islam; but their traditional religion, based on the manipulation of forces (akombo ) entrusted to humans by a creator god, remains strong. The akombo are manifested in certain symbols or emblems and in diseases that they create.
An organization of elders who have the ability to manipulate these forces meets at night to repair those manifestations of akombo (e.g., epidemics) that affect the group; these phenomena require human sacrifice or its metaphorical equivalent. The Tiv numbered about 2,500,000 in the late 20th century.
- All tribes in Nigeria are spread among 36 states:
- Tribes Of Niger state
: Nupe, Gbagyi, Kakanda, Kambari, Koro, Dibbo, Abawa, Gana Gana, Kamuku, Zuru, Pangu etc.
- Tribes of Delta State Nigeria: lgbo, lzondjo, Ika, Isoko, Urhobo, Ukwani.
- Tribes of Plateau State Nigeria: Jere, Kwanka, Limono, Jukun, Angas.
- Tribes of Edo State Nigeria: Bini, Esan, Etsako, Etuno, Owan, Ebu;
- Tribes of Rivers State Nigeria: Abua, Degema, Egbema, Ekpeye, Etche.
Nigeria is huge and beautiful. And which tribe do you belong to?