tribes of nigeria - hausa

Tribes of Nigeria

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People often think it’s easy for citizens in each post-colonial African country to pull in the same direction. It isn’t. One of the challenges for each country is ethnic diversity. A nation is a body of people with shared descent, language, history, culture and living in close proximity to one another. By that definition Nigeria is a country of at least 372 nations, yet Nigeria only gets one seat at the UN. In contrast, there are 193 member states of the United Nations.

Who are the tribes of Nigeria? Are they actually tribes. In this context the word “tribe” has to be seen as an inadequate inherited label for categorizing people from colonial times.

Large tribes of Nigeria

The Hausa are a huge tribe. They are the largest of the tribes of Nigeria and they are the largest of the 10 largest tribes of Africa with an estimated population of 74 million, mostly based in Nigeria with 64 million of them living there. However, they are also found in sizable numbers in Niger, Benin, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Ghana, Chad, Togo, Burkina Faso and Algeria. They are a diverse people that speak their own Hausa language.

The origins of the Hausa can be traced back to at least the 7th century and the Hausa Kingdoms. The Hausa people were divided into many kingdoms united by a shared ancestor and each of the Hausa kingdoms became specialist centers of trade in Africa. Their primary exports were leather, gold and clothes. The Hausa were renowned for their cloth weaving. Their architecture is also beautiful and intricate, while their cuisine is popular all over Africa.

Notable Hausa include many Sultans of Sokoto and also current footballer Ahmed Musa who plays for Nigeria.

Nigerian International, Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa, Nigerian International Footballer

The Igbo are the second largest of the tribes of Nigeria, consisting of about 45 million people. They are based primarily in modern day Nigeria where they make up over 18% of the population though they are also found in Guinea. They have their own language known as the Igbo language which they primarily speak.

The Igbo’s origins are a mystery, with the best guesses tracing them back to about 3000 BCE, based on some pottery that was found which showed similarity to what the Igbo people did later. In the Nsukka region of Igboland, evidence was found of early iron smelting through excavations. Traditionally, they have had a democratic republican system of government. They have their own calendar and banking system. The Igbo had huge trade routes prior to the arrival of the European colonials.

Prominent Igbo include famous footballers Nwanko Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, and also the first President of Nigeria.

Third in the list of the largest tribes of Nigeria are the Yoruba. The Yoruba are a tribe that consist of around 47 million people. They are mostly found in West Africa especially in Nigeria (43.4 million) and Benin (1.4 million). Most Yoruba speak the Yoruba language, which is part of the Niger-Congo family of languages. There are Yoruba speaking people in the Americas, (particularly Cuba and Brazil), Europe and North America.

The history of the Yoruba is very interesting. The Yoruba people have inhabited Southwest Nigeria since as early as 9,000 BC (11,000 years ago). This is based on skeletal remains found in Iwo-Eleru in present-day Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria.

Tribes of Nigeria: neolithic skeletons

LEFT: Reconstructed Iwo-Eleru Skull, CENTRE: Location Of Iwo-Eleru On The Nigerian Map, RIGHT: Multi Dimensional Images Of the Iwo-Eleru Skull (SOURCE: Public Domain)

The Yoruba who lived in Yorubaland were not known as the Yoruba until the 1st century BCE, despite having lived there for millenia prior to that. They are a dominant cultural force in Nigeria, and their cities were always amongst the most populous, not only in Africa, but also the world.

The capital of the Yoruba empire of Oyo was said to hold nearly 100,000 people at one point. They had their own calendar, and their own culture. They also have their very own unique cloth known as the Aṣo-Oke. Prominent Yoruba include many actresses in Nollywood, politicians and formers heads of state such as Olusegun Obasanjo.

Tribes of Nigeria: picture of Olusegun Obasanjo

President Olusegun Obasanjo (1976 – 1979, and later from 1999 to 2007) wearing Aṣo-Oke with U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the White House in 1977

The Fulani tribe are the 4th largest of the tribes of Nigeria and are one of the largest ethnic groups and tribes in Africa, with over 40 million people. They live mainly in Western African nations such as Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal and Chad. They have their own language known as Fula. Their origins are unclear but there are many theories as to where they originated. The oral traditions of the Fulani states that they started from what is now present day Jordan. What we do know for sure is that by the 5th century, they were in West Africa. The earliest evidence we have from archaeological digs points to them starting around 6th century BC at the latest.

They are one of the few Africa tribes to adopt Islam, with 98% of the Fulani being Muslim. Prominent Fulani include the first President of Cameroon, Ahmadou Ahidjo, and Major General Mohammadu Buhari, the current President of Nigeria.

tribes of nigeria Mohammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Tribes of Nigeria: Mohammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

This is a full list of the 372 tribes in Nigeria and the states in which they reside..
1 Abayon -Cross River
2 Abua (Odual) -Rivers
3 Achipa (Achipawa) -Kebbi
4 Adim -Cross River
5 Adun -Cross River
6 Affade -Yobe
7 Afizere -Plateau
8 Afo -Plateau
9 Agbo -Cross River
10 Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk) -Cross River
11 Akweya-Yachi -Benue
12 Alago (Arago) -Piateau
13 Amo -Plateau
14 Anaguta -Plateau
15 Anang -Akwa lbom
16 Andoni -Akwa lbom, Rivers
17 Angas -Bauchi, Jigawa, Plateau
18 Ankwei -Plateau
19 Anyima -Cross River
20 Attakar (ataka) -Kaduna
21 Auyoka (Auyokawa) -Jigawa
22 Awori -Lagos, Ogun
23 Ayu -Kaduna
24 Babur -Adamawa, Bomo, Taraba, Yobe
25 Bachama -Adamawa
26 Bachere -Cross River
27 Bada -Plateau
28 Bade -Yobe
29 Bahumono -Cross River
30 Bakulung -Taraba
31 Bali -Taraba
32 Bambora (Bambarawa) -Bauchi
33 Bambuko -Taraba
34 Banda (Bandawa) -Taraba
35 Banka (Bankalawa) -Bauchi
36 Banso (Panso) -Adamawa
37 Bara (Barawa) -Bauchi
38 Barke -Bauchi
39 Baruba (Barba) -Niger
40 Bashiri (Bashirawa) -Plateau
41 Bassa -Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Plateau
42 Batta -Adamawa
43 Baushi -Niger
44 Baya -Adamawa
45 Bekwarra -Cross River
46 Bele (Buli, Belewa) -Bauchi
47 Betso (Bete) -Taraba
48 Bette -Cross River
49 Bilei -Adamawa
50 Bille -Adamawa
51 Bina (Binawa) -Kaduna
52 Bini -Edo
53 Birom -Plateau
54 Bobua -Taraba
55 Boki (Nki) -Cross River
56 Bkkos -Plateau
57 Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa) -Niger
58 Bole (Bolewa) -Bauchi, Yobe
59 Botlere -Adamawa
60 Boma (Bomawa, Burmano) -Bauchi
61 Bomboro -Bauchi
62 Buduma -Borno, Niger
63 Buji -Plateau
64 Buli -Bauchi
65 Bunu -Kogi
66 Bura -Adamawa
67 Burak -Bauchi
68 Burma (Burmawa) -Plateau
69 Buru -Yobe
70 Buta (Butawa) -Bauchi
71 Bwall -Plateau
72 Bwatiye -Adamawa
73 Bwazza -Adamawa
74 Challa -Plateau
75 Chama (Chamawa Fitilai) -Bauchi
76 Chamba -Taraba
77 Chamo -Bauchi
78 Chibok (Chibbak) -Yobe
79 Chinine -Borno
80 Chip -Plateau
81 Chokobo -Plateau
82 Chukkol -Taraba
83 Daba -Adamawa
84 Dadiya -Bauchi
85 Daka -Adamawa
86 Dakarkari -Niger, Kebbi
87 Danda (Dandawa) -Kebbi
88 Dangsa -Taraba
89 Daza (Dere, Derewa) -Bauchi
90 Degema -Rivers
91 Deno (Denawa) -Bauchi
92 Dghwede -Bomo
93 Diba -Taraba
94 Doemak (Dumuk) -Plateau
95 Ouguri -Bauchi
96 Duka (Dukawa) -Kebbi
97 Duma (Dumawa) -Bauchi
98 Ebana (Ebani) -Rivers
99 Ebirra (lgbirra) -Edo, Kogi, Ondo
100 Ebu -Edo, Kogi
101 Efik -Cross River
102 Egbema -Rivers
103 Egede (lgedde) -Benue
104 Eggon -Plateau
105 Egun (Gu) -Lagos,Ogun
106 Ejagham -Cross River
107 Ekajuk -Cross River
108 Eket -Akwa Ibom
109 Ekoi -Cross River
110 Engenni (Ngene) -Rivers
111 Epie -Rivers
112 Esan (Ishan) -Edo
113 Etche -Rivers
114 Etolu (Etilo) -Benue
115 Etsako -Edo
116 Etung -Cross River
117 Etuno -Edo
118 Palli -Adamawa
119 Pulani (Pulbe) -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa ,
Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi , Niger, Sokoto,
Taraba, Yobe, etc.
120 Fyam (Fyem) -Plateau
121 Fyer(Fer) -Plateau
122 Ga’anda -Adamawa
123 Gade -Niger
124 Galambi -Bauchi
125 Gamergu-Mulgwa -Borno
126 Qanawuri -Plateau
127 Gavako -Borno
128 Gbedde -Kogi
129 Gengle -Taraba
130 Geji -Bauchi
131 Gera (Gere, Gerawa) -Bauchi
132 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Plateau
133 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Bauchi
134 Gingwak -Bauchi
135 Gira -Adamawa
136 Gizigz -Adamawa
137 Goernai -Plateau
138 Gokana (Kana) -Rivers
139 Gombi -Adamawa
140 Gornun (Gmun) -Taraba
141 Gonia -Taraba
142 Gubi (Gubawa) -Bauchi
143 Gude -Adamawa
144 Gudu -Adamawa
145 Gure -Kaduna
146 Gurmana -Niger
147 Gururntum -Bauchi
148 Gusu -Plateau
149 Gwa (Gurawa) -Adamawa
150 Gwamba Adamawa
151 Gwandara -Kaduna, Niger, Plateau
152 Gwari (Gbari) -Kaduna, Niger, Abuja, Plateau
153 Gwom -Taraba
154 Gwoza (Waha) -Borno
155 Gyem -Bauchi
156 Hausa: -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna,Kano,
Kastina, Kebbi, Niger,Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara
157 Higi (Hig) -Borno, Adamawa
158 Holma -Adamawa
159 Hona -Adamawa
160 Ibeno -Akwa lbom
161 Ibibio -Akwa lbom
162 Ichen -Taraba
163 Idoma -Benue, Taraba
164 Igalla -Kogi
165 lgbo: -Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta,
Ebonyi,Enugu, Imo, Rivers
166 ljumu -Kogi
167 Ikorn -Cross River
168 Irigwe -Plateau
169 Isoko -Delta
170 lsekiri (Itsekiri) -Delta
171 lyala (lyalla) -Cross River
172 lzondjo -Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo, Rivers
173 Jaba -Kaduna
174 Jahuna (Jahunawa) -Taraba
175 Jaku -Bauchi
176 Jara (Jaar Jarawa Jarawa-Dutse) -Bauchi
177 Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa) -Bauchi,
178 Jero -Taraba
179 Jibu -Adamawa
180 Jidda-Abu -Plateau
181 Jimbin (Jimbinawa) -Bauchi
182 Jirai -Adamawa
183 Jonjo (Jenjo) -Taraba
184 Jukun -Taraba, Bauchi, Plateau, Adamawa
185 Kaba(Kabawa) -Taraba
186 Kadara -Taraba
187 Kafanchan -Kaduna
188 Kagoro -Kaduna
189 Kaje (Kache) -Kaduna
190 Kajuru (Kajurawa) -Kaduna
191 Kaka -Adamawa
192 Kamaku (Karnukawa) -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger
193 Kambari -Kebbi, Niger
194 Kambu -Adamawa
195 Kamo -Bauchi
196 Kanakuru (Dera) -Adamawa, Borno
197 Kanembu -Borno
198 Kanikon -Kaduna
199 Kantana -Plateau
200 Kanuri -Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno,
Kano,Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe
201 Karekare (Karaikarai) -Bauchi, Yobe
202 Karimjo -Taraba
203 Kariya -Bauchi
204 Katab (Kataf) -Kaduna
205 Kenern (Koenoem) -Plateau
206 Kenton -Taraba
207 Kiballo (Kiwollo) -Kaduna
208 Kilba -Adamawa
209 Kirfi (Kirfawa) -Bauchi
210 Koma -Taraba
211 Kona -Taraba
212 Koro (Kwaro) -Kaduna, Niger
213 Kubi (Kubawa) -Bauchi
214 Kudachano (Kudawa) -Bauchi
215 Kugama -Taraba
216 Kulere (Kaler) -Plateau
217 Kunini -Taraba
218 Kurama -Jigawa, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau
219 Kurdul -Adamawa
220 Kushi -Bauchi
221 Kuteb -Taraba
222 Kutin -Taraba
223 Kwalla -Plateau
224 Kwami (Kwom) -Bauchi
225 Kwanchi -Taraba
226 Kwanka (Kwankwa) -Bauchi, Plateau
227 Kwaro -Plateau
228 Kwato -Plateau
229 Kyenga (Kengawa) -Sokoto
230 Laaru (Larawa) -Niger
231 Lakka -Adamawa
232 Lala -Adamawa
233 Lama -Taraba
234 Lamja -Taraba
235 Lau -Taraba
236 Ubbo -Adamawa
237 Limono -Bauchi, Plateau
238 Lopa (Lupa, Lopawa) -Niger
239 Longuda (Lunguda) -Adamawa, Bauchi
240 Mabo -Plateau
241 Mada -Kaduna, Plateau
242 Mama -Plateau
243 Mambilla -Adamawa
244 Manchok -Kaduna
245 Mandara (Wandala) -Borno
246 Manga (Mangawa) -Yobe
247 Margi (Marghi) -Adamawa, Borno
248 Matakarn -Adamawa
249 Mbembe -Cross River, Enugu
250 Mbol -Adamawa
251 Mbube -Cross River
252 Mbula -Adamawa
253 Mbum -Taraba
254 Memyang (Meryan) -Plateau
255 Miango -Plateau
256 Michika-Adamawa
257 Miligili (Migili) -Plateau
258 Miya (Miyawa) -Bauchi
259 Mobber -Borno
260 Montol -Plateau
261 Moruwa (Moro’a, Morwa) -Kaduna
262 Muchaila -Adamawa
263 Mumuye -Taraba
264 Mundang -Adamawa
265 Munga (Mupang) -Plateau
266 Mushere -Plateau
267 Mwahavul (Mwaghavul) -Plateau
268 Ndoro -Taraba
269 Ngamo -Bauchi, Yobe
270 Ngizim -Yobe
271 Ngweshe (Ndhang.Ngoshe-Ndhang) –
Adamawa, Borno
272 Ningi (Ningawa) -Bauchi
273 Ninzam (Ninzo) -Kaduna, Plateau
274 Njayi -Adamawa
275 Nkim -Cross River
276 Nkum -Cross River
277 Nokere (Nakere) -Plateau
278 Nunku -Kaduna, Plateau
279 Nupe -Niger
280 Nyandang -Taraba
281 Ododop Cross River
282 Ogori -Kwara
283 Okobo (Okkobor) -Akwa lbom
284 Okpamheri -Edo
285 Olulumo -Cross River
286 Oron -Akwa lbom
287 Owan -Edo
288 Owe -Kwara
289 Oworo -Kwara
290 Pa’a (Pa’awa Afawa) -Bauchi
291 Pai -Plateau
292 Panyam -Taraba
293 Pero -Bauchi
294 Pire -Adamawa
295 Pkanzom -Taraba
296 Poll -Taraba
297 Polchi Habe -Bauchi
298 Pongo (Pongu) -Niger
299 Potopo -Taraba
300 Pyapun (Piapung) -Plateau
301 Qua -Cross River
302 Rebina (Rebinawa) -Bauchi
303 Reshe -Kebbi, Niger
304 Rindire (Rendre) -Plateau
305 Rishuwa -Kaduna
306 Ron -Plateau
307 Rubu -Niger
308 Rukuba -Plateau
309 Rumada -Kaduna
310 Rumaya -Kaduna
311 Sakbe -Taraba
312 Sanga -Bauchi
313 Sate -Taraba
314 Saya (Sayawa Za’ar) -Bauchi
315 Segidi (Sigidawa) -Bauchi
316 Shanga (Shangawa) -Sokoto
317 Shangawa (Shangau) -Plateau
318 Shan-Shan -Plateau
319 Shira (Shirawa) -Kano
320 Shomo -Taraba
321 Shuwa -Adamawa, Borno
322 Sikdi -Plateau
323 Siri (Sirawa) -Bauchi
324 Srubu (Surubu) -Kaduna
325 Sukur -Adamawa
326 Sura -Plateau
327 Tangale -Bauchi
328 Tarok -Plateau, Taraba
329 Teme -Adamawa
330 Tera (Terawa) -Bauchi, Bomo
331 Teshena (Teshenawa) -Kano
332 Tigon -Adamawa
333 Tikar -Taraba
334 Tiv -Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa
335 Tula -Bauchi
336 Tur -Adamawa
337 Ufia -Benue
338 Ukelle -Cross River
339 Ukwani (Kwale) -Delta
340 Uncinda -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto
341 Uneme (Ineme) -Edo
342 Ura (Ula) -Niger
343 Urhobo -Delta
344 Utonkong -Benue
345 Uyanga -Cross River
346 Vemgo -Adamawa
347 Verre -Adamawa
348 Vommi -Taraba
349 Wagga -Adamawa
350 Waja -Bauchi
351 Waka -Taraba
352 Warja (Warja) -Jigawa
353 Warji -Bauchi
354 Wula -Adamawa
355 Wurbo -Adamawa
356 Wurkun -Taraba
357 Yache -Cross River
358 Yagba -Kwara
359 Yakurr (Yako) -Cross River
360 Yalla -Benue
361 Yandang -Taraba
362 Yergan (Yergum) -Plateau
363 Yoruba -(Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo,
Osun, Ekiti, Kogi)
364 Yott -Taraba
365 Yumu -Niger
366 Yungur -Adamawa
367 Yuom -Plateau
368 Zabara -Niger
369 Zaranda -Bauchi
370 Zarma (Zarmawa) -Kebbi
371 Zayam (Zeam) -Bauchi
372 Zul (Zulawa) -Bauchi

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Tribes of Nigeria

by Editorial Team time to read: 8 min