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In an addition to its dominance as Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria is blessed with many ethnic groups but only a few of these groups are very prominent. Other than the three most influential groups (particularly Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo), several other ethnic groups constitute Nigeria’s major ethnic background and in an attempt to acquaint everyone with the beauty of Nigeria’s diversity, we have gathered efforts together and come up with a list comprising minority and major ethnic groups in Nigeria.

List Of Major Ethnic Groups In Nigeria and Minority

List Of Major Ethnic Groups In Nigeria and Minority

With regard to the list below, we have conducted thorough research and as the outcome of our efforts, we’ve been able to provide the names of the major ethnic groups alongside their population estimates and what distinguishes them from one another.


  • 1. Hausa

Forming part of Nigeria’s diverse ethnic ideology, the Hausa maintains its stance as the Nigerian ethnic group with the highest population. Having occupied almost 30% of Nigeria’s entire population, the Hausa group has produced numerous people. Owing to the high rate of monogamy and early marriage among the Hausa’s, the Hausa population is believed to have stretched up to almost 70 million persons.

With Islam regarded as the long-established religion of the Hausa populace, many Hausa people have also been associated with activities such as cattle breeding, farming, and several trades. In addition to this, many Hausa indigenes have stood their ground in the political arena and for this, it is widely believed that most of Nigeria’s politicians are Hausa’s.

  • 2. Yoruba

Just behind the Hausa, the Yoruba appears as another influential major ethnic group in Nigeria, which covers nearly 21% of the entire Nigerian population. In view of this population estimate, the Yoruba claims the second spot on the list of Nigeria’s most populous ethnic groups.

Yoruba’s are clearly distinguished in view of their flairs for Western education. Owing to this belief, Yoruba indigenes dominate the Nigerian education sector.

In the aspect of religion, the Yoruba maintains partial fairness between Islam and Christianity, meaning Yoruba’s are equally Muslims and Christians. Many Yoruba’s cherish their religious ideology based on Christianity or Islam, some minority Yoruba groups still indulge in their ancestral religious doctrine of worshipping idols.

  • 3. Igbo

As almost 90% of the Igbo group comprises Christians, many incidents of religious misunderstandings have occurred between the Igbo’s and the Hausa’s. Meanwhile, these incidents are greatly centered on Igbo’s rejection of Sharia Law which serves as the basis of the Hausa judicial system.

With regard to the business sector, lots of Igbo’s have earned themselves reputable positions stemming from their notable contributions to Nigeria’s voluminous growth. Other than the oil sector which many Igbo’s have contributed to, Igbo’s have continually striven hard and recorded achievements in other business-related aspects.

With Igbo’s strongly kicking against the long political reign by the Hausa, many Igbo youths are currently in the event of agitations, implying that a Biafra State should be created as an effort towards Igbo sovereignty.

Recalling facts from historical events, the Igbo’s once engaged with the pair of Yoruba and Hausa in a hardened war termed “Biafra war’’. The vicious war resulted in the great massacre of the Igbo’s as it lasted almost 3 years (1967-70). With the sad memories of this war still intact, many Igbo youths feel aggrieved and believe the only beneficial decision is that the Igbo populace should secede from Nigeria.

  • 4. Ijaw

Forming another large ethnic group just behind the trio of Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, the Ijaw is also among the list of major ethnic groups in Nigeria and believed to have covered about 10% of Nigeria’s entire population. With the best part of its indigenes found across Niger Delta, the Ijaw has encountered serious setbacks caused by oil issues within Nigeria. Based on some historical facts, Ijaw territories are endowed with sufficient quantities of crude oil but owing to some factors, the Ijaw people have been deprived of absolute possession of their rich terrain. Amongst the factors are notably, insistence dominance by the Igbo’s and the other greater ethnic groups and several political crises over oil exploration.

  • 5. Kanuri

With population estimates identifying the Kanuri group with nearly 4 million natives, the Kanuri population occupies 4 4% of Nigeria’s entire population. As Kanuri remains one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups, many Kanuri natives can be found among Hausa’s simply because the Kanuri terrain is situated in the North Eastern part of the country. Undeniably, the Northern region is chiefly dominated by the Hausa populace; thus, many Kanuri indigenes have been mistaken for Hausa indigenes.

As contained in reports, Kanuri people are perceived as hardcore Muslims who adopt brutal principles in dealing with others. By reason of this, the largest part of the Boko Haram sect is arguably occupied by Kanuri Islamists. Likewise, the insurgency carried out by the Kanuri Islamists supposedly symbolizes the enmity the Kanuri populace has for the government of Nigeria.

  • 6. Fulani

Fulani is undoubtedly a large ethnic group as it covers nearly 4% of Nigeria’s total population. As obtained from historical backgrounds, Fulani’s long-established relationship with the Hausa’s came after the Fulani War which began in 1804 and ended in 1808. For many years or probably since the era of the Fulani War, there have been cases of inter-tribal marriage between Hausa’s and Fulani’s. As regards this, many Fulani indigenes are recognized as Hausa’s particularly when they share features common to the two ethnic backgrounds.

For a very long time, many Islamic clerics have emanated from the Fulani group and without doubts, this signifies Islam as the core of Fulani religious doctrine.

Likewise, lots of Fulani’s derive sustenance from activities such as cattle rearing, trade, and several crafty occupations.

  • 7. Ibibio

With almost 4.5 million indigenes, the Ibibio comes below the Fulani tribe and it covers approximately 3.5 percent of Nigeria’s entire population. The natives of Ibibio are largely found in the South East where the ethnic group is believed to have originated. Many Ibibio’s are married to Ibo’s mainly because there has been an intimate relationship between the Igbo and the Ibibio tribes for long.

Although many Ibibio’s are conversant with the language of Igbo’s, they maintain their belief which clearly identifies them as distinct from Igbo’s. Also, the Ibibio’s are greatly recognized for their culture which portrays a very artistic and beautiful nature.

  • 8. Tiv



  • Itsekiri
  • Ilaje
  • Ikale
  • Ejagham
  • Boki
  • Bekwarra
  • Leggbo
  • Andoni
  • Baruba
  • Anioma
  • Ikwerre
  • Ekpeye
  • Ogba
  • Jukun
  • Kuteb
  • Ebira
  • Berom, Tarok, Afizere, Kofyar, Jarawa – Plateau State
  • Olukumi, Delta

Please Note that Nigeria has a lot of ethnic and over 500 tribes, buh I believe we have been able to highlight some of the minority ethnic groups in Nigeria and list of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria based on their popularity, population, and occupation.



Updated: April 17, 2018 — 2:46 pm


Add a Comment
    1. Hello Success,
      You can assist us and fellow readers in adding the others

  1. Why did you not put a percentile population of the Igbos? is this because the Anioma and Ikwerre are also Igbo speaking? why are you not separating the Yorubas the same way? don’t they have the Oyo, Ijesha, Ila, Ijebu, Ondo, Wo, Owe, Jumu, Iworro, Igbonna, Yagba, Gbedde, Egba, Akono, Aworo, Bunu (Bini), Ekiti, Ilaje, Ikale, Awori speaking people that separates them also?

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