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Monday, April 15, 2024


Nigeria’s Culture

The numerous ethnic groups in Nigeria influence its culture. Seven of the 527 languages spoken in the nation are now extinct. Nigeria also includes more than 1150 distinct ethnic and dialect groups. The Hausa, who prevail in the north, the Yoruba, who predominate in the southwest, and the Igbo, who predominate in the southeast, make up the three major ethnic groupings. Numerous additional ethnic groups exist around the nation, and many of them have sizable populations. The Efik-Ibibio are in the south-south of Nigeria, the Tiv are in the north central part, and the Kanuri are in the northeast. The area between Yorubaland and Igboland is where you’ll find the majority of Bini people.

Other ethnic groups in Nigeria, frequently referred to as “minorities,” can be found all around the nation, but the north and middle belt are most densely populated. West and Central Africa are home to the formerly nomadic Fulani people. The majority religion of the Fulani and Hausa is Islam, whereas that of the Igbo, Bini, and Ibibio is Christianity. The majority of Yoruba people have mixed muslim and Christian ancestry. Over 225 million people, or about 21% of the total population, are Yoruba, with about half of them being Muslim and the other half being Christian. However, all of Nigeria’s ethnic groups still place a high value on their indigenous religious rituals, which are commonly combined with Christian or Muslim beliefs in a process known as syncretism.

A Quick Tour Across 4 Major Ethnic Groups In Nigeria To Learn About Their Cultural Heritage.


As of the 21st century, it is estimated that there are about 3.8 million Binis, also known as the Edo people, living in the South South region of contemporary Nigeria. Their Benin Bronzes are well-known, and they are ruled by monarchs. They ruled a huge empire before colonization. They are an ethnic group that is mainly concentrated in the Nigerian states of Edo and, to a lesser extent, Delta, Ondo, and Rivers. They use a language known as the Edo language. Although the name “Benin” (and “Bini”) is a Portuguese corruption of the word “Ubinu,” which first appeared in use during the reign of Oba Ewuare the Great, c. 1440, it is important to note that the Bini people are closely related to several other ethnic groups that typically speak Edoid languages, such as the Esan, Afemai, Isoko, Urhobo. The royal administrative center or capital proper of the kingdom, Edo, was described and portrayed using the term “Ubinu”. The word “Ubinu” was eventually distorted to “Bini” by other mixed-ethnic groups residing in the same area, and it was further perverted to “Benin” around the year 1485, when the Portuguese began trading with Oba Ewuare and received coral beads.

Trades of the Edo People : The subsistence farming practices of the Edo people include raising goats, sheep, dogs, and birds in addition to other types of animals. Traditional arts and crafts include working with leather, casting brass, carving wood, and weaving ceremonial fabric.

Arts and Sculptures : Easily recognizable sculptures, plaques, and masks depict many spiritual and historical components of traditional Edo society. The immense collection of ancient Edo artworks known as the Benin Bronzes, which can be found not only in Nigeria but also all over the world, and the mask of Queen Mother Idia.

Dressing : The fact that you can identify an Edo man or woman by their clothing and accessories when you see one is no longer breaking news. This is a result of the Edo people’s (culture’s) distinctive clothing style.

The Edo people have one of the most unusual dress customs on the African continent. They commonly don red jewelry, including beads, bangles, anklets, and raffia crafts.


One of the largest ethnic groupings that have ever existed in Africa, the Igbo people, also known as Ibo people, with a population of about 20 million. This ethnic group makes up roughly 17 percent of Nigeria’s population, with the majority of its members living in the southeast of the country. Additionally, they are widespread in Cameroon and other African nations. The Igbo people are thought to have come from a region about 100 miles north of where they are now, around the meeting point of the Niger and Benue Rivers.

Trades Of The Igbo People : Yams, cassava, and taro have historically been the main crops grown by the majority of Igbo. They also grow melons, okra, pumpkins, beans, corn (maize), and melons. Men are mostly in charge of yam cultivation among those who are still involved in agriculture, while women are in charge of other crops. Kinship groups collectively control the land, which is then made accessible to people for farming and construction. Some cattle is kept, which is significant as a source of status and for sacrifices. Palm oil and palm kernels are the main exports. A high literacy rate has aided many Igbo to become civil servants and business owners, while trade, regional crafts, and wage labor are also significant aspects of the Igbo economy.

Dressing : For men, the Isiagu top, which is similar to the African dashiki, makes up much of the traditional Igbo clothing. Isiagu (or Ishi agu) is a type of apparel that can be plain (often black) or patterned with lions heads embroidered over it. It can be worn with the traditional Igbo stripped men’s hat, which resembles the Bobble hat, or with the fez known as the okpu agu or agwu, the traditional hat for title holders. Women typically wear two wrappers (typically made of contemporary Hollandis material), a head scarf, and an incorporated puffed sleeve blouse that was inspired by European clothing.


Along with the Igbo and Hausa-Fulani peoples, the Yoruba are considered to be one of Nigeria’s three main ethnic groupings. Yoruba people, who live in Benin and northern Togo in considerably smaller, dispersed groupings than those in the southwest of Nigeria, are estimated to number more than 20 million as of the turn of the twenty-first century. Despite sharing a same language known as Yoruba and a similar culture for centuries, the Yoruba people were less inclined to form a unified governmental entity. More than a millennium ago, the Yoruba people are thought to have moved from the east to the present-day areas west of the lower Niger River. They eventually developed into the precolonial Africans who were the most urbanized. The Yoruba people gradually organized themselves into numerous kingdoms of varied sizes, each of which was centered on a capital city or town and was headed by an oba, or hereditary ruler.

Trades Of The Yoruba People : The majority of Yoruba men work as farmers, raising yams, corn (maize), millet, plantains, peanuts (groundnuts), beans, and peas as auxiliary crops in addition to cocoa, which is a significant revenue crop. Others work as merchants or artisans. The sophisticated market system is largely controlled by women, who perform minimal farm work. Their status is more influenced by their own standing in the market than by that of their husbands. The Yoruba have historically been some of Africa’s most talented and successful craftspeople. They engaged in occupations like blacksmithing, weaving, leathercraft, glassblowing, and carving ivory and wood.

Dressing : Aso-Oke has long been associated with Yoruba fashion and garment culture, which is rife with designs like the four-piece female ensemble of the iro (wrapper), buba (blouse), and ipele (shawl) with the gele accessory (headgear) as well as the male agbada (robe), buba and, dansiki (baggy shirts), sokoto (trouser) and fila (cap accessory).


With a combined population of more than 20 million, the Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups are thought to be one of, if not the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. The northern region of Nigeria is home to the Hausa and Fulani. Although the Hausa and Fulani are two distinct tribes, they are frequently combined because of their shared culture. The majority of the Hausa-Fulani people live in and around the cities of Sokoto, Kano, and Katsina, which are considered to be significant market hubs along the trans-Saharan caravan trade routes’ southern end.

Trade Of The Hausa People : Gold, ivory, salt, iron, tin, weapons, horses, coloured cotton cloth, kola nuts, glassware, metalware, ostrich plumes, and hides are all traded in the Hausa states.

Dressing : The typical Hausa outfit consists of a flowing gown and pants. They typically have large apertures that permit ventilation. The top and center of the trousers are loose, while the legs are fitted.

The men do wear head turbans, which typically cover part of their faces but leave their eyes exposed. The majority of religious leaders do wear this attire. The extravagant clothing worn by the men, known as “Babban Riga” (also known as “Agbada” in the Yoruba tribe due to adoption by many ethnic groups neighboring the Hausa, is an easy way to identify them. Intricate embroidered patterns are frequently seen around the neck and chest area of men’s clothing.

A distinctive feature of Hausa women is their “Zani” wrappers, which are fashioned of colorful fabric called “Atampa” or “Ankara” (a forerunner of the renowned Tie-dye process).

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