Full List of Nigerian Tribes and Their Origin

Nigeria is a country with over 371 tribes, each with its own unique culture, language, and history. It has a complex and fascinating history that can be traced back to its colonization by the British in 1901. It was split into two protectorates: the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate. The Yoruba tribe, descended from the Oyo Empire, dominates the southwest, while the Igbo people from the Nri Kingdom dominate the southeast. The Hausa and Fulani people, both descendants of various empires, populate most of the north. Although these three tribes are the most prominent, there are over 520 other indigenous groups with their distinct languages and cultures in Nigeria. With a population of approximately 197 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and has an impressive array of diverse cultures and traditions.

To explore the country’s cultural diversity fully, it’s essential to explore a full list of the over 371 tribes that make up Nigeria’s rich history, which has contributed to its vibrant and unique identity. This blog post aims to provide an inclusive list of these tribes, shedding light on their origins and contributing to a deeper understanding of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

Starting with the most prominent:

1. The Igbo Tribe

  • Origin: The Igbo people hail from the southeastern part of Nigeria, with a history deeply rooted in agriculture, trade, and a communal lifestyle. Igbo culture is characterized by vibrant masquerades, rich folklore, and a strong sense of community.

The Igbo people constitute a significant ethnic group in Nigeria, primarily residing in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. As one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, they possess a distinct cultural identity and a history marked by political and cultural challenges. The Igbo language, belonging to the Niger-Congo language family, includes regional dialects that exhibit mutual intelligibility within the broader “Igboid” cluster.

Before British colonial rule in the 20th century, the Igbo experienced political fragmentation under centralized chiefdoms such as Nri, Aro Confederacy, Agbor, and Onitsha. The colonial era saw widespread Christianization of the Igbo people through missionary activities, significantly shaping their religious landscape. Post-colonization and the subsequent decolonization period fostered a strengthened sense of Igbo ethnic identity.

The aftermath of Nigeria’s independence in 1960 witnessed ethnic tensions, leading to the secession of the predominantly Igbo region from Nigeria in an attempt to establish the independent state of Biafra. This move triggered the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970). During the conflict, millions of Biafran civilians faced starvation due to a Nigerian military blockade, an event portrayed by international media as a humanitarian crisis and alleged genocide. Ultimately, Biafra was defeated and reintegrated into Nigeria.

In the post-1999 era, two sectarian organizations, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra and the Indigenous People of Biafra, emerged. These groups advocate for an independent Igbo state through non-violent means, continuing the historical struggle for self-determination.

2. The Yoruba Tribe

  • Origin: The Yoruba people trace their roots to the ancient city of Ile-Ife, believed to be the cradle of Yoruba civilization. Rich in history and mythology, the Yoruba have a significant impact on Nigeria’s cultural development.

The Yoruba, an ethnic group primarily situated in southwestern Nigeria and extending into parts of Benin, Togo, and other West African nations, are among Nigeria’s largest and most influential ethnic communities, alongside the Hausa and Igbo. The Yoruba population is estimated at around 40 million, with some residing in the Caribbean and Brazil. Possessing a diverse culture, language, and history, the Yoruba people commemorate various festivals and events.

The Yoruba religion encompasses the traditional spiritual beliefs and practices of this ethnic group, rooted in Southwestern Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, collectively known as Yorubaland. Initially an oral tradition, Yoruba culture is expressed through their native language, spoken by approximately 30 million people as of 2010.

Internationally recognized for their trade interactions with the Portuguese, who exchanged guns with them, the Yoruba people gained prominence. In the early 1800s, they faced invasion by the Fulani, prompting a southward migration. Towards the end of the 19th century, a treaty was established between the Yoruba and the British Empire, leading to British colonization starting in 1901.

4. The Hausa Tribe

  • Origin: The Hausa people predominantly inhabit the northern regions of Nigeria. With a history dating back to ancient kingdoms, the Hausa have a rich cultural heritage, including intricate architecture and traditional arts.

The Hausa people, one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups, predominantly inhabit the northwestern region of Nigeria and southern Niger. Their language, Hausa, belongs to the Chadic group of the Afro-Asiatic family and reflects significant Arabic influence due to Islamic expansion during the late 14th century, shaping Hausa beliefs and customs. The Hausa society historically operated on a feudal structure, with emirs governing states and surrounded by titled officeholders managing villages as fiefs.

During the pre-colonial era, the Hausa political system was centralized, with emirs holding substantial power. This centralized structure facilitated the success of the Indirect Rule System during the British colonial period in Northern Nigeria. The economy thrived on intensive cultivation of crops like sorghum, maize, and millet, supported by Fulani cattle manure. Craft specializations such as leatherworking, weaving, and silversmithing emerged, contributing to a diverse range of products traded extensively in local markets.

The colonial era saw the establishment of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1900, encompassing the Hausa states. The British introduced the Indirect Rule System, allowing emirs to retain authority while providing protection and collecting taxes. Post-independence, the Hausa people have remained influential in Nigerian politics and society.

5. Niger Delta Tribes

a. Ijaw

  • Origin: The Ijaw people are indigenous to the Niger Delta region, known for their fishing and trading prowess. The Ijaw have a unique cultural identity, expressed through traditional festivals and ceremonies.

b. Ogoni

  • Origin: The Ogoni people reside in the Niger Delta and have a rich cultural heritage. They are recognized for their environmental activism and commitment to preserving their natural resources.

6. Middle Belt Tribes

a. Tiv

  • Origin: The Tiv people are prominent in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. Renowned for their agricultural practices, the Tiv have a strong sense of community and cultural pride.

b. Nupe

  • Origin: The Nupe people, situated in the Middle Belt, have a history shaped by trade and commerce. Known for their traditional wrestling festivals, the Nupe celebrate their cultural identity with vibrant ceremonies.

Full List of 371 Tribes and Their Origins

NumberName of Ethnic GroupState(s)
1AbayonCross River State
2Abua (Odual)Rivers State
3Achipa (Achipawa)Kebbi State
4Adara (Kadara)Kaduna State, Niger State
5AffadeYobe State
6AfizerePlateau State
7Afo (Eloyi)Nasarawa State
8AgboCross River State
9Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk)Cross River State
10Akweya-YachiBenue State
11Alago (Arago)Nasarawa State
12AmoPlateau State
13AnagutaPlateau State
14AnangAkwa Ibom State, Cross River State
15AndoniAkwa Ibom State, Rivers State
16AnkweiPlateau State
17AnyimaCross River State
18Atyap (Kataf/Katab, Attakar, Kagoro, Kafanchan, Marwa/Manchok)Kaduna State
19Auyoka (Sub-Hausa)Jigawa State
20AworiLagos State, Ogun State
21AyuKaduna State
22Bura-PabirAdamawa State, Borno State, Yobe State
23BachamaAdamawa State
24BachereCross River State
25BadaPlateau State
26BadeYobe State
27BahumonoCross River State
28BakulungTaraba State
29BaliTaraba State
30Bambora (Bambarawa)Bauchi State
31BambukoTaraba State
32Bajju (Kaje, Kajji)Kaduna State
33Banda (Bandawa)Taraba State
34Banka (Bankalawa)Bauchi State
35Banso (Panso)Adamawa State
36Bara (Barawa)Bauchi State
37BarkeBauchi State
38Baruba (Batonu)Kwara State, Niger State
39Bashiri (Bashirawa)Plateau State
40BassaKaduna State, Kogi State, Niger State, Plateau State
41BattaAdamawa State
42BaushiNiger State
43BayaAdamawa State
44BekwarraCross River
45Bele (Buli, Belewa)Bauchi State
46Berom (Birom)Plateau State
47Betso (Bete)Taraba State
48BetteCross River State
49BileiAdamawa State
50BilleRivers State
51Bina (Binawa)Kaduna State
52Bini (Edo)Edo State
53BobuaTaraba State
54Boki (Nki)Cross River State
55BokkosPlateau State
56Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa)Niger State
57Bole (Bolewa)Bauchi State, Gombe State, Yobe State
58BotlereAdamawa State
59Boma (Bomawa, Burmano)Bauchi State
60BomboroBauchi State
61BudumaBorno State
62BujiPlateau State
63BuliBauchi State
64BunuKogi State
65Bura-PabirAdamawa State, Borno State, Yobe State
66BurakBauchi State
67Burma (Burmawa)Plateau State
68BuruYobe State
69Buta (Butawa)Bauchi State
70BwallPlateau State
71BwatiyeAdamawa State
72BwazzaAdamawa State
73ChallaPlateau State
74Chama (Chamawa Fitilai)Bauchi State
75ChambaTaraba State
76ChamoBauchi State
77Chibok (Kibaku people)Borno State, Yobe State
78ChinineBorno State
79ChipPlateau State
80ChokoboPlateau State
81ChukkolTaraba State
82DabaAdamawa State
83DadiyaBauchi State
84DakaAdamawa State
85DakarkariKebbi State, Niger State
86Danda (Dandawa)Kebbi State
87DangsaTaraba State
88Daza (Dere, Derewa)Bauchi State
89Deno (Denawa)Bauchi State
90DghwedeBorno State
91DibaTaraba State
92Doemak (Dumuk)Plateau State
93OuguriBauchi State
94Duka (Dukawa)Kebbi State
95Dundudun (Dunka)Taraba State
96Duma (Dumawa)Bauchi State
97Ebana (Ebani)Rivers State
98EbiraEdo State, Kogi State, Ondo State
99EbuEdo State, Kogi State
100EfikCross River State
101EgbemaRivers State
102Egede (Igede)Benue State, Cross River State
103EggonNasarawa State
104Egun (Gu)Lagos State, Ogun State
105EjaghamCross River State
106EkajukCross River State
107EketAkwa Ibom
108EkoiCross River State
109EkpeyeRivers State
110Engenni (Ngene)Rivers State
111EpieBayelsa State
112Esan (Ishan)Edo State
113Esit EkidAkwa Ibom State
114EtcheRivers State
115Etolu (Etilo)Benue State
116EtsakoEdo State
117EtungCross River State
118EtunoEdo State
119PalliAdamawa State
120Fulani (Fulbe)Adamawa State, Bauchi State, Borno State, Gombe State, Jigawa State, Kaduna State, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi State, Kwara State, Niger State, Plateau State, Sokoto State, Taraba State, Yobe State, Zamfara State
121Fyam (Fyem)Plateau State
122Fyer (Fer)Plateau State
123Ga’andaAdamawa State
124Gade peopleNiger State Nasarawa State
125GalambiBauchi State
126Gamergu-MulgwaBorno State
127GanawuriPlateau State
128GavakoBorno State
129GbeddeKogi State
130GengleTaraba State
131GejiBauchi State
132Gera (Gere, Gerawa)Bauchi State
133Geruma (Gerumawa)Plateau State
134GingwakBauchi State
135GiraAdamawa State
136GizigzAdamawa State
137GoemaiPlateau State
138Gokana (Kana)Rivers State
139GombiAdamawa State
140Gornun (Gmun)Taraba State
141GoniaTaraba State
142Gubi (Gubawa)Bauchi State
143GudeAdamawa State
144GuduAdamawa State
145GureKaduna State
146GurmanaNiger State
147GururntumBauchi State
148GusuPlateau State
149Gwa (Gurawa)Adamawa State
150GwambaAdamawa State
151GwandaraKaduna State, Niger State, Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa State
152Gwari (Gbagyi)Kaduna State, Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nasarawa State, Niger State, Kogi State
153Gwong (Kagoma)Kaduna State
154GwomTaraba State
155Gwoza (Waha)Borno State
156GyemBauchi State
157Ham (Hyam, Jaba, Jabba)Kaduna State
158HausaBauchi State, Jigawa State, Kaduna State, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi State, Sokoto State, Taraba State, Gombe State, Yobe State, Zamfara State
159HolmaAdamawa State
160HonaAdamawa State
161IbaniRivers State
162IbenoAkwa Ibom State
163IbibioAkwa Ibom State, Cross River State
164IchenAdamawa State
165IdomaBenue State, Cross River State, Kogi State, Nassarawa State
166IgalaKogi State
167IgboAbia State, Anambra State, Delta State, Ebonyi State, Enugu State, Imo State, Rivers State
168IgedeBenue state, Cross River State
169IjumuKogi State
170IkaDelta State, Edo State
171IkomCross River State
172IkwerreRivers State
173IrigwePlateau State
174ImanAkwa Ibom State
175IsokoDelta State, Bayelsa State
176Itsekiri (Isekiri)Delta State
177ItuAkwa Ibom State
178Itu Mbio UsoAkwa Ibom State
179Iyala (Iyalla)Cross River State
180Izon (Ijaw)Bayelsa State, Delta State, Edo State, Ondo State, Rivers State
181Jahuna (Jahunawa)Taraba State
182JakuBauchi State
183Jara (Jaar Jarawa Jarawa-Dutse)Bauchi State
184Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa)Bauchi State, Plateau State
185JeroTaraba State
186JibuAdamawa State
187Jidda-AbuPlateau State
188Jimbin (Jimbinawa)Bauchi State
189JipalPlateau State
190JiraiAdamawa State
191JoinkramaRivers State
192Jonjo (Jenjo)Taraba State
193JukunBauchi State, Benue State, Plateau State, Taraba State
194Kaba (Kabawa)Taraba State
195KalabariRivers State
196Kajuru (Kajurawa)Kaduna State
197KakaAdamawa State
198Kamaku (Karnukawa)Kaduna State, Kebbi State, Niger State
199KambariKebbi State, Niger State
200KambuAdamawa State
201KamweAdamawa State and Borno State (Republic of Cameroon)
202Kanakuru (Dera)Adamawa State, Borno State
203KanembuBorno State
204KanikonKaduna State
205KantanaPlateau State
206KanuriAdamawa State, Borno State, Taraba State, Yobe State, Nasarawa state.
207Karekare (Karaikarai)Bauchi State, Yobe State
208KarimjoTaraba State
209KariyaBauchi State
210KeRivers State
211Kenern (Koenoem)Plateau State
212KentonTaraba State
213Kiballo (Kiwollo)Kaduna State
214KilbaAdamawa State
215Kirfi (Kirfawa)Bauchi State
216KodeiTaraba State
217KonaTaraba State
218KonoKaduna State
219Koro (Kwaro)Kaduna State, Niger State
220Kubi (Kubawa)Bauchi State
221Kudachano (Kudawa)Bauchi State
222KugamaTaraba State
223KugboRivers State
224Kulere (Kaler)Plateau State
225KuniniTaraba State
226Kurama (Akurmi)Kaduna State, Jigawa State
227KurdulAdamawa State
228KushiBauchi State
229KutebTaraba State
230KutinTaraba State
231KwallaPlateau State
232Kwami (Kwom)Bauchi State
233KwanchiTaraba State
234KadungBauchi State, Plateau State
235KwaroPlateau State
236KwatoPlateau State
237Kyenga (Kengawa)Kebbi State
238Laaru (Larawa)Niger State
239LakkaAdamawa State
240LalaAdamawa State
241LamaTaraba State
242LamjaTaraba State
243LauTaraba State
244LimonoBauchi State, Plateau State
245Lopa (Lupa, Lopawa)Niger State
246Longuda (Lunguda)Adamawa State, Bauchi State
247MaboPlateau State
248MadaKaduna State, Plateau State
249MamaPlateau State
250MambillaAdamawa State
251Mandara (Wandala)Borno State
252Manga (Mangawa)Yobe State
253Margi (Marghi)Adamawa State, Borno State
254Mafa (Mofa)Adamawa State, Borno State
255MbembeCross River State, Enugu State
256MbolAdamawa State
257MbubeCross River State
258MbulaAdamawa State
259MbumTaraba State
260Memyang (Meryan)Plateau State
261Milighili (Mighili)Plateau State
262Miya (Miyawa)Bauchi State
263MobberBorno State
264MontolPlateau State
265Moruwa (Moro’a, Morwa)Kaduna State
266MuchailaAdamawa State
267MumuyeTaraba State
268MundangAdamawa State
269Munga (Lelau)Taraba State
270Munga (Mupang)Plateau State
271MupunPlateau State
272MusherePlateau State
273Mwahavul (Mwaghavul)Plateau State
274NdoroTaraba State
275Ngas (Angas)Plateau State, Bauchi State
276NgizimYobe State
277Ngweshe (Ndhang.Ngoshe-Ndhang)Adamawa State, Borno State
278NyiffonBenue State
279Ningi (Ningawa)Bauchi State
280Ninzam (Ninzo)Kaduna State, Plateau State
281NjayiAdamawa State
282NkimCross River State
283NkumCross River State
284Nokere (Nakere)Plateau State
285NunkuKaduna State, Plateau State
286NupeKogi State, Kwara State, Niger State
287NyamTaraba State
288NyandangTaraba State
289OboloRivers State, Akwa Ibom
290OdodopCross River
291OgoriKogi State
292OgoniAkwa Ibom State, Rivers State
293OgbaRivers State
294Okobo (Okkobor)Akwa Ibom State
295OkirikaRivers State
296OkpamheriEdo State
297OlukumiDelta State
298OronAkwa Ibom State
299Cross River State
300OsosoEdo State
301OwanEdo State
302OweKogi State
303OworoKogi State
304Pa’a (Pa’awa Afawa)Bauchi State
305PaiPlateau State
306PanyamTaraba State
307PeroBauchi State
308PireAdamawa State
309PkanzomTaraba State
310PollTaraba State
311Polchi HabeBauchi State
312Pongo (Pongu)Niger State
313PotopoTaraba State
314Pyapun (Piapung)Plateau State
315QuaCross River State
316Rebina (Rebinawa)Bauchi State
317ResheKebbi State, Niger State
318Rindire (Rendre)Plateau State
319RishuwaKaduna State
320RonPlateau State
321RubuNiger State
322RukubaPlateau State
323RumadaKaduna State
324RumayaKaduna State
325SakbeTaraba State
326SangaBauchi State
327SateTaraba State
328Saya (Sayawa Za’ar)Bauchi State, Kaduna State, Plateau State
329Segidi (Sigidawa)Bauchi State
330Shanga (Shangawa)Kebbi State
331Shangawa (ShanKadunagau)Plateau State
332Shan-ShanPlateau State
333Shira (Shira )Bauchi State
334ShomoTaraba State
335Shuwa (Baggara Arabs)Adamawa State, Borno State, Kaduna State, Yobe State
336SikdiPlateau State
337Siri (Sirawa)Bauchi State
338Srubu (Surubu)Kaduna State
339SukurAdamawa State
340SuraPlateau State
341TangaleGombe State
342Tarok (Yergam)Plateau State, Taraba State, Nasarawa State
343TemeAdamawa State
344Tera (Terawa)Bauchi State, Borno State
345Teshena (Teshenawa)Kano State
346TigonTaraba State
347TikarTaraba State
348TivBenue State, FCT, Nasarawa State, Niger State, Plateau State, Taraba State
349TulaGombe State
350TurAdamawa State
351UbboAdamawa State
352UdekeamaRivers State
353UfiaBenue State
354UkelleCross River State, Ebonyi state, Benue state
355Ukwani (Kwale)Delta State
356UncindaKaduna State, Kebbi State, Niger State,
357Uneme (Ineme)Edo State
358Ura (Ula)Niger State
359UrhoboDelta State, Bayelsa State
360UtonkongBenue State
361Uwanno (Weppa-Wanno)Edo State
362UyangaCross River State
363VemgoAdamawa State
364VerreAdamawa State
365VommiTaraba State
366WaggaAdamawa State
367WajaBauchi State
368WakaTaraba State
369Warja (Warja)Bauchi State
370WarjiBauchi State
371WurboAdamawa State
372WurkunTaraba State
373YacheCross River State
374YagbaKogi State
375Yakurr (Yako)Cross River State
376YallaBenue State
377YandangAdamawa State, Taraba State
378YorubaEkiti State, Kogi State, Kwara State, Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, Oyo State


379YottTaraba State
380YumuNiger State
381YungurAdamawa State
382YuomPlateau State
383ZabaraNiger State
384ZarandaBauchi State
385Zarma (Zarmawa)Kebbi State
386Zayam (Zeam)Bauchi State
387Zul (Zulawa)Bauchi State

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