There are over 525 native languages spoken in Nigeria. The official language of Nigeria is English, the former language of colonial British Nigeria.
As reported in 2003, Nigerian English and Nigerian Pidgin were spoken as a second language by 60 million people in Nigeria. Communication in the English language is much more popular in Nigeria's urban communities than it is in the rural areas, due to globalization.
The major native languages, in terms of population, are Hausa (over 63 million), Yoruba (over 42 million), Igbo (over 40 million,) Fulfulde (15 million), Efik-Ibibio cluster (10 million), Kanuri (8 million), Tiv (4 million), and approx. 2 to 3 million each of Edo, Igala, Nupe, and Izon. Nigeria's linguistic diversity is a microcosm of much of Africa as a whole, and the country contains languages from the three major African language families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Niger–Congo. Nigeria also has several as-yet unclassified languages, such as Centúúm, which may represent a relic of an even greater diversity prior to the spread of the current language families.
Our list today is 10 Popular Nigerian Languages, you must have heard from somehow or somewhere.
NUMBER 10: TIV
Tiv (or Tiiv) are a Tivoid ethnic group. They constitute approximately 3.5% of Nigeria's total population, and number about 6.5 million individuals throughout Nigeria and Cameroon. The Tiv language is spoken by about 7 million people in Nigeria with a few speakers in Cameroon. The language is a branch of Benue–Congo and ultimately of the Niger–Congo phylum. They depend on agricultural produce for commerce and life.
NUMBER 9: EDO
NUMBER 8: EFIK
The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River State. The Efik speak the Efik language which is a Benue–Congo language of the Cross River family. Efik oral histories tell of migration down the Cross River from Arochukwu to found numerous settlements in the Calabar and Creek Town area. Calabar is not to be confused with the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State which is an Ijaw state to its west. Cross River State with Akwa Ibom State was formerly one of the original twelve states of Nigeria known as the Southeastern State.
NUMBER 7: URHOBO
Urhobo territory consists of evergreen forests with many oil palm trees. The territory is covered by a network of streams, whose volume and flow are directly affected by the seasons.
NUMBER 6: IJAW
Ijaw people are people in Niger Delta in Nigeria, inhabiting regions of the states of Ondo, Bayelsa (their original Homeland), Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers state. Many are found as migrant fishermen in camps as far west as Sierra Leone and as far east as Gabon. Population figures for the Ijaws vary greatly, though most range from 13 million to 15 million. They have long lived in locations near many sea trade routes, and they were well connected to other areas by trade as early as the 15th century.
NUMBER 5: KANURI
The Kanuri people are an African ethnic group living largely in the lands of the former Kanem and Bornu Empires in Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. Those generally termed Kanuri include several subgroups and dialect groups, some of whom identify as distinct from the Kanuri. Kanuri groups have traditionally been sedentary, engaging in farming, fishing the Chad Basin, and engaged in trade and salt processing.
NUMBER 4: FULANI
The Fula or Fulani people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. Inhabiting many countries, they live mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa but also in South Sudan, Sudan, and regions near the Red Sea coast. The approximate number of Fula people is unknown due to clashing definitions regarding Fula ethnicity; various estimates put the figure between 35 and 45 million worldwide.
Their ethnic group has the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. As an ethnic group, they are bound together by the Fula language, their history and their culture. More than 98% of the Fula are Muslims.
Many West African leaders are of the Fulani descent including the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari; the President of Senegal, Macky Sall; the President of Gambia, Adama Barrow; the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh; and the Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cisse. Fulanis also lead major international institutions, such as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed; the 74th President of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande; and the Secretary-General of OPEC, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo.
NUMBER 3: YORUBA
The Yoruba people are an ethnic group that inhabits western Africa, mainly the countries of Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and The Gambia. The Yoruba constitute around 47 million people worldwide. The vast majority of this population is from Nigeria, where the Yoruba make up 21% of Nigeria's population, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. Most Yoruba people speak the Yoruba language, which is the Niger-Congo language with the largest number of native speakers.
The Yoruba diaspora consists of two main groupings; first were Yorubas dispersed through Atlantic slave trade mainly to the western hemisphere and the second wave includes relatively recent migrants, the majority of which moved to the United Kingdom and the United States after major economic and political changes in the 1960s to 1980s.
NUMBER 2: IGBO
The Igbo people also spelled Ibo and formerly also Iboe, Ebo, Eboe, Eboans, Heebo; natively Ṇ́dị́ Ìgbò [ìɡ͡bò] are a meta-ethnicity native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria and also Equatorial Guinea. There has been much speculation about the origins of the Igbo people, as it is unknown how exactly the group came to form. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern (which is the larger of the two) and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
Frederick Lugard introduced the Eze system of "Warrant Chiefs". Unaffected by the Fulani War and the resulting spread of Islam in Nigeria in the 19th century, they became overwhelmingly Christian under colonization.
NUMBER 1: HAUSA
The Hausa (endonym: Hausawa; also Ausa, Francophonic spelling Haoussa) are a Chadic ethnic group based primarily in the Sahel and sparse savanna areas of southern Niger and northern Nigeria. With a total population of some 80 million (2019 estimate), they qualify as the single most numerous African ethnic group.
Predominantly Hausa-speaking communities are scattered throughout West Africa and on the traditional Hajj route north and east traversing the Sahara, with an especially large population in and around the town of Agadez. Other Hausa have also moved to large coastal cities in the region such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Accra, Abidjan, Banjul and Cotonou as well as to parts of North Africa such as Libya over the course of the last 500 years. Significant indigenized populations are reported in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Chad,