Interesting Facts About Nigerian People and Culture


There are about 162.5 million Nigerians (According to the World Bank and United States Census Bureau). This makes Nigeria the 8th most populous country in the world and the largest in Africa. Nigerian people have a high fertility rate which accounts for the population explosion witnessed in the country in the past 50 years. The population of Nigeria has increased from 37 million in 1950 to 158 million in 2010. This represents about 400% increase in the past 60 years and if things continue with this trend, Nigeria’s population will be more than 0.6 billion in the next 60 years. Nigeria is a West African country located on the southern coastal part of western Africa. The capital of Nigeria is Abuja and Lagos is the country’s largest city. Read through this article as we share the most interesting facts about Nigerian people and culture.

Hausa Culture

There are 3 major ethnic groups in Nigeria: the Hausa-Fulani, the Igbo and the Yoruba and all together, these three groups constitute about 70 per cent of the population of Nigeria.

The distribution of Nigerian people among the remaining ethnic groups is in such a way that 10 per cent is constituted by some other groups numbering more than 1 million each. These include the Ibibio, Kanuri, Tiv etc. More than 300 other ethnic groups constitute the outstanding 20 per cent of the population.

The Yoruba

The South Western part of Nigeria is home to most Yorubas and they are among the group of Nigerian people where culture is still pretty much preserved. They are well involved in arts and have a long history of poetry, beadwork, metalwork, weaving and mask making. The typical artwork of Yoruba is made to honour the ancestors and gods as they believe in a lot of deities. Yorubas, just like the Greeks, have over 400 deities, so there are a lot of artworks and sculptures to be made.

The Igbos

The Igbos occupy the South Eastern part of Nigeria divided into the eastern and western region by the river Niger. Historically, the Igbos originate from Nri community dated back to the stone age. Igbos are known to be highly enterprising and industrious, a trait that has been in the group for a long time. They have a colourful and warm cultural display and all around them are other ethnic groups like Ogoni, Ibibio, igala, Bini, Warri, Tiv, Ijaw, Yako etc.

Hausa/ Fulani

Among the Nigerian people, the Hausa/Fulani occupy the northern parts of the country and their population spreads beyond Nigeria, involving other parts of West Africa where they constitute the largest single ethnic group in West Africa with population of over 30 million. In Nigeria, Hausas are often taken as same with the Fulanis. The cultural similarities between the Hausa and Fulani allow for significant marriage and integration between the two groups. This has resulted as in the term “Hausa-Fulani” being used as one entity to depict Hausa of Fulani. The most popular cities occupied by Hausa-Fulani in the Northern parts of the country include: Kaduna, Sokoto, Kastina, Zaria, Jos, Kano, etc.

Igbo culture

Language: There are quite a lot of cultural diversities among the people of Nigeria as are many ethnic groups in the country. The official language of Nigeria is English but each ethnic group has its own language. Pidgin English is also a “national” but informal language spoken across the country.

Religion of Nigerian People: Christianity and Islam are the two main religions in the country and statistically, Islam constitutes about 50% while Christians make up 40% with the remaining 10% being practitioners of traditional religion and atheists. Muslims dominate the Northern Nigeria while Christians dominate the Southern parts of the country and periods of peace are marred by occasional violence between the Christians and the Muslims.

Nigerian Sports: Football is the national sport of Nigeria and the national team is called the Super Eagles. It is a sport that the country is comparatively good at and has won the African Cup of Nations on several occasions.

Nigerian Food: There are several foods prepared and cooked in Nigeria and most of these are tailored towards the various cultures of the different ethnic groups. Their method of preparation differs among the various tribes even when the same food stuffs are used. Most common Nigeria staple food include: rice, beans, yam, millet, cassava, plantain etc.

Clothing: Nigerian fashion is highly trendy and revolutionary. You often find the latest designs and redesigns of styles and patterns. The typical wear is colorful especially for the women and the traditional wear of most Nigerian men and women is the style called buba which is usually sown as a loose fitting long-sleeved shirt or blouse. Other common styles include skirts, trousers or pants, Scaff and are mostly made of Ankara material.

Yoruba Mask

Nigeria had her independence from England on the 1st of October, 1960 and there are a lot of younger population group making 19 years the average (median) age for Nigerian males and females. There are slightly more men than women in Nigeria in the ratio of 1.04 males for every female.

Owing to insecurity of lives, threats from crimes, natural disasters and pollution, the average life expectancy in Nigeria is low with men having 46.16 years and women living 47.76 years nevertheless, the population of Nigerian people is still on the increase due to high birth rates. There are 36.65 newborns for every 1,000 people, making the country the 28th highest in the world in terms of birth rate.