Complete List of Ethnic Groups in Nigeria

Statistically, one out of every four Africans and one out of every five persons of African origin is a Nigerian.

With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. With more than 300 ethnic groups, over 500 languages, and many distinct religious and regional differences, it’s also one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for some Nigerian children, especially those born in the cities, to really know their ethnic group; some can’t differentiate between their state, tribe, and ethnic group. I remember asking a little girl, “Where are you from?”

ethnic groups nigeria

Then she responded, “I am from Igbo State.” I tried asking if she wanted to say Imo State, but she said no, I am from Igbo State. I told her that Igbo is not a state but an ethnic group. Later, her parents schooled her in their state of origin (Anambra State). Anyone from southern Nigeria who is not a Yoruba person is called an Igbo person, even when the person is not Igbo. Likewise, a Kanuri man from Borno State is tagged as a Hausa man as soon as he gets to the south.

The multi-ethnic nature of Nigeria has put a lot of people at a loss, even amongst Nigerians, not to mention foreigners, especially while observing displays of unique culture, languages, etc.  As stated earlier, Nigeria has over 500 languages and over 300 ethnic groups. Bamgbose, in 1978, in his work titled “Models of Communication in Multilingual States,” published in the West African Journal of Modern Languages, estimated that there are about 513 languages spoken in Nigeria.

In this post, a full list of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria is provided in alphabetical order, along with the corresponding state(s) where the ethnic group can be found, so the beauty in her diversity can be easily understood and appreciated. Some frequently asked questions, like “What is the difference between tribe, ethnic group, and nation?” are also presented with answers.

Name of Ethnic Group State
Abayon Cross River State
Abua (Odual) Rivers State
Achipa (Achipawa) Kebbi State
Adara (Kadara) Kaduna StateNiger State
Affade Yobe Stae
Afizere Plateau State
Afo (Eloyi) Nasarawa State
Agbo Cross River State
Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk) Cross River State
Akweya-Yachi Benue State
Alago (Arago) Nasarawa State
Amo Plateau State
Anaguta Plateau State
Anang Akwa Ibom State, Cross Rivers
Andoni(Obolo) Akwa Ibom StateRivers State
Ankwei Plateau State
Anyima Cross River State
Atyap (Kataf/Katab, Attakar, Kagoro, Kafanchan, Marwa/Manchok) Kaduna State
Auyoka (Sub-Hausa) Jigawa State
Awori Lagos StateOgun State
Ayu Kaduna State
Bura-Pabir Adamawa StateBorno StateYobe State
Bachama Adamawa State
Bachere Cross River State
Bada Plateau State
Bade Yobe State
Bahumono Cross River State
Bakulung Taraba State
Bali Taraba State
Bambora (Bambarawa) Bauchi State
Bambuko Taraba State
Bajju (Kaje, Kajji) Kaduna State
Banda (Bandawa) Taraba State
Banka (Bankalawa) Bauchi State
Banso (Panso) Adamawa State
Bara (Barawa) Bauchi State
Barke Bauchi State
Baruba (Batonu) Kwara State, Niger State
Bashiri (Bashirawa) Plateau State
Bassa Kaduna State, Kogi State, Niger State, Plateau State
Batta Adamawa State
Baushi Niger State
Baya Adamawa State
Bekwarra Cross River
Bele (Buli, Belewa) Bauchi State
Berom (Birom) Plateau State
Betso (Bete) Taraba State
Bette Cross River State
Bilei Adamawa State
Bille Rivers State
Bina (Binawa) Kaduna State
Bini (Edo) Edo State
Bobua Taraba State
Boki (Nki) Cross River State
Bokkos Plateau State
Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa) Niger State
Bole (Bolewa) Bauchi State, Gombe State, Yobe State
Botlere Adamawa State
Boma (Bomawa, Burmano) Bauchi State
Bomboro Bauchi State
Buduma Borno State,
Buji Plateau State
Buli Bauchi State
Bunu Kogi State
Bura-Pabir Adamawa State, Borno State, Yobe State
Burak Bauchi State
Burma (Burmawa) Plateau State
Buru Yobe State
Buta (Butawa) Bauchi State
Bwall Plateau State
Bwatiye Adamawa State
Bwazza Adamawa State
Challa Plateau State
Chama (Chamawa Fitilai) Bauchi State
Chamba Taraba State
Chamo Bauchi State
Chibok (Kibaku people) Borno State, Yobe State
Chinine Borno State
Chip Plateau State
Chokobo Plateau State
Chukkol Taraba State
Daba Adamawa State
Dadiya Bauchi State
Daka Adamawa State
Dakarkari Kebbi State, Niger State
Danda (Dandawa) Kebbi State
Dangsa Taraba State
Daza (Dere, Derewa) Bauchi State
Deno (Denawa) Bauchi State
Dghwede Borno State
Diba Taraba State
Doemak (Dumuk) Plateau State
Ouguri Bauchi State
Duka (Dukawa) Kebbi State
Dundudun (Dunka) Taraba State
Duma (Dumawa) Bauchi State
Ebana (Ebani) Rivers State
Ebira Edo State, Kogi State, Ondo State
Ebu Edo State, Kogi State
Efik Cross River State
Egede (Igede) Benue State, Cross River State
Eggon Nasarawa State
Egun (Gu) Lagos State, Ogun State
Ejagham Cross River State
Ekajuk Cross River State
Eket Akwa Ibom
Ekoi Cross River State
Engenni (Ngene) Rivers State
Epie Bayelsa State
Esan (Ishan) Edo State
Esit Ekid Akwa Ibom State
Etolu (Etilo) Benue State
Etsako Edo State
Etung Cross River State
Etuno Edo State
Palli Adamawa State
Fulani (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
Fyam (Fyem) Plateau State
Fyer (Fer) Plateau State
Ga’anda Adamawa State
Gade people Niger State Nasarawa State
Galambi Bauchi State
Gamergu-Mulgwa Borno State
Ganawuri Plateau State
Gavako Borno State
Gbedde Kogi State
Gengle Taraba State
Geji Bauchi State
Gera (Gere, Gerawa) Bauchi State
Geruma (Gerumawa) Plateau State
Gingwak Bauchi State
Gira Adamawa State
Gizigz Adamawa State
Goemai Plateau State
Gokana (Kana) Rivers State
Gombi Adamawa State
Gornun (Gmun) Taraba State
Gonia Taraba State
Gubi (Gubawa) Bauchi State
Gude Adamawa State
Gudu Adamawa State
Gure Kaduna State
Gurmana Niger State
Gururntum Bauchi State
Gusu Plateau State
Gwa (Gurawa) Adamawa State
Gwamba Adamawa State
Gwandara Kaduna State, Niger State, Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa State
Gwari (Gbagyi) Kaduna State, Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nasarawa State, Niger State,

Kogi State

Gwong (Kagoma) Kaduna State
Gwom Taraba State
Gwoza (Waha) Borno State
Gyem Bauchi State
Ham (Hyam, Jaba, Jabba) Kaduna State
Hausa Bauchi State, Jigawa State, Kaduna State, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi State, Sokoto State, Taraba State, Gombe State, Yobe State, Zamfara State
Holma Adamawa State
Hona Adamawa State
Ibani Rivers State
Ibeno Akwa Ibom State
Ibibio Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State
Ichen Adamawa State
Idoma Benue State, Cross River State, Kogi State, Nassarawa State
Igala Kogi State
igbira kogi state
Igbo (Ndi Igbo) Abia State, Anambra State, Delta State, Ebonyi State, Enugu State, Imo State, Rivers State, Benue State, Edo State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State, Kogi State, Akwa Ibom State
Igede Benue state, Cross River State
Ijumu Kogi State
Ikom Cross River State
Irigwe Plateau State
Iman Akwa Ibom State
Isoko Delta State, Bayelsa State
Itsekiri (Isekiri) Delta State
Itu Akwa Ibom State
Itu Mbio Uso Akwa Ibom State
Iyala (Iyalla) Cross River State
Izon (Ijaw) Bayelsa State, Delta State, Edo State, Ondo State, Rivers State
Jahuna (Jahunawa) Taraba State
Jaku Bauchi State
Jara (Jaar Jarawa Jarawa-Dutse) Bauchi State
Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa) Bauchi State, Plateau State
Jero Taraba State
Jibu Adamawa State
Jidda-Abu Plateau State
Jimbin (Jimbinawa) Bauchi State
Jipal Plateau State
Jirai Adamawa State
Joinkrama Rivers State
Jonjo (Jenjo) Taraba State
Jukun Bauchi State, Benue State, Plateau State, Taraba State
Kaba (Kabawa) Taraba State
Kalabari Rivers State
Kajuru (Kajurawa) Kaduna State
Kaka Adamawa State
Kamaku (Karnukawa) Kaduna State, Kebbi State, Niger State
Kambari Kebbi State, Niger State
Kambu Adamawa State
Kamwe Adamawa State and Borno State (Republic of Cameroon)
Kanakuru (Dera) Adamawa State, Borno State
Kanembu Borno State
Kanikon Kaduna State
Kantana Plateau State
Kanuri Adamawa State, Borno State, Taraba State, Yobe State, Nasarawa state.
Karai-karai (Karekare) Bauchi State, Yobe State
Karimjo Taraba State
Kariya Bauchi State
Ke Rivers State
Kenern (Koenoem) Plateau State
Kenton Taraba State
Kiballo (Kiwollo) Kaduna State
Kilba Adamawa State
Kirfi (Kirfawa) Bauchi State
Kodei Taraba State
Kona Taraba State
Kono Kaduna State
Koro (Kwaro) Kaduna State, Niger State
Kubi (Kubawa) Bauchi State
Kudachano (Kudawa) Bauchi State
Kugama Taraba State
Kugbo Rivers State
Kulere (Kaler) Plateau State
Kunini Taraba State
Kurama (Akurmi) Kaduna State, Jigawa State
Kurdul Adamawa State
Kushi Bauchi State
Kuteb Taraba State
Kutin Taraba State
Kwalla Plateau State
Kwami (Kwom) Bauchi State
Kwanchi Taraba State
Kadung Bauchi State, Plateau State
Kwaro Plateau State
Kwato Plateau State
Kyenga (Kengawa) Kebbi State
Laaru (Larawa) Niger State
Lakka Adamawa State
Lala Adamawa State
Lama Taraba State
Lamja Taraba State
Lau Taraba State
Limono Bauchi State, Plateau State
Lopa (Lupa, Lopawa) Niger State
Longuda (Lunguda) Adamawa State, Bauchi State
Mabo Plateau State
Mada Kaduna State, Plateau State
Mama Plateau State
Mambilla Adamawa State
Mandara (Wandala) Borno State
Manga (Mangawa) Yobe State
Margi (Marghi) Adamawa State, Borno State
Mafa (Mofa) Adamawa State, Borno State
Mbembe Cross River StateEnugu State
Mbol Adamawa State
Mbube Cross River State
Mbula Adamawa State
Mbum Taraba State
Memyang (Meryan) Plateau State
Milighili (Mighili) Plateau State
Miya (Miyawa) Bauchi State
Mobber Borno State
Montol Plateau State
Moruwa (Moro’a, Morwa) Kaduna State
Muchaila Adamawa State
Mumuye Taraba State
Mundang Adamawa State
Munga (Lelau) Taraba State
Munga (Mupang) Plateau State
Mupun Plateau State
Mushere Plateau State
Mwahavul (Mwaghavul) Plateau State
Ndoro Taraba State
Ngas (Angas) Plateau State, Bauchi State
Ngizim Yobe State
Ngweshe (Ndhang.Ngoshe-Ndhang) Adamawa State, Borno State
Nyiffon Benue State
Ningi (Ningawa) Bauchi State
Ninzam (Ninzo) Kaduna State, Plateau State
Njayi Adamawa State
Nkim Cross River State
Nkum Cross River State
Nokere (Nakere) Plateau State
Nunku Kaduna State, Plateau State
Nupe Kogi State, Kwara State, Niger State
Nyam Taraba State
Nyandang Taraba State
Obolo(Andoni) Rivers State, Akwa Ibom
Ododop Cross River
Ogori Kogi State
Okobo (Okkobor) Akwa Ibom State
Okirika Rivers State
Okpamheri Edo State
Olukumi Delta State
Oron Akwa Ibom State

Cross River State

Ososo Edo State
Owan Edo State
Owe Kogi State
Oworo Kogi State
Pa’a (Pa’awa Afawa) Bauchi State
Pai Plateau State
Panyam Taraba State
Pero Bauchi State
Pire Adamawa State
Pkanzom Taraba State
Poll Taraba State
Polchi Habe Bauchi State
Pongo (Pongu) Niger State
Potopo Taraba State
Pyapun (Piapung) Plateau State
Qua Cross River State
Rebina (Rebinawa) Bauchi State
Reshe Kebbi State, Niger State
Rindire (Rendre) Plateau State
Rishuwa Kaduna State
Ron Plateau State
Rubu Niger State
Rukuba Plateau State
Rumada Kaduna State
Rumaya Kaduna State
Sakbe Taraba State
Sanga Bauchi State
Sate Taraba State
Saya (Sayawa Za’ar) Bauchi State, Kaduna State, Plateau State
Segidi (Sigidawa) Bauchi State
Shanga (Shangawa) Kebbi State
Shangawa (ShanKadunagau) Plateau State
Shan-Shan Plateau State
Shira (Shira ) Bauchi State
Shomo Taraba State
Shuwa (Baggara Arabs) Adamawa State, Borno State, Kaduna State, Yobe State
Sikdi Plateau State
Siri (Sirawa) Bauchi State
Srubu (Surubu) Kaduna State
Sukur Adamawa State
Sura Plateau State
Tangale Gombe State
Tarok (Yergam) Plateau State, Taraba State, Nasarawa State
Teme Adamawa State
Tera (Terawa) Bauchi State, Borno State
Teshena (Teshenawa) Kano State
Tigon Taraba State
Tikar Taraba State
Tiv Benue State, FCT, Nasarawa State, Niger State, Plateau State, Taraba State
Tula Gombe State
Tur Adamawa State
Ubbo Adamawa State
Udekeama Rivers State
Ufia Benue State
Ukelle Cross River State, Ebonyi state, Benue state
Uncinda Kaduna State, Kebbi State, Niger State,
Uneme (Ineme) Edo State
Ura (Ula) Niger State
Urhobo Delta State, Bayelsa State.
Utonkong Benue State
Uwanno (Weppa-Wanno) Edo State
Uyanga Cross River State
Vemgo Adamawa State
Verre Adamawa State
Vommi Taraba State
Wagga Adamawa State
Waja Bauchi State
Waka Taraba State
Warja (Warja) Bauchi State
Warji Bauchi State
Wurbo Adamawa State
Wurkun Taraba State
Yache Cross River State
Yagba Kogi State
Yakurr (Yako) Cross River State
Yalla Benue State
Yandang Adamawa State, Taraba State
Yoruba Ekiti State, Kogi State, Kwara State, Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, Oyo State
Yott Taraba State
Yumu Niger State
Yungur Adamawa State
Yuom Plateau State
Zabara Niger State
Zaranda Bauchi State
Zarma (Zarmawa) Kebbi State
Zayam (Zeam) Bauchi State
Zul (Zulawa) Bauchi State



Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are not exactly the same. Now consider the following definitions and spot out their difference including the definition of a nation:

Ethnic group according to Wikipedia is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of perceived shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include a common nation of origin, or common sets of ancestry, traditions, language, history, society, religion, or social treatment. An ethnic group is a group of people having common tribal, racial, cultural, linguistic characteristics that distinguishes them from other group within a society. E g the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups.

Tribe is  a subset of the ethnic group. It is a group of people who live together and share a common language, culture, or ancestry. E.g the Ezaa, Ngwa tribes of the Igbo ethnic group or ethnic nationality.

A Nation is a large group of people united by common descent, history, culture or language inhabiting a particular territory or country.


The four major ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo and Ijaw. They are the most populous and politically influential ethnic groups; Hausa-Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, 


The simple answer to that question is, they judged the Country based on the definition of the word “Nation”. Going by the definition above, Nigeria is not a nation. Because Nigerians do not have common ancestor, neither do they have a uniform culture, and there are over 500 spoken languages in Nigeria.

 But a nation is also defined as a territory where all the people are led by the same government. So going by this definition Nigeria is a nation; since the territory is govern by the Federal Government of Nigeria.


There a lot of particle on this particular question, but you will notice names like the Hausa-Fulani, Igbos, Yoruba etc which begs the question “are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups or tribe?” So if they’re ethnic group then they’re not qualified to be given the title of the strongest tribe in Nigeria. Because the question is “what is the strongest tribe in Nigeria” not the strongest ethnic group. That been said, let’s look at the strongest tribe in Nigeria. The Andoni tribe of the Andoni(Obolo) ethnic group in the Niger Delta is arguably the strongest tribe in Nigeria. 

The Andoni people are the fiercest warriors in the Niger Delta, they have fought many wars with the Bonny kingdom, the Ogonis, etc. They are one of the first West African tribe to feel the military might of the Europeans as they fiercely fought and resisted the Europeans during the first arrival of the Portuguese; King Nnabiget was the ruling monarch then.

Their bravery and strength earned them national recognition as the first made in Nigeria Naval warship was Named ANDONI P100.


There you have it, the most complete list of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria and the States where you can find them. If your ethnic group is in the list, please comment below. If you are one of those Nigerians that feels anyone from the North is an Hausa man or woman, also comment below.

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