Nigeria is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with approximately 200 million people in an area of 923,768 km (356,669 sq mi), and is also the country with the largest population in Africa and the seventh largest population in the world. Scholars claim that the Fulani are related to the Phoenicians, or place their origin in shepherds of Mauritania that were looking for new pastures. This home was established to avoid the Fulani's annual slave raids, which were conducted on cavalry that was unable to explore very deeply in the forest. These three groups comprise only fifty-seven percent of the population of Nigeria.

The boundaries of the formerly English colony were drawn to serve commercial interests, largely without regard … Subscribe to ‘Here's the Deal,’ our politics newsletter. This pluralism extends to Yoruba views of religion. The ethnicity of Nigeria is so varied that there is no definition of a Nigerian beyond that of someone who lives within the borders of the country (Ukpo, p. 19). "Tribe," Ukpo points out, is largely a racist term. Whatever their origin, the Fulani are known to have arrived in the Hausa states in the early 13th century. There are only three ethnic groups which have attained "ethnic majority" status in their respective regions: the Hausa-Fulani in the north, the Ibo in the southeast, and the Yoruba (Soyinka's group) in the southwest (11, 21). In such fusions, the groups of which they are composed maintain a limited individual identity. The concept of ethnicity requires definition. While modern-day Nigeria is home to more than 250 ethnic groups, the four largest account for almost 70% of the population. All major ethnic groups have formed militias to protect their own interests and perpetrate violence on other groups.

In many northern Hausa-Fulani-dominated states, minority populations of Igbo claim to have been unfairly targeted by laws that do not pertain to their faith. While illegal, these vigilante groups continue to act with impunity for lack of stringent law enforcement. Nigeria’s culture is made up of several ethnic groups that speak 527 different languages. As the population of Nigeria has doubled to over seventy-eight million people in 1982 from approximately thirty-one million in 1953, it is safe to assume that these groups are now much larger (24, AHD p. 1509). They believe in the religion of Islam.

Nigeria is an area the size of the state of Texas in which over three hundred different languages are spoken, and in which the same number of separate cultures desperately try to retain their identity. The Oyo empire collapsed in 1830 when Afonja, an ambitious governor of the state of Ilorin, broke away but lost his territory to the hired mercenaries of the Fulani. The Hausa and Fulani Oct 21 Since then they have intermarried with the Hausa, and have mostly adopted the latter's customs and language, although some Fulani decided to stay "pure" by retaining a nomadic life and animist beliefs. Oct 19 Often, ethnic clashes in one part of the country can set off a chain of reprisal riots and attacks in other parts of the country. Under British colonial rule, many Igbo served in government and military roles and were later key players in Nigerian independence. In Nigeria, the ethnic groups are occasionally fusions created by intermarriage, intermingling and/or assimilation. Yoruba society is organized into kingdoms, the greatest of which was called Oyo and extended as far as Ghana in the west and the banks of the Niger to the east. Pope endorses same-sex civil unions in new documentary film, By Farnoush Amiri, Report for America, Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press, By Michael Balsamo, Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press, By Sam Olukoya, Lekan Oyekanmi, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. A fifth group, the Ijaw, has been growing in population and influence and currently makes up another 10 percent. The first, the Hausa-Fulani, are an example of a fused ethnic group, as they are actually made up of two groups, not surprisingly called the Hausa and the Fulani. Those who are identified as Yoruba consider themselves to be members of the Oyo, Egba, Ijebu, Ife, Ilesha, Ekiti or Owu peoples. Mismanagement of oil revenues has kept much of the wealth from returning to Ijaw communities. Despite these ongoing tensions, 2007 could see an Ijaw take a major political office for the first time. Nigeria has been referred to as "The Giant of Africa," due to the large population and distinct economic achievements in comparison to countries that surround this land. PBS NewsHour Amy Coney Barrett was trustee at private school with anti-LGBTQ policies, Read We must be very careful to avoid the use of the term "tribe" to describe these ethnic groups. Historically, their culture centered on densely populated city-states each controlled by an oba, or king. They do maintain an "indigenous home," however: the belt of forest in the country to the east of the Niger Valley. After the war, Igbo were reintegrated into Nigerian society, but in a more marginalized role. © 1996 - 2020 NewsHour Productions LLC. The ethnicity of Nigeria is so varied that there is no definition of a Nigerian beyond that of someone who lives within the borders of the country (Ukpo, p. 19). Their origin is a matter of dispute: legends trace them back to Canaan, Palestine, Libya, Mecca and Baghdad, while ethnologists hold them to be from the Southern Sahara or the Chad Basin. Minority ethnic groups live throughout the nation although higher concentrations of these groups live in the northern and the middle regions of Nigeria. Though the groups originated in different parts of West Africa, religion, intermarriage and adoption of the Hausa language by the Fulani have unified the groups over time. Yet we do not refer to the latter groups as "tribes." The Fulani are most distinctively known for a dispute that developed between them and the local King of Gobir, a spat which developed into a religious war or Jihad ending with a Fulani conquest of the Hausa states (20-21). His continued detention has caused members of MEND to swear continued attacks and disruptions to the oil industry.

Hodgkin, Thomas. Their mythology holds that "Oduduwa" created the earth; present royal houses of the Yoruba kingdoms trace their ancestry back to "Oduduwa," while members of the Yoruba people maintain that they are descended from his sons. Learn more about Friends of the NewsHour. In modern day Nigeria, Yoruba speakers do not always identify with their larger ethnic group, but rather the many smaller Yoruba-speaking communities. These common factors are emphasized by frequent interaction between the people in the group. The third ethnic majority group, the Yoruba, is like the others made up of numerous smaller collections of people.

We close with a comparison that attempts to portray the difficulties of successfully governing such an incredible variety of people.

In this case the smaller groups are the Onitsha Ibo, the Western Ibo, the Cross River Ibo, and the North-eastern Ibo. Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

However, in 1999 a Christian Yoruba named Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria’s president and first elected head of state. IjawIn recent years, the Ijaw have agitated for more political franchise in Nigeria. The second majority ethnic group is the Ibo, who like the Hausa-Fulani are a synthesis of smaller ethnic groups. Once they arrived in Hausaland they became known for setting up seven small states centered around "Birni," or walled cities. Nigeria is found in West Africa and borders Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger.Nigeria is a fascinating country; in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, there are over 500 ethnic groups and over 500 … Where chiefs existed they held very restricted political power, and only local jurisdiction. The villages were democratic in nature, as the government of the community was the concern of all who lived in it.

Nigeria is an extremely ethnically diverse multinational state with over 250 ethnic groups … This made its members easier converts for European missionaries and today most Igbo are Christian.

Their largest societal unit was the village, where each extended family managed its own affairs without being dictated to by any higher authority. YorubaThe Yoruba are one of Nigeria’s most urban ethnic groups. In these states the Hausa developed techniques of efficient government, including a carefully organized fiscal system and a highly learned judiciary, that gave them a reputation of integrity and ability in administering Islamic law (20).