|Regions with significant populations|
|Ghana||est. 2,000,000 to 3,000,000|
|United Kingdom||est. 800,000 to 3,000,000|
|Ivory Coast||est. 75,000|
Nigerians or Nigerian people are citizens and/or people with ancestry from Nigeria. Nigeria is composed of multiple ethnic groups and cultures and the term Nigerian refers to a citizenship-based civic nationality. Nigerians derive from over 250 ethnic groups and languages. Though there are multiple ethnic groups in Nigeria, economic factors result in significant mobility of Nigerians of multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds to reside in territories in Nigeria that are outside of their ethnic or religious background, resulting in the intermixing of the various ethnic and religious groups, especially in Nigeria's cities. The English language is the lingua franca of Nigerians. 50 percent of Nigerians are Muslim and 50 percent are Christian.
Nigerians come from multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds as the creation of Nigeria was the result of a colonial creation by the British Empire that did not correlate with ethnic and religious boundaries.
There have been several major historical states in Nigeria that have influenced Nigerian society via their strong kings and their advanced legal and taxation systems, and the use of religion to legitimize the power of the king and to unite the people. Northern Nigeria has been culturally influenced by Islamic influence including several major historic Islamic states in the region. The Kanem-Bornu Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate were major historical Islamic states in northern Nigeria. Southern Nigeria historically held several powerful states, including the Benin Empire and Oyo Empire, Ife Empire and several other Yoruba states.
Nigerian culture was profoundly affected by the British colonial rule. Such as British colonial authorities' denouncements and attacks upon polygamy, trial by ordeal, and certain types of sacrifices. At the same time, British colonial authorities maintained and promoted traditional Nigerian culture that strengthened colonial administration. The British spread Christianity throughout southern Nigeria and Christian missionaries assisted British authorities in establishing a Western-style education system in Nigeria that resulted in the teaching of the English language in Nigeria and its subsequent adoption as Nigeria's main language. The British replaced unpaid household labour with wage labour.
Ethnic, religious, and regional disputes and tensions have commonly divided Nigerians on political issues. In particular, cultural and political divisions between the Muslim north and the Christian south has politicized religion and caused significant political disputes in Nigeria. Ethnic-motivated and religious-motivated violence by extremists has increased these tensions as well.
However in spite of instances of extremism, most Nigerians continue to peacefully coexist with each other, and a common Nigerian identity has been fostered amongst the more-educated and affluent Nigerians as well as amongst the many Nigerians who leave small homogeneous ethnic communities to seek economic opportunities in the cities where the population is ethnically mixed. Although there are cultural divisions amongst Nigerians, Nigerians commonly use the English language as their primary language. Also, most Nigerians share a strong commitment to individual liberties and democracy. Even during periods of military rule, such military governments were pressured to maintain democratic stances by the Nigerian people. Nigeria's political figures commonly know multiple indigenous languages outside of their own indigenous language.
Prior to colonization in the twentieth, Nigeria's tribes commonly had land held by the community that could not be sold. Commercialization of land began after colonization that allowed individuals to purchase or sell land from territories outside of their home community. Also prior to colonization to the present it has been common amongst Nigeria's tribes to adopt strangers into the tribes.
In Nigeria a majority of seventy percent of Nigerians live in villages of two types: the first type used amongst the Igbo and Tiv involves a collection of dispersed compounds, the second type used amongst the Hausa, Yoruba, and Kanuri involves nucleous of compounds. These villages compose members of the ethnicity related through ancestry as well as strangers who have been assimilated into the ethnicity. A male elder commonly serves as a village chief.
In Nigeria's large cities, there is substantial intermingling of Nigerians with foreigners, especially Europeans, Lebanese, and Indians. The economic importance of Nigeria's cities has resulted in migrations of people from their traditional ethnic or cultural homeland to cities outside of those territories. Igbo and Ibibio people have commonly migrated to Lagos and many southerners migrate to the north to trade or work while a number of northerner seasonal workers and small-scale entrepreneurs go to the south.
- World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision Population Database
- Mark D. DeLancey, Rebecca Neh Mbuh. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon. Scarecrow Press, 2010. p. 283.
- Ulrich Beck, Natan Sznaider, Rainer Winter. Global America?: The Cultural Consequences of Globalization. p. 216.
- Dolapo Ajakaiye. Searching Greener Pastures. p. 77. (based on British Home Office report)
- Statistics Canada 2006
- McFadyen 2008, p. 55
- April A. Gordon (2003). Ethnic diversity within nations. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc. p. 233. ISBN 1576076822.
- Toyin Falola. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2001. p. 4.
- Toyin Falola. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2001. p. 8.
- April A. Gordon. Nigeria's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2003. p. 233.
- Toyin Falola. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2001. p. 6.
- Toyin Falola. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2001. pp. 15-16.
- Toyin Falola. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2001. p. 18.
- April A. Gordon. Nigeria's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2003. p. 111.