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Tribal Map of Africa including the Afizere.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
ethnic religions, Christianity, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Berom, Iriɡwe, Atyap, and other Middle Belt and Jukunoid peoples.

The Afizere (Hausa exonym: Jarawa; others: Afizarek, Federe, Izere) are an ethnic group of Nigeria.

The Afizere are speakers of Izere language.[2] They are surrounded by the Berom to the west, Mwaghavul in Mangu to the south, Anaguta peoples to the northwest.


The Afizere previously settled in the Chawai region of Southern Kaduna State Kaduna and has time passed different Afizere groups moved southwards.[3] The first group from Southern Kaduna settled at the foot of the hills called Gwash close to the current location of the Jos Museum[4] and others settled at the foot of Shere Hills in the Jos Plateau.[3] Different Afizere clans soon settled southwards of Chawai lands. Currently there are more than 300,000 Afizere people[5] distributed over five major traditional districts who inhabit territories within Jos North, Jos East, Mangu and Toro local governments. During the pre-colonial period, the people lived in hilly terrains surrounding the Jos Plateau as a defense mechanism against jihadist attacks during and after the Fulani Jihad.


Izere towns have a traditional and gerontocratic[6] chieftaincy system that is headed by an Agwom[7] and supported by five districts heads representing the five royal families of the Afizere: Fobur, Forsum, Maigemu, Shere and Federe. In Afizere land, a district could be a combination of 6 to 12 villages. Historically, the Agwom was also the chief priest of the people

A traditional dance called Asharuwa is one of the cultural heritage the Afizere have maintained over the years.


The language of the people is called Izere and it is spoken in 5 different dialects. The dialects are Ibor spoken largely in the Fobur district, Isum spoken in Forsum villages, Iganang spoken in Shere, Ifudere spoken in Federe and Ikyo.[5] Izere is considered to be part of the Benue-Congo language group that is prominent in Central Nigeria.


Islam and Christianity are the two major religions among the Afizere but some Afizere still choose to adhere to their traditional beliefs. In traditional Afizere religion, there is a supreme deity called Adakunom meaning father of the sun who is considered the creator and source of life and health. A few minor gods exist to act as mediators to Adakunom. Father of the sun is the literal translation of Adakunom but can be translated as "father, the sun" or "mighty sun" (the almighty sun).[5] Then there are the spirits or witches who are the source of both good and evil.

Christianity came to Afizere land by the way of Sudan Interior Mission preachers[5] who converted some Afizere individuals who later acted as agents of dispersion of the religion. Islam came to the region after the Fulani jihad when part of Afizere territory came under the authority of the Emir of Bauchi


  1. ^ Appiah, Kwame Anthony; Gates, Henry Louis Jr. (2005). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. V (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 236. ISBN 0195170555.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 2016-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 2016-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Nyam, Ajiji; Ayuba, Larab (May 2016). "The Growth of Urban Slums and Conflicts in Nigeria: A Case Study of Jos and Environs 1980-2010". International Journal of Social Science and Humanity. 6 (5).
  5. ^ a b c d Blench, Roger; Kaze, Bitrus (2006). "A Dictionary of the Izere Language of Fubor" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 2016-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Africana, 1st edition. New York: Basic Civitas Books, ISBN 0-465-00071-1.