What are the languages spoken in Nigeria?


Nigeria is known as the Giant of Africa. It was formed in 1914 and gained its independence in 1960. 

It is considered the largest country in Africa by population as it has 211 million inhabitants.

Nigeria is rich in culture, resources, and many other things that make this country a great destination for both running a business and having a great vacation. 

The weather in Nigeria is warm all year long so it is a great place to visit if you live in a cold country.

This country is very diverse in languages, it has over 500 different languages and dialects. 

We’ll learn the official language of Nigeria and what are the other top 5 spoken in the country. 

5 Facts about Nigeria 

Nigeria is a fascinating country with various attractions and resources. 

  • Nigeria got its name from the neighboring country “Niger”.
  • Nigeria gained its independence in 1960. 
  • The largest city in Nigeria is “Lagos”.
  • A Nigerian “Wole Soyinka” was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
  • Nollywood is more significant than Hollywood.

Official Language of Nigeria

Nigeria is a diverse country regarding languages as it has more than 500 languages spoken by different ethnic groups. 

It will surprise many people with little knowledge about Nigeria, that “English” is the official language in the country. 

There was a very interesting reason why English is the first language of all Nigerian and not any other ethnic language from the 500+ spoken languages in the nation. 

After the independence of Nigeria in 1960, the parliament had a very hard time deciding which language to be used as an official language. 

This was due to the fact that none of the ethnic groups wanted to use another language as their first language. 

So it was decided for English to be used as the country’s first language to appease all the groups in the nation. 

Top 5 Languages in Nigeria 

1. Hausa

Hausa is spoken by 15 million people in Nigeria. It is mainly used by the Muslim population. 

It used the Arabic writing system in the old times but currently, it uses the Latin writing system instead. 

2. Igbo

Igbo is spoken by more than 24 million people in Nigeria. Igbo has an older writing system called “Nsibiri”. 

Currently, Igbo uses Latin writing due to colonization. It is also used in other countries such as Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

3. Yoruba

Yoruba is spoken by 19 million of the Nigerian population. It is an international language of Nigerian immigrants in the USA and the UK.

The Yoruba ethnic group is considered to be one of the largest groups in Nigeria. 

Yoruba writing system used to be a variation of Arabic Script called Ajami and currently uses a variation of the Latin alphabet.

4. Fulfulde

Fulfulde, also known as “Fulani”, is spoken by 1.7 million people in Nigeria.

It is mostly used by the Fulani tribe. Like most other Nigerian languages, Fulfulde used the Ajami writing system in the old times.

Currently, it uses the Latin script. 

5. Kanuri

Kanuri is spoken by over 4 million of the population of Nigeria. 

Like other Nigerian Languages, Its writing system was the Ajami script. But right now it uses the Latin script like the other languages. 

Frequently Asked Questions about “What are the languages spoken in Nigeria?”

Nigeria is a very linguistically diverse country, with over 525 native languages spoken. The official language of Nigeria is English, but it is not the most widely spoken language. The three most spoken languages in Nigeria are Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Hausa is spoken by about 32% of the population, Yoruba is spoken by about 21%, and Igbo is spoken by about 15%. Other major languages spoken in Nigeria include Fulfulde, Kanuri, Ijaw, and Tiv.

It is important to note that the number of languages spoken in Nigeria is a matter of debate. Some sources say that there are over 500 languages, while others say that there are as many as 1,000. This is because there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “language” versus a “dialect”. Some languages are very closely related and mutually intelligible, while others are more distinct.

Yes, some Nigerians speak Arabic. The Shuwa Arab community in Nigeria speaks Arabic as their first language. They are nomadic people who have lived in Nigeria for centuries. Arabic is also spoken as a second or third language by many other Nigerians, especially in the northern part of the country. This is due to the influence of Islam, which arrived in Nigeria in the 12th century. Many Nigerian languages have also borrowed words from Arabic.

According to the 2006 census, there are about 1 million Arabic speakers in Nigeria. However, it is estimated that the number of Arabic speakers in Nigeria is actually closer to 2 million. This is because the census did not count the many Nigerians who speak Arabic as a second or third language.

The United States and India have the most total English speakers, with 306 million and 265 million, respectively. These are followed by Pakistan (104 million), the United Kingdom (68 million), and Nigeria (60 million).

The United States is the country with the most native English speakers, with about 225 million people. English is the official language of the United States and is widely used in government, education, and business.

India has the second most native English speakers, with about 108 million people. English is one of the official languages of India and is used in education and government. It is also the most widely spoken second language in India.

The other countries in the top 5 for English speakers all have a large number of people who speak English as a second language. For example, in Pakistan, 53% of the population speaks English as a second language. In the United Kingdom, 98% of the population speaks English as a first or second language. And in Nigeria, 53% of the population speaks English as a second language.


Nigeria is quite diverse and rich. It has the biggest population in Africa. 

It is a great country to expand your business into due to the great workforce and the diversity of the people there. 

The languages spoken in Nigeria will aid you in reaching other neighboring countries due to the similarities in the languages.