The Nigerian People

Nigeria is made up of a numbers of ethnic groups The major ethnic groups are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, but there hundreds of others, each very unique, living together in unity and contributing to the unique nature of the country. We take you through the ethnic groups.

Bassa Nge

Bassa Local Government Kogi State, Bassa has three major tribes. The Bassa-komo, Bassa-nge and Egbira koto . The Bassa-Komo has the highest population followed by Bassa-nge and Egbira koto. The traditional title holder of The Bassa-Komos is the "AGUMA" of Bassa who is a 1st class chief, The "Etsu" of Bassa-Nge also a 1st class chief and the "OHIOGBA" of Mozum is the traditional chief of the Egbiras koto as the 3rd class chief. The traditional title holder of the Bassa Nge is the Etsu Bassa Nge. The Etsu of Bassa Nge has his royal throne dominant in Gboloko. Gboloko is the kingdom headquarter of the Bassa Nge Kingdom. The Bassa Nge have a historical relationship with the Nupe, speaking the same language and having similar culture. It is said that, the name was derived from " babo sa umo ge" a Nupe translation of " here is good and it is fine" It was later shortened to 'bassa-nge' which stand as the name of their variety of the Nupe language presently, The present abode of the now called Bassa Nge District was said to have been discovered by a famous hunter called Eshida. While the Nupe migrants (Bassa Nge people) were living at Mount Patti in present-day Lokoja, this hunter, Eshida, used to cross the River Niger to hunt for game in the forests on the river banks. Through this, he discovered the land and decided to settle there, by the rocks called Takun-Kporo (Eriwota Rock) – the weathered sculptured phenomenon that has left three rocks delicately balanced on top of each other a spot still marked by Eshida’s grave and decorated with his hunting trophies. They today, share the same local government with other tribes. By a historical coincidence, the Bassa Komu migrants and Nupe migrants (namely, Bassa Nge) had almost simultaneously migrated and settled in the same geographical area called Bassa Province. The Bassa Komu crossed at the confluence of the Rivers Niger and Benue in the 1840s, whereas the Bassa Nge crossed the River Niger in the 1850s. These emigrational movements brought the people now called Bassa Nge and Bassa Komu close together in the same geographical area.

The Esan People

The Esan people are predominantly in Edo state of Nigeria. Its is made of of the clasn including; Irrua, Ekpoma, Uromi, Ubiaja, Egoro, Ekpon, Ewohimi, Emu, Ewatto, Ewossa, Amalu, Igueben, Idoa, Illushi, Ifeku, Iyenlen, Ohordua, Okhuesan, Oria, Onogholo, Orowa, Opoji, Ogwa, Okalo, Ebelle, Ewu, Ugboha, Uroh, Uzea, Udo, Urohi, Ojiogba, Ugun, Ugbegun, and Ukhun. Esanland is on a plateau, surrounded by slopes down to the lower Niger river, the valley and wetland towards Etsako, the Kukuruku Hills and the plain around Benin city the state capital. The tableland though reddish-brown in colour, is a fertile land for farming, which is the main occupation of the Esan people. The Esan traditionally farm Pineapples, yams, palm-trees, meat, and vegetables, hunt, fish, trade cotton,and other materials, and serve in the army of the Benin Empire. They have very unique languages and are very welcoming.


While there are many soups and dishes in Esan land, a few stand out. Namely, Black soup and Ogbono soup (Omoebe). The Soup is made of local herbs and spices. The name comes from the colour of the soup, as the vegetables used – Bitter leaf and Effirin (Scent Leaf) – when grounded gives off a very dark colour, and the fact that the banga sauce (Palm fruit sauce) rather than the palm oil itself is used, reduced the chances of colour. The Black soup is as nutritious as it is tasty. The herbs used are quite therapeutic and it is a good option for those on a diet as it can help reduce calories. Black soup is easy to make and best prepared at home, and It is best served with Pounded Yam, Eba or starch. It is a very tasty meal and recommended for any visitor!


The Igbabonelimi as the masquerade is known, a special dance of the Esan people. It is one of the most popular dances in the region. It involves graceful movements, somersaults, and a lot of flips, exciting jumps and kicks all to the tune of the beating tom tom. It is an all men’s affair, and women are forbidden to venture within the dance circle, and like all dances in Africa traditional cultures the egbabonelimwin dances origins are from the social and religious traditions of the people. Watch the masquerade dance here.


Still refered to as Tivi, they Tiv people make up about 3.5% of the Nigerian population and spread into Cameroun. They occupy the states of Benue, Taraba,Plataeu and Nasarawa, including the Abuja. The local history has it that they Tiv do believe that their original home was to the southeast and inside Cameroon. Regardless of the numerous views held about their origin, most historians believe that the ancestors of this collective people could be traced to the Bantu people who once inhabited the Central African continent, in the Shaba area of the present Democratic Republic of Congo. The traditional belief is in their belief, is called Akombo.


As with other cultures, the TIvs have great cuisines. The popular phrase "u yôô", which can be translated as "you have cooked" is attributed to them. Being a farming community, their meals revolve around their traditional crops. There is : Ruam kumen, Ruam Nahaan, and akpu. The popular soups is the paw-paw soup.

Traditional Attire:

The tiv attire is a very unique one, they often prefer the white and black fabric that is tied around the waist and reaching the knees. What also defines the Tiv traditional dressing is a special material called A'nger. Aside from A'nger fabric, there are some different materials used for making traditional dressings. The unique black and white stripes instantly differentiates a Tiv indigene.

The Kalabari

The Kalabari Kingdom is part of the Ijaw people, and reside in Rivers state. Records have it,that it was founded by the great Amachree I, forefather of the Amachree dynasty. An account has it that they came from Calabar, while another account says they are Ijo settlers from Amafo. But is the present day, they occupy 35 communities including Buguma, Bakana, Tombia, ke, Soku, Bille, Bukuma, Degema, Obonoma, Sama, Abalama, Ilelema and others. The people were originally fishermen before the coming of the Portugese to the west African coastline. The Kalabari like most coastline tribes were wealthy as a result of interactions with Europeans. Their culture is similar to many living around them especially the Okrikas and Opobos. They are a very impressive people, and very unique. Their festival is the THE OWU ARU SUN FESTIVALS OF THE KALABARI KINGDOM, and it is a festival of unity performed by the Ekine Sekiapu society and has very outstanding masquerades.


TOMINA FULO: This is a kalabari soup prepared using fresh fish and sea food. Cocoyam is usually used to thicken the soup.

ONUNU: This is another delicacy prepared by pounding boiled plantain with yam. It is then finished off with palm oil.

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