With over 186 million people, Nigeria, a country located in the Western part of Africa happens to be the most populated country in the continent. The country is made up of over 520 languages which are classified into two main families; the Afro-Asiatic language and the Niger-Congo language family. It is also believed that there are more languages in the country that are yet to be classified.
English is the official language in Nigeria which is also used for all formal communication in government and is also the language used in the drafting of legislation as well as in the Nigerian judicial system. English is also incorporated into the education system of Nigeria as the medium of instruction.
The English language was introduced in Nigeria by the British when the country was under British colonial rule. Today, we will be looking at the different languages spoken in Nigeria and the states where they are widely spoken. The first 9 lists are the major languages in Nigeria and where they are widely spoken.
1. Hausa language
This is the most popular language in Nigeria. It is spoken by over 18.5 million people in Nigeria. Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Gombe states are major states in Nigeria that speak the Hausa language.
2. Igbo language
Over 18 million people in Nigeria speak the Igbo language. The Igbo language is widely spoken in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states of Nigeria. Some parts of Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers state also speak the Igbo language. The language has gain popularity in some part of Africa like Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea due to the migration of Nigerians into those countries
3. Yoruba language
It is estimated that over 20 million people in Nigeria speak the Yoruba language. The Yoruba language is a major language in Nigeria. Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, and Lagos states and some parts of Kogi State are the major states in Nigeria that speak the Yoruba language. Just like the Igbo language, Yoruba is also widely spoken in some part of the world.
4. Fulfulde language
This language is spoken by over 14 million (2005) people in Nigeria. This language is mostly spoken by the Fulani people in the Northern part of Nigeria. The language is spoken mostly in states like Kano, Katsina, Jos plateau, Bororo, Zaria, Maiduguri and Sokoto states.
5. Kanuri language
over 3 million people in Nigeria speak the Kanuri language. This language is widely spoken in Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Jigawa states.
6. Ijaw language
It is reported that over 2 million people in Delta, Ondo Bayelsa, and Ekiti states speak it.
7. Pidgin English
Pidgin English in Nigeria is a blend of English and local languages. It is observed that virtually in all parts of Nigeria speak the Pidgin English and widely spoken in the Niger Delta Region.
8. Tiv language
This is a minor language spoken by over 2 million people in Nigeria. This language is spoken widely in Benue state. Over the years, the language has spread to other parts of the country like Plateau, Nassarawa, and Taraba states.
9. Ibibio language
It is pointed out that about 4.5 million of Nigerians speak Ibibio as their second language. This language is spoken in Akwa Ibom State but the speakers can be found in Abia, Rivers, and Cross River states.
10. Edo state
The major languages spoken in Edo state are Edo, Etsako, Esan and Owan, Akoko Edo,Okpameri language and Ijaw.
11. Abia State
Igbo is the language spoken widely in Abia state.
12. Adamawa State
Over 58 languages are spoken here. The major languages are; Bura phabir, Fultfulde, Huba (Kilba), Bacama/Bata (Bwatiye), Longuda, Mumuye, and Samba Daka.
13. Anambra State
3 languages are spoken in Anambra state. Igala and Igbo are the major languages here.
14. Akwa Ibom State
Almost 20 languages are spoken in Akwa Ibom State. The main languages are Anaang, Ibibio and Igbo.
15. Bauchi State
Over 60 languages are spoken here. Major languages spoken in Bauchi are Bole, Fulfulde and Hausa.
16. Bayelsa State
Engenn, Epie, Ijo, Izon, Biseni, Ekpeyekugbo, Ogbia, Okodia, Oruma are the major languages spoken in Bayelsa state.
17. Benue State
14 languages are spoken here. Idoma, Igede, and Tiv are the major language.
18. Borno State
28 languages are spoken in Borno State. The Main languages in Borno State are Shuwa Arabic, Kanuri and Marghi.
19. Cross River
Over 50 languages are spoken here. The major ones are Efik, Bokyi, Ejagham, Igede, and Yala are the main languages.[AdSense-A]
20. Delta State
Among the 11 languages spoken in Delta state, the major ones are Igbo, Igala, Isekiri, Izon, Ukwuani and Urhobo languages.
21. Ebonyi State
Izi ezaa-ikwo-mgbo, Kukele, Legbo, Mbembe, Cross River, Oring are five languages which are mostly spoken in Ebonyi state.
22. Edo State
Edo state has almost 17 languages. Major languages spoken here are Ebira, Edo, Esan, and Okpamheri.
23. Ekiti State
Izon language is spoken is here
24. Enugu State
Igbo language is spoken here
25. Gombe State
The predominant language here is Fulfulde and
26. Imo State
Igbo is the main language Imo state.
27. Jigawa State
Bade, Hausa, Kanuri, Warji are the four major languages spoken in Jigawa State.
28. Kaduna State
57 languages are spoken in Kaduna State. Gbari and Hausa are classified as the main languages; other languages classified as minor.
29. Kano State
Fulfulde and Hausa are the major languages spoken in Kano state
30. Kastina State
Fulfulde and Hausa languages.
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