About the Culture of Nigeria

About the Culture of Nigeria

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About the Culture of Nigeria


Also known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria ranks as the most populous black nation in the world. Nigeria’s current head of state and government is President Muhammadu Buhari, and its capital city is Abuja. The country’s official language is English, and does not have an official religion. Nigeria’s form of government is a federal republic that has two legislative houses House of Representatives (360) and House of Senate (109). The country covers a total ear of 923, 768 (Square miles). Nigeria is home to over 200 million people, with the largest population being the youth. By the end of 2021, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to be $ 440 billion. Nigeria’s monetary unit is the Nigerian Naira (₦). Nigeria is home to the second-biggest film industry in the world and is a fashion, creative, and technological hub in Africa. This text discusses Nigeria’s culture at length.

Social Stratification

The highest tier of Nigeria social class consists of wealthy businessmen, politicians, and educated elite. However, these individuals only consist of a tiny section of the entire population. The majority of Nigerians today languish in abject poverty. Low-class Nigerians have less chances of breaking the poverty cycle. Corrupt politicians, poor education, ill health, lack of opportunities and lack of wealth investments work to keep them poor. Some ethnic groups have caste systems where specific community members are viewed as pariahs. The criteria for determining members of the lowest caste vary across areas. Some of the criteria include being members of a specific clan or family, an inhabitant of a given village, or a minority group. The Igbo community calls its lower-caste group Osu. Community members tend to discourage business contact, personal and romantic contact with members of the Osu irrespective of the individual traits of merits. Since the Osu are considered untouchable, they do have access to business or educational opportunities, political representation, or general social interactions. This caste system is also found among the Ibibios and Yoruba. Wealth also tends to be a symbol of social stratification, particularly modern Nigeria and urban areas. While past ethnic groups held traditional lineage and hereditary titles importance, in the current world, money has become the new marker of social status (Akintan, Jewitt, & Clifford, 2018). Today, the wealthiest Nigerians-elite members of society- are identified with fancy hairstyles and clothing, Western-style homes, and expensive cars. The elite also have better English command, reflecting better educational attainment.


According to estimates, 50% of the Nigerian population are Muslim, 40% Christian, and 10% practice a variety of indigenous religions. Muslim religion is widespread across Nigeria, but the strongest footholds are among the Yoruba and Housa. In Nigeria, Islam is similar to throughout the world. Its foundation is the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, as outlined in the Q’uran. In the South of Nigeria, Christianity is deemed most prevalent. Most Igbo are Christians, as are Yoruba. Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and American Southern Baptist are the most renowned forms of Christianity. Additionally, Nigeria is host to a number of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists. While Christianity and religion are the most dominant regions, neither is independent of influence of indigenous religions (Okeke, Ibenwa, & Okeke, 2017). This explains the perceived shortcomings in religion. Most indigenous religions tend to be ancestral worship that runs in the family passed through the spirit world, and has the power to influence the living world. When this is missed with Islam, it leads to the formation of the Bori cut that uses spirit to know why people suffer. According to traditions, the officials tend to be mostly male. Among the Igbo, men function as priests to the Igbo goddesses while women function as priestesses to the Igbo gods. While both women and men rank top in the Yoruba religion, traditional priests tend to be well respected.

Gender Roles and Statutes

Labor is divided along gender lines in Nigerian society with very few women in active professional and political arenas. In urban areas, more women are getting involved in professional practice, but the gap still remains. Women are still largely outnumbered by men. Women that manage to enter professional practice rarely advance into higher management roles (Chinwendu & Shedrack, 2018). Notably, women continue to play a huge role in the Nigerian economy particularly in rural areas. Women are required to earn a huge portion of the family entire income. As a rule, men do not have an obligation to provide for their children or wives. As such, women have been traditionally farming and selling homemade products in local markets to feed and clothe their children. Division of labor along the lines of gender also exist in industries. Women do not cultivate the same crops as their male counterparts. In Igbo society, yams are viewed as men’s crops, while women are expected to farm cassava and beans. Similarly, modern Nigeria is patriarchal in nature. Men dominate over women in nearly all sectors. Nigeria being a signatory to the International Convection of Equality for Women holds little meaning because women still have less legal rights than women.


There are over 250 ethnic tribes in Nigeria. The three most dominant and largest include Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. Additional smaller groups include Fulani, Kanuri, Ijaw, Ibibio, Edo, and Tiv. Before being conquered by the Europeans, Nigeria’s ethnic groups have separate histories. Their current grouping was a result of the British colonization. They have grouped a single entity. Various ethnic groups did not see themselves as being part of one culture. Coupled with ethnically biased and ever-changing ethnically biased national leadership, lacks of nationalism have caused intense civil war and ethnic conflicts (Falola, Genova, & Heaton, 2018). Today, there continue to be bloody confrontations among various members of ethnic groups. As regards ethnic breakdown, Hausa-Fulani comprise 29% of the population. The Yoruba and Igbo follow closely at 21% and 18%, respectively. The Ijaw, the Kanurai, the Ibibio, and Tiv make up 10%, 4%, 3.5%, and 2.5% of the population.


There is a great culture of etiquette that is observed in Nigeria. Age is well respected here. In a place where average life expectancy is rather low, the people that make it into seniorhood earn special admiration and respect. The case is true for men and women. Greetings are important. A long list of wishes and handshakes for a family counterpart and good health are usually expected upon meeting people. Worth noting, shaking hands, passing things, and eating with the left hand is deemed unacceptable.


The Nigerian culture is among the most distinct in the world. From their religion, gender roles and ethnicity, social class to etiquette, it is evident that the Nigerian culture is rich and diverse. Nigeria has among the biggest populations in the world. The majority of its population is Muslim, although Christianity and other religions are common in the world. Roles in society are divided along gender roles and women rarely make it to leadership positions across various life arenas.


Akintan, O., Jewitt, S., & Clifford, M. (2018). Culture, tradition, and taboo: Understanding the social shaping of fuel choices and cooking practices in Nigeria. Energy research & social science, 40, 14-22.

Chinwendu, O. D., & Shedrack, M. C. (2018). Investigating the influence of social class on consumers’ shopping behaviour in Nigeria. International Journal of Marketing Research Innovation, 2(2), 38-48.

Falola, T., Genova, A., & Heaton, M. M. (2018). Historical dictionary of Nigeria. Rowman & Littlefield.

Okeke, C. O., Ibenwa, C. N., & Okeke, G. T. (2017). Conflicts between African traditional religion and Christianity in eastern Nigeria: The Igbo example. Sage Open, 7(2), 2158244017709322.

Rebecca J.
Rebecca J.
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