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December 21, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Events,News

In 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 as International Mother Language Day. Every year since then, countries around the world use this day to focus on aspects of linguistic diversity and multiculturalism.

In Nigeria, we have over 250 ethnic groups speaking diverse mother tongues with 9-10 gone extinct and more in danger of extinction due to lack of practice and awareness.

Apart from the 3 most popular languages widely known in Nigeria; Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, we have been able to compile additional 15 native languages and their indigenous areas in Nigeria.

1. Anaang: This is the mother tongue of those from Akwa Ibom region

2. Gun-Gbe: This is the native language of those from Badagry, borderline of Lagos to Seme

3. Ebira: From Kwara, Kogi State

4. Idoma: From Benue State

5. Igala: Also from Benue State

6. Nupe: Nassarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Abuja and Benue all speak this language

7. Jju: This is spoken in some parts of Kaduna State

8. Urhobo/Isoko: Niger-Delta region of the southern part of Nigeria

9. Ibibio: Indigenous to the people of Akwa-Ibom

10. Itsekiri: Also native to some parts of Delta State in Nigeria

11. Geomai: Native to some parts of Plateau State in Jos

12. Efik: Native to the people of Cross River/Calabar parts of Nigeria

13. Edo: Same name with the ethnic group, native tongue of the people of Edo

14. Kanuri: this is indigenous to the people of Yobe, Borno and Jigawa in Northern Nigeria

15. Tiv: indigenous to the people of Taraba, Benue and Plateau

Note: Some of these languages cuts across several states in Nigeria and is not restricted to just one region or state, this is because in some times past, people have had to relocate to other regions and settle there because of war, famine or disease. Also, Taraba State in the north is currently believed to have the highest number of Native languages in Nigeria.