There are 521 languages that have been spoken in Nigeria (nine of which are now extinct).[1][2] The official language of Nigeria, English, the former colonial language, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. Communication in English language is much more popular in the country's urban communities than it is in the rural areas (comprising about three quarters of the country's population).


The other major languages are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde, and Kanuri. Nigeria's linguistic diversity is a microcosm of Africa as a whole, encompassing three major African languages families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger–Congo. Nigeria also has several as-yet unclassified languages, such as Cen Tuum, which may represent a relic of an even greater diversity prior to the spread of the current language families.