We must be very careful to avoid the use of the term “tribe” to describe these ethnic groups. “Tribe,” Ukpo points out, is largely a racist term. The Ibo and Hausa-Fulani of Nigeria are each made up of five to ten million people, a figure comparable to the number of, say, Scots, Welsh, Armenians, Serbs or Croats. Yet we do not refer to the latter groups as “tribes.” The term “tribe” is almost exclusively, and very indifferently, applied to peoples of Native American or African origin. It is a label which emerged with imperialism in its application to those who were non-European and lived in a “colonial or semi-colonial dependency…in Asia, Africa and Latin America” (14). As we are attempting to discard the prejudices of imperialism it is in our best interests to discard the use of the term “tribe” when referring to the ethnic groups of Nigeria.
Ethnicity in Nigeria
Why people should not even think of using the word “tribe”.