What are cultural taboos in Nigeria?

Taboos are found in any part of the world. They differ from country to country. Learn more about the Nigerian ones.

For many years, Nigeria has been a place of numerous migrations and invasions. That is why the ethnic situations in the country differ. It became the reason of various moral customs, traditions, and laws in different parts of the country. Cultural taboos also got under influence. Let's find out which of them act on the territory of Nigeria.

clutural taboos in nigeria

Nigerian tribes

Before we start, it is worth learning about what tribes live in Nigeria and what areas we will talk about.

  • Ibibio – a tribe in the southeast of Nigeria. Their number is 6.77 million people. They are Christians. However, there are supporters of traditional beliefs.
    ibibio nigerian tribe
  • Idemilli is an area, which is situated in east Nigeria.  It is divided on north and south parts. It is a Local Government Area in Anambra State.
  • Idoma is an ethnic group, which lives in the west of the country. These people are well-known hunters. Nevertheless, they are rather hospitable and peaceful.
    Idoma ethnic group
  • Yoruba – the group of related nations. The majority of Yorubas are Christians and Muslims. They also practice the most ancient religion of Ifa'Orish. Culture of Yorubaland left the mark on the Latin American music as well.
  • Igbo people live in south-east Nigeria. The main occupation of these people is manual agriculture. Most of them are Muslims, but the strictness of their beliefs differs according to particular region.

READ ALSO: Culture shock in Nigeria 5 top strangest traditions

Cultural taboos in Africa

Now, when we have learned some facts about the people of Nigeria, it is possible to notice their taboos. The most interesting are:

  • Not so long ago, women (especially pregnant ones) were forbidden to carry a Masquerade make-up. People believed that the woman with the Masquerade face will look like this for the rest of her life. And if the woman is pregnant, her child will be born ugly. However, now it is possible to see a woman with brightly-painted face.
    cultural taboos
  • On the territory of Idemilli, killing of any kind of snakes is considered a crime.
  • In Idemilli, it is also impossible to kill monkeys. This taboo exists in spite of the fact that their murder isn't widespread on the Nigerian land.
  • In the Ibibio tribe, it is also forbidden to commit suicide. Nevertheless, if a person decided to do it, responsibility would be laid on his family. They would have to pay money for death of their relative.
    suicide is forbidden
  • If the governor dies on the territory of Idoma, people cannot put on mourning clothes for his funeral.
  • In some areas of Yoruba land, pregnant women are forbidden to pass by a corpse. It is a bad sign, which testifies troubles with her future child.
  • In Benin, displaying the fruit, which are gathered from a palm tree on public, is a taboo. People believe that the person who has done it can even lose his head.
    palm tree
  • Eating sweet potatoes in Igbo lands is not possible for the whole August.
  • If a man lives in some parts of Urhobo, Delta State and he decides to chop firewood at night, it will be a bad thing. And it is not because cutting firewood at night is a little strange. People just believe that the person who does it, during full moon, can turn into a statue.
  • In the Urhobo tribe, frequent usage of the left hand is also a taboo. It is considered a certain insult in relation to other people. Besides, it is forbidden to eat with the left hand and to express the consent with it.
    no left hand

Of course, you shouldn't perceive all these taboos literally. These are only traditions and signs, which any nationality has. They were made up by people who were scared of the power of nature and some unknown mysterious things. However, these taboos are an important part of their culture and allow us to learn more about its unique features.


Rather educative and necessary article. It can be useful for those people, who are communicating with the people living in Nigeria. Espesially it is necassary for those, who are giong to Nigeria. They should read the article to prevent some misunderstandings and not to make the native Nigerian people become angry with you. To my mind every person should learn the traditions and taboos of other countries in order to show the respect to people living abroad and far away. so, before going somewhere - just read such articles to avoid misunderstandings.

Answered 1 year ago.

Abortion is a taboo in Nigeria. The air force could not find a single woman, had an abortion, which would be ready to talk about it openly. But 12 women answered questions about their experience. Contact with them through the doctor, who arranges abortions by trained doctors in a medical clinic in the capital Abuja. Cultural taboos mean that even if there was

clinic in their city, for most women it would be unrealistic to get there. A married woman may request an abortion because she already has more children than she can afford.

Two attempts to change the law were stopped by conservative women's groups. They say that changes in law will promote promiscuity and weaken the moral fabric of Nigeria.

Answered 1 year ago.

Though now a modern world and people have long forgotten the primitive communal system in Nigeria as in some other countries there are still tribes retained their existence to this day. One of these tribes are Ibibio tribe. The people of this tribe are good hunters, they are hospitable and spkiyni. I would love to visit Nigeria and see how these tribes live. In some of these people kept their beliefs, forcing them to live in conditions far from civilization. I think you need to move forward, evolve and not stand in one place.

Answered 2 years ago.

I really like this article, it says about the culture of Nigeria taboo, different moral traditions. They are in every part of the country has its own laws and customs. I advise everyone who is interested in this country, and you are interested in the culture of it, you can read this article. Another very interesting to me was on eastern Nigeria, she rozdelena north and south parts.Also, I was interested in, there lives a tribe Ibibio, and this they have a high population. They are very hospitable seaside. I would love to sezdit to visit them.

Answered 2 years ago.
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