Muslims in Northern Nigeria: Between Challenge and Opportunity

  • Zacharias Pierri
  • Atta Barkindo
Part of the The Modern Muslim World book series (MMUS)


Nigeria is a sovereign nation state located in West Africa. It is Africa’s most populous country and is seen as a major player in the region. As of the end of 2014, the population of Nigeria was estimated to be 177, 155, 754 people and more than 250 ethnic groups.1 Up-to-date official statistics on the religious composition of Nigerians are not available, but a report from the Pew Research Center on religion and public life in Nigeria stated that in 2010, 49.3 percent of Nigeria’s population was Christian, 48.8 percent was Muslim, and 1.9 percent were followers of indigenous and other religions, or unaffiliated.2 Nigeria’s North is predominantly Muslim, with the Hausa and Fulani being the dominant ethnic groups. The Kanuri are also noteworthy, focused in the Northeast, particularly in the states affected by Islamist violence. The south of Nigeria is predominantly Christian. Muslim and Christian communities however are found in most parts of the country, with sizeable Christian minorities in some northern states and sizeable Muslim minorities in the South. Both Muslims and Christian communities are distributed more evenly in the central parts of the country known as the Middle Belt, as well as in parts of the Southwest, where the dominant ethnic group, the Yoruba, is made up of both Muslims and Christians.3


Muslim Community Islamic Education Christian Community Western Education Yobe State 
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© Zacharias Pierri and Fr. Atta Barkindo 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zacharias Pierri
  • Atta Barkindo

There are no affiliations available

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