Nigeria is a multi-religious nation. Officially, Nigeria is a secular state, meaning there is no official religion and the citizens are free to practice any religion of their choice.
A variety of religions are practiced in Nigeria, from Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity) to traditional to eastern religions. Christianity and Islam have the highest numbers of adherents. It is difficult to say which of these two religions have the highest number of followers although the correct proportion is unverifiable. The 1963 Nigerian census found that 36% of the population was Christian, 38% Muslim, and 26% other; the 2008 MEASURE Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) found 53% Muslim, 45% Christian, and 2% other; the 2008 Afrobarometer poll found 50% Christian, 49% Muslim, and 1% other; Pew’s own survey in 2011 found 50% Christian, 49% Muslim, and 1% other.
In this article, we will discuss the top 5 religions in Nigeria Based on Pew’s survey of 2011.
Christianity was found to be the religion with the highest number of adherents in Nigeria claiming 50% of the population (estimated 96 million Christians based on the 2016 population). The vast majority of Nigeria’s Christians are Protestant (extensively characterized). However, 25% of Christians in Nigeria are Catholic. Even though Pentecostalism has been a part of Christianity in Nigeria since the colonial days, the predominance of Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria can be traced to the last three decades and led by a host of indigenous protestant churches, including the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners’ Chapel, Christ Apostolic Church (the primary Aladura Movement in Nigeria), Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Evangelical Church Winning All, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, Christ Embassy, The Synagogue Church Of All Nations, The CommonWealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA), the Aladura Church (indigenous Christian houses of worship being particularly solid in the Yoruba and Igbo regions).
Roman Catholicism (24.9%)
Eastern Orthodox (0.1%)
Other Christian (0.9%)
For a very long time, Islam has always been the religion with the highest number adherents in Nigeria, until recent studies showed that it has marginally fallen to the second position. The larger part of Nigerian Muslims is Sunni. The Sunni belongs to the Maliki school of jurisprudence; however, a sizeable minority also belongs to Shafi madhhab. A large number of Sunni Muslims are members of Sufi brotherhoods. Most. A significant Shia minority exists.
Islam is the majority religion in northern Nigeria while also enjoying a huge number of adherents in South Western part of the nation.
About t 1% of the total population of Nigeria practice traditional religion. The traditional religion without contradicting civil law manages to also govern ethics and morality amongst much of the population.
After Islam and Christianity, the third most popular religion in Nigeria is traditional. Nigeria’s ancient indigenous traditions continue to adapt and survive, though they also continue to be challenged by religious and political forces that seek to diminish their power. Even though only about 1% of Nigerians claimed to practice traditional religion, there are countless of these traditions in Nigeria, but the number of practitioners is difficult to determine and it is probably underestimated because religious identity numbers do not account for the many Nigerians who claim multiple religious identities.
The theology of these religious systems includes an emphasis on ancestor worship and a veneration of primordial spirits, the supernatural entities that inhabit a particular locale and are embodied in its geographical and natural features. Each of these religions has its own complex teachings of morality and intricate traditions of healing and divination.