north-eastern state of Gombe is one of the most culturally rich and ethnically
diverse states in Nigeria. It is home to almost an equal number of adherents of
the country’s two most vocal religions, and has many beautiful languages some
of which unfortunately are sleep-walking towards extinction.
The State
is a very fertile land right within the Savannah region, and thus the title,
the Jewel in the Savannah. It comprises of eleven local government areas, most
of which are constellations of very beautiful people and very beautiful ways of
Below I
present to you the many tribes in Gombe State, local government areas where
these tribes are found in Gombe State, and their estimated population.

1. Fulani

The Fulani,
or Fulbe are the largest tribe in Gombe state. They inhabit greater portions
of local government areas in the northern senatorial district of the north-eastern
state. These local government areas include Funakaye, Nafada, Gombe, Kwami and

2. Tangale

The Tangale
chiefdom of southern Gombe state is one of the most important tribes in Gombe
State. The Tangale also make it to the biggest 25 of the over 300 tribes in
Nigeria, and are ruled by the Mai Tangale, a powerful tradtional stool that
predates colonial times.
It is
widely held that the Tangale initially migrated from somewhere in the Far East.
It is believed that they started their migration from Yemen and came through
Egypt and finally arrived what is now known as Nigeria through Birnin
Ngazargamu, capital of the old Kanem Bornu empire.
Today, the
Tangale are found in Biliri, Kaltungo, Akko, Shongom and Balanga local
government areas of Gombe State, and also in Alkaleri local government area of
Bauchi State.
Their major
occupation is farming. They are majority Protestant Christians, with only a
tiny percentage of their population being adherents of the Islamic and
traditional religions.
The population
of the Tangale people in Gombe State is estimated at 200,000.

3. Tera

The Tera,
or Terawa are the third largest tribe in Gombe State, after the Fulani and the
Tangale. They occupy a greater part of the Yamaltu/Deba local government area
of Gombe State. Outside Gombe State, The Tera people are also in large numbers
in Kwaya Kusar local government area of Borno State.
Tera people
have equal number of adherents of both the Christian and Islamic religions,
with a small percentage of the population also following some traditions
religious practices.
There are
about 160,000 Tera people in Gombe State.

4. Bolewa

The Bolewa
are a largely Muslim tribe found in Alkaleri, Dukku and Darazo local government
areas of Bauchi State, in Fika local government area of Yobe State, and in Wase
local government area of Plateau State.
In Gombe
State, the Bolewa are found in Dukku local government area.
documents complimented by oral traditions have it that Bolewa tribe appear to
have eastern origins, tracing their westward movements from Middle East.  The Bolewa are believed to have left Yemen a
little after 940 AD.
1100 AD and 1500 AD, they moved westward to the shores of Lake Chad and into
There are
over 200,000 Bolewas in Bauchi, Yobe and Plateau, with only a small fraction of
this number in Dukku local government area of Gombe State.

5. Waja

The Waja,
or the Wajawa are found in south-eastern Gombe State
The Waja
people are predominantly farmers who are into subsistence growing of crops and
keeping of livestocks like goats and rams.
The Waja
group is comparatively heterogenous comprising of 8 discrete languages, of
which the larger ones possess distinct dialect areas.
population of Waja is estimated at around 30,000.

6. Kanuri

The Kanuri
are most famous as the largest ethnic group in Borno State, however people of
this tribe are scattered across so many other states in northern Nigeria and even
In Gombe
State, the Kanuri are in one enclave in each of Yamaltu-Deba, Akko and Kwami
local government areas.
The Kanuri
have been Muslims since the 11th century. There are over 6 million Kanuris in

7. Dadiya

The Dadiya
are a small tribe found in three states in the north-eastern states of Adamawa,
Taraba and Gombe.
In Gombe
State, the Dadiya are found in Balanga local government area.
people are majorly into subsistence agriculture, with farmers using ox-drawn
ploughs and other crude implements to till the soil. Dadiya farmers grow grain,
peanuts, beans, rice and cotton.
There are
around 51,000 Dadiya people worldwide who are split equally between adherence
to the Christian and Islamic religions.

8. Tula

The Tula are
a farming community who live on a mountanous area in Kaltungo local government
area of Gombe State. Tula people are most famous for being fearless fighters,
and were never defeated in a battle during the turbulent pre-colonial times. In
1877, the Emir Of Misau, in present day Bauchi State adventured on a Jihad
conquest of Tula land and met his waterloo. He was not only woefully defeated
but was killed in the battle of Wange. As with then Tula custom, the head of
the adventurous Emir was cut-off and kept in Tula to remind would-be
adventurers of the terrible fate that await them.
 The Tula people live in three districts in in
Kaltungo local government area. These districts include Wange,  Yiri and Baule.
population of the Tula people is around 50,000, majority of which are adherents
of traditional religions.

9. Cham

The Cham,
or Cham Mwana are found in Balanga and Kaltungo local government areas of Gombe
State, andd also Lamurde local government area of Adamawa State. The Cham Mwana
are believed to have migrated from Yemen in the Far East along with the Tula,
the Lunguda and the Dadiya around 1777. They came to Africa through Egypt  and found their way into Nigeria through
southern Borno and settled in Kindiyo and Mona.
The Cham
people of Gombe State are mainly farmers, but are also notably present in most
spheres of human endeavour.
There are
around 43,000 Cham people, majority of whom are adherents of several native
tribes in Gombe State are Languda, the Kamo, the Awak and the Pero in Kaltungo
local government area, the Pindiga in Akko local government area, the Ngamo in
Nafada, the Jukun and the Jara.
Even the
Igbo who are indigenous to eastern Nigeria also constitute a significant
percentage of the population of Gombe State.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top