How to Say "I Love You" in Popular Nigerian Languages

Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth. With a population of over 230 million people, it is normal to say that in every five African, one must be a Nigerian. In other words, Nigerian population is over one fifth, the total population of Africa as a continent with over 54 countries. Besides the large population size, Nigeria is known for many other things including its rich culture. Nigeria has 371 tribes, over ethnic groups, and 500 languages.

For Nigerians to freely interact with themselves, they must be able to speak a common language: Nigerian English. Although English is Nigeria's lingua franca, an average Nigerian feels happier if someone from another language happily learns to speak his native dialect. If you are married to, in relationship or love with a Nigerian, then you have a key: learning a few words in his language. You can begin with "I love you". You can as well buy him/her a Nigerian kind of gift.

How to say "I love you" in Nigerian languages

Note: We will not provide how to say "I love you" in all the hundreds of Nigerian languages, so, we are sticking to the popular Nigerian languages. Meanwhile, we might keep editing the list.

These are ways to say "I love you" in Nigerian languages

1. How to say "I love you" in Nigerian pidgin

English is the official Nigerian language and serves as the country's lingua franca. Almost all Nigerians (over 95%) can at least understand English to a certain degree. However, Nigerian English has branches and sub-branches.  An example of Nigerian English branch is Nigerian Pidgin. About 60 million to 200 million Nigerians use pidgin on daily basis.

These are many ways you can say "I love you" in Nigerian Pidgin:

i. I too love you.

ii. I love you wella.

iii. I love you well well.

iv. I feel you.

2. How to say "I love you" in Igbo language

Igbo is a Nigerian tribe located in South Eastern Nigeria. Igbos dominate the South Eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi. They are also widely spread throughout the country and boast of a population of 42 million speakers.

In Igbo language, "I love you" is "Ahụrụ m gị n'anya" or "a furu m gi n'aya".

3. How to say "I love you" in Hausa language

Hausa is one of the major Nigerian languages. It is spoken by the Hausa tribe located in Northern Nigeria, and other parts of Africa. Hausa language has over 80 million speakers (including second language speakers).

"I love you" in Hausa language can be said in two ways. If you are a man and you want to say "I love you" to a lady in Hausa language, say "Ina son ki". If you are a lady and you want to say "I love you" to a man, say "Ina son ka".

4. How to say "I love you" in Yoruba language

The Yoruba speakers dominate Western Nigeria and other parts of West Africa like Benin, and Togo. A few of them are also found in Brazil. With over 54 million speakers, knowing how to say "I love you" in Yoruba can give you the love you have been searching for years.

In Yoruba, "I love you" is "Mo nífẹ̀ rẹ́" or "Mo nífẹ̀ẹ́ iwọ".

It is worthy of note that most Yorubas would simply say "Mo nífẹ̀ẹ́" to mean "I love you".

5. How to say "I love you" in Annang, Efik and Ibibio languages

Annang/Ibio/Efik cluster is a collection of languages and dialects spoken by Nigerians living in the Niger-Delta region, or what Nigerians refer geo-politically to as South-South. These speakers live mostly in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, and some parts of Southern Cameroon. The languages boast of over 20 million collective speakers.

How to say "I love you" in Calabar (Annang, Efik, Ibibio) languages
Efik/Ibibio Couples | Credit: Bella Naija

The Nigerian languages under this language group are Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Ekit, and others (under Akwa Ibom State) and Efik (under Cross Rivers State). Although these languages are closely related, the are widely distinguishable that we can't call them dialects.

"I love you" in Annang is "Mmeneke uma fien".

I love you Ibibio is "Mm'uma fien".

I love you in Efik is "Mm'ama fi eti-eti." 

There are many other languages and dialects in this group that we cannot here. Each of them say "I love you" differently.

6. How to say "I love you" in Fulani

Fulani is another popular Nigerian language spoken mostly by the Fulani tribes found in Northern Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel region. In Nigeria, they mostly share values with the Hausas but have up to 13 million Fulani speakers.

"I love you" in Fulani is "Miya tinmininii yii nguu ne." 

7. How to say "I love you" in Kanuri language

Kanuri language is spoken by the Kanuri ethnic group located mostly at the core Northern state of Bornu, and some of parts of Chad and Cameroon. The language is spoken by about 5 million people. The name and language originate from the ancient Kanem-Bornu empire, one of the greatest empires in the sub-Saharan region.

"I love you" in Kanuri is "Nya raakna". 

8. How to say "I love you" in Tiv language

Tiv speakers are found in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Cross River State and Kaduna. The Tiv language has up to 5 million speakers that goes beyond Nigeria.

"I love you" in Tiv is "Ne doom ishima."

9. How to say "I love you" in Nupe language

Nupe has about 4 million speakers. They are found in the North Central states of Nigeria, including Kogi, Kwara, and Niger States. Over 3 million people speak this language.

 "I love you" in Nupe is "Iba ni kwa".

10. How to say "I love you" in Bini or Edo Language

Bini or Edo is a language is predominant in Edo, a state in Southern Nigeria. The language is spoken by over a million people. It was the language of the popular ancient Benin Kingdom but remains a popular Nigerian language to this day.

"I love you" in Bini is Je t'aime".

You can also express love in Edo by saying "Mi yinnie" which translate, "My love".


Love is a beautiful thing and telling someone "I love you" is one of the most beautiful things they want to hear. When you want to express love to a Nigerian, these are the ways you can say it. However, it is good to know the person's language as most Nigerians don't understand other languages except their native ones, Pidgin or English.

Note: Are you a Nigerian and your language is missing from this list? Tell us about your language and how to say "I love you" in the comment section. We might add your language to the list if you tell us.

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