100 Nigerian Last Names With Meanings And History

Nigerian last names are deeply rooted in tradition and culture.
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Surnames have always been a simple way of developing a sense of community and togetherness.

In the Nigerian culture, surnames are more than just last names for people, it is about identity and how they identify themselves as a community. The culture and story behind these names are extremely fascinating, giving us a peek into their heritage.

It is usually tied by common denominators like the place of origin, occupation, patronage, physical characteristics, and clan affiliation to name a few. The naming convention of a child involves birth, a deceased ancestor, or the land of birth. The baby is introduced with prayers and songs of welcome followed by the elder officiating the event with 7 symbolic items that are used to express the path of a successful life or hope.

Here are some of the most well-known Nigerian last names we picked out for your interest. These last names will help you get an insight into the Nigerian culture and what the heritage stands for.

For more surnames inspiration, take a look at Dominican Last Names and Haitian Last Names.

Popular Nigerian Last Names

Which is the most common surname in Nigeria? Ibrahim is the most common surname but there are more Nigerian last names that are common and popular that you may hear more than a couple of times in a day.

1.Abara (Igbo origin) This surname means "spirit".

2.Abdullahi: (Arabic Origin) The one who follows God or the servant of God.

3.Abiola: (Yoruba origin) This Nigerian last name means 'born in honour and wealth'.

4.Abimbola: (Yoruba origin) one of the rarer names meaning "to be born wealthy".

5.Abubakar:  (Yoruba origin) This is one of the popular last names which translates to "noble".

6.Adébáyọ̀: (Yoruba origin) This last name is synonymous to a "king or crown or royalty". It can also mean that "he came at a joyful time".

7.Adeoye: (Yoruba origin)  This tribal African surname means "crown".

8.Adesina: (Yoruba origin)  A name given to a long-awaited child, meaning "crown opens the way".

9.Adeyemi: (Yoruba origin) Famous among the Yoruba tribe, this African surname means 'worthy to be a king'.

10.Agbani: (Yoruba origin): meaning "Praise God".

11.Aguta: (Igbo origin): This Igbo origin the last name means "countless" or "to have many".

12.Agwuegbo: (Igbo origin) One of the African surnames given to girls, it means "the hardship is over".

13.Akerele: (Yoruba origin) meaning "small but tough".

14.Akinyemi (Yoruba Origin) means "fated to be a warrior".

15.Akpabio: (Ibibio origin) The name usually means a "leader" prime or noble".

16.Aku: (Igbo origin) This last name represents "wealth".

17.Alana: (German origin) meaning "precious and beautiful".

18.Alaneme (Igbo origin): Ala (land) + neme( doing something), which means "the land is active".

19.Ali: (Arabic origin) meaning "high, champion, or elevated".

20.Alison: (Greek origin) meaning "light".

21.Aliu: (English origin) meaning "noteworthy, remarkable, and distinctive".

22.Amaechi: (Igbo origin) The African meaning of the name is "who knows tomorrow".

23.Anenih: (Yoruba origin) Used for the boys/men, this name means "God-bearing name".

24.Asaju: Yet another one of the Nigerian names which mean a warrior or rather, leader of warriors.

25.Attah: (Nigerian origin) From the Igala tribe, it means "Father of all". This name is less common.

26.Awolowo (Yoruba origin): This  Nigerian last name means "the oracle has dignity".

27.Azi: Pronounced as Azih, this name means "unending".

28.Baba: A revered last name, it is an honorary title bestowed on an elder.  

29.Babangida: (Hausa origin) The meaning of this Nigerian name is "the master of the house".

30.Balogun: (Yoruba origin) It is a title bestowed by a family which means "Warlord".

31.Bolaji: A very common Nigerian last name, it is a word from the original tribal families.

32.Bankole: (Yoruba origin): One of the rare African last names, this surname is given to sons which means "help build our house".

33.Bassey: It means "God" in efik language of Nigeria.

34.Bello: (Latin origin) Derived from the bellus, it means "handsome/beautiful".

35.Chidubem: A name of respect, it means, 'Guided by God'.

36.Chukwu: (Igbo Origin) meaning "God, spiritual being, and great".

37.Danjuma: (Yoruba origin) Meaning "born on Friday".

38.Eesuola: (Yoruba origin) This name means "to have a lot of wealth".

39.Egbe: (Yoruba origin) This is a nickname turned into a surname which means "kite".

40.Etienam: With an interesting history behind it, this name means "the one who does good deeds or is benevolent". Interestingly, it is also a common name in the Caribbean region.

41.Emem: One of the unique unisex African last names, this surname means "peace".

42.Eze: (Igbo origin)  This popular African surname is a title of respect which means 'King'.

43.Falade: (Yoruba origin) This is one of the unique African surnames which translate to complete sentences. Falade means "God of divination has intermingled with royalty".

44.Folorunsho: (Yoruba origin) This surname means "under God's protection".

45.Gbadamosi: This surname is usually meant for boys and means "the independent one".

46.Guh: (Hebrew origin) The surname Guh means "Gift of God".

47.Hassan: (Arabic origin) This name mainly reserved for boys means 'handsome' or "strong and manly".

48.Ibeh: (Igbo origin) The name means "In one's relation as a friend, family or acquaintance".

49.Ibrahim: (Arabic origin) The surname means "Father of Nations".

50.Igbinedion: (Benin origin)  It means "seeking refuge in elder's protection".

51.Igwe: (Igbo origin) Igwe is reserved for the royalty which means "heaven".

52.Ihejirika: (Igbo surname) It is also a nickname which means "the one that I have is greater".

53.Ikande: This name means "someone who is full of love".

54.Kalu: (Igbo origin) It is a surname given to boy child and refers to the "God of Thunder".

55.Kazah: (Arabic origin) The name means "the origin of light".

56.Kikelomo: (Yoruba origin) It is a popular female surname which means "a child who should be pampered or cherished".

57.Lawal: It means "handsome boy".

58.Mmeremikwu: (Igbo origin) It is an encouraging surname which means "to be better" or "to be higher".

59.Mohammed: (Arabic origin) The name is derived from Mohammed and means "the praised one".

60.Njoku: (Igbo origin) The name refers to the "Guardian Deity of the Yam".

61.Nnadi: (Igbo origin) This is one of the hopeful surnames which means "my God is alive"  or "my father lives".

62.Nwadike: (Igbo origin) This name denotes a strong bloodline which means "this person is strong" or "son of the hero".  

63.Nwaeze: (Igbo origin) Meaning "child of the king".

64.Nwaigbo: (Igbo origin) meaning "child of the Igbo people".

65.Nwaike: (Igbo origin) meaning "child of a strong lineage".

66.Obi (Igbo origin): A popular surname among the community, Obi means "heart".

67.Obiaka: (Igbo origin) meaning "no home is greater than another".

68.Obiakaeze: (Igbo origin) meaning  "a home is not greater than the king".

69.Obiakpani: (Igbo origin) meaning "the heart is now rested - no more in suspense".

70.Obianagha (Igbo origin): meaning "he came to fight".

71.Odoemene: While it means "yellow reluctance" in Igbo, the roots of this name lies in Nigeria.

72.Okoro: (Igbo origin) It means "greatness".  

73.Okoturo: This is one of the surnames of Igbo origin.

74.Okpara: This is one of the surnames of Ikpede origin and it means "rich man" or "big man". It may also mean "man of wealth".

75.Okusanya:  (Yoruba origin) This name symbolizes the belief "God has rewarded me for my sufferings".

76.Oladoyinbo (Igbo origin): Mainly attributed to the male population, Oladoyinbo means "honor surrounds him".

77.Olanrewaju: (Yoruba origin) This surname means "my wealth is the future" or "my wealth is moving forward".

78.Olowe: (Yoruba origin) This surname means "the one who can call many people to help".

79.Oni: This name means "to be born on the holy ground".  

80.Onyilogwu: A popular last name in Nigeria and Igbo, this name means "the one who is invulnerable to the dark magic".

81.Osondu (Igbo origin) Meaning "to run for life".

82.Oyinlola: (Yoruba origin) It is a typically female name where "wealth is sweet".

83.Shehu: (Arabic origin) This surname means "a sheikh" or "someone from authority".

84.Tyjani: (Hausa origin) This surname is unisex and means "a gift".

85.Uthman: (Arabic origin) This name is a name from mythology. Uthman was Prophet Muhammad's companion.

86.Uchce: (Igbo origin) meaning "the thought of God or Father".

87.Ukpabi (Igbo origin): It is the name of a deity.

88.Umeh (Igbo origin): meaning "strength".

89.Umunna (Igbo origin): the meaning of "Children of the Father".

90.Unigwe: (Igbo origin) meaning "heaven".

91.Uzoegbu: (Igbo origin) meaning "the safety of the read".

92.Zabu: The name means "gold".

Unique Nigerian Last Names

Nigerian last names come from a variety of tribes making their names quite diverse.

Some Nigerian last names are unique, even after a long cultural history. These surnames have been a part of history for centuries and yet hide behind the ambiguous curtain.

Here are some of the unique and rare Nigerian last names that you can consider for your baby.

93.Agrinya: (Yala origin) This is a surname synonymous to "warrior" and is not given but rather earned by the bearer.

94.Akinjide: (African Origin) meaning "the strong one has returned".

95.Akintola: (Yoruba Origin) meaning "being brave is as good as wealth".

96.Bosede: (Yoruba origin): Usually reserved for women, it means "born on Sunday".

97.Kporaro: This name means "progress". This is one of the rare names in Nigeria.

98.Orelias: Bearing a mix of Italian and Venetian, this Nigerian last name means "golden" and when joined with the first name, becomes "the golden".

99.Otueome: A rare name which means "he says and does as he claims".

100.Oyawale: With its origin in the Nigerian and Yoruba roots, this last name means "the river goddess came home". However, it is more popular in Yoruba.

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Nigerian Last Names then why not take a look at Puerto Rican names, or for something different take a look at medieval girls names.

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