|West Africa, from Eastern Ghana to central Nigeria|
Some important branches of the Volta-Niger and Benue-Congo families are concentrated in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin.
The Volta-Niger family of languages, also known as West Benue-Congo or East Kwa, is one of the branches of the Niger-Congo language family, with perhaps 50 million speakers. Among these are the most important languages of southern Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and southeast Ghana: Yoruba, Igbo, Bini, Fon, and Ewe.
These languages have variously been placed within the Kwa or Benue-Congo families, but Williamson & Blench (2000) separate them from both. The boundaries between the various branches of Volta-Niger are rather vague, suggesting diversification of a dialect continuum rather than a clear split of families, which suggest a close origin
The constituent groups of the Volta-Niger family, along with the most important languages in terms of number of speakers, are as follows (with number of languages for each branch in parentheses):
The Yoruboid languages and Akoko were once linked as the Defoid branch, but more recently they, Edoid, and Igboid have been suggested to be primary branches of an as-yet unnamed group, often abbreviated yeai. Similarly, Oko, Nupoid, and Idomoid are often grouped together under the acronym noi. Ukaan is an Atlantic-Congo language, but it is unclear if it belongs to the Volta-Niger family; Blench suspects it is closer to Benue-Congo.
Below is a list of major Volta-Niger branches and their primary locations (centres of diversity) in Nigeria based on Blench (2019).
|Akpes||Akoko North LGA, Ondo State|
|Ayere-Ahan||Akoko North LGA, Ondo State|
|Gbe||Badagry LGA, Lagos State and adjacent areas|
|Edoid||Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Delta States|
|Akoko||Akoko North LGA, Ondo State|
|Igboid||Anambra, Rivers, Delta States (excluding Igbo proper)|
|Nupoid||Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa States|
|Oko||Okene LGA, Kogi State|
|Idomoid||Benue, Cross River, Nasarawa States|
|Ukaan||Akoko North LGA, Ondo State|