The Igbo Israelites, are people of Nigeria who practice the Karaite Hebraic religion and are said to be descended from North African or Egyptian Hebraic and later Israelite migrations into West Africa. Oral legends amongst the Igbo state that this migration started around 1,500 years ago.
Some sources assert that an Israelite presence existed in Nigeria as early as 638 BCE. It is thought that Israelites fled to Africa after the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent. The population came south into sub-Saharan Africa and west across North Africa, possibly following the path of the Arab conquests. Descendants could also have arisen from migrants from Djerba, Tunisia who had fled to North Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples.
The Igbo Israelits traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zebulun, and Manasseh. Some hold that families amongst the community are descendants of Kohanim and Levites, the Israelite priests and their assistants who functioned in the Jerusalem Temple.