Facts about Nigerian Currency: Nigerian Naira
FACTS ABOUT NIGERIAN CURRENCY – THE NIGERIAN NAIRA
History of Nigerian Currency: – The Nigerian Naira and Nigerian Kobo
Nigerian Currency is known as the ‘Naira’ with ‘kobo’ as the subunit, hence 100 kobo = 1 naira. The history of Nigerian currency could be traced back to 1912 when the West African Currency Board was responsible for issuing currency notes in Nigeria. The West African Currency board was responsible for Nigerian currency from 1912 to 1959. On 1st July, 1959 the Central Bank of Nigeria issued the Nigerian currency notes and coins and the notes and coins from the West African Currency Board were withdrawn. The notes were again changed in 1968.
On 31st March, 1971, the then Head of State announced that Nigeria would change to decimal currency as from 1st January, 1973.The major currency unit would be called Naira hence, the Nigerian naira, with the symbol (₦) was introduced in 1973 as the Nigerian currency replacing the Pound that was being used in Nigeria at that time. The replacement was at the rate of 2naira to 1 pound. The ISO 4217 code (the international standard describing three-letter codes to define the names of currency established by the International Organization for Standardization) for Nigerian naira is NGN.
Coins were introduced as well as the notes. The coins were in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 25 kobo, with the ½ and 1 kobo in bronze and the higher denominations in cuprous-nickel. The ½ kobo coins were only minted that year. In 1991, smaller 1, 10 and 25 kobo coins were issued in copper-plated-steel, along with nickel-plated-steel 50 kobo and 1 naira. On 28 February 2007, new coins were issued in denominations of 50 kobo, 1 and 2 naira, with the 1 and 2 naira bimetallic.
Nigerian bank Notes
On 11th February, 1977 a new banknote denomination of the value of 20 Naira was issued. This was special in two respects:
- The N20(Twenty Naira) banknote was the highest denomination to be introduced then, and its issue became necessary as a result of the growth of incomes in the country; the preference for cash transactions and the need for convenience.
- The N20 (Twenty Naira) banknote became the first currency note in Nigeria bearing the Portrait of a Nigerian citizen, in this case, the late Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed (1938-1976) who was the torch bearer of the Nigerian Revolution July, 1975.
The note was issued on the 1st Anniversary of his assassination as a fitting tribute to a most illustrious son of Nigeria.
On 2nd July, 1979, some new currency notes were introduced namely, (N1), (N5), and (N10). These notes were of the same size i.e., 151 x 78 mm as the N20 note issued on the 11th February, 1977. In order to facilitate identification, distinctive colors which were similar to those of the current banknotes of the various denominations were used. The notes bore the portraits of three eminent Nigerians, who were declared national heroes on the 1st of October, 1978. The engravings at the back of the notes reflected the cultural aspects of the country. In 1991, both the 50k and N1 Notes were coined in response to expansion in economic activities and to facilitate an efficient payments system, in the same 1991, 50 naira notes were issued, followed by 100 naira in December 1999, 200 naira in November 2000, 500 naira notes in April 2001 and 1000 naira notes on October 12, 2005. On February 28, 2007, new versions of the 5 to 50 naira banknotes were introduced. Originally the 10, 20 and 50 naira were to be polymer banknotes, but the 5, 10 and 50 naira notes were delayed to late 2009 and only the 20 was released in polymer. The notes are slightly smaller (130 x 23 mm) and redesigned from the preceding issues.
Security Features of the Nigerian Naira
There are a number of security features to enable the recognition of genuine notes. The distinguishing features which can immediately be recognized by touch and visibility are raised prints, the security thread and the watermark. Other areas such as the portrait, lettering and the denominational numerals on the front and the back are embossed while the security thread, which ordinarily, looks broken but is not when held against the light, has “CBN” in small lettering printed on both sides of the notes.
There are some other features, which are visible under ultraviolet light; for example, the serial number on each note is black, but turns green under ultraviolet light. The paper used is a special paper with specific constituents which are unique to bank notes. The manufacturing process and the materials which are used provide the currency with the unique qualities, necessary to give the notes a long span of circulation. At the same time, these special features give a distinctive appearance and feel which is meant to protect it from imitation.
Specific Features of Nigerian one Hundred Naira note N100
- Red and multicolour
The Front side
- Has the image of Obafemi Awolowo. Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo was a Nigerian politician and leader, a Yoruba people and native of Ikenne in Ogun State of Nigeria, who started as a regional political leader like most of his pre-independence contemporaries
The Reverse side
- The image of Zuma Rock. Zuma Rock is a large monolith located in Niger State, Nigeria. It is just north of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, along the main road from Abuja to Kaduna, and is sometimes referred to as “Gateway to Abuja.” It is most recognized because of the face of a human on the monolith.
Specific Features of Nigerian Two Hundred Naira note N200
- Green and multicolour
The front side:
- The image of Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello. Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello was a Nigerian politician, and was the first premier of the Northern Nigeria region from 1954-1966. He was one of the prominent leaders in Northern Nigeria alongside Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, both of whom where prominent in negotiations about the region’s place in an independent Nigeria.
The reverse side:
- The Pyramid of agricultural commodity and livestock farming in Nigeria. Agriculture provides employment for 70% of the population.
Specific Features of Nigerian Five Hundred Naira note N500
- Purple and multicolour
The Front side:
- The image of Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe , usually referred to as Nnamdi Azikiwe, or, informally and popularly, as “Zik”, was one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism and the first President of Nigeria, holding the position throughout the Nigerian First Republic
The reverse side:
- The image of an Off-shore oil-rig. The extraction and drilling of petroleum in Nigeria is the largest industry and main generator of GDP in the West African nation which is also the continent’s most populous country.
Specific Features of Nigerian One Thousand Naira note N1000
- Brown and Multicolor
- The image of Aliyu Mai-Bornu, Clement Isong
The reverse side:
- The Central Bank of Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria was established by the CBN Act of 1958 and commenced operations on July 1, 1959.The major regulatory objectives of the bank as stated in the CBN act of 1958 is to: issue legal tender, maintain the external reserves of the country, promote monetary stability and a sound financial environment.
Specific Features of Nigerian Five Naira note N5
- The image of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was a Nigerian politician, and the first prime minister of an independent Nigeria.
The reverse side:
- The image of Nkpokiti dancers
Specific Features of Nigerian Ten Naira note N10
- The image of Alvan Ikoku who was a Nigerian educator, statesman, activist and politician. Born on August 1, 1900 in Arochukwu, present day Abia State in Nigeria.
- The image of Fulani maids. They are an ethnic group of people spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa.
Specific Features of Nigerian Twenty Naira note N20
- The image of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed who was the President of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassination in 1976.
- Ladi Kwali who was a Nigeria potter. She was born in the village of Kwali in the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria, where pottery was a common occupation among women.
Specific Features of Nigerian Fifty Naira note N50
- The hand engraved images of four Nigerians: three men and a woman.
The reverse side:
- The image of a big catch by local fishermen.