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Tour Guide Nigeria is a means of showcasing to the world Nigeria's beauty. It showcases the rich cultural heritage of the country, the delicious cuisines, the beautiful people, interesting places, the wild life and the tours and hospitality organizations. It also talks about the problems facing hospitality and tourism development in Nigeria and tries to proffer solutions to the ones it can.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Nigerian Currency From Past To Present.

Happy New Year Friends. Welcome to the year 2017. Before proceeding to the write up of today; I would love to share a short interview I had with Mr "Koyejo Sofoluwe" a tourism guru.

Me: 1)Would you say we have attained the full potentials of tourism in Nigeria? I mean Eldorado.... Okay, let me rephrase; have we scratched the surface of tourism in Nigeria.

2) Are government policies favorable to the growth of tourism in Nigeria?

3) If you were the minister of tourism in Nigeria or the director of NTDC, what would you do differently from what those at those positions are currently doing?

Thank you in anticipation of your response

1.having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.
synonyms: possible, likely, prospective, future, probable, budding, in the making;

1.latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
synonyms: possibilities, potentiality, prospects;

In line with these, I think Nigeria has got what it takes, when we consider potentials... let's not forget that potentials becomes anything we make of it but have we scratched the surface of tourism in Nigeria? Unfortunately, we haven't even got to the surface. I just copied you in a post I saw on a Nigerian ministry of tourism sponsored programme in Kumasi, Ghana that aims to promote the Yoruba culture and for me that shows how disconnected the industry is. We really have a long way to with scratching the surface. Is that marketing or creating awareness? Who is the target market??? Anyway, that is not part of the answers to this question. I think we are far behind in planning, structuring and product development for our tourism industry.

Government policies require that the government understand a sector or process before they come up with policies. Do the Nigerian government understand the tourism industry? I think it's a big No... are there policies to help the industry grow, that is also a big No. However, the industry needs more than policies to grow right now. We need trailblazer, revolutionaries... people that do not wait for the government to act. We need questions to be asked of our leaders. Where do we expect the policies to come from? The minister of information? I mean no insult in anyway but tourism cannot be free styled... it is very scientific and require a whole lot of commitment. Our approach for now is not even in the books. How many tourists visit our tourist sites? How many tourists visit Nigeria yearly? How much do we generate yearly? What's is the budget for tourism development? What is the current policy on site management and maintenance? Who owns the attractions/sites - state or federal or local government? You see how confusing this is... it's like witchcraft, very mysterious and that is how most policies in Nigeria are.

Rotimi, this minister and NTDC director role is huge o and requires a lot but to keep it simple, I'd sell Nigeria as Nigeria - our culture, diversity, heritage, people and more. We must understand first of all that tourism is a service industry and must be packaged, sold and experienced as a service. From visa application and processing, to the airport to immigration on arrival experience, taxis at the airport to hotels, guides, BDCs, tour guides... everyone has a role to play. I'd most likely get the various sectors involved in tourism to talk and AGREE before taking up any role sef. What I see most times in our sector and most government led initiatives is too much talk and that my brother is very cheap. Too much meetings and all... so it would be very important to be a hands on person for starters. I also like the fact that I'm kicking off from this side of the field which would help me gather the much needed experience but honestly and ideally, everyone has a role to play in tourism development at that level. From transportation including aviation, road, rail and all to immigration, hoteliers, security - police force, entrepreneurs and others all need to have a good understanding about what is expected of them and their roles. Everyone has a part to play. One would need all hands on deck to work effectively at that level.

However, Rotimi, tourism is not rocket science (as my former boss would put it)... Nigeria in itself is beautiful and we have countries ahead of us that have used effective templates we can ride on. This is a huge advantage for us. Vivid examples are South Africa, Australia, Rwanda and more... they have all got a great structure that we should really study and tweak to fit our environment. We do not need to try to sell to everyone and that is why research and data is key in tourism. What are our products? Who would need or who do we want to sell our products? I wonder why NTDC or the ministry of tourism is not having that seminar on Yoruba culture in Cuba or Brazil. How do we market these products to these prospects in the best possible ways? How do we ensure they experience our products ensuring the quality is maintained, our brand as a country is maintained and more... that is why South Africa had a tourism board presence in Nigeria, why the Australian tourism board is present in China...

What is currently being done? I think we've got a serious case of misconception in our hands, where we think tourism is all about fanfares, carnivals, entertainment, and show biz... to what gain??? Awareness? Awareness of what? Products or items that can lead to products? Well, I'm not yet a minister or Director general but I also strongly think we need to begin to consider options to help Nigerians see tourism as a solution provider and not a means to waste. To enhance the learning experience in education, help build and sustain relationships in homes and organizations, for host community development and more... We must open our minds and I really mean open our minds and see the beauty of Nigeria....

Phew... can't remember the last time I wrote this much on tourism, I think it was my tourism PgDip days... Rotimi you haf kee somebody finish... I hope this helps.

As a nation, Nigeria has come a long way, from the days of the colonial masters when their currency was the only thing allowed for buying and selling, to this period when our own Naira is the legal tender.

Before the colonization and subsequent creation of the place we now know as Nigeria, inhabitants of the land were known to execute their businesses with the help of ‘currencies’ like cowries, exchange of salt, animals and farm produce and also textiles, in an act known as trade by barter. The west African Currency Board was responsible for issuing currencies (which included banknotes and coins) from the year 1912 to 1959. The currencies in circulation then were pounds, pence and shillings.

In 1959 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) started issuing the Nigerian currency notes, and in 1962, the legal tender was officially changed again. Following the Nigerian civil war, the currency was again changed in 1968 as a war strategy, and in 1973, the naira and kobo became the official legal tender. We take you down memory lane and presents a brief history of Nigeria’s currency in pictures:

1. Cowries
Cowries were used for buying and selling before banknotes and coins were introduced into the Nigerian economy. Payment of cowries was mostly made in cups or in bags.

Cowries were used as currency exchange before the introduction of banknotes and coins

2. Trade by barter (exchange of farm produce, animals, textile, copper, etc)

This system was adopted by people who lived in the same locality, and it involved giving what you had in exchange for what you needed. This exchange occurred mostly between individuals and their deities, and between friends and neighbours.

Goods were exchanged in return for other goods and services

3. The Nigerian shillings issued in 1958/1959

Even though this denomination is no longer in use in present day Nigeria, the shilling is the legal tender in Kenya and Uganda. If you happen to have about 5000 Shillings, you’d be N15,000 richer in Kenya and just about N400 richer in Uganda.

A front and back view of the five Shillings note

4. The Nigerian pound issued in 1967:

Just in case you didn’t know before or you may have forgotten, this is a reminder that the legal tender in Nigeria used to be the pound. Right now, anyone who possesses a large amount of this currency might be regarded as a rich person, judging by the current exchange rate of the pound to the naira, which is pegged at N565 to £1.

This was in circulation 1967

5. Another five shilling note issued in 1968

As a war strategy, the shillings notes were changed to reflect different colours. While the banknotes were changed, the coins remained unchanged and in circulation.

A front and back view of the ‘new’ five Shillings note

6. One pound notes were reintroduced in a different colour in 1968

All the pound notes had their colours changed, including the five pound notes.

One pound notes with different colours were circulated in 1968

7. 50 kobo was introduced in 1973

and taken off the market in 1978 Just five years after the fifty kobo note was first circulated in Nigeria, it was decided that it should be taken off the market. The nickel-plated coins for the same denomination were introduced in 1989 and eventually withdrawn from the market in 2007.

The Fifty Kobo notes were introduced in 19

8. The one Naira note:

The one Naira note was introduced in January, 1973, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The front and back view of the one naira note

9. The five Naira note: The five Naira note was first introduced in 1973,

The green-coloured note bore the engraved portrait of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was the first prime minister of Nigeria. In 1984, the colours of the note were changed to mauve (a mix of pink and purple), and in 2007, the notes were changed from paper to polymer notes.

The old five Naira note, the back of the note shows the Nkpokiti dancers from South Eastern Nigeria

The new polymer notes were circulated in 2007 and have remained in the market, even though the money itself may

Five Naira polymer note

10. The ten Naira note:

The 10 Naira note was also issued first in 1973, and is engraved with the portrait of Dr Alvan Ikoku, an educator and politician. The back is engraved with a picture of Fulani milk maids from northern Nigeria.

Front and back view of Alvan Ikoku

11. The 10 Naira note;

was reintroduced as polymer notes in 2007, and have remained in circulation.

Ten Naira polymer note

12. The 20 Naira note:

The 20 Naira note was first introduced as paper notes in 1973, and shows the engraved portrait of General Murtala Muhammed, a former Nigerian military ruler. The notes were eventually changed to polymer notes in 2007.

The old twenty Naira note

The polymer notes are still in circulation till date, the back of the polymer shows Ladi Kwali, a popular female potter.

Twenty Naira Polymer note

13. The 50 Naira note:

The 50 Naira note was the highest denomination in 1991 when it was first introduced into the Nigerian market. The back of the banknote depicted farmers working hard at their farm.

Old fifty Naira note

The note was later changed to polymer in 2007, and the back was later changed to depict fishermen holding their big catch.

Fifty Naira polymer note

14. The 100 Naira note:
The hundred Naira note was first introduced in December 1999. The note shows the engraved portrait of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a former premier of the western region. The back shows the popular Zuma rock, located in Niger state.

old hundred Naira note

The 100 Naira note was eventually changed on November 12, 2014 in commemoration of Nigeria’s 100 years of existence. The colour of the note was changed and the back was changed from Zuma rock to traditional dancers showing off their skills. The note also features a QR code which launches a website about Nigeria’s history when scanned (bet you didn’t know this)

new 100 Naira note

15. The 200 Naira note:
The 200 Naira note was introduced in 2000, and shows the engraved portrait of Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the first Premier of Northern Nigeria. The back shows Pyramid of bags of agricultural commodity, fruits, vegetables, cattle and livestock farming. This probably refers to those early days of trade by barter, or shows that Nigeria is a country that is rich in agriculture.

The 200 Naira note

16. The 500 Naira note:
The 500 Naira note was introduced in 2001, and shows the engraved portrait of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The back shows a picture of an offshore oil rig (why not? Nigeria is known for its oil after all).

The 500 Naira note

17. The 1000 Naira note:
The 1000 Naira note was introduced in 2005, becoming the highest denomination of the nation’s currency. It is also the only Nigerian banknote that has the engraved portrait of two prominent Nigerians, Alhaji Aliyu Mai Bornu and Dr. Clement Isong, who were the first and second indigenous Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The back shows a picture of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s corporate Head Office in Abuja.

One thousand Naira note

So far, only the polymer notes have the three major Nigerian languages, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, inscribed on them. They are also the only notes bearing the Nigerian flag.

18. The ‘coins era’:
There was a time when coins were the ‘it’ thing. The Pence were mostly made from Gold, while the Shillings were made from Silver. These days they have become ‘extinct’ and even the Central Bank of Nigeria tried to bring them back into circulation with the introduction of the N2 coin, it didn’t catch on as the value of the Naira has been on a steady decline.

These coins were used in Nigeria, including the shillings and pence

These coins below could be called the ‘big boys’ of the Nigerian coins, as they were introduced much later in 2007. The 50 Kobo coin was made from the Nickel, the N1 coin was made from Brass plated steel, the N2 coins were made with Copper plated Steel.

The ‘new era” coins

How much about these currencies can you remember? With the present economic recession in the country, which of these currencies would you prefer to be using as a Nigerian?


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