top of page


click to listen

Before Nigeria had her own currency, the Naira, Nigeria used to use the British pound and the West African Currency Board was responsible for issuing currency notes in Nigeria. This  was the case from 1912 to 1959 when the Central Bank of Nigeria issued the Nigerian pound currency notes and coins. In 1973, Nigeria moved to the currency we use today, the Naira. The major unit of currency which used to be £1 stopped being used. The name 'Naira' was chosen by a very famous Nigerian, Obafemi Awolowo.


In 1977 a new bank note, the 20 Naira was issued. This was special because it was the highest denomination (face value amount in naira) to have been introduced - the N100, N200, N500, N1000 were introduced in December 1999, November 2000, April 2001 and October, 2005 respectively.


The 20 Naira was also special because it was the first currency note in Nigeria to bear the Portrait of a Nigerian citizen. The potrait was of Nigeria's late Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, who was assassinated while he was president of Nigeria and declared a national hero on independence day in (October 1st) in 1978.


In 2007, N50, N20, N10, and N5 banknotes, as well as N1 and 50K coins were reissued with  new designs, while a new N2 coin was introduced.



Check out the video below by the Nigerian Leadership Initiative, it  has a lot of great information on the people whose faces have been chosen to appear on the the Naira notes and why.


  • Who do you think should have their face on the next naira note?

  • Are there equal numbers of women and men on the naira notes? why do you think this is?

bottom of page