Everything you need to know about the Nigerian Coat of Arms Today

Nigerian coat of arms
Seal of senate and house of rep

Do you ever wonder, “what’s the essence of the Nigerian coats of arms?” or you think, ” what’s the Nigerian coat of arms all about?”

Let’s start from the basics. The Nigerian coats of arms are one of the Nigerian National symbols. A national symbol is a unique representation of any independent and sovereign state. They bring people together through shared identities, significance, history, and objectives.

Well, how did the Nigerian Coats of Arms come into existence? 

What is the History of the Nigerian coat of Arms?

The idea of coats of arms originated from Medieval Europe, where the purpose was for recognition and identity during wars and battles. Over the years, people and nations adopted the coats of arms. It evolved to identify family descents, land and property claims, and coalitions. Recently, coats of arms are being used as a country’s symbol. It establishes the sovereignty, power, and cohesion of a nation-state.

Nigerian coat of arms meaning

The Nigerian coat of arms
The Nigerian coat of arms

Nigeria gained independence in 1960 and became autonomous in 1963—A republic. Gradually, the nation-state left the ways of the colonial masters, and this change involved adopting new national symbols.

Nigeria designed a new flag in 1959; however, it was adopted on October 1, 1960. Following the Flag and Coat of arms ordinance No.48, 1960, the Nigerian coat of arms was designed in 1960. Although designed in 1960, it was first recognized in 1975. This delay was due to the constant change and reiteration of the design.

Although Taiwo Akinkunmi is credited for designing the Nigerian coat of arms, he did not create it. Taiwo Akinkunmi only designed the Nigerian Flag. 

When was the Nigerian coat of arms adopted

According to Wikipedia, the Nigerian coat of arms was adopted on May 20, 1960.

Being a national symbol, the National coat of arms is respected as much as the National flag. This accolade is backed by the Nigerian Flags and Coat of arms act, 1960. This law proposes that no one is allowed to display or use the National coat of arms except in agreement with a license through a Government minister or by the law.

Early Introduction of the National Coat of Arms

In 1960, the then four regions of Nigeria adopted a unique Coat of arms referred to as badges. These regions include Western, Mid-western, Northern, and Eastern Nigeria. Other groups and protectorates utilized unique emblems and badges to identify their territory.

Nigerian coat of arms
Badge of the Nothern Protectorate
Nigerian coat of arms
Southern Nigerian protectorate coat of arms

After Lieutenant Col. Yakubu Gowon—then Head of state-created more states from the region, he decided to abolish regional badges and coats of arms. This was in 1975. After that, the National Coat of arms was received and stood as a symbol of national unity and cohesion. 

Features of the Nigerian Coat of Arms

The Nigerian coats of arms can be segmented into four parts. These parts include:

  • The Shield —focal position
  • Shield Supporters —white ponies
  • Establishment
  • The hawk commissioned the arrangement

Queen Elizabeth endorsed the four parts of the Nigerian coat of arms.

In the coat of arms, the dark shield is outlined in white lines with a “Y” shape that two white ponies flank. A red-hued falcon is perched on a green and white wreath underneath the dark shield, with shades of red and white blooms beneath the ponies. 

In spite of the fact that with slight shading variations, the Nigeria coat of arms is the most grounded image of the Nigerian position. It includes a brilliant band that shows one of the country’s sayings: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.”

Nigerian coat of arms
Political powers and their seals

As part of the President’s seal, vice president’s seal, the House of Representatives seal, and the Senate’s seal, the Nigerian coat of arm serve as a stamp. The legislature has never released any official document clarifying the representative implications of the dark and light shades of the circular image of the coat of arms.

Nigerian coat of arms
Seal of senate and house of rep

There are seven highlights of the Nigerian coats of arm. They are;

  • The black shield
  • The Green and White wreath
  • The Eagle
  • The Red Flowers
  • The White hued letter ‘Y’
  • The Golden band at the base
  • The two Horses
The Nigerian coat of arms
The Nigerian coat of arms

The two horses on Nigerian coat of arms signifies what?

The two argent(silver/white) horses or chargers support the black shield. They act as the dignity of the nation.

What does the eagle on the Nigerian coats of arm represent

The Nigeria coat of arms features a crest—bird, the red eagle(gules) found at the head of the coats of arms. The eagle symbolizes the nation’s strength.

What does the black shield on the Nigerian coat of arms represent

The black shield means the Agriculture state of the country. It signifies the fertile soil found across many states in the country.

What do the Red flowers on the Nigerian coat of arms represent 

On the Nigerian Coat of arm, the compartment is designed with Yellow flowers—incorrectly shown as Red. Botanically they are known as costus spectabilis, which is the Nigerian national flower. These flowers can be found in many places across Nigeria, and it represents the pulchritude of the Nation.  

What does the Golden Band on the Nigerian coat of arms represent

The base of the Nigerian coat of arms has the ensign, “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.” This quote which is the motto of Nigeria was changed from the former, “Peace, Unity, Freedom” in 1978. 

Old Motto on Nigerian coat of arms
Old Motto on Nigerian coat of arms

What does the letter Y on the Nigerian coat of arms represent

Inside the black shield, there is a white wavy pall—shaped Y. This symbolizes the two major rivers in Nigeria. The River Niger and the River Benue. These rivers form a confluence at Lokoja. The Y shape in the Nigerian coat of arms, therefore, illustrates Lokoja, the meeting point of both rivers. These rivers happen to be the third-largest in Africa, following the Nile and Congo-chambeshi.

The Wrap

The Nigerian coat of arms is one of the national symbols of Nigeria that is of equal value with the Nigerian Flag. The coat of arms represents the identity shared by the people of Nigeria. We’ve also highlighted how the coat of arms originated, its adoption, features, and significance. I hope you had a great time learning History and Culture today!

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