5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the Nigerian Naira

Nigerian Naira

5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the Nigerian Naira.

Nicknamed the ” African giant ” , Nigeria is an economically and culturally strong country on the African continent. Nigeria not only has the largest economy in all of Africa, but also gave birth to Nollywood (whose revenues surpassed that of Hollywood in 2009 ), Afrobeat music, and famous authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. There is no better time to introduce you to the country’s currency, the Naira , given Nigeria’s growing financial strength and global positioning.

What is the Nigerian naira?

The Nigerian Naira (NGN, whose currency symbol is ₦) can be divided into 100 kobo (k), which are smaller coin denominations. Coins in circulation today include 50k, 1 naira and 2 naira, while there are notes from 5 to 1,000 naira. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), based in Abuja, issues all banknotes and coins.

Several notable figures from Nigerian history are featured on the naira banknote, as is the US dollar. Some of these prominent figures include:

Nigerian Naira Currency | Nigeria Currency Notes | Diary Store

The prime minister on the 5 naira note.
The first president of Nigeria on the 500 naira note.
The first and second indigenous governor of the CBN on the 1,000 naira note, the newest of all.
The banknotes vary in colour, from yellow and orange to green and blue. On the other hand, coins are also made of different materials. Those currently circulating are made of these metals:


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2 naira coin – copper coated steel.
1 naira coin – brass coated steel.
50 kobo – nickel
Brief history of Nigerian currency
The first major currency used in Nigeria was shillings and pence introduced to British West Africa in the colonial ordinance of 1880. In 1912, the first notes were introduced.


In 1973 , the Nigerian government changed the metric of the currency to decimals (from pounds) and called the new Nigerian currency “naira”. That coin immediately replaced the British coin. Since then, the naira became the main monetary unit and the kobo the minor unit.

During the following years, additional naira notes were issued when necessary due to economic growth and inflation. Also, some smaller kobo coins stopped circulating.

Five Surprising Facts About Nigerian Currency
The Nigerian naira has a unique history.

1. It is an abbreviation of the name of the country.
The name “naira” was coined by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Federal Commissioner of Finance at the time. It is commonly understood that “naira” is a shortened version of “Nigeria”.

2. Not all kobo coins are round.
Although the 1 and 2 naira coins are smooth, round circles, the 50 kobo coin is different. It may look round from a distance, but it is actually a 12-sided polygon . The obverse of the 50 kobo coin features ears of corn, while the Nigerian coat of arms is featured on the reverse.


3. The 50 naira note is for the people.
As we mentioned earlier, several prominent political and historical figures are featured on naira banknotes. However, the 50 naira note differs from what you might expect. In fact, it is unique among other naira banknotes. On the reverse of the bill itself are local fishermen and their catch. In addition, it has geometric and ornamental patterns to « guarantee beauty and distinction ». This was done in order to honor the Nigerian people.

4. You can scan the ₦100 bill to read the history of Nigeria.
To celebrate the centenary of Nigeria’s independence, the president issued a commemorative 100 naira note on December 19, 2014. It had a QR code on the back, which encrypts important information from Nigeria’s history.

5. It is forbidden to dance on naira bills.
In 2007, the CBN updated the Clean Notes Policy and added a rule against naira abuse, including that it is illegal to spray, write on, staple, tear, soil (including dance on), sell or mutilate naira notes.

This is particularly interesting, as raining money on newlywed couples while they dance is a popular tradition at Nigerian weddings!
Understanding Naira Exchange Rates
At the time this article was written, the exchange rate for the following currencies to naira (NGN) is:

1 USD up to 415 NGN
1 EUR up to 431 NGN
GBP 1 to NGN 505
1 CNY to 61 NGN
The NGN exchange rate may change every day. Changes in oil prices can greatly affect the country’s economy.


You can check the Nigerian CBN website for up-to-date NGN exchange rates with US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars and other foreign currencies. You can search online to find many free currency converter tools.

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