Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south. The capital city is Abuja. The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BC. The Benue-Cross River area is thought to be the original homeland of the Bantu migrants who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BC and the 2nd CE.
The name Nigeria was created from a portmanteau of the words Niger and Area, taken from the River Niger running through Nigeria. This name was coined by the future wife of the Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, during the early 20th century.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world with a population of over 150 million, therefore making it the most populous ‘black’ country in the world. It is a regional power, is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
Arise, O compatriots,
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labor of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom,
Peace and unity.
Oh God of creation,
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youths the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.
THE NATIONAL PLEDGE
I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful, loyal and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity and uphold her honor and glory
So help me God.
Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress
THE NIGERIAN COAT OF ARMS
The Nigerian coat of arms features an eagle mounted on a black shield, which is trisected by two silvery wavy bands. Two white chargers support the shield, and at its base is a wreath of coctus spectabilis flowers cast in the national colors of white and green.
The black shield represents the fertile soil while the silvery bands denote the Rivers Niger and Benue, which form the main inland waterways in the country.
The coctus spectabilis is a colorful flower, which grows wildly in Nigeria.
The eagle stands for strength and the chargers symbolize dignity.
The Nation’s motto, ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’ is inscribed at the base of the coat of Arms
Display/Usage of the National Coat of Arms
Government presence is depicted in offices and other public places with the placing of the Nigerian Coat-of-Arms side by side with the portrait of the President and Commander-in-Chief.
The portrait of the Commander-in-Chief is usually to the right of the Coat-of-Arms, while that of the Principal Officers/Chief Executives of any government establishment e.g. the Governor or Head of Establishment is on the left of the Coat-of-Arms. This position remains valid when the portraits are hung on the wall.
In a situation where the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, is addressing the nation the Coat-of-Arms is usually encapsulated in the seal of the nation and placed above the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief’s seat.
It should be noted that the Commander-in-Chief’s portrait as well as that of the Principal Officer of the Government establishment, in which the Coat-of-Arms is located, should always support the Coat-of-Arms or the Armorial Bearings.
Note that, improper placement/display or absence of these symbols in offices of Principal Officers/Chief Executives could amount to disrespect to constituted authority.
THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL FLAG
The flag was designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1958.
ISO Code: NG NGA 566
FIPS 10-4 Code: NI
IOC Code: NGR
The Nigerian National Flag is divided vertically into three equal parts. The central part is white and the two other parts are green. The green of the flag represents agriculture and the white Unity and Peace. The white is immaculate white and the emerald green is popularly known as the Nigerian Green.
The colours used in the National Flag are very important and are made to international colour standards as follows:
Dimension of the Flag
The dimension of the Nigerian Flag are a simple ratio of the length of the flag being double that of the Flag’s breadth. When folded into two-length-wise it takes the shape of a square.
Big 1.2 metres 2.4 metres
Medium 0.9 metres 1.8 metres
Small 0.6 metres 1.2 metres
Brief History of the Flag
The Nigerian National Flag was “Chosen in 1959 from among 2870 suggestions in a competition; it was designed by a student from Ibadan, Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi. The green panels represent agriculture; the white, peace and unity. Although the flag was adopted as a national symbol in 1959, it didn’t become the official flag of the country until Nigeria became an officially independent country on October 1, 1960. Indeed, the flag was first officially hoisted by 12.00 a.m. on 1st October, 1960, being Nigeria’s day of independence.
Significance of the Flag
The Nigerian National Flag, which is governed by the Flag and Coat-of-Arms Ordinance of 1960 is also the symbol of authority and instrument of state power. Next to Mother earth, it is the only National symbol worth dying for. It tells the history of a people and their aspirations.
Hoisting of the National Flag
The National Flag is hoisted and flown ceremoniously and briskly in the morning and at sunrise and lowered slowly in the same manner in the evening at sunset (6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.). A flag does not sleep.
The National Flag should always be hung and only on very rare occasions should it be laid out flat horizontally. The National Flag is usually flown at the peak of the hoist except on memorial days or during state funerals as a mark of respect. At such times it is flown at half-mast.
When the National Flag is in a room or hung anywhere, no other flag, emblem or insignia should be place higher than it should.
Nigerian National Flag Law
The law makes it an offence for the National Flag to be improperly used or displayed. Section 5 of the Law states; “any person who flies or exhibits the National Flag in a defaced or bad condition shall be guilty of an offence against this Ordinance.”
Old or worn out flags must never be used or displayed. When a Flag becomes soiled, old, torn or mutilated, the cloth should be destroyed by burning or any other method with decorum and respect.
Display of the Flag
i. When the National Flag is carried in a procession, the carrier should be neatly and properly dressed, and must be in front.
ii. When there are two flags but the second Flag is not a National Flag; for example, Red Cross flag or a banner, the National Flag should be in front.
iii. When the other flags are carried along in a procession the National Flag should be in front and at the center of all other flags in the procession.
iv. For an audience in auditorium or hall, the flag should be on the right end of the first row.
v. For a speaker on the platform, the National Flag should be on the speaker’s right hand as he face the audience. Other flags can be on the left and take their position sideways both left and right.
vi. Whenever a group of flags are displayed, the Nigerian Flag should be at the centre and placed higher than the others.
vii. It is only on rare occasions that a flag can be used horizontally or laid flat. One of such occasions is over a casket. A licence must be granted by the government before this is done.
viii. On funeral occasions, Remembrance Days, or National Catastrophe the Flag is flown at half mast.
ix. Only cars of special dignitaries are allowed to use the Flag. Where permitted, the Flag should be mounted on the radiator cap or attached to the right fender of the vehicle chassis.
x. For the purpose of clarity, the only special dignitaries in the present set up, allowed to mount and fly the National Flag on official vehicles are:
a. President, Commander-in-Chief.
b. The Vice President.
c. The Senate President.
d. The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
e. The Chief Justice of the Federation.
f. State Governors.
g. Deputy Governors.
h. Others (if any) permitted by protocol.