Other than being known for our questionable form of politics, our collective love of education, parties and celebrations, our national love for football, our fanatical religiosity and ethnicity, or our ability to stand solidly behind and staunchly support questionable and corrupt leaders, or our remarkable resilience and ability to adapt to any situation or circumstance, what else do you actually know about Nigeria…or Nigerians…?
Well, here are 54 Incredible Facts That You Might Not Know About Nigeria…
1. The River Niger Bridge at Onitsha was
constructed between 1964 and 1965 by Dumez-
a French construction company and cost £5
2. Patience Jonathan is one of Nigeria’s most-
educated First Ladies, with an NCE, a B.Ed, and a
PhD from University of Port-Harcourt.
3. The highest peak in Nigeria is located in Taraba
and is called Chappal Waddi which means “The
Mountain of Death”.
4. There are 196 countries in the world and at
least one Igbo person from Nigeria lives in every
one of them.
5. The Pidgin word ‘Sabi’ came from ‘Saber’,
Portuguese and Spanish for ‘to know’. Both
country’s ships traded slaves from the Bight of
6. Katsina College (now Barewa College in Zaria)
has produced 5 Nigerian Presidents/Heads of
State since it was founded in 1921 in Katsina.
7. Former Biafran leader Ojukwu taught assasinated Head of State Murtala Mohammed and General Ben Adekunle at Regular Officers Special Training School, Ghana. Both fought’ their teacher during the civil war.
8. At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there were
41 Secondary Schools in the North and 842
Secondary Schools in the South.
9. In 1983, Senator Arthur Nzeribe spent the sum of $16.5
million to win a Senatorial seat in Orlu (in Imo
10. In 1973, the Federal Government of Nigeria
considered officially changing the name of
“Lagos” to “Eko”. Regarding “Lagos” as a colonial
11. The geographical area now referred to as
Nigeria was once referred to as ‘Soudan’ and
12. Offences punishable by death sentence after
the 1966 coup included embezzlement, rape and
13. The late winner of the aborted presidential election of 1993 Chief MKO Abiola was named Kashimawo (Let us
wait and see) by his parents. He was his father’s
twenty-third child, but the first to survive infancy.
14. Jaja Wachucku was the first person to refer to
Lagos as a “no-man’s land” in 1947, provoking a
15. A meal of Jollof rice and chicken breast , served with ice cream,
tea, coffee or Bournvita, with full cream milk and
sugar at University of lagos (UNILAG) restaurants in the late
1970s cost 50Kobo
16. At the point of his death in 1989, international Nigerian footballer Sam Okwaraji who collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989. was a PhD candidate and qualified lawyer with an
LL.M in International Law (University of Rome)
17. When British Bank of West Africa (now First
Bank) opened a branch in Kano in 1929, Alhassan
Dantata, the grandfather of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, opened an
account depositing 20 camel-loads of silver coins.
18. Jaja Wachuku is reputed to have owned the
biggest one-man library in West Africa. Balewa
sometimes referred to him as “Most Bookish
19. The colonization of Nigeria took more than 40
years to achieve and the territories were
integrated by the use of force.
20. Yoruba is spoken as a ritual language by the
Santeria cult in Carribean and South-Central
21. Slavery existed in the Nigerian territory before
the 15th century and was abolished in the 19th
century- 1807 by the British.
22. At least 55 women were killed in South-East
Nigeria, in 1929 when the women forced the
Umuahia warrant chiefs to submit to their rule.
23. The coinage ‘Supreme Court’ was first used in
1863 by the colonial administration through the
enactment of the Supreme Court Ordinance No.
24. MKO Abiola died suddenly on July 7, 1998,
exactly one month after General Sani Abacha died
mysteriously on June 8, 1998.
25. Agbani Darego was the only one to wear a
maillot as opposed to a bikini during the Miss
Universe contest in 2001.
26. Contrary to popular opinion, the ‘Ankara’ material is not indigenous to
Nigeria. Our indigenous textiles include the
Akwete, Ukara, Aso-Oke and Adire.
27. Aloma Mukhtar is the first female lawyer from
the North and went on to become the first female
Chief Justice of Nigeria.
28. The area known as Maroko town in Lagos was
first a swamp, later sand-filled by the colonial
government and served as the first bridge to the
29. Esie Museum is Nigeria’s first museum,
established in 1945. Once reputed to have the
largest collection of soapstone images in the
30. Aminu Kano formed the Northern Teachers’
Association (NTA) in 1948, the first successful
regional organization in the history of the North.
31. George Goldie, who played a major role in
founding Nigeria, placed a curse on anyone who
attempts to write his biography.
32. In 1996, John Ogbu, a Nigerian
Anthropologist firmly advocated for the use of
African-American Vernacular to teach in the U.S.
33. Hause Language indigenous to Northern
Nigeria is spoken in 11 African States. Germany,
French, U.S., and British International radio
stations broadcast in Hausa.
34. The surgeon who ‘killed’ former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s wife, Stella, was sentenced to 1 year in prison, disqualified for 3
years and fined €120,000.
35. The word ‘asiri’ means ‘secret’ in Hausa,
Yoruba, Nupe and Igarra. It also means ‘gossip’ in
36. Igbo-Ora in Oyo State, Kodinji in India and
Candido Godoi in Brazil are the towns that
produce the highest number of twin births in the
37. Bishop Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba man, in 1857
produced a reading book for the Igbo Language
and a full grammar and vocabulary of NUPE in
38. The first TV broadcast in Nigeria and Tropical
Africa was on October 31, 1959.
39. In 1978, a 50Kobo increase (from N1.50 to N2) in the cost of University Students’ meal per day caused the ‘Ali Must Go’ protests.
40. Albert E. Kitson discovered coal in Enugu in
1909. This discovery led to the building of Port-
Harcourt town in 1912.
41. Today, only Nigeria has a larger black
population than Brazil. More than 3.5 million
Africans were captured, enslaved and transported
42. Groundnut pyramids were the invention of
Alhaji Alhassan Dantata to stack bags before
43. In 1967, old traditional ruler, Oba Akran and
A. Ademiluyi were jailed for 14 years (7 each) for
stealing £504,750 (N2.5b).
44. Since 1960, Nigeria has been either ruled by
an ex-lecturer/ex-teacher or military man. The
only exceptions are Azikiwe and Shonekan.
45. If you visited Lagos in 1975, you could spend
a day at the Presidential Suite of Federal Palace
Hotel for N100, single room for N19.
46. The first aircraft to land in Nigeria landed in
Kano in July 1925. A British fighter jet flew from
Khartoum (present day Sudan).
47. In 1895, Koko of Nembe (now in Bayelsa) took
60 white men hostage. When the British refused
his demands, more than 40 of those men were
48. Nigerian currency the ‘Naira’ was coined by Chief Obafemi
Awolowo when he was serving as the Federal
Commissioner of Finance.
49. Koma Hill (settlement in Adamawa where
people lived and practised the killing of twins)
was discovered in 1986 by a NYSC corps
50. The pilot (Francis Osakwe) that flew Ojukwu
away from Biafra (1970) was the same pilot that
flew Gowon to Uganda on his last flight as Head of
51. In 1986, Shehu Shagari was banned from
participation in politics for life. The ban has still
not been lifted.
52. Biodun Idiagbon, the wife of General Tunde Idiagbon, the deputy Head of State (Vice
President of Nigeria) during Buhari’s regime in 1984,
personally ran a small ice cream shop in Ilorin..
53. When Koma Hills (Adamawa State) inhabitants were
discovered, it was also observed that they engage in wife swapping
54. Juju, Dashiki, Yam and Okra are words in the
English dictionary that originated from ethnic
groups located in Nigeria