5 Hidden Meanings Behind the Nigeria Coat of Arms

Nigeria_Coat_of_ArmsHave you ever been curious about the meaning behind the Nigeria coat of arms? Me too.

After all, the Nigerian coat of arms appears everywhere. You can find the coat of arms all over Nigeria from a humble stamp to the seal of President Buhari. There’s never been any official line from the Government on the meanings and symbols of the coat of arms. However, we at NigeriaSHARE.com can now reveal the 5 hidden meanings behind the coat of arms.

1. Black Shield

At the centre of Nigeria’s coat of arms is a black shield. The shield was introduced to reflect Nigeria’s fertile land and rich agricultural heritage. Nigeria is well known for producing corn, cocoa, peanuts, rice, sorghum, yams, millet, cassava and sorghum. Indeed, the agricultural sector represents over 25% of GDP!

2. White Lines

On the black shield, there are two white lines that come together to form a Y shape (or a “Pall” as it is otherwise known).

These two white lines represent the two main rivers in Nigeria, the River Benue and the River Niger – the third largest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo-Chambesi.

The white lines represent the confluence of these two great rivers which meet at Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State.

3. Eagle and Horses

There are two horses standing upright on either side of the coat of arms. These horses are supposed to represent the value of dignity.

Above the shield is a red eagle. Of course, it is no coincidence that the Nigerian football team are known as the “Super Eagles”. The eagle symbolizes the strength and pride of Nigeria. You can see the Martial Eagle, native to Nigeria, at the Yankari National Park.

4. Flower Fields

At the bottom of the coat of arms, there are red flowers on a green field. These flowers are meant to represent Costus Spectabilis which is the national flower of Nigeria. Interestingly, the flowers are colored red when in actual fact the flowers are yellow.

5. National Motto

The Nigerian national motto appears on the banderole of the Nigeria. The national motto is “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. This has been the motto of Nigeria since 1978 – beforehand the motto was simply “Peace, Unity, Freedom”.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or Muslim, we all know that Nigerians take their religion seriously. Therefore, the change of the motto to include “faith” reflects the dedication and faith of Nigerians.

What Else Do You Need to Know about the Nigeria Coat of Arms?

So, now you know the meaning behind the symbols of the coat of arms. But when was the Nigeria coat of arms adopted?


The Coat of Arms as used on the seal of the Vice-President

The Federal government adopted the current Nigeria coat of arms in 1975. Previously, Nigeria had 12 separate States and each had its own coat of arms. The new coat of arms was supposed to serve as a symbol of unity for the Nigerian nation.

Perhaps you’re wondering who designed the Nigerian coat of arms. The truth is nobody really knows. Perhaps this is because the coat of arms was designed during the hectic period following the ascent to power of the military director, General Murtala Muhammed.

Finally, a small word of warning. Under the Flags and Coat of Arms Act 1990, you are breaking the law if you use or display the Nigeria coat of arms other than in conformity with a license granted by a Minister of the Government or according to the law.

Did you know? For Nigeria’s 54th Independence Day, entrepreneur Alexander Amosu released 54 limited edition Rolex Sky Dweller watches which featured the Nigerian coat of arms. Each watch cost an astonishing £28,750 (around 8,300,000 Naira).