The history and origin of Nigeria currency can be trace down to 1912 to 1959, when the West African Currency Board (WACB) issued the first set of banknotes and coins in Nigeria and other part of west Africa countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. The highest banknote denomination was one pound, while the one shilling coin was the highest coin denomination
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued Nigerian currency banknotes on 1st July, 1959 while the WACB-issued banknotes and coins were withdrawn. It was not until 1st July, 1962 that the currency was changed to reflect the country’s republican status.
The name of the Nigerian currency was changed in January, 1973 . The major unit of currency which used to be £1 ceased to exist and the one naira which was equivalent to ten shillings became the major unit, while the minor unit was called the kobo; hundred of which made one Naira.
You can also read: History and origin of Banking in Nigeria
A new banknote with the value of twenty naira (₦20) was issued on 11th February 1977,. It was the highest denomination introduced in Nigeria as at then.
On 2nd July, 1979, new currency banknotes of three denominations, namely ₦1, ₦5 and ₦10 were introduced. These notes were of the same size i.e. 151 X 78 mm as the ₦20 note issued on 11th February, 1977.
In April 1984, the colours of all the banknotes in circulation were changed with the exception of the 50 Kobo banknote to arrest the currency trafficking prevalent at the time. In 1991, the 50K and ₦1 were both coined.
1. On 11th February 1977, ₦20 banknote was introduced by CBN
2. On 2nd July, 1979, y ₦1, ₦5 and ₦10 were introduced
3. In December 1999, ₦100 banknotes was introduce
4. In November 2000, ₦200 banknotes was introduce
5. CBN introduce ₦500 banknotes in April 2001
6. In October 2005,CNB introduced ₦1000 banknotes
However, On 30th September, 2009 the redesigned ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes were converted to polymer substrate following the successful performance of the ₦20 (polymer) banknote. Thus, all lower denomination banknotes were now printed in the polymer substrate.
On 28th February, 2007, as part of the economic reforms, ₦20 was issued for the first time in polymer substrate, while the ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes; as well as ₦1 and 50K coins were reissued in new designs, and the ₦2 coin was introduced.
The central bank of Nigeria maintains an office called the Mint Inspectorate in the Abuja and Lagos premises of the NSPM Plc for quality control and receipt of finished Naira banknotes and coins.
Source: Central Bank of Nigeria.