Standing as the symbol of the country’s unity, state power, and authority, the Nigerian coat of arms is a unique and impressive design of what Nigeria is. It features a black shield with two wavy white palls forming a ‘Y’ shape and two white horses, one on either side of the black shield. There is a wreath with green and white bands on the top of the black shield. The wreath also has an eagle standing on top of it.

This great symbol of Nigeria’s unity was crafted in line with the National Flag and Coat-of-Arms Ordinance number 48 of 1960. It was not until 1975 that the Nigerian coat-of-arms was officially adopted. Before this time, each political unit that made up Nigeria had its coat-of-arms.

Features of the Nigerian Coat of arms

There are seven distinct and permanent features of the Nigerian coat of arms. Each of these features symbolizes a particular entity or virtue about this great country. These seven features are:

  1. A black shield
  2. Two white wavy bands on the black shield, which form the letter “Y”
  3. Two horses on each side of the black shield
  4. Some flowers at the base
  5. An eagle standing on the shield
  6. The wreath which has green and white bands
  7. The nation’s motto written on the band around the base of the shield

What Does Each Component of The Nigerian Coat of Arms Stand For?

As mentioned earlier, each component of the Nigerian coat of arms stands for something of huge significance to the country. What each of these seven components represents are explained below.


The Black Shield

The black shield stands for the country’s fertile soil. Nigeria is known as a great agricultural nation because of its rich and fertile soil. It is only logical that such is represented on the country’s national symbol.

The White Wavy Bands

The two white wavy bands that form a letter “Y” on the black shield represent the two major rivers flowing through the country. These are the rivers Niger and Benue. Both of these rivers meet to form a confluence in a town known as Lokoja.

The Two Horses

The two horses on either side of the shield stand for the dignity of Nigeria.

The Yellow Flowers At The Base

The yellow flowers at the base of the coat of arms represent Coctus spectabilis, a type of flower found all over the country. It represents the country’s beauty and rich heritage.

The Eagle

The eagle represents the strength and pride of Nigeria

The Green And White Wreath

The green and white wreath on which the eagle stands for  the rich agricultural potential of the country.

The National Motto

Written on the band at the base of the Nigerian coat of arms is the country’s motto which is “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. The current motto was adopted in 1978 but before that time, the country’s motto was “Peace, Unity, Freedom”.

Who Designed The Nigerian Coat Of Arms?

The designer of the Nigerian coat of arms is not officially documented. So as it is, the designer of this important piece of huge national interest is unknown although there are unofficial reports of who the likely designer may be. Taiwo Akinkunmi is recognized for designing the National flag as an entry to a competition for the design of the National flag in 1959. One account has it that the designer of the Nigerian coat of arms is a Bahamian clergy and artist known as Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr. This account also reports that the coat of arms was designed at about the same time as the national flag. A second account has it that the Nigerian coat of arms was designed under the rule of the late General Murtala Mohammed. As it stands, neither account is taken to be correct as no official record is available to justify either of them.

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Some Facts About The Nigeria Coat Of Arms

1.       The Nigerian flag and coat of arms act of 1990 expressly forbid the display of the Nigerian coat of arms except a license to do so is obtained from a minister of the government.

2. Before the adoption of the current Nigerian coat of arms in 1975, federating units of Nigeria such as the Eastern region, the Western region, the Midwestern region, and the Northern region all had their coat of arms. It was only in 1975 that all these units began using a single coat of arms in 1975.

3.       The Nigerian Coat of arms features conspicuously as one of the main symbols on the cover of the Nigerian international passport. 

4.       September 16 is celebrated in Nigeria as the National Ordinance Day in a bid to promote national symbols and emphasize their significance.

Other Nigerian Symbols

Several other symbols represent Nigeria apart from the coat of arms. These other symbols are listed below.

  1. The Nigerian Flag.
  2. The Nigerian national anthem.
  3. The Nigerian international passports.
  4. The Nigerian national pledge.
  5. The Nigerian currency.
  6. The Nigerian constitution.


The Nigerian coat of arms remains an important symbol of national unity. It epitomizes the strength of the country, its pride as well as its dignity. All you need to know about the Nigerian coat of arms have been discussed in this piece.

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