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Nigeria: Unconfirmed Ensigns

Last modified: 2006-08-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: nigeria | civil ensign: proported | state ensign: proported |
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State flag and State ensign

[Presidential Flag] image by Željko Heimer

The coat of arms is shown differently in different sources. Album has it with yellow horses and white ribbon (inscribed UNITY AND FAITH PEACE AND PROGRESS), while Crampton has white horses and yellow ribbon. [smi75] and [smi82] has somewhat different coat of arms  - with inscription reading only UNITY AND FAITH. I suppose the coat of arms  has changed, probably at the same time when the new naval ensign was adopted and possibly the civil ensign abandoned for good.
Željko Heimer, 5 July 2002

Other "state" ensigns

As far as I understood these are not the "classical" state flags, defined by some law and used by all (or most, or some) state institution. These are more something like "ceremonial flags", or possibly even "flags of diplomatic corps". Are they defined by some law indeed, or are they maybe "just" a nice invention of vex-aware African diplomats?

And, unconnected with this - what's the star ring in the photo - is that a part of Nigerian coat of arms, or is it "just another ornamentation", if I can put it that way. Also, is there any special reason for the topmost star to be larger?
Željko Heimer, 11 May 2000

Jan Zrzavy mentions that "Flaggkarta" (Lantmäteriet - Kartförlaget, 1995 (Swedish)) shows the state ensign as blue with the national flag in the canton.
Ole Andersen 14 May 1998

Civil ensign

[Civil Ensign of Nigeria] image by Željko Heimer

Nigerian civil ensign - red with national flag in canton. W. Smith doesn't mention it in the book, and states that both civil and merchant vessels use national flag. ratio 1:2?
Željko Heimer, 4 July 1996

Jan Zrzavy mentions that "Flaggkarta" (Lantmäteriet - Kartförlaget, 1995 (Swedish)) shows the civil ensign as red with the national flag in the canton.
Ole Andersen 14 May 1998

This red ensign is quite a mystery and is not confirmed.
Željko Heimer, 5 July 2003

Coat of Arms

[Nigeria Coat of Arms] image by Ivan Sache

The Nigerian national coat of arms is shown and described on:

The black shield represents the good of Nigeria.

The silver wavy bends represent the rivers Niger and Benue and their confluence.

The flowers on which the shield stands are Coctus spectabilis.

The wreath above the shield feature the national colours (green and white). The eagle stands for strength. 'Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress' is the country’s motto.

The horses are shown in white in Dorling-Kindersley Pocket Book. They symbolize dignity. The book also mentions that the initial motto was 'Unity and Faith'.


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 constitutes an offence.

Ivan Sache, 4 October 2002