History about Nigerian Money

The history about Nigerian money is one for the record.

Money as we know it today has not always been the way it is.

From its look to its value, many things about money, particularly in Nigeria, has evolved over time.

In this issue, we take a walk down memory lane to see how money, its applications, value and look has emerged.

1. Cowries as currency: Cowries were once used as currency in Nigeria before the existence of bank notes. They were also widely used in West Africa, Asia, Australia and The Americas as a medium of exchange.

2. Trade by Barter: This involves the exchange of goods between buyers and sellers. The practice naturally eliminated the need for currency as the goods themselves served as both purchase and currency.

3. Box as bank: It was a common practice to save money in a wooden box rather than in banks and financial institutions as we see today. Some people dug the ground to hide larger volumes of money. As ancient as the practice may seem, some people still save money in wooden boxes.

4. Period of pence: Between 1880 and 1912, British West Africa, which constituted of Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone, used Shillings and Pence as legal tender. This was following the colonial ordinance of 1880. It was distributed by The Bank for British West Africa.

5. Beginning with banknotes: From 1912 to 1959, The West African Currency Board issued the first set of banknotes and coins in the region. The highest denomination for the note was One Pound while the highest denomination for the coin was One Shilling.

It was not until 1st July 1959 that The Central Bank of Nigeria issued Nigerian currency bank notes and withdrew the Pound and Shilling.

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