Historical Monuments in Nigeria
Aside being blessed with natural and human resources and having over 500 tribes, Nigeria is historically and culturally rich with iconic landmarks and monuments which have stood for years across the country. One of the greatest issues faced is the maintenance of these landmarks and monuments.
Some of the monuments on this list are hiding in plain sight and will continue to add to the essence of the country.
Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS)
Popularly known as where Nigeria’s independence celebration ceremony took place on October 1, 1960, TBS is where Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, delivered his independence speech. It was constructed in 1972 over the site of a defunct track for horse racing and is now a 14.5-hectare (35.8-acre) ceremonial ground which houses four gigantic white horses at the entrance to the square as well as seven red eagles which are the symbols from the national emblem signifying strength and dignity respectively. Originally called “Race Course”, it houses other monuments such as the Remembrance Arcade 1(with memorials to World War I, World War II and Nigerian civil war victims) and the 26-storey Independence House, built in 1963 which was formerly the tallest building in Nigeria.
Aro Meta (Three White Chiefs)
Popularly known as “Welcome To Lagos”, it was sculpted by Bodun Shodeinde in 1991 under the administration of Colonel Raji Rasaki, the three white chiefs represent the three kinds of traditional greetings in Lagos Island with their clenched right fist placed over the left; this shows the supremacy of the right hand over the left. Positioned along the Lagos–Ibadan toll gate to welcome visitors to Lagos, the monument is over 12 feet tall. Placed on a high pedestal, Bodun uses his sculpture to depict the highest honour that can be afforded to anyone in the Eko greetings tradition.
Kano City Walls
The foundation for this monument was laid by Sakri Gijimasu from 1095 – 1134 and completed in the middle of the 14th century during the reign of Zamnagawa and further expanded to their current position in the 16th century. The ancient Kano city wall is a 14km radius earth structure with associated sites such as Dala Hills, Kurmi Market and the Emir’s Palace. The walls were built in order to provide security to the growing population and the gates used to control the movement of people in and out of the city. Asides the ingenuity of the local craftsmanship used in its construction, the walls are also associated with sites that are of spiritual, historical and cultural significance.
It is one of the country’s UNESCO world heritage sites located on a hill above the village of Sukur in the Adamawa state and is the first in Africa to receive World Heritage List inscription. The settlement is divided into two parts – Sukur Sama which is where the palace is located and residence to the Hidi (chief) and the Sakur Kasa which houses the common folk. This kingdom’s significance is based on the cultural heritage of the Hidi’s Palace complex and village, material culture, and set in the natural terraced fields, which are in an intact condition.
A combination of ramparts and moats, called Iya in the local language, the wall was used as a defense of the defunct Kingdom of Benin, which is present-day Benin City. The Guinness Book of World Records (1974) describes the walls of Benin City as the world’s second largest man-made structure after China’s Great Wall. The walls were ravaged by the British in 1897 during what has come to be called the punitive expedition. Scattered pieces of the structure remain in Edo as some of it is being used by the locals for building purpose and remnants of the wall continues to be torn down for real estate development.