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Until 1971, British.
Until 1973, (British, continuing nondecimal). From 1973, 100 kobo = 1 naira.


n 1 January 1914 all the Nigerian territories came under one administration (British Crown Colony and protectorate). The federation became independent within the Commonwealth 1 October 1960. Northern Cameroons were joined to it in 1961 and a republic was declared on 1 October 1963. After two military coups in 1966, the eastern states seceded as the Republic of Biafra (see below). The rebellion collapsed in 1970, but further military coups took place in 1975.

In 1979, civil rule was restored after elections at national and state level. The military again took power in December 1983, though this regime was itself ousted from power in August 1985. The Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) was sworn in and governed the country until it was replaced by a National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) in January 1993. A subsequent Presidential election was declared invalid, and the military government resigned in August, handing over power toa Transitional Council.

A continuation of political instability led the Defence Minister, General Sanni Abacha, to launch a further military coup on 17 November 1993. A Military Provisional Ruling Council and a civilian Federal Executive Council were formed to govern the country, but pro-democracy demonstrations continued.

The National Constitutional Conference (NCC) was convened by the President in June 1994 and it was announced, in the following January, that General Abacha should have an unlimited term of office. An attempted coup was defeated in March 1995 and political activity was restored in June, when the NCC presented a draft constitution to the President. In June 1998, General Abacha died of a heart attack and was replecaed by General Abubakar. A continuation of the return to civilian rule was promised and the release of political prisoners began.

It was expected that Chief Abiola would be released, but in July 1998, he died of a heart attack while still in prison. News of his death led to widespread rioting throughout the country and the President announced that all elections held under General Abacha's rule were considered to be null and void. A general election was held on 20 February 1999 and the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) won a majority in both houses of parliament. A presidential election followed and the PDP candidate, General Obasanjo, was elected. The civilian administration assumed power on 29 May 1999.

During the period of General Abacha's rule, Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth on 11 November 1995, following the execution of nine Human Rights activists. It was readmitted to membership on 29 May 1999 when the democratically elected government took over the control of the country.

Niger Territories

FIRST STAMPS Britain 1890-1900.


1892, sterling.

Territories between the Forcados and Brass Rivers administered by the Royal Niger Company. On 1 January 1900 they were transferred to the British government.

In 1888 a special arrangement was made with the British GPO whereby mail franked with the company's handstamps would be delivered at single rates (instead of double charge). This did not always work.

Used stamps of Britain in 1890-1900; cancellation was by company handstamps at Akassa (1888); Burutu (opened 1896); Lokoja (June 1899); and Abutshi (October 1899).

Oil Rivers Protectorate

FIRST STAMPS (overprinted GB) July 1892.



Protectorate assumed July 1884, confirmed 1885. Name changed on 12 May 1893 to Niger Coast Protectorate (see below).

PO was established at Old Calabar in November 1891 with sub-offices at Brass, Bonny, Opobo, Benin and Warri.

Used stamps of Britain November 1891-July 1892.

Niger Coast Protectorate

FIRST STAMPS inscribed (by overprint) NIGER COAST PROTECTORATE November 1893.



Formerly Oil Rivers Protectorate. United with the chartered territories in 1900 to form the protectorate of Southern Nigeria (see below).

Stamps continued in use after the formation of Southern Nigeria until new stamps were ready.

Southern Nigeria

FIRST STAMPS March 1901.



During temporary shortages in 1902 used remainders of last Niger Coast Protectorate issue.

In 1906, when Lagos was amalgamated, stamps of Lagos were valid throughout Southern Nigeria.

Since 1914 has used stamps of Nigeria (see below).

Northern Nigeria




Territories into which the Royal Niger Company had expanded were proclaimed a protectorate in 1900.

Since 1914 has used stamps of Nigeria (see below).


The eastern region of Nigeria waged a fruitless civil war against the Federal Republic from 1967 to 15 January 1970.

FIRST STAMPS 5 February 1968.



Biafran stamps were used mainly on internal mail, but latterly on external mail sent by air via Libreville.

German Cameroons

FIRST STAMPS Germany 1887.




The Woermann shipping line set up an African base on the Kamerun River and by 1882 was running a mailboat service (Hamburg-Westafrika). A German protectorate of the coastal area round Duala (1884) was extended to Lake Chad in 1894. Further territory was acquired from France in 1911-12.

Mail from Kamerun before 1887 can be identified by shipping marks, sometimes on stamps of Germany supplied on board or on arrival in Hamburg. Used stamps of Germany from 1 February 1887.

Six POs were opened before 1897: Kamerun (Duala), Victoria (1888), Bibundi (1891), Gross-Batanga (1893), Kribi (1894) and Rio del Rey (1897).

Allied Occupation
Duala was captured by Allied forces on 27 September 1914, but the campaign did not end until February 1916. (The last German PO to be overrun was at Mora on 18 February 1916). On 4 March 1916 the German colony was divided between Britain and France, an arrangement modified in 1919 when France reclaimed to Gabon and Moyen Congo the areas ceded in 1911-12. Two mandates were granted by the League of Nations based on the de facto partition line (see below under British Cameroons, Cameroun).

First British Occupation stamps July 1915. First French Occupation stamps 10 November 1915.

(British) Cameroons

FIRST STAMPS British Occupation 1915. Nigeria from c.1920.



From c.1920 used stamps of Nigeria.

This use can be recognized by cancellations of the following offices (of which those marked* were still open in 1960-1 see Southern Cameroons): *Victoria, Bakeba, Bamenda, *Buea, *Kumba, Malla, Maduri, Mnyuka, Ndjan, *Nsau, Nyasoso, Ossindinge, Rio del Rey, *Tiko and Tinto.

After World War II, divided into Northern and Southern Cameroons.

British West Africa 1914 (Incl. Liberia & Port. Guinea)
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Nigeria 1901
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Cameroons 1920
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    MAURITIUS - 1848-59 2d blue early impression (position 2), SG 8, fine used with 3 clear margins, just into the frame at right. Good strong engraving with clear portrait, neat but overall cancel. Small thin at right. Attractive example of this rarity. Cat SG £9000.

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