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Nigerian Currency What you should know about N20, the oldest paper money in Nigeria

N20 is the oldest currency denomination and Nigerians have been using it for 41 years.

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N20: What you should know about Nigeria’s oldest paper money play

The Naira has a lot to do with Nigerian history.


One thousand Naira is currently the biggest currency denominations Nigerian currency but N20 is the father of them all.

The history of paper money in Nigeria started with the introduction N20 note in 1977. Before then, Nigerians only relied on coins for business transactions.

However, in a bid to start a new beginning after the civil war, a new currency, Naira, was introduced on January 1, 1973, to replace the British pound as the official currency of Nigeria.

At this time, one Naira was the highest currency in the country.

play Twenty Naira note is the first paper money in Nigeria.


However, on Friday, February 11, 1977, a new paper money of the value of 20 Naira was introduced. The paper money bearing the face of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed thus became the biggest currency denomination.

Murtala Muhammed was the Nigerian Head of State between July 30, 1975, and February 13, 1976. He served the country for just 200 days before he was assassinated.

The N20 banknote also bears the face Ladi Kwali, a famous pottery from Gwari Abuja.

Ladi Kwali was a professional pot maker whose skills got her a recognition from the Queen of England. In 1962, Kwali was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1962 by Queen Elizabeth II for her pot making skills.

N20: What you should know about Nigeria’s oldest paper money play

Second generation of N20 notes in Nigeria



Since its introduction in 1977, the N20 note has gone through some transformations. The first N20 note had some touches of red while the dominant colour was green.

ALSO READ: 10 interesting facts you should know about Nigerian currency

N20: What you should know about Nigeria’s oldest paper money play

First generation of N20 note in Nigeria.


The second generation of the note was all green. While the third generation of the note retains the green colour but now in a polymer form.

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