Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Nigeria Independence Day – October 1, 2024

Nigeria Independence Day is on October 1. It celebrates the country’s independence from British rule which occurred in 1960. The government of Nigeria celebrates this holiday annually. The President’s address to the public marks the beginning of the festivities, this is broadcasted on radio and television. The Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the workforce, and national education services all celebrate this day with the public. Offices and markets will close on this day and the citizens take to the street dressed in green and white to celebrate. Primary and secondary schools also perform a parade in various state capitals and local government areas.

History of Nigeria Independence Day

Southern Nigeria Protectorate was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1917 to create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. This is what we now know as modern-day Nigeria.

In 1950 the British Empire started to decline and many territories in Africa were calling for independence. This led to Nigeria being granted independence from Britain on October 1, 1960, and becoming the Federation of Nigeria. A new constitution was established with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was previously the Governor-General was the first President. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa continued to serve as the prime minister, a position he had held since 1957.

In June 1961 the northern part of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons joined the Northern region of Nigeria and in October the Southern Cameroons united with the Republic of Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic with Azikiwe as president of the country.

Ethnic competitiveness, educational inequality, and economic imbalance caused regional stresses. To combat this the Mid-Western region was created in August 1963 but the country was still divided into three large geographic regions, each controlled by an ethnic group: the west by the Yoruba, the east by the Igbo, and the north by the Hausa-Fulani.

The fraudulent election in October 1965 led to the collapse of order in the west. In January 1966 a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the federal government, and Prime Minister Balewa and two of the regional premiers were murdered. Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi set up a military administration. He planned to abolish the regions and create a united government but this was met with anti-Igbo riots in the north. The political situation was worsened by the military intervention as the army split along ethnic lines. Officers clashed over power and the instigators and leaders of the January coup were accused of favoring Igbo domination.

In July 1967 after many attempts to save the country, a civil war broke out. It lasted from July 6, 1967, to January 15, 1970.

Nigeria Independence Day timeline

British Establish a Presence

The British establish their presence in Lagos.

Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria

Britain consolidates its hold over the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria which it governs through local leaders.

First Elections

Parliamentary elections are held in Nigeria on December 12, 1959.

October 1, 1960

Nigeria is granted independence.

January 1966

Balewa is killed in a coup and Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi forms the military government.

Nigeria Independence Day FAQs

When did Nigeria gain independence?

Full independence was granted to the Federation of Nigeria on October 1, 1960.

How long was Nigeria colonized?

The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria were colonized from 1914 to 1954 and the Federation of Nigeria from 1954 to 1960.

Who gave Nigeria her name?

Journalist Flora Shaw suggested the name Nigeria.

How to Observe Nigeria Independence Day

  1. Wear green and white

    Wear green and white to celebrate. If you don’t have any clothes fitting that color scheme, don the flag.

  2. Host a celebration

    Plan a celebration and invite friends to celebrate the day with you. You can listen to traditional music and party the day away.

  3. Cook an authentic Nigerian meal

    Celebrate by cooking authentic Nigerian meals. Nigeria is known for its delicacies, why not try some today?

5 Facts About Nigeria

  1. Seventh-most populous country in the world

    More than 200 million people call Nigeria home.

  2. The population mainly comprises Christian or Muslims

    Other religions are practiced in Nigeria but the majority of the population is Christian or Muslim.

  3. English is the official language

    There are 520 spoken languages in Nigeria but English is the official language.

  4. Nigeria has a thriving film industry

    Nollywood is the name of Nigeria's film industry and it is one of the largest film producers in the world.

  5. The largest economy in Africa

    Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa due to its export market.

Why Nigeria Independence Day is Important

  1. There are celebrations outside of Nigeria

    New York hosts the biggest celebration of Nigerian independence outside of Nigeria. Join in and celebrate!

  2. It’s a day for family gatherings

    Many spend the day with family and friends sharing traditional meals. Gather your family and friends and cook a traditional meal to experience the culture.

  3. A day of rest

    If parties and parades aren't your things, many also use this day as a day of rest. If a large celebration isn’t on your to-do list, taking the day off for some relaxation is perfectly acceptable.

Nigeria Independence Day dates

2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
2026October 1Thursday
2027October 1Friday
2028October 1Sunday
Elderly Filipino Week
Fungal Disease Awareness Week
National Walk Your Dog Week
Ancestors' Day
Balloons Around the World Day
Balloons Around the World Day
CD Player Day
CD Player Day
China National Day
Cyprus Independence Day
Filipino American Month
Filipino American History Month
International Coffee Day
​International Day of Older Persons
International Music Day
International Music Day
Investiture Ceremony of the Captains Regent
Model T Day
Model T Day
National Black Dog Day
National Day of China
National Fire Pup Day
National Fruit at Work Day
National Hair Day
National Homemade Cookie Day
National Lace Day
National Poetry Day
National Raccoon Day
Nigeria Independence Day
Pchum Ben
ROK Alliance Day
Teacher's Day in Uzbekistan
Tuvalu Independence Day
World Sake Day
World Vegetarian Day
ADHD Awareness Month
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
AIDS Awareness Month
American Pharmacists Month
American Pharmacists Month
Bat Appreciation Month
Bat Appreciation Month
Black Speculative Fiction Month
Blindness Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month
Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month
Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month
Church Library Month
Contact Lens Safety Month
Country Music Month
Critical Illness Awareness Month
Dental Hygiene Month
Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Eat Better, Eat Together Month
Emotional Wellness Month
Eye Injury Prevention Month
Fair Trade Month
Family History Month
Financial Planning Month
Financial Planning Month
German-American Heritage Month
​Global Diversity Awareness Month
Go Sober For October — October
Halloween Safety Month
Head Start Awareness Month
Health Literacy Month
Healthy Lung Month
Hog Out Month
International School Libraries Month
International Walk To School Month
International Walk To School Month
Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month
Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month
​Italian-American Heritage Month
LGBTQ+ History Month
LGBTQ+ History Month
Liver Awareness Month
Long Term Care Planning Month
Menopause Month
Museums and Galleries Month
National Animal Safety and Protection Month
National Apple Month
National Apple Month
National Arts & Humanities Month
National Audiology Awareness Month
National Book Month
​National Bullying Prevention Month
National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
National Chiropractic Month
National Church Safety and Security Month
National Cookbook Month
National Cookie Month
National Cookie Month
National Crime Prevention Month
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October
National Depression Education and Awareness Month
National Dessert Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
​National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Ergonomics Month
National Indigenous Peoples Month
National Learning and Development Month
National LGBT History Month
National Medical Librarians Month
National Medical Librarians Month
National Non-GMO Month
National Orthodontic Health Month
National Pasta Month
National Pescatarian Month
National Pet Wellness Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
National Pizza Month
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
National Pretzel Month
National Protect Your Hearing Month
National Sausage Month
National Work and Family Month
Physical Therapy Month
Pitbull Awareness Month
Polish American Heritage Month
Prenatal-onset GBS Disease Recognition Month
Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
Spina Bifida Awareness Month
The Big Draw
Ultrasound Awareness Month
Vegetarian Month
World Animal Month
World Habitat Awareness Month

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.