West Africa had four British-governed territories until March 1957, when Gold Coast/Ghana become the first to obtain independence under Kwame Nkrumah. (Actually, there was also the ex-German Trust Territory of the British Cameroons, which was absorbed into Nigeria).
The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria were the other three and we see below a smart sports saloon of the 1930/40s, from the Nigerian city of Onitsha in Anambra State. The port city lies on the banks of the Niger river and was an important trading settlement in palm oil. This expat. had been so successful there as to own and run what seems to be a very prestigious motor (Bentley? Jaguar? Alvis?), and ship it home to England, where member Pemberton shot it in the late 1940s in London.
Below John P. also saw this 1948 Morris Oxford OM type, with the unusual OO code, probably signifying Abuja, now the administrative capital. Fortunately for us, he was carrying his camera on this wintry day in London.
OO 3860 — Most interesting data concerning the Morris Oxford above may be read below, from Morris specialist SMODRIVER – see his 17/2/2013 notes in the Comments section.
BYA 2866 was caught stationary in traffic during the early 1960s, and had the oval WAN not have been mounted, we would have been baffled by the non-African look of the plates. BYA = Jos city, a prosperous tin-mining area .
Official series below, from Nigeria 1960-70……
Below: CMD = Chef du Mission Diplomatique – Chief of Diplomatic Mission – Ambassador.
Below: 17 may be coded for the National Planning Commission, seen on this later-series1970s Nigeria Federal Government plate.
Army, Navy, Air Force and Police each had their own prefixes. (Army not shown):
Below: Another civilian series commenced in the early 1970s, using a regional code, with a serial number followed by a town code. Varying colours used for differing vehicle types.
A radical change in Nigerian plate styles occurred in 1992 when the US style and dimensions of pressed plates appeared, continuing in use today. In earlier years, it was not uncommon to see Nigerian plates in UK, but for the last 30 years, it is possible that only one or two have been seen in all of Europe.
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