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.
Nigerian reg. ON 1175 is from Onitsha, seen in the 1940s in Oxford, on a yet-unidentified car (any ideas?). Pemberton archive 1940s
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 is an unlisted area code, but may be from Abuja (OOA), seen on a 1948 Morris Oxford MO. Pemberton Archive late 1940s
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 .
BYA 2866 was seen in London by EU38 in the 1960s, coded for Jos, capital of Plateau state. On a VW Karmann-Ghia. Brumby archive
LA 1561 is an early 1950s Lagos registration, shot by member Reg Wilson in Britain in 1954 on a Rover 75 P4 saloon. Wilson archive 1954
Z 2779 is a Flickr-sourced picture of a Ford Consul Mk2 in Zaria, Kaduna state. Must be about 1958.
Official series below, from Nigeria 1960-70……
This Mini-Minor Traveller shows the rare Nigerian Diplomatic Corps series, seen in London during the 1960s by EU38. Red, cast-alloy plates abbreviating ‘Federation of Nigeria’ are not thought to have been country-coded. Brumby archive
This time, seen in Nigeria, a variant layout of the red Federation-period CD plates, pressed on soft alloy sheet and believed un-coded. Brumby archive 1970s
Below: CMD = Chef du Mission Diplomatique – Chief of Diplomatic Mission – Ambassador.
61 CMD was an ambassador’s plate, possibly for Hungary, and taken during the 1970s in Abuja by Murray Bailey 1970s.
Early issue Federal Government of Nigeria series FGN 103 from 1960s or 1970s. Info needed. Brumby archive
Below: 17 may be coded for the National Planning Commission, seen on this later-series1970s Nigeria Federal Government plate.
17 FGN 260 – a Federal Government plate of the 1970s on a Range Rover, in Lagos.
Army, Navy, Air Force and Police each had their own prefixes. (Army not shown):
Nigerian Air Force motorbike (leading zero) and Navy Land Rover. Brumby archive,1970s.
Nigerian Police Force. Austin 3-ton truck. 1970s
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.
OG…E codes Ake Abeokuta in the 1970s series. Orange on black was for cargo vehicles. Brumby archive (plate)
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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