40 Old Photos That Will Show You How Times Have Changed In Nigeria

Nigeria has grown to be Africa’s largest economy; the country has transformed from an unpretentious mishmash to a soaring capital in less than a century. You will be amazed at how Nigeria has changed throughout history, from economic growth, population growth, innovative government, oil and gas boom, transportation, real estate developments and revolutions. We look back at the history of Nigeria, we remember the good times and the bad times, we also look at the way people used to live and dress.

We present to you 40 old photos that will show you how times have changed in Nigeria. These stunning photos show the big difference between those days and now:

1. Independence Building and Lagos Harbour (1974)

Lagos Harbour in 1974

2. General View Of Historic Kano City (1950s)

KANO CITY, Nigeria, 1950-1970's; General View Of Historic Kano City

3. When Queen Elizabeth met her people – Nigerians (1950s)

Queen Elizabeth in Nigeria

4. A view from Ikoyi Park, Lagos

A view from Ikoyi Park, Lagos

5. A Nigerian chief with his family (1910)

A Nigerian chief with his family, 1910

6. Fulani Milkmaids (1960s-1970s)

Fulani MilkmaidsJohn Hinde Collection (1960s-1970s)

7. Transportation in Nigeria

Transportation - Old

8. Igbo soldier during the Nigerian Civil War, (November, 1968)

Igbo soldier during the Nigerian Civil War, November, 1968

9. Hair braiding in Nigeria. 1960

Hair braiding, 1960

10. Nigeria leaders in those days


Nigeria Leaders - Olden days

11. Old Carter bridge Lagos

Old Carter bridge Lagos

12. Regiment of mounted armed guards in a procession during festival of Sallah in Katsina

Regiment of mounted armed guards in a procession during festival of Sallah, Katsina, Nigeria

13. A Yoruba woman in a traditional attire

A Nigerian woman in Traditional dress. Photo by John Hinde

14. A man and a lady on a motorcycle in Lagos Nigeria (1969)

A man and a lady on a motorcycle in Lagos Nigeria (1969)

15. Ben Ekanem’s equestrian Statue of Queen Amina- National Theatre Lagos, (1980)

Ben Ekanem’s equestrian Statue of Queen Amina- National Theatre Lagos, 1980

16. African Visionary: Chief Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh – a Nigerian politician and former minister for finance (1919-1966)

African Visionar-Chief Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh (1919-1966)

 17. A Nigerian chief with his family, 1910

A Nigerian chief with his family, 1910



18. Mary Slessor’s House in Calabar, Built in 1880. 

Mary Slesssor's House

19. CKC (Christ the king College), Onitsha. Central buildings, (1961) 

CKC (Christ the king College), Onitsha. Central buildings, 1961 )

20. Carter bridge street scene, Lagos Island (1950s) 

Carter bridge street scene, Lagos Island 1950s. Published by Federal ministry of Information

21. Asaba-Onitsha ferry crossing (1959)

Asaba-Onitsha ferry crossing 1959

22. The main core of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife.

University of Ife - now OAU

23. Main Gate University of Ibadan, (1960)

Main Gate, University of Ibadan 1960s

24. The Lagos Railway (1900s)

The Lagos Railway 1900s

25. Western House of Assembly, Ibadan (late 1950s)

Western House of Assembly, Ibadan

26. Independence Fountain on the main road leading into the city of Kaduna, Nigeria (1960s)

Independence Fountain on the main road leading into the city of Kaduna, Nigeria

27. Humuani Mosque, Lagos (1933)

Humuani Mosque, Lagos -1933

24. Nigeria Airways Fokker 28 at Calabar airport (1970s)

Nigeria Airways Fokker 28 at Calabar airport 1970s

25. The Niger at Jebba (1930)

Niger at Jebba in 1930

26. Gurara Waterfalls ( From an old postcard)

Gurara Waterfalls

27. Entrance to the Emir of Zarias Palace in Kaduna (1973)

Emir of Zarias Palace in Kaduna 1973

28. Lugard Memorial Hall , Kaduna (1960s.)

Lugard Memorial Hall , Kaduna

29. Emirs palace, Kano (1960)

Kano mosque 1960s

30. Chapel Of The Resurrection, University Of Ibadan (1960s)

Chapel Of The Resurrection, University Of Ibadan

31. Central bank of Nigeria, Lagos (1950s)

Central bank of Nigeria, Lagos

32. Barclays bank and Shell Petroleum buildings, Lagos (1960s-Early 1970s)

Barclays and Shell Petroleum Buildings, Lagos

33. University College Hospital, Ibadan (1960s)

University College Hospital, Ibadan c1960s

34. The Lagos – Kaduna Railway (1936)

The Lagos - Kaduna railway. This picture was taken in 1936

35. General Post Office, Lagos (1973)

General Post Office, Lagos 1973

36. Mapo Hall, Mapo Hill Ibadan (1975)

Mapo Hall, Mapo Hill Ibadan

37. The London and Kano trading company, Lagos (1960s)

The London and Kano trading company, Lagos

38. Ikorodu expressway, Lagos (1970s)

Ikorodu expressway, Lagos 1970s

39. Lagos Airport – Fokker FK27 BOAC and Shell Tanker Fokker (1960s)

Lagos Airport

40. Ibadan, Capital and Seat of Government, Western Nigeria (1968)

Ibadan, Capital and Seat of Government

Nigeria has changed beyond recognition, these photos has transformed Nigeria into the country we know today.

These photographs are directly from Nigerian Nostalgia Project’s archives and The Nigerian Nostalgia 1960 -1980 Project on FacebookFor more old pictures and history of Nigeria, Visit: Nigeria Nostalgia

What do you think? Do you have an old picture that shows how times has changed in Nigeria? Share them with us on our Facebook page and leave your comments below:


Want to share your travel stories, photos and experiences with the world? Send it to innocent[at]travelstart.com

Our Readers Comments

  1. Good work done,thanks for keeping the nigeria history alive.please we will like it if you can combine the past old days pictures with some present pictures. Thanks

  2. Biafra will stand. Nigeria will soon fall…. Up Biafra

    • You are sick. Is that what you can say from all these beautiful memorable pictures

    • Am an Ibo too, we all went through the pains that other tribes may not understand, but please be civilized in making public comments. Thanks.

    • How dare you!

    • I think the Igbos should actually leave Nigeria. They are pests, and leaving Nigeria will mean terminating ALL types and forms of employments given to Igbos in all non-Igbo states, and in all Federal Institutions as well. Their property and houses too should be compulsorily acquired at any rate the government deems fit. They will not be able to work, or spend more than 3 months in cities like Lagos, as their Nigerian passports will be dispossessed and replaced with whatever their new fucking country is called. Its about time, they are a disgusting lot even the educated ones among them

    • Na your mama go fight the 2nd biafra abi? Ndi Ara… Stupid illiterate!

    • Ass hole. Stupid mother fucker. You must be crazy, you think can make Biafra happen? I don’t blame you, you probably are one of those idiotic membrane who doesn’t know history. Idiot.

    • you are really out of it. after this wonerful history lesson this is all you can say?
      i am ibo too but what has any thing on this page got to do with biafra. and please stop wishing for another war, you do not ant to see that in your life time

  3. Hmmm.. nice picture collection.. but out of 40, it seem to be only 2 showing of the eastern region…

    • Us that really an issue? Can’t we just think Nigeria rather than regions? It’s possible that the author couldn’t find any in the archives. You can contribute by submitting whatever picture you have.

    • Nigerians and, indeed posterity will appreciate you for it if you will research and supply oldies from the Eastern block

    • The Igbos and this inferiority complex they have when it comes to Yorubas especially. Incidentally, Lagos looked so so sane as compared to today that their clan have overpopulated, and over congested the city, and made it so ugly and undesirable – with their presence littering the city. They cant seem to exist without thronging to Lagos. Igbos need to stop crying about silly things which Yorubas dont even notice or have precious time for. Please develop your states . they are ghost towns already and i am sure you should be extremely ashamed of yourselves ie the Igbos.

  4. It is true a lot of changes and development has taken place i wish we could go back to that time when every body in Nigeria are enjoying this country when there is light e.t.c. Great work keep reminding the leaders of how everything was………

  5. Those pictures took me back to memory lane…….God bless Nigeria!!!

  6. Browsing through those pictures one by one , obviously to me it means we (the Nigerians) cannot manage ourselves (fact!!!). If Nigeria under the British in the 50’s were living like the western world. And since the advent of democracy there ‘s never been any notable improvements – then, it means the so called “democracy or self government” is nothing but an expression of mediocrity.

    • You’re right. We are hopeless. The whites left this country in a pretty good state which we should have continued to develop. Instead we’ve nearly destroyed it.

    • Thank you my brother, we weren’t ripe for independence. Yet we fought tooth and nail for it. Now that’s the repacaution, and some fool somewhere in this forum thinks that Biafra is the best solution. Let him ask those who fought the war, how it was, how the felt.

    • Shocking !!! One can imagine how beautiful Nigeria would have been if tge British were left to stay .

  7. Quite nostalgic!!!

  8. Our heavenly father,we thank you for the special
    Love you have for our country Nigeria.We are still one despite various national challenges.Thank you very much daddy.

    • Still one cause of the oil . nothing more.

    • We were never meant to have been one. its a fallacy, and ‘unfair’ amalgamation of totally different regions.
      you cant force even a marriage between a man and woman who never loved each other

  9. Great pics dated way back from the days of our for fathers. Truly as an akwa ibomite, I’ll have loved to see more pics from the old cross river state, etc. oron, even, ikot ekpene and uyo. Thanks

  10. Beautiful and memorable pictures. So Lagos was this clean and less congested then. How i wish we could turn back the hands of the clock. We have not managed our development well at all.

  11. What a good job! Thanks for keeping Nigeria history alive for the present generation and even the future ones. Please kindly get us both the old and new pictures together so that we can pictured and valued out the beauty of our NEW NIGERIA. Thanks.

  12. Nigeria then was beautiful and peaceful. The present day Nigeria is just a shadow of the past. Nothing is working. No electricity, roads are bad, insecurity and our so called leaders are corrupt and are self-centered.

  13. wonderful… this is very necessary to remind us of how things were before now and the need to sustain our unity in diversity

  14. what a great picture,and a great country, i pray God continue ur great work in this country u gave to us pls father all d enemy of d progress of dis country father distroy them,nd let ur peace in abbundant continue to rain ijn amen.

  15. It’s painful seeing such pictures and today’s pictures of Nigeria. Since the white man left the power to so koto caliphate nothing has ever worked .amalgamation was the worst thing that happened to Nigeria .

  16. This made my day. I’m such a Vintage/history buff….
    Lovely postcards and pictures

  17. nostalgic feeling.Got married at the Chapel in ibadan and they sure have kept it very well.It’s just sad with the present situation and How the country is.Nice compilations.

  18. I wasn’t born in that era, but Nigeria looked very beautIFU and peaceful! Nigeria will be beautIFU again! I’m doing my own part to make that happen…

    • May God’ s abundant blessings be multiied unto you. God will cause you to achieve that which you desire in your heart in Jesus Mighty Name! Amen

  19. Better Nigeria we pray as a Government will be sworn in by 29th.. God Bless NG

  20. Seriously the old Nigeria look really good and well organized

  21. We as Nigerians do not know how lucky we are …with everything falling apart in sevral other countries we should count ourselves very lucky to still be at peace …I feel sorry for the young igbo man screening biafra …bu then even in the mist of peaceful loving people I guess a hint of madness is allowed to remind the normal minded people of love peace and unity d basis opon which the country, Nigeria was originally built on …Nigeria has indeed grown and is blossoming to become the beauty of the world every day…no contry even America got to where they are now without first nearly going extinct. ..look at the grate depression amongst otheres, am not saying we have to get to that extent but its darkest before dawn..lets persevere and hang in there ..Nigeria will be great I tell u…thanks for the lovely pictures. .God bless our motherland .

  22. It’s indeed nostalgic to see all those nice pix. How I wish things will come back to those good old day. Will like to see old picso from the former North East. Shehu’s Palace, Durbar etc. Nice collection.

  23. This is very good. Honestly I prefer the look of the old Nigeria.everywhere looking so beautiful and clean!!!Development sometimes can be a drag!!!!

  24. Wow, the old Nigeria is well organised. I believe it was the handwork of our colonial masters.It is a shame that after independence, we could not build on the legacy of our founding fathers. Having seen those pictures, I feel like crying for present day Nigeria.

  25. better days ahead

  26. Nigeria is pefectly growing.

  27. Please leave your comment… Words cant express how delighted i am having taken a glance at those historic pictures…Nigeria will persevere to reach the highest point of development. It is just a matter of time.. Our heterogenous nature is never a curse but a blessing on us. In Unity we will thrive against all humiliations and oposition. WAZOBIA arise!

  28. Nice pic wish nja of today is the one of yesterday.

  29. this is phenomenon,i can show this pics to my grandchildren so they can appreciate the transformation from when their parents grew up. It is nostalgic.

  30. Marvelous collection my friend. It takes a golden mind to put these together.let all that appreciate art rejoice in the golden age of our country. The rats have eaten its flesh and we are left with a carcass. We are left with an eyesore for a nation. A nation whose beauty in the day light is swallowed by the darkness at night. The night further made restless with the perpetual high decbel of Japanese/Chinese
    electric generators. May the almighty Allah guard and guide General(Rtd) Alhadji Mohammed Buhari and repose the souls of Generals (Rtd) Murtala Mohammed and Tunde Idiagbon.

  31. Nigeria is a very great nation, with these beautiful old memorials, i believe more progress still to come.

  32. It’s a lovely thing you did dear, you got a beautiful eye indeed, we proud of you. But do me and others whom would like you to compare old and new. Let’s see. How far we have grown or fallen apart? Nigeria is one and so shall it be.

  33. This is sweet and a big challenge to us all to also leave a sweet past for our coming generations to savour. This can be done if choose to. God Nigeria.

  34. God Bless NIGERIA.

  35. Hi,

    Wonderful old photo’s… I am looking for photo’s of the former Akintola apartment building on 22, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.

    Is there someone who perhaps is in the possession of pictures, or can perhaps give me a web address where I can find them?

    Best regards,

  36. I am in a state of real alacrity and enthusiasm.
    Oh ye that posted these pic,ye shall continue to experience acceptability and also be remembered for good.Thanks a lot

  37. Beautiful pix,thanks to the nostalgia team. How i wished i lived then,i kind of dig that old Nigeria than this current joke.

  38. Ibe.I don’t know your age but it looks like you were either a toddler or not born during the Nigeria Civil war, otherwise you wouldn’t make such a statement. Nigeria has been accomodating. Thanks to the magnanity of the then Head of State and his Cabinet.

  39. we can learn from the past fortunes,mistakes, efforts,e.t.c. to correct the present and change the future positively. being tribalistic is not the issue,oneness in voice and decision-making. Good work. a legacy to our young generation.God bless Nigeria.

  40. Street photography seems easy then compered to now. But lovely pic . how I wish things re like this back then. Our govt should really be blamed for the poor state of dis country. Pity . (

  41. Am very happy seeing this. I want to thank u for a good job. Pls keep it up as much will b learnt from this. Thanks a lot.

  42. I grow up in Nigeria and stayed for 30 years have the best memories I will always love Nigeria,
    God bless Nigeria land and the lovely ppl of it

  43. In photo # 39, the aircraft is a VC10, not a Fokker. Note the characteristic four engines in the rear. I think Nigeria Airways, had at least one of these aircraft in its fleet.

  44. Please leave your comment…wow sweet 9ja,so peaceful and beautiful, God bless Nigeria

  45. Let’s understand that, we can’t go to anywhere without loving one another. We must learn to always remain in the umbrella of Nigeria. We are the Future Nigerians, what do we do to improve the image of our loving country……………..I appreciate the effort of this photo journalist. More Greece to your elbow but please don’t be a sensational journalist.

  46. When I saw all these pictures the question that came to mind was:where are those people involved in these pictures? Perhaps most of them must have gone beyond six feet. That made me to conclude that one day will shall also become history. When our children also begin to go down memory lane about us. my prayer is that we leave a good story about us behind. Our everlasting shall not be spent in HELL FIRE! We shall reign with CHRIST IJMN.

Have something to say...