Queen Elizabeth: Two Times UK’s Monarch Has Visited Nigeria by Onyirioha Nnamdi

Queen Elizabeth inspect the soldiers of the Nigeria Regiment during her first visit
  • Queen Elizabeth II (96 years) had been to Nigeria only two times after she was crowned England’s monarch in 1953
  • The first time the then-young queen visited Nigeria was in 1956 three years after she ascended the throne
  • After this, Queen Elizabeth was in the west African country in 2003 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Queen Elizabeth visited Nigeria only twice.

There is approximately a time frame of 53 years between both visits to Nigeria by the monarch.

Queen Elizabeth’s 1st visit: 28 January – 16 February 1956

About three years after she was coronated as the monarch of England (1953), Queen Elizabeth toured parts of the British empire and the commonwealth, a feat her predecessors never achieved.

One of the destinations of her overseas visits was Nigeria (from 28 January to 16 February 1956).

At the time, Queen Elizabeth stopped off to inspect the soldiers of the Nigeria Regiment. In her honour, the force was renamed the Queen’s Own Nigeria Regiment after the visit.

It is recorded that the queen was welcomed by federal dignitaries which included the Minister for Labour and Welfare at the time, Festus Okotie-Eboh, and Governor-General Sir James Robertson.

She was driven around in a Rolls Royce in Lagos amid fun fare and royal services. 

Queen Elizabeth was said to have spent more time in the Northern part of the country (Kano and Kaduna). But she also visited Jos and Enugu.

Queen Elizabeth’s second visit to Nigeria: 3–6 December 2003

OBJ, Queen
Queen Elizabeth visited Nigeria in 2003 (Photo: PA Images via Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images

The next the queen came to Nigeria was majorly for the 2003 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Abuja where she was hosted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The queen made it clear that her visit was in recognition of the value Britain attached to its relations with Nigeria as well as the country’s place in the global space. 

She opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja on Friday, 5th December. The Duke of Edinburgh was also in attendance.

Queen Elizabeth II (R) walks with Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo (L) at the Millennium Park in Abuja, Nigeria, December 4, 2003. The queen, on her first state visit to Nigeria for 47 years, is due to open a four-day summit of Commonwealth leaders on Friday. [Reuters]

Queen Elizabeth II (C) looks at gifts she has been given during her visit to the village of Karu near Abuja in Nigeria December 4, 2003. The queen visited a compound within the village which has been built to stage a radio series. [Reuters]
Queen Elizabeth II (R) looks at traditional pots at a mock-up market in Karu, near Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday Dec. 4, 2003, on the second day of her official visit to the West African country. The market, staffed by a mixture of actual market-sellers and actors, was built for the event as part of a BBC radio soap-opera. [AP]

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