Nigerian Royal Regalia
Learn more about Nigerian Royal Regalia
Nigeria is a federal republic. It has a plethora of many monarchies and kingdoms, some which had a huge significance in the history of Nigeria, before they were subdued by the British during colonialism. Nevertheless, even today some rulers have been able to maintain their religious, cultural, and to some extent political influence.
The regalia had often not only political significance, but also, in the southern kingdoms for example, were vital for religious rituals. In this case, the ruler was seen as a link between this earth and the spiritual side. Also in the north did the Muslim emirs and sultans have religious functions as commanders. The regalia in this case did not have any spiritual connotations, but were seen as a symbol of the power of the ruler. For a list of the Nigerian kingdoms, please look under List of Nigerian traditional states.
The regalia today would be kept at the respective capital cities and palaces of each state.
In April 2005, an exhibition was shown at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, which featured a selection of regalia from 16 states, including Sokoto, Kano, and Borno. The exhibition was organised by the Federal Information Ministry of Nigeria.
A controversy that is raging is the return of the Benin bronzes, that were plundered by the British colonial powers in their war against the Kingdom of Benin. The bronzes were used for various royal rituals and had spiritual value as well.