The Nigerian flag is one of the symbols of national identity in the country. Even as a bearer of the national flag, some observances must be made to avoid being caught wanting by the law.
During the EndSARS protest of 2020, some citizens made use of the national flag during the protests. It is important to know your rights as with the national flag to keep away from legal measures from the wrong use of it by Law enforcement agents and the Nigerian armed forces.
This post expounds on the Nigerian Flag: Meaning, Description, and Significance. Carefully read through to get a good grasp of all the details you need on the National flag.
Who designed the Nigerian flag?
Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, a 23-year old Yoruba man born on the 10th of May, 1936, designed the Nigerian flag as a symbol of national integration in colors white and green.
Just as a flag is the primary symbol of any country, Nigeria owns a flag that serves as a banner for centrality in the country.
Mr. Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi was a Nigerian student of electrical engineering at Norwood technical college, London, when he designed the national flag in 1959. He entered into a competition for the best Nigerian flag design and emerged the winner, with his design being chosen. His design was a two-color mix of green and white; showing two stripes of green with a white band in the center.
In the competition, about 3,000 designs were submitted, many were of complexity but the winning design was by Taiwo Akinkunmi. He noted the significance of the green-white-green vertical stripes of the Nigerian flag.
Significance of the colors of the Nigerian flag
The colors on the Nigerian national flag are not just ordinary colors as they are of great significance and importance to the nation.
Green for agriculture; symbolizes the forestry and abundance of natural wealth in the country.
White for unity and peace.
Taiwo’s original design had a red quarter sun on the white stripe which symbolise divine protection and guidance; however, this was excluded by the committee before the flag was officialized. It was best that the Nigerian flag was chosen with a simplified design, as the diversity of the country’s Ethnic groups is best unified in a less complex design.
The new Nigerian national flag became official and was first raised on Independence day, October 1, 1960.
Description of the Nigerian flag
The Nigerian flag is made up of two colors; white and green. The width-length ratio of the Nigerian flag is 2:1, with the colors arranged vertically in bands of green and white. Green at both edges of the flag and white at the center. This gives three stripes of equal dimensions.
Rules guiding the use of the Nigerian National Flag
The Nigerian government has outlined some of the rules to be followed by the nation’s citizens in hoisting the National Flag.
All Nigerians must obey and respect the National Flag.
The National Flag cannot be flown or displayed on the same staff (pole, pipe, stick, or rod) or crossbar along with the flag of any other state, or country.
The Nigerian flag must not be kept tattered, dirty, defaced, or torn when it is displayed or flown.
If the National flag is torn it should not be flown or used but rather destroyed or burned.
States in the country are allowed to own and recognize their respective state flags and to fly such in their states or any part of the country, even without flying the National Flag. However, no state flag can be flown or hoisted in the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja without the National Flag. If the National flag and a state flag are to be flown in any state, then both flags must be of the same size with the National Flag flown higher and above the state flag.
If the National flag is placed in a room, no other flag should be above or higher than it.
While hoisting the Nigerian Flag it should be ceremoniously flown in the morning at sunrise and lowered during sunset as according to the nation’s officials, a flag of national importance does not sleep
The Nigerian National Flag should be hung or flown halfway on days of state funerals or important memorials.
The Federal Minister of Interior Affairs can authorize the flag of another country to be flown and displayed in a public place in Nigeria with or without the National Flag, only through a license. No embassy, consulate, high commission, means of transportation, or foreign ship is to be considered as a public place. Therefore, they do not require a license of the Minister for a foreign flag to be displayed or flown in or on them.
Given the above, the Nigerian Flag can be flown and displayed in any sector of Nigeria and private or public places without any permit/approval, depicting a citizen’s unalloyed support and allegiance to the country.
With this, no law enforcement agency can arrest any patriotic and supportive person of the Nigeria flag. “Public Place” here connotes any highway, street, bridge, wharf, parks, and thoroughfares, among other places.
Offenses against the Nigerian Flag:
Destroying or defacing the National Flag.
Hoisting the Nigerian Flag on the same pole/staff/stick with any other flag.
Displaying the National Flag in a defaced or unkempt condition.
Flying the Flag at the same level as the flag of any other state in Nigeria.
Flying the flag of a foreign country without a licensed approval of the Minister for Interior Affairs.
Use of the Nigerian Flag in public places that are not patriotic to the nation.
Using the National Flag contrary to the terms of the license, where a license is obtained to use the National Flag.
Making use of the National Flag for any business, profession, trade, or calling and not for supporting Nigeria.
Punishment for Offences Relating to the National Flag
The punishment for any offense against the National Flag is a fine of One Hundred Naira (N100.00). Continuance the offense continues appropriates a fine of Ten Naira (N10.00) each day. Imprisonment is not outlined as a punishment for the offenses according to the Nigerian Constitution.
Duties of the Police with regards to the National Flag
The Nigeria Police Force is authorized to seize and remove any flag that is used to commit an offense in any part of the country. The removed flag is to be disposed of in a manner as determined by the Federal Minister of Interior Affairs.