OF ARCHIVES ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA
Nigerian Records Office was established on 1st April,
1954 by an administrative order. The establishment was
,as a result of the efforts of late Professor Kenneth
Onwuka Dike whose primary interest was to find adequate
and permanent solution to the problem of storage and preservation
of the bulk of Nigerian Government records which were
(till that period) kept in the custody of each creating
department or the government agency. In 1951 Professor
Dike was commissioned by the Nigerian Government to survey
the records of the Nigerian Colonial Government and to
make recommendations as to their proper custody, storage
and preservation. In his report published by the Nigerian
Government in 1954, Professor Dike recommended that all
the records of the Nigerian Government which were no longer
being used for the day-to-day administration should be
housed in one central record office. The proposal was
duly approved by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The result was the establishment of the Nigerian Record
Office with Professor Dike as the first Supervisor of
Record Office was placed under the administrative control
of the Public Works Department until it was transferred
to the Ministry of Education in 1957. On the 14th of November,
1957 the Public Archives Ordinance No. 43 was passed,
and it authorised the establishment of the National Archives
of Nigeria to provide for the preservation of public archives.
The Act empowered the National Archives of Nigeria to
establish as many branches as might be deemed necessary
and convenient. The 1957 Archives Ordinance has since
been repealed by the promulgation of the National Archives
Decree no. 30 of July 8th 1992. By the promulgation of
the Decree, the inadequacies observed in the Archives
Ordinance were rectified.
to 1982 the National Archives of Nigeria existed in Ibadan,
Enugu and Kaduna, based on the then regional grouping
in Nigeria. Today the National Archives of,Nigeda has
established ten additional branches with headquarters
in Lagos. The branches are located in Abeokuta, Akure,
Benin, Calabar, Ilorin, Jos, Owerri, Port Harcourt and
AND EXTENT OF HOLDINGS
Archives in Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu are in permanent
buildings with about 3,000 linear metres of archives in
Archives Kaduna houses the oldest records in our holdings,
dating back to the 12th century A.D. These records deal
with the activities of Muslim traders, Muslim missionaries
and adventurers. Though contact with the Europeans dated
back to the first half of the fifteenth century, there
are no records in the National Archives of Nigeria depicting
this period of the Nigerian history. The records of the
Pre-Consular period (1800-1849) are available at the Public
Record Office London, among the Admiralty Papers and among
the.Foreign Office Papers (FO 2 Series). Some of the records
such as the Admiralty Despatches to and from the Consuls
(1849-1859) are available. The Despatches form the best
source material for the study of the political and economic
activities of the coastal towns in Nigeria (1848-1899).
the Royal Niger Company administered parts of Nigeria,
there are no records relating to the activities of this
company which lasted from 1886-1899. Only few materials
re~ating to the activities of the Royal Niger Company
are available in other record groups. The Royal Niger
Company Records are however, available at the United African
Company (U.A.C.) headquarters, Liverpool.
of the National Archives in the three major repositories
in Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna include Consular Despatches,
records of the Protectorate Administrations, records of
the Civil Secretary Offices, Provincial and District Offices
records, of Local Government and native Administration,
records of Judiciary, and Ecclesiastical records. There
are also Civil War Collections comprising printed matter,
tapes and discs and records of various Ministries and
parastatals. The records in the new offices are those
of the defunct public institutions; Federal Electoral
Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau, Nigerian Grain Board,
Presidential Liaison Offices, and Political Parties.
focuses attention on filed papers, but authentic Nigerian
history cannot be written using only filed documents.
There are very valuable records, printed materials; Nigerian
Annual Reports found in the libraries attached to the
search rooms. These have been included in the Guide also
included are newspapers, pictorial and cartographic records.
up to twenty-five years old are open to the public for
research. Sometimes the twenty-five year rule is waved
to allow consultation of more recent records. Records
relating to all government agencies, Parastatals and other
agencies are open for consultations by bona fide researchers.
INTO THE SEARCH ROOM
for permission to use the National Archives search room
is usually addressed in writing to the Director. The applicant
should state his profession or business, his place of
abode and the particular area of research. Foreign bona
fide researchers should submit their applications which
must contain these particulars and their research topics.
The search is open to searchers from Monday to Friday
between 8.00 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.
Archives of Nigeria charges a registration fee for the
use of Archives. Private searchers pay a nominal fee of
N25.00 while students pay N10.00. Registration is renewable
after one calendar year. Photostat copies of documents
are made available to searchers on demand at a cost of
N2.00 per page, which is subject to review. The National
Archives is equipped with reference libraries containing
rare books on Nigerian and African history, and Anthropology.
The libraries are in Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna. There are
also Government Publications including Hasards.
preserved in the National Archives are arranged according
to their provenance. Each record group has a list containing
all the record pieces in the group. The lists constitute
the most valuable finding aids at the disposal of researchers
and are available in the search room. List of such finding
aids form part of this Guide.
should be addressed to:
The Director, National Archives of Nigeria (P.M.B. 12897,
Ikoyi Road, Lagos). Tel: 234-1-686469.
Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Radio
House, Abuja, Nigeria. Tel: 234-9-2344105, ext 267.