Nigeria in UNESCO

The History

Nigeria became a Member State of UNESCO on the 14th of November 1960, shortly after attaining independence in October, 1960.

As laid down in Article VII of UNESCO’s Constitution, titled Charter of the National Commissions, each country that becomes a Member of UNESCO, by signing its constitution, must create a National Commission. Each National Commission is to be established in accordance with the country’s “conditions” but broadly representative of the government and the principal national bodies interested in Educational, Scientific, Cultural, Communication, Information and Social and Human Sciences matters.

The Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM) was therefore inaugurated in accordance with this provision, on Monday, 25th November, 1963 in the Chamber of the Senate House, Lagos. This was consequent upon the country joining the Organization (UNESCO) as its 58th Member State at the UNESCO General Conference in October/November 1960. The inauguration of the Commission was delayed until November 1963 to allow for consultation and agreement with the Governments of all the then Regions of the Federation, even though the creation of a UNESCO National Commission, in compliance with the provision of UNESCO’s Constitution, was first approved in principle by the Federal Cabinet on June 7, 1961. The Commission was placed administratively under the Federal Ministry of Education, “pending an act of Parliament”.

The Nigerian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO emanates from the same provision and is the embodiment of the country’s permanent presence at the seat of UNESCO in Paris. It was established in 1967, seven years after Nigeria became the 58th Member State of the Organization.



Cooperation between Nigeria and UNESCO is a mutually benefiting association in which both partners continue to derive appreciable benefits. This cooperation is based on collaborative thinking and on concrete action conceived for the benefit of the two partners; UNESCO making available to Nigeria the fruits of its accumulated vast experience and its worldwide outreach, to contribute to Nigeria’s plans, programmes, projects and progress.  And on the other hand, Nigeria in concert with other Member States fully contributes to UNESCO’s international enterprise, through the participation and contributions of its national experts and specialists, in all the relevant areas of UNESCO’s interest.



The UNESCO Abuja Multi-sector Regional Office for the West African region, was officially opened in September 2013, by the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, during her visit to Nigeria. Visit of the Director General of UNESCO to Nigeria