Have you ever imagined travelling back in time to witness every activity held for Nigeria’s independence in 1960? Or the unveiling of the first iteration of the Naira note in 1973? Or even the real-time events that led to Nigeria’s first military coup?

Nigeria’s first military president, Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi [AFP]

If you have, then we have good news for you. 

A Nigerian team, Archivi.ng, have decided to help all Nigerians travel back in time — by scanning and digitising 500,000 old newspapers stretching from January 1, 1960, to December 31, 2010. 

This comprises 18,627 days of Nigerian history one may not have found anywhere else!

Some newspapers that have been curated so far [Reuters/Archivi.ng]

How did Archivi.ng start?

The project started as a weekend hobby, literally. 

Ex-Editor-in-Chief of Zikoko Magazine, Fu’ad Lawal and his friends decided to spend the weekends on a mission to find one newspaper every day between January 1, 1960, to December 31, 2010.

And they found out that it wasn’t that hard. In less than five months, they had found 95% of those newspapers.

But they later decided that finding these newspapers wasn’t enough. How can a simple Google search make 500,000 juicy pieces of Nigerian history available to everyone?

Their answer was to build a digital home for them by scanning these newspapers, storing them, extracting the text and cataloguing them on—you guessed it— the web via Archivi.ng

Now to the next question.

Why is their work so important?

With two points, let’s explain why what they are doing could probably be the next best thing after sliced bread:

  • History no longer needs to die: Even with the best print, newspapers have a lifespan of 50 years. And Nigeria will be celebrating its 63rd birthday this year. These newspapers, these essential bits of history—without being archived—tend to be obliterated from history books. 
  • Complete access to all information: Knowing simple Nigerian history would no longer be impossible. Everything would be right there with a simple Google search.

How can you support them?

From buying a ₦15 million scanner to general administrative charges, their work requires huge dedication and huge amounts of funding

They have raised $365 but would need up to $23,000.

If you love Archivi.ng and its mission to recover Nigeria’s history, you can donate whatever you can to the cause here.


Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.