The cenotaph is located at Idumota, a neighbourhood of Isale Eko. It was built and installed in 1948 by the Nigerian government to commemorate the service of war veterans from the two World Wars. The sculpture is also referred to as that of the Unknown Soldier.
After the Nigerian civil war ended, the Nigerian military government ordered the erection of another tribute to fallen heroes; the ‘Soldier of Peace’, right next to the cenotaph. This sculpture paid tribute to those soldiers who lost their lives in the Nigerian Civil war and help in the post-war reconciliation. The cenotaph was later relocated to Tafawa Balewa Square, Race Course on Lagos Island and, in 1991, to Abuja, the new Federal Capital City.