The incident, the latest in the region's round of violence, took place in Zaria city early today.
Spokesman for the country's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yushua Shuaib said the explosion was followed by gun shots but casualty figures are yet to be known.
Police and the army arrived at the venue promptly and secured the area.
No group has claimed responsibility but there has been heightened tension in Nigeria over a possible attack by Boko Haram Islamic sect during the independence celebrations.
The boarding school is run by prominent Salafist cleric Awwal Adam Albani, known for outspoken criticism of Boko Haram. He was also arrested last year over a bombing and arms possession, but later released for lack of evidence.
The United States embassy in the country recently issued a warning to citizens regarding the danger of terror attacks this period.
Boko Haram has killed more than 1000 people in the country of 150 million since 2009.
It wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in the country where Christians and Muslims have equal number of people.
Abuja: A bomb blast and gunfire today shook an area around an Islamic boarding school in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna, on the eve of country's 52nd Independence anniversary.
First Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012, 20:37