Nigerian History

Historical Events

  • 1861-08-06 The British annex Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1885-02-26 Berlin Conference gives Congo to Belgium and Nigeria to Great Britain
  • 1900-01-01 British protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria are established
  • 1903-03-13 Fall of the Sokoto Caliphate in Northern Nigeria, the British claim supremacy on over 500,000 square miles
  • 1914-01-01 Northern & Southern Nigeria united in British colony of Nigeria
  • 1948-01-18 1st courses begin at University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • 1954-10-01 British colony of Nigeria becomes a federation

Historic Publication

1958-06-17 "Things Fall Apart" by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe published by Heinemann - considered most widely read book in African literature

  • 1960-05-09 Nigeria becomes a member of British Commonwealth
  • 1960-10-01 Nigeria becomes the 99th member of the United Nations
  • 1960-10-01 Nigeria gains independence from Great Britain (National Day)
  • 1963-10-01 Nigeria enacts a new constitution and becomes a republic
  • 1966-01-15 Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna lead a coup d'état in Nigeria, the Prime Minister of Nigeria and other senior political and military figures are killed
  • 1966-01-15 The First Nigerian Republic is overthrown in a military coup d'etat
  • 1966-01-16 Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi seizes power in the chaos caused by a military coup and becomes the Nigerian Head of State
  • 1966-07-16 Nigeria becomes the first Anglophone independent state in Africa to become an associate member of European Economic Community
  • 1966-07-29 In Nigerian counter-coup, Head of State General Aguiyi Ironsi murdered, Yakubu Gowon appointed his successor
  • 1966-08-01 Yakubu Gowon becomes Nigerian Head of State after a military coup d'état

Historic Event

1966-10-05 Nigerian government presents a copy of Ben Enwonwu's sculpture "The Awakening" to the United Nations

  • 1967-05-30 Republic of Biafra, a predominantly Igbo secessionist state in eastern Nigeria, is founded by Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu
  • 1967-07-06 Nigerian Civil War erupts as Nigerian forces invade the secessionist state of Biafra
  • 1967-08-09 Biafran offensive against Nigerian army
  • 1967-09-20 Benin separates from Nigeria
  • 1968-09-04 Nigerian troops conquer the city of Aba, Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War
  • 1968-09-19 Nigerian federal army begins the "final offensive" against the secessionist state of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War
  • 1970-01-13 Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu flees Biafra into exile, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to surrender to the Nigerian army, unofficially ending the Nigerian Civil War
  • 1970-01-15 Nigerian civil war officially ends after 2 1/2 years of fighting when the Republic of Biafra disbands and joins Nigeria
  • 1973-01-23 Jordan Air crash at Kano, Nigeria kills 176 Muslim pilgrims
  • 1973-06-11 Libya nationalizes Bunker Hunt concession; Nigeria acquires 35 percent participation in Shell-BP concession
  • 1974-05-18 Nigeria announces 55 percent government participation in all oil concessions
  • 1975-07-30 Murtala Mohammed overthrows General Gowon to become Nigerian Head of State
  • 1976-02-13 Major-General Olusegun Obasanjo becomes military ruler of Nigeria
  • 1977-01-15 Festac '77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, begins in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1977-02-12 Festac '77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, finishes in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1979-02-09 Nigeria amends constitution
  • 1979-10-01 Nigeria adopts constitution, Alhaji Shagari becomes president
  • 1979-10-01 Shehu Shagari becomes first and only President of Nigeria's Second Republic
  • 1983-01-17 Nigeria expels 2 million illegal aliens, mostly Ghanaians
  • 1983-12-31 Nigeria's National Assembly dissolves after military coup

Coup d'état

1983-12-31 President Shagari of Nigeria is overthrown in a military coup and Major General Muhammadu Buhari is installed as Head of State

  • 1984-01-02 Major-General Muhammadu Buhari is declared Head of State in Nigeria, following a military coup
  • 1984-03-20 Nigerian Major-General Babatunde Idiagbon launches a campaign on ‘National Consciousness and Enlightenment’
  • 1984-08-27 War Against Indiscipline is launched by the Buhari regime in Nigeria
  • 1984-09-04 Nigerian singer Fela Kuti sentenced to 2 years [1]
  • 1985-08-27 General Ibrahim Babangida overthrows Major General Muhammadu Buhari's regime in Nigeria

Historic Event

1986-06-27 Ibrahim Babangida's regime in Nigeria launches the 'Structural Adjustment Program" to restructure the Nigerian economy via deregulation and privatization with the support of the IMF and the World Bank

Nobel Prize

1986-10-16 Wole Soyinka, Nigerian playwright and poet, becomes the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature

  • 1987-09-23 Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida creates two states: Akwa Ibom and Katisna
  • 1988-02-18 Federal Road Safety Corps is established in Nigeria
  • 1991-03-25 Nigerian crude becomes competitive in US Gulf Coast as Nigeria cuts crude prices
  • 1991-07-11 Nigeria Airways DC-8 crashes at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing all 261 passengers and crew on board
  • 1991-08-27 Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida creates nine states: Abia, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Kogi, Taraba, and Yobe
  • 1991-12-12 Abuja replaces Lagos as the capital city of Nigeria
  • 1992-08-09 Cuban boxer Félix Savón wins the first of 3 consecutive Olympic heavyweight gold medals when he dominates Nigerian David Izonritei on points at the Barcelona Games
  • 1992-09-26 Nigerian Air Force Hercules C-130 crashes three minutes after take-off from Lagos, Nigeria, killing 163
  • 1992-10-20 Mr Johnson surrenders Monrovia, Liberia & is exiled to Nigeria
  • 1993-01-21 Nigerian singer Fela Kuti arrested on suspicion of murder
  • 1993-03-08 Nigerian singer Fela Kuti arrested again on suspicion of murder
  • 1993-06-23 Nigeria's military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, annuls results of presidential elections and halts a return to democracy
  • 1993-08-14 Nigerian presidential election
  • 1993-08-26 Ernest Shonekan is appointed interim president of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida
  • 1993-10-25 Airbus A310 of Air Nigeria hijacked, 1 dead

Coup d'état

1993-11-17 General Sani Abacha leads a military coup against Ernest Shonekan's transitional administration and returns the Nigerian government to military control

  • 1994-06-11 Moshood Abiola becomes President of Nigeria
  • 1994-06-12 Moshood Abiola declares himself lawful President of Nigeria
  • 1994-06-23 Moshood Abiola is accused of treason and arrested after declaring himself president of Nigeria
  • 1995-11-10 In Nigeria, playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop) are hanged by government forces
  • 1997-04-01 Shell Oil confirms it will declare force majeure at its Nigerian Bonny terminal due to local protests which disrupted 210 million barrels per day of the company's oil production
  • 1998-06-09 Abdulsalami Abubakar succeeds Sani Abacha as military President of Nigeria
  • 1999-02-27 Olusegun Obasanjo becomes Nigeria's first elected president since mid-1983
  • 1999-05-29 Olusegun Obasanjo takes office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule
  • 2000-07-10 A leaking southern Nigerian petroleum pipeline explodes, killing about 250 villagers scavenging gasoline
  • 2002-11-22 In Nigeria, more than 100 people are killed at an attack aimed at the contestants of the Miss World contest
  • 2004-05-02 Yelwa massacre of more than 630 nomad Muslims by Christians in Nigeria
  • 2008-08-22 Russia wins the women's 4 × 100 m relay ahead of Belgium & Nigeria at the Beijing Olympics; disqualified in 2016 when reanalysis of Yulia Chermoshanskaya’s samples result in positive test for prohibited substances
  • 2008-08-23 Midfielder Ángel Di María scores a 58th minute winner as Argentina beats Nigeria 1-0 to take the men's football gold medal at the Beijing Olympics; 89,102 at the National Stadium
  • 2012-01-28 Death toll from coordinated bombing attacks in Kano, Nigeria, reaches 185
  • 2012-06-03 Plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, kills all 152 passengers and 40 people on the ground
  • 2012-06-03 Suicide car bombing kills 15 and inures 42 people in Bauchi, Nigeria
  • 2012-06-11 23 people are killed after two villages are attacked in northern Nigeria
  • 2012-07-12 90-155 people are killed after an oil tanker crashes and explodes in Okogbe, Rivers State, Nigeria
  • 2012-08-07 21 people are killed by a gun attack in a church in Okene, Nigeria
  • 2012-09-28 Nigeria suspends flights to Saudi Arabia after hundreds of Nigerian women travelled without a male escort
  • 2012-10-02 20 students are gunned down in Mubi, Nigeria
  • 2012-10-08 35 people are killed by a Nigerian military bomb struck a convoy in Maiduguri
  • 2012-10-14 20 people are gunned down in a mosque in Dogo Dawa, Nigeria
  • 2012-10-16 Conflict in Maiduguri, Nigeria, leads to 24 militant deaths and several structures set ablaze
  • 2012-11-05 Widespread flooding in Nigeria kills 363 people and displaces 2.1 million
  • 2012-11-25 11 people are killed and 30 are wounded by twin car bombs hitting a Protestant church in Nigeria
  • 2013-01-01 13 Boko Harem members are killed by Nigeria’s military in Maiduguri
  • 2013-01-23 18 people are killed in a market shooting in Damboa, Nigeria
  • 2013-02-01 The Nigerian Army bombs a Boko Haram camp, killing 18 people
  • 2013-02-10 Nigeria defeat Burkina Faso 1-0 to win the football 2013 Africa Cup of Nations
  • 2013-03-18 Explosions kill 25 people at a bus park in Kano, Nigeria
  • 2013-03-21 At least 45 people drown and 60 are missing after a Nigerian boat sinks off the shore of Gabon
  • 2013-03-24 25 people are killed by gunmen in a coordinated attack in Adamawa State, Nigeria
  • 2013-03-31 14 Boko Haram suspects are killed in a Nigerian Army raid
  • 2013-04-05 60 people are killed in Nigeria after a bus collides with an oil tanker
  • 2013-04-06 11 people are killed in an attack on a village in Midlu, Nigeria
  • 2013-04-21 185 people are killed in a conflict between Islamic extremists and the Nigerian military

Famous Birthdays

  • 1905-05-29 Fela Sowande, Nigerian musician and composer, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria (d. 1987)
  • 1909-03-06 Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian statesman and nationalist, born in Ikenne, British Nigeria (d. 1987)

Ben Enwonwu

1917-07-14 Ben Enwonwu, Nigerian painter (Portrait of Tutu), born in Onitsha, Nigeria (d. 1994)

  • 1925-02-25 Shehu Shagari, Nigerian politician, President of Nigeria (1979-83), born in Sokoto, Nigeria (d. 2018)
  • 1927-04-07 Babatunde Olatunji, Nigerian percussionist (Drums of Passion), educator, and social activist, born in Ajido, Lagos (d. 2003)
  • 1929-08-14 Dick Tiger, Nigerian professional boxer, born in Amaigbo, Nigeria (d. 1971)
  • 1929-12-24 Noel DaCosta, Nigerian-Jamaican composer, born in Lagos, Nigeria (d. 2002)

Chinua Achebe

1930-11-16 Chinua Achebe, Nigerian author (Christmas in Biafra), born in Ogidi, Anambra, Nigeria (d. 2013)

  • 1934-05-12 Elechi Amadi, Nigerian novelist (The Concubine), born in Aluu (d. 2016)

Wole Soyinka

1934-07-13 Wole Soyinka, Nigerian playwright and poet (Road, Kongi's Harvest-Nobel 1986), born in Abeokuta, near Ibadan, Nigeria

  • 1934-10-19 Yakubu Gowon, Nigerian army chief, dictator and head of state (1966–75), born in Plateau State, Nigeria
  • 1935-04-06 John Pepper Clark, Nigeria, writer (Horn, Song of a Goat)
  • 1937-03-05 Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, President of Nigeria
  • 1937-08-24 Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, Nigerian politician, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria (d. 1998)
  • 1938-10-15 Fela Kuti, Nigerian Afrobeat musician and composer, born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria (d. 1997)
  • 1938-11-08 Murtala Mohammed, Nigerian military ruler, born in Bendel State, Colonial Nigeria (d. 1976)

Ibrahim Babangida

1941-08-17 Ibrahim Babangida, Nigerian Head of State (1985–1993), born in Northern Region, British Nigeria

  • 1941-10-10 Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer and environmentalist, born in Bori, Nigeria (d. 1995)

Muhammadu Buhari

1942-12-17 Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian military leader and politician (President of Nigeria 2015-), born in Daura, Katsina State

Sani Abacha

1943-09-20 Sani Abacha, de facto President of Nigeria (1993-98), born in Kano, Nigeria (d. 1998)

  • 1944-01-27 Peter Akinola, Nigerian religious leader
  • 1944-07-21 Buchi Emecheta, Nigerian English writer (Price of Bride), born in Lagos (d. 2017)
  • 1944-11-24 Ibrahim Gambari, Nigerian scholar
  • 1945-11-14 Stella Obasanjo, Nigerian First Lady (d. 2005)
  • 1946-09-22 King Sunny Adé [Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye], Nigerian jùjú and Afrobeat singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboard player (Jùjú Music; Synchro System; Odu), born in Oshogbo, Nigeria
  • 1954-06-13 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian economist (Minister of Finance 2011-15), born in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State
  • 1957-04-10 Aliko Dangote, Nigerian Chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group, born in Kano, Kano State
  • 1957-08-26 "Dr." Alban [Nwaba], Nigerian-Swedish hip-hop reggae singer, born in Oguta, Imo, Federation of Nigeria
  • 1959-01-16 Sade [Helen Folasade Adu], Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter, arranger, and record producer ("Soldier of Love"; "Smooth Operator"), born in Ibadan, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
  • 1960-02-06 Akinwumi Adesina, Nigerian politician (African Development Bank President 2015-), born in Ogun State, Nigeria
  • 1960-04-04 Hugo Weaving, Nigerian-born English-Australian actor (Agent Smith - The Matrix), born in Ibadan, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
  • 1961-11-30 Innocent Egbunike, Nigeria, 4x400m runner (Olympic bronze 1984)
  • 1962-06-16 Femi Kuti, Nigerian Afrobeat singer, saxophonist, and songwriter, born in London, England

Hakeem Olajuwon

1963-01-21 Hakeem Olajuwon, Nigerian-American NBA center, 1984-2002 (Houston Rockets, Olympic gold 1996), born in Lagos, Nigeria

  • 1963-04-28 Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigerian Accountant and World Bank official (#BringBackOurGirls campaign)
  • 1965-01-04 Cait O'Riordan, British musician (The Pogues), born in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1966-04-08 Bobby Ologun, Nigerian television personality
  • 1967-09-27 Uche Okechukwu, Nigerian international soccer player
  • 1968-06-03 Saffron [Samantha Sprackling], Nigerian-British singer (Republica), born in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1969-11-29 Ben Iroha, Nigerian football player (Vitesse), born in Aba, Nigeria
  • 1971-06-12 David Defiagbon, Nigerian-Canadian boxer (Olympic silver 1996), born in Sapele, Delta State, Nigeria (d. 2018)
  • 1972-10-10 Yinka Dare, Nigerian NBA center (NJ Nets), born in Kano, Nigeria (d. 2004)
  • 1973-08-14 Jay-Jay Okocha, Nigerian footballer, born in Enugu, Nigeria
  • 1973-09-25 Tijani Babangida, Nigerian soccer player (Roda JC), born in Kaduna, Nigeria
  • 1974-04-08 Nnedi Okorafor, Nigerian American writer (Binti books), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1976-04-01 David Oyelowo, English Nigerian actor (Spooks, Lincoln), born in Oxford, England
  • 1976-08-01 Nwankwo Kanu, Nigerian soccer player (Ajax), born in Owerri, Imo, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

1977-09-15 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer (Half of a Yellow Sun), born in Enugu, Enugu State

  • 1978-02-07 Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Nigerian Nollywood actress, born in Lagos
  • 1978-04-24 Stella Damasus Aboderin, Nigerian actress (Two Brides and a Baby), born in Benin City, Edo, Nigeria
  • 1978-08-29 Celestine Babayaro, Nigerian footballer, born in Kaduna, Nigeria
  • 1978-10-31 Emmanuel Izonritei, Nigerian boxer
  • 1979-05-25 Sam Sodje, Nigerian footballer, born in Greenwich, London
  • 1980-09-06 Joseph Yobo, Nigerian footballer (Nigerian national team captain), born in Kono, Rivers State, Nigeria
  • 1980-09-06 Samuel Peter, Nigerian-American heavyweight boxer, born in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
  • 1981-10-12 Shola Ameobi, Nigerian footballer (Notts County), born in Zaria, Nigeria
  • 1981-10-13 Kele Okereke, Nigerian-English musician (Bloc Party), born in Liverpool, England
  • 1982-01-08 John Utaka, Nigerian footballer, born in Enugu, Nigeria
  • 1982-06-08 Dickson Etuhu, Nigerian footballer
  • 1982-11-22 Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Nigerian footballer
  • 1983-09-11 Ike Diogu, Nigerian-American basketball player, born in Buffalo, New York
  • 1984-10-28 Obafemi Martins, Nigerian footballer
  • 1987-06-10 Amobi Okoye, Nigeria-born American football player
  • 1988-04-23 Victor Anichebe, Nigerian footballer, born in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1989-03-28 Afrikan Boy [Olushola Ajose], British rapper (Wot It Do?), born in Nigeria
  • 1989-11-14 Mary Bashua-Alimi, Nigerian radio and TV personality
  • 1990-12-12 Victor Moses, Nigerian footballer, born in Lagos, Nigeria
  • 1992-11-21 Davido [David Adedeji Adeleke], Nigerian singer-songwriter (Fall), born in Atlanta, Georgia

Famous Weddings

Chinua Achebe

1961-09-10 Nigerian novelist, critic and academic Chinua Achebe ("Things Fall Apart") marries Christie Okoli

  • 2006-04-15 Miss Nigeria 2002 Sylvia Ansa Edem weds businessman Chris Emecheta at the Recreation Park, Victoria Garden City, Lekki Lagos

Famous Deaths

  • 1922-01-08 Charles R Young, colonel, dies at 58, in Lagos Nigeria
  • 1971-02-11 Whitney Young Jr, National Urban League director, drowns in Nigeria
  • 1971-12-14 Dick Tiger, Nigerian professional boxer, dies at 42
  • 1976-02-13 Murtala Mohammed, Nigerian military ruler, is assassinated at 37
  • 1983-01-12 (Anthony) "Rebop" Kwaku Baah, Nigerian percussionist (traffic, 1971-74), dies of cerebral hemorrhage during a performance in Stockholm, Sweden at 38
  • 1986-10-19 Dele Giwa, Nigerian journalist, editor, and founder of Newswatch magazine, is assassinated by a mail bomb at 39
  • 1987-03-13 Fela Sowande, Nigerian musician and composer, dies at 81
  • 1987-05-09 Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian statesman & nationalist, dies at 78
  • 1989-08-12 Samuel Okwaraji, Nigerian footballer (b. 1964)
  • 1991-07-06 Muda Lawal, Nigerian footballer (b. 1954)

Ben Enwonwu

1994-02-05 Ben Enwonwu, Nigerian painter (Portrait of Tutu), dies at 76

  • 1995-11-10 Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer and environmentalist, dies at 54
  • 1996-05-11 Nnamdi Azikiwe, 1st President of Nigeria (1963-66), dies at 91
  • 1996-11-07 Jaja Wachuku, Nigerian Lawyer and First Foreign Affairs Minister (b. 1918)
  • 1997-08-02 Fela Kuti, Nigerian Afrobeat musician and composer, dies of an illness, disputedly AIDS related, at 58

Sani Abacha

1998-06-08 Sani Abacha, de facto President of Nigeria (1993-98), dies at 54

  • 1998-07-07 Moshood Abiola, 1993 Nigerian presidential election candidate and presumed winner of the inconclusive election, dies in detention at 60
  • 2001-12-23 Bola Ige, Nigerian politician, Minister of Justice, murdered at 71
  • 2003-04-06 Babatunde Olatunji, Nigerian percussionist (Drums of Passion), educator, and social activist, dies at 75
  • 2004-01-09 Yinka Dare, Nigerian NBA center (NJ Nets), dies at 31
  • 2005-10-23 Stella Obasanjo, Nigerian first lady (b. 1945)
  • 2010-03-06 Endurance Idahor, Nigerian footballer (b. 1984)
  • 2011-01-06 Uche Okafor, Nigerian footballer (b. 1967)
  • 2011-04-18 Olubayo Adefemi, Nigerian footballer, dies at 25
  • 2016-06-29 Elechi Amadi, Nigerian novelist (The Concubine), dies at 82
  • 2017-01-25 Buchi Emecheta, Nigerian English writer (Price of Bride), dies at 72
  • 2018-05-07 Isyaku Rabiu, Nigerian businessman and Islamic scholar, dies at 92
  • 2018-12-28 Shehu Shagari, Nigerian politician, President of Nigeria (1979-83), dies at 93