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

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Novelist and Poet Chinua Achebe
Novelist and Poet
Chinua Achebe
  • 1960-05-09 Nigeria becomes a member of British Commonwealth
  • 1960-10-01 Nigeria gains independence from Great Britain (National Day)
  • 1960-10-01 Nigeria becomes the 99th member of the United Nations
  • 1963-10-01 Nigeria enacts a new constitution and becomes a republic
  • 1966-01-15 The First Nigerian Republic is overthrown in a military coup d'etat
  • 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
  • 1966-01-16 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Artist Ben Enwonwu
Artist
Ben Enwonwu
  • 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

BattleCoup 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

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari
President of Nigeria
Muhammadu Buhari
  • 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
  • 1985-08-27 General Ibrahim Babangida overthrows Major General Muhammadu Buhari's regime in Nigeria
  • 1986-06-27 Babangida regime in Nigeria launches the 'Structural Adjustment Program"

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

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

Playwright Wole Soyinka
Playwright
Wole Soyinka
  • 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

BattleCoup 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

President of Nigeria Sani Abacha
President of Nigeria
Sani Abacha
  • 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 Suicide car bombing kills 15 and inures 42 people in Bauchi, Nigeria
  • 2012-06-03 Plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, kills all 152 passengers and 40 people on the ground
  • 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)

Person of interestBen Enwonwu

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

Artist Ben Enwonwu
Artist
Ben Enwonwu
  • 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), 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)

Person of interestChinua Achebe

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

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

Person of interestWole Soyinka

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

Playwright Wole Soyinka
Playwright
Wole Soyinka
  • 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)
  • 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)

Person of interestMuhammadu Buhari

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

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari
President of Nigeria
Muhammadu Buhari

Person of interestSani Abacha

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

President of Nigeria Sani Abacha
President of Nigeria
Sani Abacha
  • 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 Ade, Nigerian singer
  • 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, Nigerian-Swedish singer
  • 1959-01-16 Sade [Helen Folasade Adu], Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter, composer, 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 Musician

Person of interestHakeem Olajuwon

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

NBA Center Hakeem Olajuwon
NBA Center
Hakeem Olajuwon
  • 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 Samantha Sprackling, Nigerian singer
  • 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-Mbachu, Nigerian American writer
  • 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

Person of interestChimamanda 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 Samuel Peter, Nigerian-American heavyweight boxer, born in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
  • 1980-09-06 Joseph Yobo, Nigerian footballer (Nigerian national team captain), born in Kono, Rivers State, 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


LoveWedding of Interest

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

Novelist and Poet Chinua Achebe
Novelist and Poet
Chinua Achebe
  • 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 Rebop Kwaku Baah, Nigerian percussionist (b. 1944)
  • 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)

Person of interestBen Enwonwu

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

Artist Ben Enwonwu
Artist
Ben Enwonwu
  • 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 at 58

Person of interestSani Abacha

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

President of Nigeria Sani Abacha
President of Nigeria
Sani Abacha
  • 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 (b. 1930)
  • 2003-04-06 Babatunde Olatunji, Nigerian drummer (b. 1927)
  • 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

Person of interestChinua Achebe

2013-03-21 Chinua Achebe, Nigerian poet and novelist (Things Fall Apart), dies at 82

Novelist and Poet Chinua Achebe
Novelist and Poet
Chinua Achebe
  • 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