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Diary of major events since independence 

By Tope Olaiya Templer   |   01 October 2016   |   5:55 am
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

1960 October – Independence, with Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa leading a coalition government.

1962-63 – Controversial census fueled regional and ethnic tensions.

1966 January – Balewa killed in coup. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi headed military administration.

1966 July – Ironsi killed in counter-coup, replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon.

1967 – Three eastern states seceded as the Republic of Biafra, sparking bloody civil war.

1970 – Biafran leaders surrendered, former Biafran regions reintegrated into country.

1975 – Gowon overthrown, flee to Britain, replaced by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed, who began process of moving federal capital to Abuja.
Obasanjo – first time round

1976 – Mohammed assassinated in failed coup attempt. Replaced by his deputy, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo, who helped introduce American-style presidential constitution.

1979 – Elections brought Alhaji Shehu Shagari to power.

1983 January – The government expelled more than one million foreigners, mostly Ghanaians, saying they had overstayed their visas and were taking jobs from Nigerians. The move was condemned abroad but popular in Nigeria.

1983 August, September – Shagari re-elected amid accusations of irregularities.

1983 December – Major-General Muhammad Buhari seized power in bloodless coup.

1985 August – Ibrahim Babangida seized power in bloodless coup, curtailed political activity.

1993 June – Military annulled elections when preliminary results showed victory by the late Chief Moshood Abiola.

1993 August – Power transferred to Interim National Government headed by Chief Earnest Sonekan
Abacha years

1993 November – General Sani Abacha seized power, suppressed opposition.

1994 June – Abiola arrested after proclaiming himself president.

1995 – Ken Saro-Wiwa, writer and campaigner against oil industry damage to his Ogoni homeland, was executed following a hasty trial. In protest, European Union imposed sanctions until 1998, Commonwealth suspended Nigeria’s membership until 1998.

1998 June – Abacha died, succeeded by Major-General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

1998 July – Chief Abiola died in custody.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

1999 – Parliamentary and presidential elections. Olusegun Obasanjo sworn in as president.

2000 – Adoption of Islamic, or Sharia law by several northern states in the face of opposition from Christians. Tension over the issue resulted in hundreds of deaths in clashes between Christians and Muslims.

2001 – Tribal war in Benue state, in eastern-central Nigeria, displaced thousands of people.
In October, army soldiers sent to quash the fighting killed more than 200 unarmed civilians, apparently in retaliation for the abduction and murder of 19 soldiers.

2001 October – Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African President Mbeki and Algerian President Bouteflika launched New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) with the objectives, among others, of fostering development, enhancing open government and ending wars in return for aid, foreign investment and the lifting of trade barriers to African exports.

Ethnic violence
2002 February – Some 100 people are killed in Lagos in clashes between Hausas from mainly-Islamic north and ethnic Yorubas from predominantly-Christian south.

2002 November – More than 200 people died in four days of rioting over the planned Miss World beauty pageant in Kaduna in December. The event was relocated to Britain.

2003 April (12) – First legislative elections since end of military rule in 1999. Polling marked by delays, allegations of ballot-rigging. President Obasanjo’s People’s Democratic Party won parliamentary majority.

Obasanjo re-elected
2003 April (19) – First civilian-run presidential elections since end of military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo elected for second term with more than 60% of vote. Opposition parties reject result. EU poll observers cite “serious irregularities”.

2003 July – Nationwide general strike called off after nine days after government agreed to lower recently-increased fuel prices.

2003 August – Inter-communal violence in the Niger Delta town of Warri killed about 100 people, injures 1,000.

2003 September – Nigeria’s first satellite, NigeriaSat-1, launched by Russian rocket.

2004 January – UN brokered talks between Nigeria and Cameroon about disputed border. Both sides agreed to joint security patrols.

2004 May – State of emergency was declared in the central Plateau State after more than 200 Muslims were killed in Yelwa in attacks by Christian militia; revenge attacks were launched by Muslim youths in Kano.

Trouble in the south

2004 August-September – Deadly clashes between gangs in oil city of Port Harcourt provoked strong crackdown by troops. Rights group Amnesty International cited death toll of 500, authorities said about 20 died.

2005 July – Paris Club of rich lenders agreed to write off two-thirds of Nigeria’s $30bn foreign debt.

2006 January onwards – Militants in the Niger Delta attacked pipelines and other oil facilities and kidnapped foreign oil workers. The rebels demanded more control over the region’s oil wealth.

2006 February – More than 100 people killed when religious violence flares in mainly-Muslim towns in the north and in the southern city of Onitsha.

2006 April – Helped by record oil prices, Nigeria became the first African nation to pay off its debt to the Paris Club of rich lenders.

2006 May – The Senate rejected proposed changes to the constitution which would have allowed President Obasanjo to stand for a third term in 2007.

Bakassi deal

2006 August – Nigeria cedes sovereignty over the disputed Bakassi peninsula to neighbouring Cameroon under the terms of a 2002 International Court of Justice ruling. A special transitional arrangement for the Nigerian civilian administration would be in place for five years.

2006 October – Spiritual leader of Nigeria’s millions of Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, was killed in a plane crash, the country’s third major civilian air disaster in a year.

2007 April – Umaru Yar’Adua of the ruling People’s Democratic Party wass proclaimed winner of the presidential election.

2007 September – The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) threatened to end a self-imposed ceasefire and to launch fresh attacks on oil facilities and abductions of foreign workers.

2007 November – Suspected Nigerian militants killed 21 Cameroon soldiers in Bakassi peninsula.
Nigerian senate rejected Nigeria-Cameroon agreement for hand-over of Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon.

2007 December – Anti-corruption chief, Nuhu Ribadu became sidelined, but a high-profile graft-related arrest followed soon after.
Oil prices soar

2008 January – Oil trades at $100 a barrel for the first time, with violence in oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Algeria helping to drive up prices.

2008 February – Mend leaders Henry Okah and Edward Atata extradited from Angola on suspicion of involvement in attacks on oil companies. Report that Okah was subsequently killed in custody proved to be untrue.

Umaru Yar’Adua

Umaru Yar’Adua

Tribunal upheld election of Umaru Yar’Adua as president following challenge by rivals who wanted the vote annulled because of alleged vote rigging.

2008 April – Two former health ministers and a daughter of President Olusegun Obasanjo were among 12 top health officials charged with embezzling around 470m Naira (4m dollars) of public health funds.
Oil production cut by about half as a result of strike action and attacks on pipelines by militants; problems in Nigeria helped keep world oil prices at record highs.

2008 August – Following agreement reached in March, Nigeria finally handed over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, ending a long-standing dispute.
Iran agreeed to share nuclear technology with Nigeria to help it increase its generation of electricity.

2008 September – Militants in the Niger Delta stepped up their attacks on oil installations, in response to what they described as unprovoked attacks by the military on their bases.

Oil prices fall
2008 October – The government announced major budget cuts following steep falls in the price of oil.

2008 November – At least 200 people were killed during clashes between Christians and Muslims in the central Nigerian town of Jos.

2009 January – The main militant group in Niger Delta, MEND, called off four-month cease-fire after army attacks camp of an allied group.

2009 March – Nineteen opposition parties unite to form a “mega-party” to compete against the governing People’s Democratic Party in elections due in 2011.

2009 May – Niger Delta militant group, MEND rejected government offer of amnesty and declared offensive against Nigerian military.

2009 July – Hundreds died in northeastern Nigeria after the Boko Haram Islamist movement launched a campaign of violence in a bid to have Sharia law imposed on the entire country. Security forces stormed Boko Haram’s stronghold and killed the movement’s leader.
Government freed the leader of the Niger Delta militant group, MEND, Henry Okah, after he accepted an amnesty offer.

2009 August – Two-month offer of a government amnesty for Niger Delta militants came into force.

2009 November – President Yar’Adua traveled to Saudi Arabia to be treated for a heart condition. His extended absence triggered a constitutional crisis and lead to calls for him to step down.
Jos clashes

2010 January – At least 149 people are killed during two days of violence between Christian and Muslim gangs in the central city of Jos.

2010 March – More than 120 people are killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the flashpoint city of Jos.



2010 May – President Umaru Yar’Adua died after a long illness. Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, already acting in Yar’Adua’s stead, succeeded him.

2010 October – Nigeria marked 50 years of independence. Celebrations in Abuja marred by deadly bomb blasts.

2010 November – Nigeria intercepted arms shipment from Iran, reports filed to UN Security Council.

2010 December – Christmas Eve bomb attacks near central city of Jos killed at least 80 people. Attacks claimed by Islamist sect, Boko Haram sparked clashes between Christians and Muslims. Some 200 killed in reprisal attacks.

2011 March – Goodluck Jonathan won presidential elections.

2011 July – President Jonathan said he would ask parliament to amend the constitution so that presidents will serve a single, longer term of six years in office.

Government said it wanted to start negotiating with the Boko Haram Islamist group blamed for a series of recent attacks across northern Nigeria.

2011 August – Suicide bomb attack on UN headquarters in Abuja killed 23 people. Radical Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

2011 November – At least 63 people were killed in bomb and gun attacks in north-eastern town of Damaturu. Boko Haram claimed responsibility.
President Jonathan sacked the head of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, saying that the body had failed to get to grips with graft during her tenure.
Christmas Day attacks

2011 December – Nearly 70 people killed in days of fighting between security forces and Boko Haram militants in north-eastern states of Yobe and Borno.
Christmas Day bomb attacks killed about 40 people. Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

President Jonathan declared state of emergency to contain violence by Boko Haram.

2012 January – Fuel price strike caused major disruption. Unions suspended action when government reversed decision to drop fuel subsidies.
More than 100 killed in single day of co-ordinated bombings and shootings in Kano, shortly after Boko Haram gave quit notice to Christians in the north.

2012 April – Chadian President Idriss Deby called on countries neighbouring northern Nigeria to set up a joint military force to tackle Boko Haram militants as they continue their attacks. He warns of the danger of the Islamist group destabilising the whole Lake Chad basin area.

2012 June – Boko Haram claimed responsibility for attacks on two churches in Jos city and Borno state, in which one person died and dozens of others were injured. An angry crowd killed six Muslims in Jos in retaliation.

2012 July – Nigeria signed a preliminary $4.5bn deal with US-based Vulcan Petroleum to build six oil refineries. Nigeria lacks refinery capacity and has to import most of its fuel needs, despite being a major oil producer.

2012 August – The army killed 20 Boko Haram fighters in a shootout in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. The government said it had started informal talks through “backroom channels” with Boko Haram to try to end attacks. Boko Haram ruled out peace talks shortly thereafter.
Maiduguri clashes

2012 October – Boko Haram bombed army bases in Maiduguri. The army said it killed 24 Boko Haram fighters in subsequent clashes.

2012 November – At least 100 people were charged with treason after a march supporting independence for Biafra in the region’s main town, Enugu.

2012 December – At least 20 Christians were killed in attacks by suspected Islamist militants in the northern states of Yobe and Borno over the Christmas/New Year period.

2013 May – Government declared state of emergency in three northern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa and sent in troops to combat the Boko Haram militants.

2013 July – Secondary schools were closed in Yobe state after a massacre of 22 pupils at a boarding school, which the government attributed to Boko Haram.

2013 September – Boko Haram murdered more than 150 people in roadside attacks in the northeast. Separately, security forces fought Boko Haram insurgents in the capital Abuja.

2013 November – Six state governors defected from the governing People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and merged with main opposition All Progressives Congress, leaving the PDP with fewer governors supporting it than the opposition.
Schoolgirls kidnapped

2014 April – Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from a boarding school. The US and Britain sent planes to help search for them and West African leaders agreed to co-operate to fight the insurgents.

2014 July – Nigeria and neighbours agreed to form a joint military force to combat the growing regional threat posed by Boko Haram.

2014 August – Boko Haram proclaimed a caliphate – an Islamic state – in the territory it controls in the northeast, a declaration dismissed by the government.

2014 October – Nigeria’s military said it had agreed a ceasefire with Boko Haram militants, and that the schoolgirls the group abducted would be released. The group denied the agreement on a ceasefire and said the girls have been married off.
President Goodluck Jonathan said he would seek a second term in office in elections, but these are postponed from February 2015 because of the Boko Haram insurgency.

2014 November – Boko Haram launched a series of attacks in northeastern Nigeria, capturing several towns near Lake Chad and running raids into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon in early 2015. Hundreds of people in the north-east were killed and thousands more displaced.

2015 February-March – Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger formed military coalition against Boko Haram, claim successes in pushing it back in all these countries.

Nigerian army captured Gwoza, believed to be Boko Haram’s main stronghold, in late March, leaving the armed group with only two towns under its control.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

2015 March – Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election, becoming the first opposition candidate to do so in Nigeria’s history.

2015 June – Nigeria assumed command of a regional military force to counter Boko Haram, to include troops from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin…
– Compiled By Tope Olaiya Templer

  • infinity2020

    Can anybody show Nigerians any land mark achievement of any of these leaders under the following , Power and,.Health infrastructure,Transportation system, Portable water system, modern sewage system Education system functional judiciary system. The list is infinitum Singapore and Nigeria got the independence almost the same time Lee. Kwan Yew lifted his country to its glory before he left and his name was written in gold as the father of the nation Who is the father of our own Nigeria today?

  • PhilipEwEmeriewen

    I think every Nigerian who want Nigeria to succeed should support President Buhari. We have seen so much corruption and sufferings of the masses. Be wise Nigerians. Abhor corruption and abide with the country’s rule of law. Do not bribe anyone. Be strict. You are destroying the better future of Nigeria with bribery. Be wise!

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