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Nigeria at 60: Years of mixed blessings

As part of The Daily Report’s project to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th anniversary of Independence, we asked historian and researcher Dr Raphael James to dig into the archives and come up with 60 milestone dates that celebrate the country’s remarkable evolution — dates all Nigerians should know and reflect upon. Below is the second of three installments. We hope you enjoy it.  

1988 March 21: Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria for the second time and he beatified the late Rev. Fr. Cyprian Tansi.

1988 October 18: The Jesse oil explosion in Edo State occurred with about 1,082 persons killed from pipeline explosion.

1999 May 29: Nigeria adopted a new Constitution, for the nation, more of an improvement on the 1979 Constitution.

2000 March 6: Dr Shonibare conducted the first kidney transplant in Nigeria at the St Nicholas Hospital

2000 March 10: Sharia Law first victim, Baba Bello Jngedi had his right hand cut off for allegedly stealing a cow.

2001 November 16: Miss Agbani Darego of Nigeria became Miss World, the first time Nigeria is making that record.

2001 December 23: Chief Bola Ige, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was assassinated in his house at Ibadan.

2002  April 8: The Abuja National Stadium was officially opened.

2002 October 1: The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) was launched.

2003 July 29:  Nigeria Satellite, NIG SAT-1 was launched into space at the Russian military base at 7:12 am Nigerian time.

2003 December 3: Queen Elizabeth II of England visited Nigeria a second time 47 years after her first visit in 1956.

2005 April 5: Mr Dele Olojede won the Pulitzer Price, becoming the first African to do so.

2005 October 12: The Central Bank of Nigeria introduced new 1000 Naira currency denomination.

2006 April 21:  Nigeria became the first African country to pay off completely it debt to the Paris Club.

2007 February 28: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reissued new design currency denominations of 50 Kobo, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Naira.

2007 July 26: Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) became the very first bank in Africa to be listed in the London Stock Exchange Market.            

2007 October 30:  Mrs. Patricia Etteh, first female Speaker and Alhaji Babangida Nguroje Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative in Abuja were forced to resign their positions for corruption charges involving N628 million contract.

2008 August 15: Federal Government of Nigeria handed over Bakasi Peninsula to Cameroon at a ceremony held in Calabar, the handing over was between Nigeria Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Michael Aondoakaa and Cameroonian Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Professor Maurice Kamto, it was witnessed by United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon.

2010 May 5:  President Umaru Yar’Adua dies after a long illness.

2020 February 27: Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lagos State. When an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria who returned from Milan to Lagos on the 25th of February 2020 was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, which is part of the Laboratory Network at the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. By this confirmation, Nigeria became the third country in Africa to have a confirmed case of coronavirus aside Egypt and Algeria and first in West Africa.

Dr Raphael James is a graduate of Psychology from the Ondo State University and holds a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the California State University. He is Founder and Director-General of the Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD). He runs the richest Museum of Nigeria History with close to 40, 000 photos. Publisher of the Nigeria Biographer magazine, he manages the richest museum of Nigeria History with close to 40, 000 photos.

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