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Timeline: Nigeria

BBC, Wednesday 10 January 2001, 14:55 GMT

1861-1914 - Britain consolidates its hold over what it calls the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, governs by indirect rule through local leaders.

1922 - Part of former German colony Kamerun is added to Nigeria under League of Nations mandate.

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

1962-63 - Controversial census fuels regional and ethnic tensions.

1966 January - Balewa killed in coup. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi heads up military administration.

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

1967 - Three eastern states secede as the Republic of Biafra, sparking bloody civil war.

1970 - Biafran leaders surrender, former Biafran regions reintegrated into country.

1975 - Gowon overthrown, flees to Britain, replaced by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed, who begins process of moving federal capital to Abuja.

1976 - Mohammed assassinated in coup attempt. Replaced by Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo, who helps introduce American-style presidential constitution.

1979 - Elections bring Alhaji Shehu Shagari to power.

[Sani Abacha]

Former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha Sani Abacha:
Seized power in 1993

1983 January - The government expels more than one million foreigners, mostly Ghanaians, saying they had overstayed their visas and were taking jobs from Nige trians. The move is condemned abroad but proves popular in Nigeria.

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

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

1985 - Ibrahim Babangida seizes power in bloodless coup, curtails political activity.

1993 June - Military annuls elections when preliminary results show victory by Chief Moshood Abiola.

1993 August - Power transferred to Interim National Government.

[Ken Saro-Wiwa]

Campaigner against oil damage Ken Saro-Wiwa Executed:
Ken Saro-Wiwa

1993 November - General Sani Abacha seizes power, suppresses opposition.

1994 - Abiola arrested after proclaiming himself president.

1995 - Ken Saro-Wiwa, writer and campaigner against oil industry damage to his Ogoni homeland, is executed following a hasty trial. In protest, European Union imposes sanctions until 1998, Commonwealth suspends Nigeria's membership until 1998.

1998 - Abacha dies, succeeded by Major-General Abdulsalam Abubakar. Chief Abiola dies in custody a month later.

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