On this day, January 15 1966, the first military coup in Nigeria was staged by a group of Nigerian soldiers led by Kaduna Nzeogwu, Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Adewale Ademoyega. The coup plotters who called themselves ‘revolutionaries’ attacked Ibadan, Kaduna, Lagos and also blockaded River Niger and Benue for two days before they were subdued by military forces commanded by Major Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi.
Top government officials like Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, Okotie-Eboh, Samuel Akintola, Ahmadu Bello were killed. After subduing the coup plotters, the General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi then used the coup to annex power and became the first Nigerian Military Head of State. This was one of the events that led to the Nigerian Civil War.
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