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Discover Nigeria: Five February Facts You Should Know About Nigeria




It’s Valentine’s week and the hype just seems out of this world this 2013. Indeed St. Valentine’s Day celebrations did not get as much attention a decade ago, as it garners today. In the years gone by, this week was practically another week in the Nigerian’s quest to make ends meet or witness something tragic or awe-filled.

Here are few things that took place:

The 20Naira Note was introduced. On 11 February 1977, the 20 Naira notes were introduced into circulation for the first time by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The 20 Naira notes were the highest denomination for almost 20 years until the introduction of the N50 Naira notes in the 90s. The currency bill which is still in circulation today, bears the image of General Murtala Mohammed who was assassinated a year earlier in 1976.

First Papal visit to Nigeria. On 12 February 1982, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria for the first time. It was the first time a Bishop of Rome would visit the country. The visit was replete with fanfare, motorcades and awe among Nigeria’s predominantly Catholic Christian population at that time.

Murtala Mohammed Assasinated. On 13 February 1976, then Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated on his way to work in one of Nigeria’s bloodiest coups led by Col. Buka Dimka. General Mohammed who himself had come to power by a palace coup that ousted General Gowon, had gained repute with his reformist agenda which included moving Nigeria’s capital from Lagos to Abuja.

Orlando Owoh born. Yoruba highlife maestro, Orlando Owoh was born on 14 February 1932 in Owo, Ondo State. The heavy baritone singer charmed many highlife lovers in his day. With songs like, ‘Kangaroo’ and ‘Alagbon’, the somewhat controversial Orlando Owoh is hard to forget among Yoruba music lovers.

Savannah Bank license withdrawn.  Many oil boomers will easily remember Savannah Bank. It ran TV ads in those days that had an antelope running in the savannah. Well, after a lot of contention about insolvency, the Central Bank of Nigeria revoked Savannah Bank’s license to operate as a bank in Nigeria on 15 February 2002.

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Nehikhare Omotayo Igbinijesu is an Economist, Poet, and Social Entrepreneur. 'He is the author of The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women' and 'Marriage: 12 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Say, “I Do”'. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Akudo and two sons. He is Co-founder of, a motivational resources company based in Lagos. You can email him via nehijesu [at]

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