15th-19th centuries — Borno Empire
16-18th centuries — The slave trade forcibly sends millions of Nigerians to the Americas.
1809 — The Sokoto caliphate is founded in the north.
1850s — The British establish a presence around Lagos.
1861-1914 — Britain consolidates its rule in Nigeria.
1922 — As part of a mandate by the League of Nations, part of the German colony Kamerun becomes part of Nigeria (the current Adamawa state and Bama in Borno).
1958 — Hamsatu is born in Nguru, Yobe State.
1959 — Hamsatu’s parents relocate to Maiduguri.
1960 — Nigeria is granted independence, with Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa leading a coalition government.
1964 — Hamsatu is enrolled in Gamboru Primary School.
1966 — The first military coup occurs in Nigeria.
1970 — Hamsatu enrolls in Community Secondary School in Maiduguri and continues to Yerwa Government Secondary School.
1975 — Hamsatu proceeds to Northeast College of Arts and Sciences, in Maiduguri.
1977 — Hamsatu marries. She then enrolls in the University of Maiduguri.
1978 — Hamsatu has her first baby, a girl named Falmata (Tukul).
1979 — Hamsatu has her second baby, a boy named Allamin (Babu). Nigeria’s Second Republic begins. The first civilian governor of Borno State is Muhammad Goni.
1980 — Hamsatu graduates with a BA in English and enrolls in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps program.
1981 — Hamsatu completes service. She has her third baby, a boy named Mustapha (Kaka Lawan). She takes up an appointment with the Borno State Government as a teacher.
1982 — Hamsatu has her fourth baby, a boy named Muhammad Buhari (Mamman). Hamsatu’s husband becomes the tribal chief in Konduga (28 kilometers from Maiduguri). The family relocates there and Hamsatu begins teaching at the government secondary school. She also enrolls at the University of Maidguri in a master’s degree program.
1983-95 — This era is marked by a series of military coups, counter coups, election annulment, and the formation of an interim government rife with allegations of corruption and poor governance.
1984 — Hamsatu earns an MA degree in history. With her ongoing activism and advocacy in Konduga, Hamsatu continues to re-define the role of a chief’s wife.
1985 — Hamsatu has her fifth baby, a boy named Lawan Kawu (Gargam).
1988 — Hamsatu is appointed principal of the Model Girls’ Science School in Konduga.
1989 — Hamsatu has her sixth baby, a boy named Ahmad (Baa Lawan).
1992 — Hamsatu has her seventh baby, a boy named Abubakar (Habu).
1996, October — Hamsatu has her eighth and last child, a girl named Hadiza (Yakaka).
1996, December – 1997, July — Hamsatu is appointed executive secretary, Borno State Commission for Women, and then director general, Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs.
1999, December – 2003, February — Hamsatu is appointed director of School Service and promoted to board secretary, Borno State Primary Education Board.
1999-2001 — The Da’wah group (sometimes known as the Nigerian Taliban) emerges under the leadership of Muhammad Ali.
1999 — Nigeria’s Fourth Republic elections bring to power Olusegun Obasanjo as president and Mala Kachalla as governor of Borno State.
2000 — Borno and several other northern states adopt Sharia law over the objections of Christians, leading to hundreds of deaths. As director of School Service, Hamsatu initiates pension benefits for primary school teachers.
2002 — Da’wah migrates to Yobe, and Muhammad Ali and several others die in a clash with police. During violent clashes in Lagos between northerners (mostly Muslims) and southerners (mostly Christian Yoruba from the southwest), around 100 people are killed. The governor of Borno State earns the title “Captain of Peace” for traveling to Lagos and advocating peace.
2003 — Da’wah consolidates in Borno and attacks the police in Bama and Gwoza, but are subdued by government forces.
2003 — After Ali’s death, Muhammad Yusuf becomes the leader of Da’wah and it is re-named Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād. Local people call the followers “Yusufiyyas,” and the group later becomes known as Boko Haram. In the first civilian-led democratic elections, Olusegun Obasanjo is re-elected, while Ali Modu Sheriff is elected governor in Borno State. Hamsatu suffers political victimization, is removed as secretary, demoted to the rank of a director, and posted to the Scholarships Board.
2007 — Hamsatu takes a post as secretary to the Secondary School Teaching Board.
2008 — Two former health ministers and a daughter of the president are among 12 top health officials charged with embezzling public funds.
2009 — Hamsatu and her husband divorce. Muhammed Yusuf’s preaching draws large crowds in the Maiduguri area, Hamsatu’s son among them. Later that year, Hamsatu marries her second husband.
June — The first revolt by Boko Haram against the state is recorded, with the group holding government forces hostage for three days. Several hundred fighters, including Yusuf are killed, and the group goes into hiding.
Hamsatu takes leave from the Teaching Service Board and volunteers with the Federation of Muslim Women in Associations in Nigeria in response to political victimization.
2010 — Goodluck Jonathan becomes president of Nigeria. Boko Haram re-emerges in Maiduguri under Abubakar Shekau, and the group starts targeting security forces. Christmas Eve attacks near the city of Jos kill at least 80 people, and that and other attacks claimed by Boko Haram spark reprisal attacks, killing roughly 200 more. The government sets up a Joint Task Force in response to the violence in the northeast.
Hamsatu is arrested after her presentation on the topic of “Religion, Violence, and Extremism.” Hamsatu starts a collaboration with the British Council in Nigeria to develop the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP).
2011 — Boko Haram makes Nagarannam in Maiduguri their headquarters and starts abducting girls. The government says it wants to start negotiating with Boko Haram, as several major attacks kill hundreds across the country. The JTF arrests wives and family members of Boko Haram commanders.
Fleeing Damaturu after the outbreak of that clash, Hamsatu and hundreds of others are forced to spend the night in their vehicles. Hamsatu’s updates from the road to her colleagues at NSRP evolve into ongoing eye-witness accounts of the violence and its aftermath in Borno State and Maiduguri.
2012, February — Hamsatu’s son is arrested, falsely accused of being a member of Boko Haram, and tortured by soldiers.
2012, August — The army kills 20 Boko Haram fighters in a shootout in Maiduguri. The government says it has started informal talks to try to end attacks. Boko Haram rule out peace talks shortly beforehand.
2012, October — Boko Haram bombs army bases in Maiduguri and reprisal attacks by the army kill 24 fighters.
2012, November — Hamsatu becomes regional coordinator/consultant and conflict analyst for the NSRP/British Council/DFID Peacebuilding program.
In her own efforts for peace, Hamsatu partners with Barrister Aisha Wakil — AKA “Mama Boko Haram” — in an ongoing outreach to key commanders in Boko Haram to end the violence.
2013, May — Boko Haram begins kidnapping prominent people for ransom, and attacks Bama, the second-largest city in Borno. The group kills 22 secondary school students in Yobe state, and abduct an unspecified number of female students. Later that year, Boko Haram kills 50 male students at the College of Agriculture in Yobe. The government declares a state of emergency in the northern states of Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa, and sends in troops.
2014, April — Boko Haram kidnaps more than 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok. Hamsatu and her women colleagues in Maiduguri organize a press conference to bring attention to the abduction of the Chibok girls and press the government to act.
May — With Australian-negotiator Stephen Davis, Hamsatu and a small group travel into the bush on a covert state-sponsored mission to rescue the Chibok girls.
2014, August — Boko Haram proclaims a caliphate (an Islamic state) with headquarters in Gwoza. The declaration is dismissed by the government.
2014, October — The government says it has agreed to a ceasefire with Boko Haram and that the Chibok girls will be released. Boko Haram denies this
2015, February-March — Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger form a military coalition against Boko Haram. Muhammadu Buhari wins the presidential election.
2015, April — Hamsatu addresses the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.
2016 — Hamsatu disengages from Borno State government service.
2016, August — Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the biological son of Muhammad Yusuf, splits from Shekau and his leadership of Boko Haram, and refers to his faction as the Islamic State in West Africa.
2016, September — The Institute for Peace and Justice, at the University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace Studies, selects Hamsatu as one of its four Women PeaceMakers. Hamsatu travels to San Diego to participate in the 10-week program.
On a panel moderated by Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times, Hamsatu speaks at the United Nations on “Women’s Leadership and Gender Perspectives on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.”
Section title photo: Stakeholders in Nigerian education (Photo provided by Hamsatu Allamin)