2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Africa; Cities

Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos Island as seen from the harbour near Victoria Island.
Lagos Island as seen from the harbour near Victoria Island.
Flag of Lagos, Nigeria
Official seal of Lagos, Nigeria
Nickname(s): Eko
City of Lagos showing main urban areas">City of Lagos showing main urban areas
City of Lagos showing main urban areas
Country Nigeria
State Lagos State
LGA Lagos Island
 - City 8.7 km² (3.3 sq mi)
 - Urban 999.6 km² (385.9 sq mi)
Population (2006 census, preliminary)
 -  Density 24,182/km² (62,631/sq mi)
 - Urban 7,937,932
Time zone CET ( UTC+1)
 - Summer ( DST) CEST ( UTC+1)

Lagos ( pron. IPA: /ˈleɪgɒs/ or /ˈlɑːgoʊs/ overseas) is the most populous conurbation in Nigeria with more than 8 million people. It is the most populous in Africa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa (7th fastest in the world), immediately following Bamako. Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, that fringe the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by long sand spits such as Bar Beach which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has spread on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja and Agege, now reaches more than 40 km north-west of Lagos Island. The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria.


Lagos was a Yoruba settlement of Awori people initially called Oko. The name was later changed to Eko (Edo: "cassava farm") or Eko ("war camp") during the Kingdom of Benin occupation. The Yoruba still use the name Eko when they speak of 'Lagos', a name which never existed in Yoruba language. It is likely that the name 'Lagos' was given to the town by the first Portuguese settlers who navigated from a coastal town of the same name in Portugal. The present day Lagos state has a higher percent of Awori, who migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring tribes who had settled in the area. During its early settlement, it also saw periods of rule by the Kingdom of Benin.

Portuguese explorer Ruy de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo; indeed the present name is Portuguese for "lakes". Another explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal - a maritime town which at the time was the main centre of the Portuguese expeditions down the African coast and whose own name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga.

From 1404-1889 it served as a major centre of the slave trade, ruled over by Yoruba kings called the Oba of Lagos. In 1841 Oba Akitoye ascended to the throne of Lagos and tried to ban slave trading. Lagos merchants, most notably Madam Tinubu, resisted the ban, deposed the king and installed his brother Oba Kosoko.

While exiled, Oba Akitoye met with the British, who had banned slave trading in 1807, and got their support to regain his throne. In 1851 he was reinstalled as the Oba of Lagos

Lagos was formally annexed as a British colony in 1861. This had the dual effect of crushing the slave trade and establishing British control over palm and other trades.

The remainder of modern-day Nigeria was seized in 1887, and when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914, Lagos was declared its capital. It continued to be the capital when Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960.

Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria's economic boom prior to the Biafran War.

Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991; it was stripped of this title when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja. However, most government functions (especially the head of state) stayed in Lagos for a time since Abuja was still under construction. In 1991, the head of state and other government functions finally moved to the newly built capital in a mass exodus.

In 2002, an accidental detonation of military explosives killed more than 1000 people.


The city of Lagos lies in south-western Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta, located on longitude 3° 24' E and latitude 6° 27' N. On this stretch of the high-rainfall West African coast, rivers flowing to the sea form swampy lagoons like Lagos Lagoon behind long coastal sand spits or sand bars. Some rivers, like Badagry Creek flow parallel to the coast for some distance before finding an exit through the sand bars to the sea.

One of the lagoons surrounding Lagos
One of the lagoons surrounding Lagos

The three major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island, Ikoyi, and Victoria. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges. However the smaller sections of some creeks have been sand filled and built over.

Lagos Island contains many of the largest markets in Lagos, its central business district, the central mosque, and the Oba's palace. Though largely derelict, Tinubu Square on Lagos Island is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation ceremony that unified the North and South took place in 1914.

Ikoyi island, situated to the east of Lagos Island, housed the headquarters of the federal government and all other government buildings. It also has many hotels, and one of Africa's largest golf courses. Originally a middle class neighbourhood, in recent years, it has become a fashionable enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class.

Ikeja houses the state government buildings and state parliament.

The Victoria Island, situated to the south of Lagos Island. It boasts of several sizable commercial and shopping districts (including Nigeria's largest mall and movie theatre) and several trendy beaches.

Victoria Island
Victoria Island
Victoria Island
Victoria Island

Across the main channel of the lagoon from Lagos Island, a smaller island called Iddo Island lay close to the mainland, and today is connected to the mainland like a peninsula. Three large bridges join Lagos Island to the mainland: Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge which start from Iddo Island, and the Third Mainland Bridge which by-passes congested mainland suburbs through the lagoon.

Most of the population of Lagos lives on the mainland, which is the site of industry and known for its music and nightlife, notably in areas around Yaba and Surulere, as well as the National Stadium Complex. Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere, Yaba (Lagos) (site of the University of Lagos), Mushin, Maryland, Isolo, Ikotun, Ipaja, Ejigbo and Ikeja, site of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the capital of Lagos State.


Climate chart for Lagos
temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

The climate in Lagos is similar to that of the rest of southern Nigeria. There are two rainy seasons, with the heaviest rains falling from April to July and a weaker rainy season in October and November. There is a brief relatively dry spell in August and September and a longer dry season from December to March. Monthly rainfall between May and July averages over 300 mm (12 in), while in August and September it is down to 75 mm (3 inches) and in January as low as 35 mm (1.5 inches). The main dry season is accompanied by harmattan winds from the Sahara Desert, which between December and early February can be quite strong. The average temperature in January is 27°C (79°F) and for July it is 25°C (77°F). On average the hottest month is March; with a mean temperature of 29°C (84°F); while July is the coolest month.

Administration and demographics

In terms of administration, Lagos is not a municipality and has therefore no overall city administration. The Municipality of Lagos, which covered Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island as well as some mainland territory, was managed by the Lagos City Council (LCC), but it was disbanded in 1976 and divided into several Local Government Areas (most notably Lagos Island LGA, Lagos Mainland LGA and Eti-Osa LGA). The mainland beyond the Municipality of Lagos, on the other hand, comprised several separate towns and settlements such as Mushin, Ikeja and Agege. In the wake of the 1970s Nigerian oil boom, Lagos experienced a population explosion, untamed economic growth, and unmitigated rural migration. This caused the outlying towns and settlements to develop rapidly, thus forming the greater Lagos metropolis seen today. The history of Lagos is still evidenced in the layout of the LGAs which display the unique identities of the cultures that established them.

Today, the word Lagos most often refers to the urban area, called "Metropolitan Lagos" in Nigeria, which includes both the islands of the former Municipality of Lagos and the mainland suburbs. All of these are part of Lagos State, which now comprises 20 LGAs. Lagos State is responsible for utilities including roads and transportation, power, water, health, and education.

Metropolitan Lagos (a statistical division, and not an administrative unit) extends over 16 of the 20 LGAs of Lagos State, and contains 88% of the population of Lagos State, and includes semi-rural areas.

Lagos was the former capital city of Nigeria but it has since been replaced by Abuja. Abuja officially gained its status as the capital of Nigeria on 12 December 1991, although the decision to move the federal capital had been made in decree no. 6 of 1976.

Lagos is also home to the High Court of the Lagos State Judiciary, housed in an old colonial building on Lagos Island.

Census data for Lagos

Map showing the 16 LGAs making up Metropolitan Lagos. Note that Metropolitan Lagos is a statistical area and not an administrative entity unlike Lagos State. Lagos State is made up of these 16 LGAs and 4 other larger LGAs not shown on the map.
Map showing the 16 LGAs making up Metropolitan Lagos. Note that Metropolitan Lagos is a statistical area and not an administrative entity unlike Lagos State. Lagos State is made up of these 16 LGAs and 4 other larger LGAs not shown on the map.

According to the preliminary results of the 2006 census, there are 7,937,932 inhabitants in Metropolitan Lagos. This figure is lower than what had been anticipated and has created a controversy in Nigeria. Lagos Island, the central LGA and historic centre of Metropolitan Lagos, had a population of 209,437 as of the 2006 Census.

Authorities of Lagos State have attacked the results of the 2006 census, accusing the National Population Commission of having undercounted the population of Lagos State, an accusation strongly denied by the National Population Commission.

Lagos is, by most estimates, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Lagos State is currently experiencing a population increase of about 275,000 persons per annum. In 1999 the United Nations predicted that the city's metropolitan area, which had only about 290,000 inhabitants in 1950, would exceed 20 million by 2010 and thus become one of the ten most populated cities in the world. This projection, however, must now be revised downward due to the results of the 2006 census.

Like most cities, there is a huge spectrum of wealth distribution among the people that reside in Lagos. It ranges from the very wealthy to the very poor. Lagos has attracted many young entrepreneurs and families seeking a better life from throughout Nigeria and beyond.

The 16 LGAs of Metropolitan Lagos
Local Government Area Land area
(in km²)
(2006 Census)
(inh. per km²)
Agege 11.2 459,939 41,071
Ajeromi-Ifelodun 12.3 684,105 55,474
Alimosho 185.2 1,277,714 6,899
Amuwo-Odofin 134.6 318,166 2,364
(home of the main port of Lagos)
26.7 217,362 8,153
(home of one of Lagos's largest business centres and of the upscale communities of Victoria Island and Ikoyi, formerly the residence of the Nigerian federal government)
192.3 287,785 1,496
Ifako-Ijaiye 26.6 427,878 16,078
Ikeja 46.2 313,196 6,785
Kosofe 81.4 665,393 8,174
Lagos Island
(the historical centre and commercial core of the Lagos agglomeration)
8.7 209,437 24,182
Lagos Mainland 19.5 317,720 16,322
Mushin 17,5 633,009 36,213
Ojo 158.2 598,071 3,781
Oshodi-Isolo 44.8 621,509 13,886
Somolu (aka Shomolu) 11.6 402,673 34,862
Surulere 23.0 503,975 21,912
Metropolitan Lagos 999.6 7,937,932 7,941


Lagos high-rise on Victoria Island
Lagos high-rise on Victoria Island

Lagos is Nigeria's most prosperous city, and much of the nation's wealth and economic activity are concentrated there. The commercial, financial and business centre of Lagos and of Nigeria remains the business district of Lagos Island, where most of the country's largest banks and financial institutions are located. More than half of Nigeria's industrial capacity is located in Lagos's mainland suburbs, particularly in the Ikeja industrial estate. A wide range of manufactured goods are produced in the city, including machinery, motor vehicles, electronic equipment, chemicals, beer, processed food, and textiles. The standard of living is higher in Lagos than in the rest of Nigeria.

The Port of Lagos is Nigeria's leading port and one of the largest in Africa. It is administered by the Nigerian Port Authority and is split into three main sections: Lagos port, in the main channel next to Lagos Island, no longer used much, Apapa Port (site of the container terminal) and Tin Can Port, both located in Badagry Creek which flows into the Lagos Harbour from the west. The port features a railhead.

The port handles imports of consumer goods, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, machinery, and industrial raw materials. Its export trade in timber and agricultural products such as cacao and groundnuts has declined since the early 1970s, although the port has seen growing amounts of crude oil exported, with export figures rising between 1997 and 2000. Oil and petroleum products provide 20% of GDP and 95% of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria as a whole.


Third Mainland Bridge
Third Mainland Bridge


Lagos has suburban trains and has some ferry services. Highways are congested, due in part to the geography of the city, as well as to its explosive population growth.

Local roads in Lagos vary in quality from well-maintained to pothole-ridden. Most freeways are currently in working shape. The Lagos– Ibadan expressway and the Lagos– Abeokuta expressway are the major arterial routes in the north of the city and serve as inter-state highways to Oyo State and Ogun State respectively. To the west the congested Badagry Expressway serves outlying suburbs such as Festac Town as well as being an international highway (see below).

The city is teeming with transit buses known to locals as Danfos and Molues, as well as taxi motorcycles known as Okadas. Both means of transport are a vital part of Lagos's transport network.

An agency called Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) has been created to solve the transport problems in Lagos. The Bus Rapid Transit scheme was launched on 4 June 2006.

Lagos BRT segregated lanes and bus shelter on Ikorodu road
Lagos BRT segregated lanes and bus shelter on Ikorodu road

BRT (Lagbus)

Lagos is building a bus rapid transit system and the first phase was completed by the end of February, 2008. It is expected operate on eight routes on special BRT Lanes running through the city but will expand its operation. The first phase of the Lagos BRT to run from Mile 12 through Ikorodu Road and Funsho Williams Avenue up to CMS started operation on the 17th of March, 2008 following six months of delays and two weeks of test runs.

It is projected that the system will carry up to 10,000 passengers per direction per hour during peak travel hours. The LAMATA BRT corridor is about 22 kilometres in length. Two operators, NURTW Cooperative (Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers) and LAGBUS, a Lagos State Government owned Asset Management Company are contributing about 180 high capacity buses for the implementation of the first phase Mile 12 to CMS BRT Lite system.

International Highways

Lagos's importance as a commercial centre and port and its strategic location have led to it being the end-point of three Trans-African Highway routes using Nigeria's national roads:

  • The Trans-West African Coastal Highway leaves the city as the Badagry Expressway to Benin and beyond as far as Dakar and Nouakchott.
  • The Trans-Sahara Highway to Algiers, which is close to completion, leaves the city as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
  • The Lagos-Mombasa Highway also leaves the city as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, but the route is far from completion between East Africa and West Africa and is practical only for travel to neighbouring Cameroon.


Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation runs a few regular routes, for example between Lagos Island and the mainland, modern ferries and wharves. Private boats run irregular passenger services on the lagoon and on some creeks. Many routes are expected to get on-board in 1Q 2008


Murtala Mohammed International Airport
Murtala Mohammed International Airport

Lagos is served by Murtala Mohammed International Airport, one of the largest airports in Africa and the top international air passenger gateway to Nigeria. The airport is located in the northern suburb of Ikeja and consists of a domestic and international terminal. With 3.8 million passengers in 2005 the airport accounts for almost fifty percent of all air traffic in Nigeria. Furthermore, outbound international travel from Murtala Mohammed accounts for 73 percent of all air passengers travelling internationally to and from Nigeria.


Music & film industry

Lagos is famous throughout West Africa for its music scene. Lagos has given birth to a variety of styles such as highlife, juju, fuji, and Afrobeat. In recent years Lagos has been the fore-runner with African styled hip-hop branded Afrohip-hop.

Lagos is the centre of the Nigerian film industry, often referred to as ' Nollywood.' Idumota market on Lagos Island is the primary distribution centre. Also many films are shot in the Festac area of Lagos.

The cinemas are gradually losing their supporters to the movie industry. Yoruba films happen to be the most watched in the cinemas, followed by Indian films. Films are not premiered for a long period of time in the western sense, especially with Yoruba films. The English spoken films move directly from the studios to the market.

Iganmu is home to the National Arts Theatre — the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria.


As in the rest of Nigeria, football is the most popular sport. The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the Lagos State Football Association (LAFA) are both based in Lagos. A prominent Lagos soccer club Julius Berger FC (a member of the Nigerian Premier League) is set to close in 2008, potentially leaving Lagos without a Premier League team.

The Nigerian national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, used to play almost all of their home games in Lagos; however, games are now split between the Surelere Stadium in Lagos and the larger, newer Abuja Stadium in Abuja, which may soon become the default home of the Super Eagles.


Coastline, Lekki Peninsula, Lagos
Coastline, Lekki Peninsula, Lagos

Lagos is not a popular tourist destination, as it is primarily business-oriented and also has a reputation for been a fast paced community. Safety issues at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed International Airport have also hampered tourism. Despite these problems visitors are still attracted to some of the culture, entertainment scenes and vitality that the city has to offer. Tourist attractions include Oba's Palace, the National Museum, and the beach resorts.


The Lagos State Government operates state schools. The education system is the 6-3-3-4 system, which is practised throughout the country (as well as by many other ECOWAS states). The levels are Primary, Junior Secondary School (JSS), Senior Secondary School (SSS), and university. All children are offered basic education, with special focus on the first six years.

Lagos is home to several secondary schools, universities and other vocational institutions that are either operated by the government or private entities. Some examples are listed below.

Secondary schools

  • [Anwar-ul-islam Model College,] Agege, Lagos, first Muslim college in West Africa, 1948
  • Igbobi College established by the Methodist and Anglican Churches in 1932, in Yaba.
  • King's College, Lagos was founded in 1909 on Lagos Island.
  • Methodist Boy's High School, Lagos was founded in 1878 on Lagos Island.
  • Nigerian Institute of Medical Research
  • Queen's College, Lagos was founded in 1927 while Nigeria was still a British colony. It is a government-owned girl's secondary (high) school with boarding facilities located in the Yaba suburb.
  • The Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls founded in 1991, is a six year preparatory college to help girls to prepare for University. It is located in Ikeja.
  • St. Gregory College is also one of the notable schools located at Obalende.
  • Federal Government College Lagos located at Ijanikin
  • Lagos State Model College, Kankon, Badagry Lagos.
  • Lagoon Secondary School
  • Maryland Comprehensive Seconday School, Ikeja Lagos
  • White Sands School
  • Atlantic Hall School
  • Redeemer's International Secondary School, Maryland Lagos
  • American International School
  • British International School
  • Dowen College
  • Lekki British International High School
  • Green Springs School
  • Grange School
  • Baptist Academy was established by the Baptist Churches in 1875?, Obanikoro, Ikorodu Road.
  • International School Lagos, Unilag, Akoka.
  • Grace High School, Gbagada.
  • Doregos Private Academy, Ipaja
  • Government College Ketu-Epe
  • Ikorodu High School Ikorodu
  • Methodist Boy High School Lagos Island Lagos
  • Lycee Louis Pasteur (french international school) Victoria Island Lagos


  • Lagos State Polytechnic is a polytechnic comprising of 5 schools and was founded 25 years ago. Its main campus resides at ikorodu, along Igebuode road.
  • Lagos City Polytechnic


  • Cetep University
  • Lagos City University (formerly Yaba College of Technology) was the first higher institution in the country, and one of the first in Africa.
    University of Lagos
    University of Lagos
  • The Pan-African University is primarily a business school, offering two MBA programmes. Founded in 1996 and awarded University status in 2002, it consists of the Lagos Business School and of Enterprise Development Services. The University also places some emphasis on the study of art.
  • The University of Lagos (UNILAG) is a large institution dating from 1962, with over 35,000 students. It comprises 13 faculties, run by over 4,000 staff.
  • Lagos State University (LASU) is a large university with many campuses all over Lagos and it is owned by the state government it is located along the Badagry Expressway.aka Agbero school

New Districts

Eko Atlantic City

Eko Atlantic city is a planned district to be constructed, intended to be built on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. The proposed development is targeting 250,000 residents and 200,000 commuters flowing daily to the island. The project is planned to return the coast to its position in the 1950s and 1960s, reversing damage done by erosion.

Sister Cities

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