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City centre and skyline of Lagos shown from above


Nickname(s): Lasgidi
Lagos is located in Nigeria
Lagos shown within Nigeria
Coordinates: 6°27′11″N 3°23′45″E Coordinates: 6°27′11″N 3°23′45″E
Country  Nigeria
State Lagos State
LGA Lagos Island
Lagos Mainland
 •  Governor Babatunde Fashola ( ACN)
 • Urban 999.6 km2 (385.9 sq mi)
Population (2006 census, preliminary)
 • City 7,937,932
 • Density 7,941/km2 (20,170/sq mi)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1) ( UTC+1)
HDI Increase 0.720 (high)
HDI rank 1st (2011)

Lagos (pron.: / ˈ l ɑː ɡ s / LAH-gohs, / ˈ l ɡ ɒ s / LAY-gos) is a port city and the most populous city in Nigeria. Officially, the population of Lagos was last recorded at 7,937,932. Lagos is the second fastest growing city in Africa and the seventh fastest in the world. Lagos was originally inhabited by the Awori subgroup of the Yoruba people. Under the leadership of their Olofin, the Awori moved to an island now called Iddo and then to the larger Lagos Island. In the 15th century, the Awori settlement was attacked by the Benin Empire following a quarrel, and the island became a Benin war-camp called "Eko" under Oba Orhogba, the Oba of Benin at the time.

Lagos is a metropolitan area which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, fringing the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon while 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 expanded 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. Some suburbs include Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry, and more local councils have recently been created, bringing the total number of local governments in Lagos to 57.


Lagos was a war camp for members of the Benin Empire, who referred to it as Eko. The Yoruba still use the name Eko to refer to Lagos. Lagos, which means "lakes", was a name given to the settlement by the Portuguese. The present day Lagos state has a high percentage of Awori, who migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring ethnic groups who had settled in the area. During its early settlement, it also saw periods of rule by the Benin Kingdom.

Portuguese explorer Rui 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 Portuguese expeditions down the African coast, and whose own name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga.

Lagos was formally annexed as the British Lagos 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, continuing as such after the country's independence from Britain in 1960. Along with migrants from all over Nigeria and other West African nations were the returnee ex-slaves known as Creoles, who came from Freetown, Sierra Leone, Brazil and the West Indies to Lagos. The Creoles contributed to Lagos' modernisation and their knowledge of Portuguese architecture can still be seen from the architecture on Lagos Island.

Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria's economic boom prior to the Nigerian Civil War. Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991. The city was stripped of its status when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja. On 14 November 1991, the Presidency and other federal government functions were finally relocated to the new capital city of Abuja.


Lagos Mainland

Most of the population lives on the mainland, and most industries are located there too. Lagos is known for its music and night life, which used to be located in areas around Yaba and Surulere In recent years more night clubs have sprung on the island, making the island, particularly Victoria Island, the main nightlife attraction. Lagos Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere, Yaba (location of the University of Lagos) and Ikeja, site of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and capital of Lagos State.

Greater Lagos includes Mushin, Maryland, Somolu, Oshodi, Oworonsoki, Isolo, Ikotun, Agege,Iju Ishaga, Egbeda, Ketu, Bariga, Ipaja, Ajah and Ejigbo.

The city of Lagos is the main city of the south-western part of Nigeria. Some rivers, like Badagry Creek, flow parallel to the coast for some distance before exiting through the sand bars to the sea. The two major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island and Victoria Island. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges. The smaller sections of some creeks have been sand filled and built over, however.

Islands of Lagos

Lagos Island

Lagos Island as seen from the harbour near Victoria Island

Lagos Island contains a central business district. This district is characterized by high-rise buildings. The island also contains many of the city's largest wholesale marketplaces (such as the popular Idumota and Balogun markets). It also has the National Museum of Nigeria, the Central Mosque, the Glover Memorial Hall, Christ's Cathedral (CMS), and the Oba Palace. Though formerly in a derelict condition, Lagos Island's Tinubu Square is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation Ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914.


Ikoyi is situated on the eastern half of Lagos Island and joined to it by a landfill. Ikoyi is also connected to Victoria Island by a bridge carrying a main road over a Five Cowrie creek. Ikoyi housed the headquarter of the federal government of Nigeria and other buildings owned by the government -including the old federal secretariat complex. The complex today is on reestablishment. In Ikoyi there are military and police barracks, a top-security prison and a federal high court of Nigeria. Ikoyi also has a number of hotels, night clubs, a recreational park and one of Africa's largest golf courses. Originally a middle class neighbourhood, in recent years, it has become a fashionable residential enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class. There are also commercial activities in Ikoyi which is spotted in increasing number of offices, banks and shopping complexes. The commercial section is concentrated in the South-West.

Victoria Island

Victoria Island with its annex is situated to the south of Lagos Island. It has expensive real estate properties and for that reason, many new luxury condos and apartments are blooming up everywhere. Along with Ikoyi, Victoria Island occupies a major area in the suburbs of Lagos which boasts of several sizable shopping districts. On its sea shore along the Atlantic front, there is environmentally reconstructed Bar Beach.


Across the main channel of the lagoon from Lagos Island, there is a smaller settlement called Iddo. Iddo is also a railroad terminus and it is situated on the mainland. It is now connected to the mainland like a peninsula.

Three major bridges join the island to the mainland. They are the Carter Bridge which start from Iddo, the Eko Bridge(formerly called the Second Mainland Bridge) and the Third Mainland Bridge -which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs through Lagos lagoon.


Lagos has a tropical wet and dry climate ( Köppen climate classification Aw) that borders on a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am). Lagos experiences 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 400 mm (15.7 in), while in August and September it is down to 200 mm (7.9 in) and in December as low as 25 mm (1.0 in). The main dry season is accompanied by harmattan winds from the Sahara Desert, which between December and early February can be quite strong. The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in Lagos was 37.3 degrees Celsius and the minimum 13.9 degrees Celsius.

Climate data for Lagos
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.2
Average low °C (°F) 22.3
Rainfall mm (inches) 14.3
Avg. rainy days 1.5 2.7 6.4 8.9 12.4 16.2 13.2 11.6 12.7 10.9 4.9 1.4 102.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 164.3 169.5 173.6 180.0 176.7 114.0 99.2 108.5 114.0 167.4 186.0 192.2 1,845.4
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun only)

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 created them.

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 11.6 402,673 34,862
Surulere 23.0 503,975 21,912
Metropolitan Lagos 999.6 7,937,932 7,941
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.

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. Lagos State government is responsible for some of the 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 City has a considerable number of high-rise buildings which dominate its skyline. Most of the tall buildings are located in the downtown Central Business District.

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 now Act 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.

Eko Atlantic City

Eko Atlantic City is a planned 21st-century city, intended to be built on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. Already, most of the land has been reclaimed. The proposed development is targeting 400,000 residents and 250,000 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.

Census data for Lagos

Although the 2006 National Population Census of Nigeria credited the metropolitan area with a population figure of 7,937,932, the figure is at variance with some projections by the UN and other population agencies and groups worldwide. The population figure of Lagos State given by the Lagos State Government is 17,553,924. It was based on conducted enumeration for social planning by the Lagos State Government and it believes that since the inhabitants of the metropolitan area of Lagos constitute 88% of the Lagos State population, the population of metropolitan Lagos is about 15.5 million. A rejoinder to Lagos State Government views concluded that "Lagos State concealed the fact that the population projection, for Lagos Urban Agglomeration by the UN agencies had been revised downwards substantially as early as 2003. It failed to interpret the two most important and fairly representative and reliable secondary data sets already in public domain, the National Identity Card Scheme and the 2003 Voters Registration figures from INEC. The recently released figures for 2007 Voters Registration by INEC were an act subsequent to the release of the provisional census results and comprehensively corroborate, vindicate and validate the population figures in no uncertain terms. According to the official results of the 2006 census, there are 8,048,430 inhabitants in Metropolitan Lagos. This figure is lower than what had been anticipated and has created a controversy in Nigeria. Lagos Island, the central Local Government Area and historic centre of Metropolitan Lagos, had a population of 212,700 as of the 2006 Census.

Authorities of Lagos State have attacked the results of the 2006 census, accusing the Nigerian National Population Commission of having undercounted the population of the state. This accusation is denied by the National Population Commission.

Lagos is, by most estimates, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Lagos 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.

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 people and families seeking a better life from all other parts of Nigeria and beyond.


Shopping in Lagos

Lagos is Nigeria's most prosperous city, and much of the nation's wealth and economic activity is concentrated here. Most commercial and financial business is carried out in the central business district situated on the island. This is also where most of the country's commercial banks and financial institutions and major corporations are headquartered. Lagos has one of the highest standards of living as compared to other cities in Nigeria as well as in Africa.

The Port of Lagos is Nigeria's leading port and one of the largest and busiest in Africa. It is administered by the Nigerian Ports Authority and it is split into three main sections: Lagos port, in the main channel next to Lagos Island, Apapa Port (site of the container terminal) and Tin Can Port, both located in Badagry Creek, which flows into Lagos Harbour from the west. The port features a railhead.

The port has seen growing amounts of crude oil exported, with export figures rising between 1997 and 2000. Oil and petroleum products provide 14% of GDP and 90% of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria as a whole.



Lagos has one of the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa. It also has suburban trains and some ferry services. Highways are usually congested in peak hours, due in part to the geography of the city, as well as to its explosive population growth. Lagos is also linked by many highways and bridges. A new rail system which is supposed to span the length of the Badagry expressway is currently under construction.

Third Mainland Bridge

The Lagos– Ibadan Expressway and the Lagos– Abeokuta Expressway are the major controlled-access highways in the north of the city and serve as inter-state highways to Oyo State and Ogun State respectively. To the west the congested Lagos– Badagry Expressway serves outlying towns such as Festival Town, which was the location for the 1977 Festival of Black Arts and Culture 77.

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.

Lagos State has a bus rapid transit (BRT) system; the first phase was completed in February 2008. It is expected to operate along eight routes using specially designated bus rapid transit lanes running through the city, with the aim of expanding to other routes in the future. The first phase of the Lagos BRT runs 12 miles through Ikorodu Road and Funsho Williams Avenue up to CMS. After weeks of test runs, operations started on 17 March 2008, six months earlier than planned.

It has been estimated that the system will transport about 10,000 passengers in each direction per hour during peak travel times. The LAMATA bus rapid transit corridor covers a distance of about 22 kilometres in length. The system is run by two operators, NURTW Cooperative (Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers) and Lagbus, a Lagos State Government owned Asset Management Company which contributes about 180 high capacity buses for the implementation of the first phase Mile 12 to CMS BRT Lite system.


A planned extensive urban rail system running through the Lagos metropolis.


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.


Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Lagos is served by Murtala Muhammed International Airport, one of the largest airports in Africa and a top international air passenger gateway to Nigeria. The airport is located in the northern suburb of Ikeja and has Domestic and International Terminals. With 5.1 million passengers in 2008, the airport accounts for almost fifty percent of all air traffic in Nigeria. Outbound international travel from Murtala Mohammed Airport accounts for the majority of all air passengers traveling to and from Nigeria. The airport has recently undergone upgrades along with the addition of a new terminal.


Music and film industry

Lagos is famous throughout Africa for its music scene. Lagos has given birth to a variety of styles such as Nigerian hip hop, highlife, juju, fuji, and Afrobeat.

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

National Arts Theatre

The cinemas are gradually losing their supporters to the movie industry. Yoruba language 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 language films. Films in English are controlled mainly by the Igbos are the most popular and move directly from the studios to the market.

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

Paul McCartney also recorded his third post-Beatles album, Band On The Run in an EMI studio in Lagos in August to September 1973.


Football is Lagos' most popular sport. Prominent Lagos football clubs include Bridge Boys F.C. (owned by the Lagos State), and First Bank: both play in Nigeria National League, the second tier of Nigerian football.

The Nigeria national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, used to play almost all of their home games in Lagos at the National Stadium in Surulere; however, games are now mostly played at the larger and newer Abuja National Stadium in Abuja, which is the default home of the Super Eagles.


Lagos, subsequent to the re-modernization project achieved by the current administration of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, is gradually becoming a major tourist destination, being one of the largest cities in Africa and in the world. Lagos is currently taking steps to become a global city. The 2009 Eyo carnival (a yearly festival originated from Iperu Remo, Ogun State) which took place on 25 April, was a step toward world city status. Currently, Lagos is primarily known as a business-oriented and a fast paced community. Lagos has a number of sandy beaches by the Atlantic Ocean a few are Badagry beach, Eleko beach, Elegushi, Alpha beach. Two of the popular beaches include Bar Beach and Lekki Beach. Lagos has a variety of hotels ranging from three star to five star hotels. Other places of interest include The Tafawa Balewa Square, Festac town, Lekki Conservation Centre, The Remembrance Arcade and the Slave Jetty in Badagry

For the newcomers to Lagos, one of the many ways to get around is look at some of the local sites like and They are like the local Yelp services. You can explore the Nigerian cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, Chinese cuisine and various other cuisines by looking up these local info websites. Some of the popular hotels include Welcome Centre Hotels, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Federal Palace Hotel, Stop Over Motels, Ikoyi Hotel, Sofitel Lagos Moorhouse Ikoyi, Eko Hotels And Suites, and The Palmview Manor. Visitors are mostly attracted to Nigeria's rich culture, entertainment scenes and vitality which Lagos city offers. Tourist attractions include Oba's Palace, the Nigerian National Museum, Shrine of Fela, 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 members of the Economic Community of West African States). The levels are Primary, Junior Secondary School (JSS), Senior Secondary School (SSS), and university. All children are offered basic education, with special focus now on the first nine years.

Lagos is home to various postsecondary schools, universities and other vocational institutions that are either operated by the government or private entities.


  • Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) : founded in 1934, the college is Nigeria's first higher educational institution and third in Africa. The college is a centre of culture and heritage. Currently it has student enrollment of over 16,000.
  • Lagos State Polytechnic is a polytechnic comprising more than six schools including private polytechnics and was founded 25 years ago. Its main campus resides at Ikorodu, along Shagamu road.
  • Lagos City Polytechnic, located at 6/8, Bashiru Oweh Street, Off Simbiat Abiola Road (formerly Medical Road),Ikeja - This is the first private Polytechnic in Nigeria. It was established in 1990 by Engr. Babatunde Odufuwa. Engr. Odufuwa hails from Oke-Aye in Ijebu North East Local Government Area (I.N.E.L.G) of Ogun State.
  • Grace Polytechnic
  • Wolex Polytechnic
  • Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology is a monotechnic that offers courses in fisheries technology, general science, marine engineering and nautical science.
  • Federal College of Education (tech) Akoka


  • 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 multi-campus university established in 1984 and owned by the Lagos State government. The main campus is located at Ojo, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
  • The Pan-African University, Lagos 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, running the Virtual Museum of Modern Nigerian Art.
  • National Open University of Nigeria National Open University is the first open university in Nigeria, it is located on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos
  • Lagos State College of Health Technology(LASCOHET)Yaba- A mini institution that run health courses such as Health information Management, Pharmacist Technician, Medical Laboratary Technician,Community health extension worker and Environmental Health Technology, it is located in Yaba
  • Lagos State University College of Medicine, (LASUCOM), Ikeja
  • Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba-Mushin, Lagos.
  • Caleb University, Imota Ikorodu, Lagos.

Notable people

  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Herbert Macauley
  • Henry Rawlingson Carr
  • Mobolaji Johnson
  • Bola Tinubu
  • Babatunde Fashola
  • Fela Kuti
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