What You Need To Know
Lagos is a city in the Nigerian state of Lagos. The city, with its adjoining conurbation, is the largest in Nigeria, as well as on the African continent. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and also one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa; the mega city has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest ports on the continent. Lagos initially emerged as a port city which originated on a collection of islands, which are contained in the present day Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Amuwo-Odofin and Apapa; the islands are separated by creeks, fringing the southwest mouth o fLagos Lagoon, while protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands and long sand spits such as Bar Beach, which stretch up to 100 km (60 mi) east and west of the mouth. Due to rapid urbanization, the city expanded to the west of the lagoon to include areas in the present day Lagos Mainland, Ajeromi-Ifelodun and Surulere. This led to the classification of Lagos into two main areas – the Island, which was the initial city of Lagos, before it expanded into the area known as the Mainland. This city area was governed directly by the Federal Government through the Lagos City Council, until the creation of Lagos State in 1967, which led to the splitting of Lagos city into the present day seven Local Government Areas (LGAs), and an addition of other towns (which now make up 13 LGAs) from the then Western Region, to form the state. Lagos which was the capital of Nigeria since its amalgamation in 1914, went on to become the capital of Lagos State, after its creation. However, the state capital was later moved to Ikeja in 1976, while the federal capital also moved to Abuja in 1991. Even though Lagos is still widely referred to as a city, the present day Lagos, also known as “Metropolitan Lagos”, and officially as “Lagos Metropolitan Are is an urban agglomeration or conurbation, consisting of 16 LGAs, including Ikeja, the state capital of Lagos State. This conurbation makes up 37% of Lagos State’s total land area, but houses about 85% of the state’s total population. The exact population of Metropolitan Lagos is disputed; In the 2006 federal census data, the conurbation had a population of about 8 million people. However, the figure was disputed by the Lagos State Government, which later released its own population data, putting the population of Lagos Metropolitan Area at approximately 16 million. As at 2015, unofficial figures put the population of the area at approximately 21 million.
Area: 999.6 km²
Population: About 21 Million
The Nigerian Naira is the currency of Nigeria.
Lagos is famous throughout Africa for its music scene. Lagos has a vibrant nightlife and 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. Iganmu is home to the primary centre for the performing arts and artistes in Nigeria: the National Arts Theatre . Paul McCartney recorded his fifth post-Beatles album, Band on the Run, in an EMI studio in Lagos in August and September 1973.
Some of the famous cuisines in Lagos include local ones like Suya (spiced roasted beef), Eba made from cassava and eaten with soups prepared with vegetables and mixture of spices and herbs. Other cuisines range from local ones like Iyan (pounded yam) made from yam flour, usually eaten with various kind of vegetables and Egusi (melon soup) to European, Middle-Eastern and Asian cuisine.
Lagos is Nigeria’s economic focal point, generating a significant portion of the country’s GDP. 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, financial institutions, and major corporations are headquartered. Lagos is also the major Information Communications and Telecommunications (ICT) hub of West Africa and potentially, the biggest ICT market in the continent. Lagos has one of the highest standards of living in Nigeria and 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.
The Island is a loose geographical term that is used to define the area of Lagos which is separated from the sprawl of “mainland” by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour. The Island is mainly a collection of islands that are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected together by bridges. The smaller sections of some creeks have been dredged and built over. This part of Lagos is the area where most business activities and entertainment events in Lagos takes place. It also houses most of the upscale residential areas in Lagos. The two major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island and Victoria Island. Other Local Government areas which are considered to be in the Island include: Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa (sometimes also regarded as in the mainland) and Eti-Osa, where Lekki is located. 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 to the Lagos Lagoon.
The official language of Nigeria, English, the former colonial language, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. Communication in the English language is much more popular in the country’s urban communities than it is in the rural areas (comprising about three quarters of the country’s population). The other major languages are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde, and Kanuri. Nigeria’s linguistic diversity is a microcosm of Africa as a whole, encompassing three major African languages families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger–Congo.
Lagos, subsequent to the re-modernization project achieved by the previous 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. A lot of festivals are held in Lagos, festivals vary in offerings each year and may be held in different months. Some of the festivals are Eyo Festival, Badagry Festival, Lagos Black Heritage Carnival, Lagos Carnival, Eko International Film Festival, Lagos Seafood Festival, LAGOS PHOTO Festival and The Lagos Jazz Series which is a unique franchise for high quality live music in all genres with a focus on Jazz. Established in 2010, the popular event takes place over a 3-5 day period at selected high quality outdoor venues. The music is as varied as the audience itself and features a diverse mix of musical genres from Rhythm and Blues to Soul, Afrobeat, Hiphop, Bebop and traditional Jazz. The festivals provide entertainment of dance and song to add excitement to travelers during a stay in Lagos. 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.
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.
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, served by modern ferries and wharves. Private boats run irregular passenger services on the lagoon and on some creeks.
Lagos is served by Murtala Muhammed International Airport, one of the largest and busiest 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 travelling to and from Nigeria. The airport has recently undergone upgrades along with the addition of a new terminal.
In the Köppen climate classification system, Lagos has a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw) that borders on a tropical monsoon climate (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 millimeters (16 inches), while in August and September it falls to 200 mm (8 in) and in December reaches as low as 25 mm (1 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 °C (99.1 °F), and the minimum was 13.9 °C (57.0 °F).