NAME: Lagos Island
LOCATION: Lagos State Nigeria
POPULATION: 550,000(2015 estimate)
COORDINATES: 6°27′N 3°24′E
Lagos Island is the principal and central local government area of the Metropolitan Lagos in Nigeria. It is part of the Lagos Division. As of the preliminary 2006 Nigerian census, the LGA had a population of 209,437 in an area of 8.7 km². The LGA only covers the western half of Lagos Island; the eastern half is under the jurisdiction of the LGA of Eti-Osa.
Lagos Island is comprised of: Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lekki Peninsula, Marina, Obalende, Onikan, Victoria Island, Eko Atlantic City
Lagos Island is the oldest part of the city, and home to the growing business district for both local and international companies operating in Nigeria. It has grown over time, engulfing the neighbouring areas, and they are all together commonly called the Island. This is also where you will find the high-rise buildings, and well-known Lagos skyline. The Island is also home to the city’s largest wholesale marketplaces like the Idumota and Balogun markets. It’s home to other places of interest like Tafawa Bawela Square, Tinubu Square, and the National Museum of Nigeria to name a few.
Most Nigerian banks’ head offices are located on Lagos Island. First Bank of Nigeria is one of the Nigerian Banks with its head office in Marina, Lagos Island.
Many people in Lagos dream of living a high society lifestyle which is apparent on the Lagos Island but it remains a tall dream for a good number. Famous for being a bustling hub of commerce, coupled with the tall and luxury apartments therein, living as well as doing business on the Lagos Island is considered a status symbol. It is meant for the movers and shakers of the society and it is comparable to living in any major European or first world country.
Lagos Island is home to numerous world-class shopping plazas, clubs, supermarkets, pharmacies, fashion houses, boutiques, saloons among others. With its classy and serene environment, most of the residents describe Lagos Island as being quiet and peaceful. According to Temitope Oladotun, a real estate valuer that lives in Ajah “Lagos Island has one of the lowest crime rate in the state. It has a very well educated and enlightened group of residents.” Speaking on the beautiful environment and structures on the Island, Emeka Nduba, an architect, explains that illegal structures do not spring up easily on Lagos Island especially Lekki area of the Island with the present transformation of the road networks. He added that the resident associations which are conservative quickly rise to save the situation and put a stop to construction of any illegal structure.
Bassey Udo, an engineer, says that Lagos Island is a splendid place to live or work, adding that “it is composed of very modern buildings that befit its status as very comfortable place to live.”
A Lekki resident (an actress) who pleaded anonymity says that living on the Island is the best as one can live a secluded and free life without any interference from neighbours. According to her, “with many luxury apartments, there isn’t shortage of comfortable accommodation if you can beat the price. Surrounded by neighbours of like-mind, nobody cares to intrude into your affairs. It is a place for those who have focus and have no time for gossips. You may not even know your neighbour.”
From 8am to 6pm, the Island is buzzing with activity, people coming in to discuss their assets and make important transaction as well as buy beautiful fabric for the next big wedding. At 6pm the commuters come together to battle hour long traffic jams to get home to their families.
But the Island doesn’t go to sleep when the offices close their doors, from the end of the work day till day break you can find locals and tourists alike drinking, dancing, watching plays and whiling away with the breeze from the Atlantic at places such as Freedom Park (An arts recreational site, born out of the ruins of Her Majesty’s Broad Street Prisons), Muson Centre (The Musical Society of Nigeria’s serene establishment where music, art and culture is enjoyed, practiced and learnt) and local Bukkas (informal eateries).
The Island that saw the birth of Lagos continues to hold on to its history and celebrate the future.
Lying in Lagos Lagoon, a large protected harbour on the coast of Africa, the island was home to the Yoruba fishing village of Eko, which grew into the modern city of Lagos. The city has now spread out to cover the neighbouring islands as well as the adjoining mainland.
Lagos Island is connected to the mainland by three large bridges which cross Lagos Lagoon to the district of Ebute Metta. It is also linked to the neighbouring island of Ikoyi and to Victoria Island. The Lagos harbour district of Apapa faces the western side of the island. Forming the main commercial district of Lagos, Lagos Island plays host to the main government buildings, shops and offices. The Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals as well as the Central Mosque are located here.
Historically, Lagos Island (Isale Eko) was home to the Brazilian Quarter of Lagos where the majority of the slave trade returnees from Brazil settled. Many families lived on Broad Street in the Marina.
The poorer eastern side of the island contains the main markets and the poorer housing. The island is extremely crowded and congested and attempts have been made to build new roads out over the lagoon in order to improve traffic flows. Oh It is also the part of Lagos which the Oba(King) of Lagos resides. It is also believed that the Eyo festival can only be held in this part of Lagos.
Lagos Island is the historical centre of Lagos. The buildings, alone, within this area are a display of Nigerian history, from the birth of Lagos (around 1300-1400 CE) till today. Despite all the history that encompasses this island, it is rarely visited for this purpose. These historical buildings are rarely noticed nor appreciated and many are at the point of disrepair with the island becoming a nightmare to navigate.
Building and monuments on the island include, Tafawa Balewa Square (where Nigeria’s independence celebration took place on October 1st 1960), the Brazilian Quarter (where the majority of the slave trade returnees from Brazil settled), the National Museum (a museum with notable Nigerian art), Civic Centre (the largest and most important Convention Centres in the city), Taiwo Olowo’s Monument (a monument building over the tomb of Chief Daniel Conrad Taiwo, who died in 1901) and less known Oba’s Palace (a magnificent building constructed over 300 years ago.
It is the official residence of the Oba (King) of Lagos), Water House (one of the oldest examples of Brazilian architecture in Lagos), and Cuban Lodge (a residential property completed in 1931 that is a mixture of British and Brazilian architecture).
Lagos Island has the potential to be a space that citizens and tourists alike, can engage with a historical, present, and future Nigeria.
Lagos Island is not just a historical location but it is also the heart of Lagos commerce. It is where largest market in Nigeria, Balogun Market, sits side by side to 14 story, high rise buildings that house all the major banks in Nigeria.