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Lagos (Nigeria)
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 6 ° 27 '  N , 3 ° 24'  E Coordinates: 6 ° 27 '  N , 3 ° 24'  E
Lagos within the state of LagosLagos within the state of Lagos
coat of arms
coat of arms
" Itesiwaju Eko o l'ever wa l'ogun "
Basic data
Country Nigeria


height 5 m
surface 999.6 km²
Residents 14,370,000 (2020)
density 14,376  Ew. / km²
Post Code 100211-102361
governor Akinwunmi Ambode
City structure: 16 local government areas
Time zone : WAT ( UTC + 1 )Template: Infobox location / maintenance / comment
Location of Lagos
The Local Government Areas in the Lagos area

With over 14 million inhabitants, Lagos is the primate city of Nigeria and the largest city in the country (as of 2020). It is the most populous city ​​in Africa , even ahead of Cairo according to current figures. The metropolitan region is one of the most populous in the world .

With Nigeria's independence in 1960, Lagos became the country's capital until it was replaced by Abuja in 1991 . The status of the capital of the state of the same name was passed to Ikeja in 1975 . Until 1472, today's Lagos was called Eko.

Greater Lagos has no unitary administration; it consists of 16 Local Government Areas (LGA), which are viewed as independent cities. Lagos is the most important transport hub as well as the economic and cultural center of the country with several universities and colleges, numerous theaters, museums and monuments.



The city lies on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea an average of five meters above sea ​​level and extends over the mainland and a number of islands.

Extensive aquaculture is practiced in the lagoon of Lagos with its swamps and mangroves . It is surrounded by tropical rainforest and coconut trees.

The port of Lagos and its access to the Gulf of Guinea, the Commodore Channel, is repeatedly dredged and protected from silting up by moles .

The Lagos metropolitan area has an area of ​​14,144 square kilometers and extends over the state of Lagos and large parts of the state of Ogun . In terms of its size, the metropolitan region is roughly the same size as the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein .

City structure

Statistics include the following 16 Local Government Areas for the Greater Lagos area . The information relates to the census of March 21, 2006.

Local Government Area Area
in km²
per km²
Agege 11.20 459.939 41,066
Ajeromi-Ifelodun 12.33 684.105 55,483
Alimosho 185.20 1,277,714 6,899
Amuwo Odofin 134.58 318.166 2,364
Apapa 26.66 217,362 8,153
Eti-Osa 192.35 287.785 1,496
Ifako-Ijaye 26.61 427.878 16,080
Ikeja 46.16 313.196 6,785
Kosofe 81.41 665.393 8,173
Lagos Island 8.66 209,437 24,184
Lagos Mainland 19.47 317.720 16,318
Mushin 17.48 633.009 36,213
Ojo 158.16 598.071 3,781
Oshodi isolo 44.76 621.509 13,885
Shomolu 11.55 402.673 34,863
Surulere 23.00 503.975 21,912
total 999.58 7,937,932 7,941


Lagos is influenced by the tropical climate zone , with a hot, humid climate and a prolific rainy season. The annual rainfall is around 1600 millimeters on average and the humidity is high all year round, between 70 percent in the dry season (November to March) and up to 85 percent in the rainy season (April to October). Most of the precipitation falls in June with over 300 millimeters, the least in January with an average of 20 millimeters.

The mean annual average temperature is 26.8 degrees Celsius. It usually cools only a little at night. The average maximum temperature is between 28 and 33 degrees Celsius all year round, the average minimum temperature between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Lagos
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 31.7 32.9 32.9 32.1 31.1 29.0 27.6 27.7 28.5 29.7 31.2 31.8 O 30.5
Min. Temperature (° C) 21.8 22.8 23.1 22.9 22.6 22.3 21.6 21.3 21.6 21.7 22.2 22.0 O 22.2
Precipitation ( mm ) 24 45 89 146 215 334 238 87 177 171 66 23 Σ 1,615
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.3 6.0 5.6 6.0 5.7 3.8 3.2 3.5 3.8 5.4 6.2 6.2 O 5.1
Rainy days ( d ) 2 3 6th 9 12 17th 14th 10 12 12 6th 1 Σ 104
Water temperature (° C) 27 27 28 28 28 27 25th 24 25th 26th 27 27 O 26.6
Humidity ( % ) 81 79 76 82 84 87 87 85 86 87 84 82 O 83.4
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Historical overview

Lagos Island was probably settled in the 14th century by farmers and fishermen from the Olofin people. Their ruler divided the island among his ten sons. One of them, Aromire, planted vegetables and built his court on what is now the palace of Oba , the traditional ruler of the Yoruba . In the 15th century the Olofin persecuted a certain Aina, who was considered a witch. Aina asked for help from the King of Benin , who sent an army and defeated Olofin. The place, called Eko (army camp), became part of the Benin Empire. A soldier named Ashipa became the new king of Eko; his son Ado built the palace of Oba in the north of Lagos Island.

In 1472 the Portuguese navigator Rui de Sequeira landed on the coast of Eko and first named the settlement Lago de Curamo. The island was then expanded into a trading post , which was then named Lagos , named after the port city of Lagos in southern Portugal . The many branching lagoons off Lagos were useful for the Atlantic slave trade with the Portuguese, promoted by kings like Akinshemoyin . In 1841, King Akitoye came to power and tried to put an end to the slave trade, but was overthrown by his nephew Kosoko four years later . He fled to the British consul John Beecroft for assistance. The condition for British support was to end the slave trade in Lagos. On December 26 and 27, 1851, the British attacked Lagos Island with five battleships and defeated Kosoko's army. Kosoko himself fled wounded to Epe . Akitoye was reinstated as king in 1852, but died that same year. His son Dosunmu did not succeed in stopping the slave trade either. The British therefore annexed the city in 1861 and founded a permanent settlement. Since the slave trade was successfully combated under Queen Victoria , forest products such as palm oil became important export products. Dosunmu remained Oba with limited power and received an annual salary of 1,200 sacks of cowry money . On January 1, 1862, Lagos became a protectorate with extended territory, which was administered first from Freetown , then from Accra , and in 1886 became an independent Crown Colony of Lagos .

The economic boom, rail and telephone connections from 1886 and the introduction of street lighting on Victoria Island attracted people from all over West Africa as well as from Brazil and the West Indies. The British waged several wars against the Yoruba, which blocked traffic to the north. In 1906 Lagos became part of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria , founded in 1894 , the capital of which was moved from Calabar to Lagos. In 1914, southern and northern Nigeria were merged, making Lagos the capital of the entire Federation of Nigeria under British rule. At the same time, Lagos developed into the center of anti-colonialism in the 1920s , from parties such as the Nigerian National Democratic Party , the Nigerian Youth Movement and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons and the unions. In 1945 a 45-day general strike was called. Between 1956 and 1959, the Lagos Development Authority's (LEBD) plan to relocate 200,000 people to Surulere on the mainland to create a zone for Europeans and high officials on Ikoyi and Victoria Island led to major protests . From 1960, Lagos was the capital of the independent state of Nigeria, until it was replaced in 1991 by the planned capital Abuja in the interior. The reasons for the postponement lay in the overloaded infrastructure of Lagos and the central location of Abuja.

On January 27, 2002, explosions broke out in a barracks area in the city . According to the military , the cause was the spread of a fire in a street market. It resulted in about 30 explosions in an ammunition depot , affecting adjacent buildings. People fled in a panic. The disaster stemming from the arsenal cost at least a thousand lives. Many families were left homeless after their homes were destroyed. Effects occurred within a radius of seven kilometers from the source of the explosion. Many children drowned in a sewer while fleeing.

The new planned town Eko Atlantic has been under construction off the coast of the city of Lagos since 2008 and represents one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects on the entire continent. A new financial center is to be built here on an area reclaimed from the sea, which is to offer 300,000 people living space. At the same time, the area of Victoria Island is to be protected from storms by a gigantic protective wall. Currently (as of 2019) several high-rise buildings have been built in the area as well as large parts of the road network of the planned city. However, the project also attracted criticism.

Population development

In 1901 there were 37,000 people in Lagos, in 1921 there were already 100,000 and in 1971 1.2 million. The 2006 census showed a population of 7.9 million in the Greater Lagos area. The entire state had a population of around 9.0 million. As in many metropolises, large suburbs and satellite cities are increasingly emerging in Lagos, where population growth essentially takes place. The following overview shows the population figures, each related to the urban area.

A forecast from 2014 predicts that the population of Greater Lagos will grow to 32.6 million by 2050. For the year 2100 a population of 88.3 million is expected, which would make Lagos the world's largest city.

The "Golden Plaza" on Ikoyi Island, on the left the Falomo Bridge to Victoria Island
year Residents
1901 37,000
1911 73,766
1921 99,690
1931 126.108
1936 137,400
1938 158,500
1945 174,200
1950 272,000
1952 267,400
year Residents
1959 350,000
1963 665.200
1969 841,700
1971 1,200,000
1982 1,404,000
1987 3,800,000
1991 5,195,247
2006 7,937,932
2013 14,500,000


City government

The urban area of ​​Lagos does not have a single administration. The municipality of Lagos, governed by the Lagos City Council (LCC), was dissolved in 1976 and divided into the Local Government Areas Lagos Island , Lagos Mainland and Eti-Osa . Statistically, 16 Local Government Areas (LGA) are assigned to the urban area of ​​Greater Lagos . The state of Lagos has been divided into 20 LGAs since May 27, 1967, which are regarded as independent cities. However, after the merging of Lagos with the surrounding villages, they can be regarded as districts of the agglomeration . The LGAs are governed by the elected members of the Local Government Council and its President (Chairman).

Town twinning

Sister cities of Lagos are

Culture and sights


Victoria Island

For the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas , the urban development of Lagos is exemplary for the metropolises of the 21st century. In 2002 Lagos was one of the African platform cities for the Documenta 11 art exhibition .

The National Museum in Onikan on the island of Lagos houses archaeological and ethnographic collections as well as traditional art. In the attached handicraft center there is the possibility to purchase Nigerian handicrafts. Bargaining is allowed in the island's Jankara market. Here are spices , printed cotton and hand-woven fabrics and leather products offered.

Another very striking building in Lagos is the National Theater with its oval base. In the building not only plays are shown, but also various masks and sculptures are exhibited. Also worth seeing is the Surulere National Stadium, where the Nigerian national soccer team plays its international matches.

The islands of Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island are connected to the mainland of Lagos by three bridges: the Eko Bridge , the Carter Bridge and the Third Mainland Bridge . From 1933 to 1969, the Carter Bridge was the only connection to Lagos Island, a fact that resulted in enormous traffic jams as almost all ministries were on the island at the time.

The Synagogue Church of all Nations was established in 2004.


Lagos is the cultural center of Nigeria. The city is home to the center of the Nigerian film industry , also sometimes referred to as Nollywood .

There are also a number of cinemas in the city; Films in the Yoruba language are particularly successful, but Hindi films are also very popular . Lagos is home to the National Arts Theater, one of the most important theaters in Nigeria.


The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the Lagos State Football Association (LAFA) are based in Lagos. The city's best-known football club is Julius Berger FC . The team became national soccer champions in 1991 and 2000. Until 2006 she played in the country's top tier, the Nigerian Premier League . The home stadium is the Onikan Stadium with a capacity of 5,000 seats. The club is sponsored by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC. Another club from Lagos is Stationery Stores , the 1992 national football champions.

Nojim Maiyegun was born in Lagos . The Nigerian boxers won at the Olympic Games in Tokyo a bronze medal in the light middleweight 1964th Hakeem Olajuwon was also born in Lagos . The American basketball player won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets and a Most Valuable Player award in the 1990s .

Economy and Infrastructure


Modern skyline
Victoria Island
Market in Lagos

Lagos is the financial and banking center of Nigeria. With its industry (including Volkswagen ), three ports and the connected international airport of Ikeja , Lagos is also the country's economic center. The city's industrial operations are concentrated on Iddo Island. The three port facilities Lagos (also for the delivery of gasoline and diesel), Apapa (for general cargo) and Tin Can Island (for containers) are the largest transshipment point for imports to Nigeria.

Peanuts , cotton goods, timber, cocoa and palm oil are exported on a large scale . Chemical products, machinery, automobiles , electronic devices, beer , food and textiles are manufactured in the city. Like many other large cities in Africa, Lagos has to contend with overpopulation and catastrophic traffic conditions and ailing roads that often completely paralyze traffic on the city highways and bridges between the islands and the mainland.

The income from the export of petroleum has resulted in an overall rise in prices and the cost of living that made Lagos the most expensive city in Nigeria. Despite the oil wealth, long queues are the order of the day at gas stations in the country due to the shortage of petrol. The city remains more or less functional, and the rapid growth is producing intact infrastructures even without government intervention - despite the chaotic picture from the western point of view . Urban coexistence is characterized by change and permeability. A room is inhabited by an average of four people, and life mainly takes place on the streets.

In rush hour traffic between the center and the residential areas, the main traffic axes transform into marketplaces. After improvements in living conditions, the 1990s, with its economic and political crises, led to massive impoverishment in Lagos as well.

The living conditions in other parts of the country, which are unbearable for many people, in particular the oppression in the Islamic north and environmental destruction and human rights violations in the oil regions of the Niger Delta , have led to rapid rural exodus in recent decades . In addition, there were refugees from the neighboring civil war regions .

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Lagos ranked 212th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


A street in Lagos
Third Mainland Bridge

The city is the country's most important transport hub with roads, railways and an international airport.

For the public transport (public transport), the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) is responsible. Mainly diesel-powered buses are used. A bus rapid transit system (BRT) has been in operation since June 4, 2006 . The public transport system tries to achieve a higher quality standard than normal bus routes through improvements in infrastructure and timetable. With the Lagos Light Rail, a rapid transit system is currently under construction, the first section of which should be opened in 2012. The official commissioning of the rail system was announced in August 2018 for the year 2022.

Ferry traffic exists between Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland. The operator is the Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation.

Apapa is the starting point of the NRC railway line to Ibadan , Kaduna and Kano .

Lagos is the end point of three Trans-African Roads : Dakar-Lagos-Highway or Trans-West African Coastal Highway (TAH 7, from Dakar and Nouakchott ), Algiers-Lagos-Highway or Trans-Sahara Highway (TAH 2) and Lagos-Mombasa -Highway (TAH 8). The Lagos – Ibadan expressway connects the city with the state of Oyo and the Lagos – Abeokuta expressway with the state of Ogun .

The Lufthansa flies daily from Frankfurt to Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Ikeja on. In addition, Libyan Afriqiyah Airways will offer two weekly flights from Düsseldorf to Lagos. KLM, British Airways, Air France, Delta, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Iberia also operate intercontinental routes to and from Lagos.

Among other things, cocoa beans and crude oil are exported by seagoing vessels and electronic waste and end-of-life cars are imported. The port of Lagos was notorious for long waiting times for ships in the roadstead before they were allowed to enter. In front of the harbor is the largest of a long series of ship cemeteries off Africa, some of the floating wrecks are inhabited.


The University of Lagos

The city is the seat of numerous universities, colleges and technical schools as well as research institutes. The following universities are located in Lagos: University of Lagos , Cetep University, Lagos City University and Pan-African University. Other important educational and research institutions include Igbobi College, King's College, Methodist Boy's High School, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Queen's College, and Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls.

The University of Lagos (also known as Unilag) is a state university. The university was founded in 1962 and is now one of the most important universities in Nigeria with a good 39,000 students and 3,365 employees.

The structural adjustment program (SAP), which was started in the 1970s, led to massive spending cuts in the public sector and thus also in the education sector. The country's elites , including university professors, increasingly left Nigeria, and particularly Lagos, under these conditions. The education system has not yet recovered from this emigration.

The National Library of Nigeria (National Library) is the largest library in the country.

sons and daughters of the town


  • AD Aderibigbe: Lagos: The Development of an African City , foreword by JF Ade Ajayi . Longman Nigeria, 1975.
  • Kunle Akinsemoyin, Alan Vaughan-Richards: Building Lagos . F & A Services, Lagos 1976/1977.

Web links

Commons : Lagos  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Lagos (Nigeria)  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Nigeria - Largest Cities 2020. Accessed April 22, 2020 .
  2. GeoHive: Lagos - Administrative Units ( Memento of August 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. of January 27, 2002: After explosions, chaos reigns in Lagos. Retrieved January 26, 2012 .
  4. FAZ of February 5, 2002: At least 100 deaths in riots in Nigeria. Retrieved January 26, 2012 .
  5. taz of February 5, 2002: The mood in Lagos remains explosive. Retrieved January 26, 2012 .
  6. ^ Website of Eko Atlantic. Accessed August 20, 2019 .
  7. ^ Deutsche Welle ( Eko Atlantic City - Megaproject going astray? | DW | April 3, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2019 .
  8. ^ Jan Lahmeyer, Utrecht University: Populstat: Nigeria - Urban Population
  9. Socioeconomic Pathways and Regional Distribution of the World's 101 Largest Cities. (PDF) Global Cities Institute, accessed April 4, 2018 .
  10. Lagos-Atlanta Sister Cities Committee ( Memento from November 23, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .
  12. Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority: Official website
  13. Lagos State: Lagos set for Bus Rapid Transit ( Memento of August 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  14. The Nation: "Lagos light rail project takes off in 2012"
  15. Lagos light rail to commence operation 2022 - Official. Premium Times, August 12, 2018; accessed on October 28, 2019.
  16. Alexander Urosevic: The Sea of ​​Dead Ships. A report. Edition Steinbauer, 2016. ISBN 978-3-902494-79-5 . Book presentation, , August 12, 2016.