Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, sprawls inland from the Gulf of Guinea across Lagos Lagoon. Victoria Island, the financial center of the metropolis, is known for its beach resorts, boutiques and nightlife. To the north, Lagos Island is home to the National Museum Lagos, displaying cultural artifacts and craftworks. Nearby is Freedom Park, once a colonial-era prison and now a major venue for concerts and public events.
Most of the popular areas we pass through in Lagos every day have history behind their names. Here’s the history behind some popular areas in Lagos.
Ojota used to be a military settlement in the late 18th century and soldiers practised their shooting there. The area had several gun firing spots and became known as “Oju Ota” in Yoruba which means “Bullet spots”. It later metamorphosed into Ojota which it is called now.
2. Abule Egba
This area is on the outskirts of Lagos and got its name from the early settlers who were Egba people from Abeokuta. The area was first called “Abule awon egba” in Yoruba, which means “Village of Egba people”. It later became “Abule Egba”.
Apongbon is one of Lagos’ most popular markets, and it’s also quite close to the popular Oke-Arin market. It got its name from the then acting governor of the Lagos colony, William McCoskry, who had a Red Beard. The Yorubas who couldn’t pronounce the colonial governor’s name decided to describe him by his red beard and started calling him “Oyinbo to pon ni agbon or Aponlagbon” meaning a red-bearded man. It later became Apongbon.
Magodo is now a posh area, but in the past, it used to be sacred forest land. The residents had a lot of taboos and one of them was to avoid using mortars and pestles, “Ma gun odo” which means “Don’t pound the mortar”. It later became ‘Magodo
Epe is named after the early settlers who were Epe traders. The area became dominated by the Epes and they still trade there until today.
Ebute-Metta is one of the earliest harbour docks where British ships berthed at. It was a hub for trade and commerce in colonial times. Ebute-Metta is a fusion of the words “Ebute” which means the seaport or riverbank in Yoruba, and “Metta” which means three. The three ports are Oyingbo, Iddo Island and Lagos Island, which were major trading centres by water then.
7. Broad Street
Broad street used to be one of the longest and widest streets in the city. It got its name from its broadness.
The British Naval forces invaded Lagos in 1885 under the pretext of stopping slavery and human sacrifice. The noise their canon made was really loud, and the sound was heard round the streets of Lagos Island. The people described the sound as “A gi din gbinnn”. Which means a loud groundbreaking noise. The name Agidingbi was borne out of this.
9. Victoria Island
Victoria Island was also a major hub for commerce and British ships berthed there often. It was named after Queen Victoria of England who was Queen from 1837-1901.
Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, is actually an abbreviation for “Ikorodu And Epe Joint Administration”. It was coined by the colonial masters for ease of administration.