Evolution of Lagos into a Modern City















1.1 Preamble

It was Benjamin Franklin Fairless who said, “What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”

I have the privilege to announce that I am in a career that I consciously chose, having chosen it, I have grown to love it, even in the face of seeming difficulties; there is always the struggle in the typical human being seeking progress to always give the best that lies in them which I have always tried to do. Being suitably positioned allows people to take advantage of opportunities that eventually come their way. Like John Maxwell, the leadership expert once stated, “When opportunity meets preparation, the inevitable result is success.” There are lots of times when opportunities have slipped by because the one who would have been the beneficiary did not prepare adequately or did not prepare at all. Lastly, it is important that no man is an island on his own; everyone should be part of a team, family, group, profession, etc.

We are all products of opportunity in one way or the other, and the fact that I stand before this distinguished audience is proof of an opportunity that is being grasped. I am here, not as an eloquent speaker, so you don’t get disappointed at my lack of power of oration. I am here, not as an academic, so you won’t regret that no theories are being propounded, nor is a research finding being communicated. I am here just to share my experience as one who has been privileged to be in the Urban Planning and Allied Professions family, one who stands as a testimony that you may have a little beginning, but your latter days can indeed be great. I am here as a beneficiary of opportunities that have presented themselves to me in the course of my life. I honed my planning skills in the private sector, although I had a 15-month stint in the Master Plan Project Unit of Ministry of Works and Planning, Lagos State, attached to the United Nations experts. I got a 4-year Public Service experience in planning administration when I was appointed to serve as Honourable Commissioner in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development. For me, standing before you all is a rare privilege and I am sincerely grateful. So this presentation is coming from my experience through life as a professional urban planner and administrator.

Permit me to give you a whiff of my childhood background because it has in one way or the other fired my zeal for my chosen career. I wish to quickly make an illustration that is supported by Michael L. Hollingworth’s statement about the past that, “when one looks back on the past, it is done with a feeling of regret that what is gone cannot be lived all over again.”

Although I was born at 19, Olonade Street, Yaba, I grew up in that part of Ebute Metta called Kadara Street, until 1966 when I was relocated to Kaduna, in the northern part of the country. Even if we didn’t have taps in our buildings then, there were public taps that flowed uninterrupted with potable water. We had drains (gutters) that were clean, had a direction of flow, and we could sail our paper boats. My regret in this case is not that I cannot play with toys (self-made) anymore, but it is about the difficulty to secure such an environment that was that peaceful and serene.

I returned to Lagos in 1976 to pursue my goal of becoming a Town Planner at Yaba College of Technology. I now had to live with my uncle at Tapa Street, Ebute Metta, and the first thing I noticed was that the clean drains of 1965 were no more; the number of public taps had reduced, and the few that were available released water only in trickles; most were dry. This was not Lagos that I left ten years before. My heart burned inside of me, and I began to feel again that my choice of Town Planning as a course was not misplaced.

 1.2 The Definition of the City I Will Always Remember

When I started off my course in Town Planning, we were exposed as students to various definitions of what a town or city is. Of the various definitions, there is one that has clung to me ever since. To me, it is the most realistic of the definitions. I do not recall that the lecturer cited any authority nor did he quote any author, but I remember that he taught, us that, “A town/ city is a living organism which has a beginning, growth and decline, or even death”. This relied on the contributions of Arturo Soria Y Mata (1892) and Ebenezer Howard (1898) who likened settlements to organisms, and of Le Corbusier (1947) who was said to have been inspired by biology and considered towns to be biological phenomena. In fact Jose Luis Sert (1942), an architect, stated that, “Cities [are] living organisms; [they] are born and …. develop, disintegrate and die ….” He, further, argued that in its academic and traditional sense, city planning has become obsolete. He recommended that it must be substituted with urban biology (Batty and Marshall, 2009). 

These submissions bring to fore the dynamics that take place in a town or city, and the various forces shaping the nature of settlements. Contributors in the sphere of urban science like Mc Loughlin (1969) have made us to understand that, the city works in systems which are interconnected, and a deficiency in one system is most likely to have an effect on another system. The systems approach, “is based firmly on the notion of close logical integration between the various sectors and stages of the whole process….”, thus making the city a complex organism. Cartanese (1972) explained that “the systems techniques are frameworks for identifying and describing complex patterns of interdependencies. They are self-consciously holistic and interdisciplinary in scope ….” It suffices to say, therefore, that Lagos demonstrates the complexity of a mega city being driven by a complex pattern of interdependencies and the various political, social and economic forces that shape it from time to time.


1.3       Background

The urban space is thus the product of political, economic and cultural interactions of a society as determined by its natural response to its environment. Over time, these interactions have undergone an evolutionary process derived from increasing knowledge acquisition, which constitutes the basis for progress in any civilization, which now makes typical urbanites have more choices and opportunities than their predecessors could ever have imagined. In the modern era the nature of economic activity is qualitatively changing – agriculture is more mechanized and development is leading the way in the cities. Throughout African societies, settlements that had been predominantly rural for most of their history experienced a rapid and profound reorientation of their social and economic lives toward cities and urbanism.

As increasing number of people thronged the small, but rapidly expanding cities, the fabric of life in both urban and rural areas changed in massive, and often unforeseen ways. With the largest and one of the most rapidly growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria has experienced the phenomenon of urbanization as much as any leading African nation, but its experience has also been unique in scale, in pervasiveness, and in historical antecedents. Modern urbanization in most African countries has been dominated by the growth of a single primate city, the political and commercial center of the nation; its emergence was, more often than not, linked to the shaping of the country during the colonial era. In countries with a coastline, such city is often a coastal port, and in Nigeria, Lagos fitted well into this pattern. The city of Lagos is not only an independent centre of concentrated human population and activity; it also exerts a potent influence on the rural landscape around it, thus manifesting the most prominent urban growth in Nigeria, most prosperous city and the most important commercial centre. The city has shot up in size since the 1960s; its annual growth rate was estimated at almost 14 percent during the oil boom era of the 1970s, when the massive extent of new construction was exceeded only by the influx of migrants attracted by the booming prosperity (CIA, 1991). Acknowledged to be the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2016), Lagos is the fastest-growing city in the world, with a growth of 85 people per hour. It has also been declared that the population growth of Lagos is faster than that of London and New York put together, with the two cities growing at a rate of 9 and 10 people per hour respectively. Lagos has become legendary for its growth, congestion, uniqueness, achievements in physical development and other associated urban problems.

Although the growth of Lagos has been phenomenal it presents a case for closer scrutiny. As much as the city has evolved from its humble beginning as a fishing and trading settlement to a mega city of over 20 million population, there are still missing elements in terms of the physical cohesion of the fabric of the city as well as its efficiency. Evolution within the context of this presentation, therefore, is about the process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political and economic advancement. Evolution in this discourse is meant to look at how Lagos has evolved over time, and its movement from Lagos Colony to Federal Capital, and towards being the Mega City we can identify with. Being a modern city is thus not a destination but a journey because, from time to time, the city, being a living organism, must respond to the dynamics of change in population, taste, technology, administration, etc. Whereas there are few areas where there seem to be physical planning intervention, there are multiple more that are disorganized and manifest extreme poverty. To achieve the desire of a model megacity, one that meets the requirements of safety, sustainability and inclusiveness, there are issues that must be dealt with which include:

  • that a city that must be sustainable will be a product of a vision expressed in

             the form of development plans; this corporate vision must be expressed by  

             the people;

  • that a strong stakeholder involvement is needed to create a vibrant plan that

             is easily implemented; how would the people know if they are not taught; and

(iii)          that strong stakeholder involvement is a result of investment in quality

             education that provokes awareness of values; there must be a rediscovery of


1.4 The Aim of the Presentation

This presentation intends to:

  1. Examine how Lagos has evolved over the years as a settlement demonstrating the characteristics of a living organism;
  2. Note the pattern of development of the city as influenced by singular decisions of its administrators based on their discipline, personal interest/exposure, or pressure by interest groups;
  3. Observe that most of the development are not specifically a responsibility to commit to implementing a physical development plan;
  4. Emphasize that meaningful development takes place only when there is a vision (physical development plan) embraced by stakeholders comprising people/citizens who have bought into that common vision (physical development plan) and are eager to ensure its implementation by collaborating with government to bring it to reality; and
  5. Recognizing that such stakeholder engagement is possible only when right values of respect for human survival and the environment are acknowledged and pursued through investment in quality education and enlightenment of stakeholders.

1.5 Structure of the Presentation

This presentation is structured into eleven sections to make for easy reading. In Section One, I have tried to provide a preamble stating a little bit of myself, followed by my adventure into urban planning course and the definition I was most attracted to in my training. The section ends with a general discussion on urban areas and how they develop, Lagos not being an exception. In Section Two, the discussion is centred on living things and an attempt to present cities, and indeed all human settlements as living organisms. It furthers makes a comparison of the characteristics of living organisms with human settlements (cities). In Section Three, the presentation explores the historical perspective on the growth of Lagos seeking to examine how Lagos has expanded physically over time and factors that aided the expansion.

Section Four highlights the legal documents that have been employed in guiding physical planning and development in Lagos, while Section Five reviews the efforts on planning over the years in Lagos, taking a look at various development plans intended to guide the physical development of the mega city through the years. In Section Six the presentation looks at trends of achievements in Lagos, how the face of Lagos seems to have changed, but it also identifies challenges experienced in its evolution. Lagos is seen as a city with a conflicting story of the good, the bad and the ugly. Section Seven highlights what residents of the city would love their city to do for them-they are basic needs that make a human settlement sustainable.

In Section Eight the stakeholder and the need for effective stakeholder engagement are discussed. The presentation seeks to state that effective stakeholder engagement is the bedrock for a focused and meaningful development of the city and the city can achieve better with everyone playing their role. The stakeholders that will deliver such highly functional city must be highly enlightened, and the presentation suggests the education and awareness needed for each category of stakeholders. The presenter will share his experience in office with regards to stakeholder engagement at the end of the section. Section Nine summarizes the entire discourse and closes with conclusion and an appeal.

Section Ten is a statement of acknowledgements while the presentation ends with References in Section Eleven.



The presence of life is what differentiates a living thing from a non-living thing. You are alive, and so am I. The dog barking is alive, and so is the tree outside along the street. However, rain falling from the clouds is not alive. The parts of a chair that are made of wood were once alive, but they aren’t any longer, neither is the shirt you are putting on even though it is on a living body. If you were to burn the wood in a fire, the fire would not be alive either. When a living thing loses its life it immediately becomes a non-living thing; conversely if it were possible to inject life into a non-living thing it immediately comes back to life.

This raises the following imperative questions; What is it that defines life? How can we tell that one thing is alive and another is not? Most people have an intuitive understanding of what it means for something to be alive. However, it is surprisingly hard to come up with a precise definition of life. Because of this, many definitions of life are operational definitions which allow us to separate living things from non-living ones, but they don’t pin down what life is. But there is a definition given by Wikipedia that actually encapsulates what life is and it is defined as, “a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.”

2.1 The City as a Living Organism

“Human settlements are like living organisms. They must grow and they will change. But we can decide on the nature of that growth – on the quality and the character of it – and where it ought to go. We don’t have to scatter the building blocks of our civic life all over the countryside, destroying our towns and ruining farmland.” James Howard Kunstler (2012).

According to Le Corbusier (1887-1965), a city is a living organism. He says “Towns are biological phenomena, having parts such as head, limbs, lungs and arteries. Government buildings like High Court, Legislative Assembly, Government Secretariat, constitute the head. The City centre with commercial buildings and shops represents the heart. Industries and educational institutions represent limbs. Parks, play fields, green belts are the lungs. Roads, footpaths are the arteries.” Le Corbusier (1964).

2.2 Living Organisms and the City: Characteristic Comparison

To make a clear distinction between living and non-living organisms, we must come up with a list of properties that are, as a group, uniquely characteristic of living things. For something to be referred to as living there must be the presence of life, and the point when life is infused into the thing is referred to as its birth stage. Consequently, the birth of a city begins when people start settling in a particular area; it subsequently grows from a small community into a city. Thus people give life to the city through their day-to-day activities which include living, working, playing. Some countries have indeed summarized the objectives that the city must meet as “Live-Work-Play”. Thus, the city can be regarded as a living organism as it functions, and can be seen to exhibit some features characteristic of living organisms as compared below:

Table 2.1: Characteristic comparison of Living Organisms and Cities

1 Definite shape and size All living organisms have definite shape and size. Due to this shape and size, we can distinguish them from one to another. 1.    Cities have shapes and sizes expressed in terms of physical definition on survey plans/maps and measured in hectares, square meters, square kilometers, etc.


2 Cellular structure and protoplasm All living beings are made up of small units called cells. Each cell is the structural and functional unit of the body containing protoplasm which performs all the functions of the body. All cities have identifiable communities, neighbourhoods, districts, etc. with functional centres.
3 Movement and locomotion Movement is the process in which the entire body moves from one place to another. Animals generally move from one place to another by locomotory organs. Whereas cities don’t physically move, they experience multiple activities causing various movements and locomotion within the city system.
4 Nutrition  Living organisms require food for energy to perform various body functions. Nutrition is a process of taking food. Cities derive their nutritional energy from the intensity of economic, social and political interactions taking place in them.
5 Respiration Living organisms experience processes by which oxygen is distributed to tissues and cells, and the oxidation products, carbon dioxide and water are given off. 


The roads in the cities and other transportation routes function as the lungs of the city, which allows for distribution of people and goods around the city for productivity.
6 Metabolism Physical and chemical processes in organisms produce material substance that is maintained and destroyed, and by which energy is made available. The interaction of people, places and the interplay of political, cultural, economic forces create energy in cities.
7 Excretion Living organisms separate and expel waste or harmful matter from the blood or tissues. Cities excrete wastes or non-needed materials generated from various processes taking place on a daily basis.
8 Irritability Living organisms are excited to a characteristic action or function by the application of some stimulus. Cities respond to stimuli that come in the form of government policies, executive orders and circulars.
9 Reproduction Living organisms have the ability to reproduce young ones of their own kind. Cities reproduce new activity centres, new towns and sub-centres.
10 Growth Living organisms demonstrate the ability to increase in size as a result of building up of protoplasm within the cells. Cities grow through physical expansion to accommodate higher population and/or activities.
11 Ageing and death Every living organism has a life span. At the end, it dies. This is applicable to both plants and animals. Cities can die as a result of pressure of activities over a period of time, or decline in activities, unless they go through deliberate regeneration measures.
12 Repair of injured parts Living organisms are rejuvenated through the repair of their internal or external injured parts. Cities are rejuvenated through redevelopment, reconstruction, regeneration, rehabilitation or renewal.

Sources: Authors’ Research, 2017



Lagos, which means “lakes”, was a name given to the settlement by the Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira who visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo, while the indigenous inhabitants called the settlement “Eko” (meaning ‘war camp’). Many of the indigenes till today still use the traditional name, Eko. Lagos is located along a lagoon on the southwestern coast between latitudes 6° and 7° north of the Equator, and between longitudes 3° and 4° east of Greenwich. This lagoon extends from Cotonou (Republic of Benin) in the west, to the Niger Delta in Nigeria, which remains the only natural break along some 2500 kilometres of the West African coastline. Historically, it was first inhabited in the 15th century A.D., as a small fishing and agricultural village around the Island and Mainland areas that were chosen primarily because of the safety from attacks during the inter-tribal wars and later became a very important seaport during the trading activities of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Plate 3.1 provides an indication of what the trading environment looked like, while Plate 3.2 reflects an overview of the town. The Brazilian traders arrived during this period in the 1880s and settled within the area still known as the Brazilian Quarters or Popo Aguda (another Portuguese name) (IFRA, 1997). The settlement then grew into a small town and gradually expanded due to the trading activities. They built houses after the Brazilian form of architecture, many of which are still very visible today around Campos Square in the centre of Lagos Island.


Plate 3.1: Undated 19th century photograph of Lagos; shows canoes and traders in the  

           foreground of a building on the shore



Plate 3.2: Aerial view of Lagos in 1929

With the continuous thriving activities there was a need to connect the Island with the Mainland (Fig. 3.1), which subsequently led to:

  1. the construction, in 1895, of a railway line as a means of linking the city and port with the hinterland;
  2. the development of the Lagos harbour on the West African coast between 1906 and 1917; and
  • the construction, in 1900, of Carter Bridge, which was reconstructed in 1933 and again in 1979, to link the Island with the Mainland, and the


Figure 3.1: Map of Metropolitan Lagos

Source: Modified after J.A. Babarinde, (1995).


These developments were crucial in that, not only did goods from the hinterland come in by rail, roads, and waterways, finding outlets through the Lagos harbour, but immigrants also came to settle in Lagos. This city then became not only an important commercial/industrial centre in Nigeria and West Africa, but also the seat of government and centre of learning between 1914 and 1992 after which the federal capital was relocated to Abuja. The Major Gideon Orkar attempted coup of April 1990 was the catalyst needed to accelerate the relocation of the federal capital to Abuja (Wakeman, 2012). The boom in trading and commercial activities however continued to influence the trend in rural-urban migration, giving way to a distinctive type of urbanism.

As the population of Lagos increased, expansion became inevitable. In 1871, Lagos Island was 4 km2 and had an estimated population of 28,518. By 1931, the population of the city had increased to 126,108 and the area had expanded to 62.8 km2, encompassing areas immediately outside Lagos Island – a phenomenal increase of 342.2 per cent in population and 1,470 per cent expansion in area over the 1871 figures. (Table 3.1 below).

According to information gathered from the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSDPC), it was not only the city that expanded, but the then largely rural settlements such as Mushin, Oshodi, Ikeja, Agege, Shomolu and Bariga. Surulere village and villages west of Apapa, which were then outside the urban area, were also expanding, so much so that the total population of Metropolitan Lagos, whose boundary had by then become fairly well established to include these rural settlements, reached 346,137 by 1952. By 1963, the controversial post-independence census recorded a population of 665,246 for the city of Lagos and a figure of 457,487 for the settlements outside it, thus making a total population of 1,122,733 for Metropolitan Lagos. This figure excluded the 110,735 recorded for Ikorodu and Baiyeku, two settlements about 40 km from the city centre – settlements that are now gradually becoming merged with Metropolitan Lagos as the green-belt, mainly marshlands, which separates them from Lagos, is being eaten away by the expansion of farm settlements as well as other new developments.



                                        Table 3.1: Population of Lagos, 1800-1993


                        Note*n.a not available 
   Notes:  1Estimate 2Probably an overestimation  3Adjusted census figures

Sources: Federal Office of Statistics, Lagos.

The phenomenal rise in the population of Metropolitan Lagos can be attributed more to migration from the hinterland as a response to the relative abundance of job opportunities, than to natural increase and foreign immigration. Being the federal capital attracted all kinds of people from different parts of Nigeria to Lagos. The city had indeed become the melting pot of the nation. Whiteman (2012) explained that the status of Lagos as federal capital made it a crucible of Nigerian-ness, but being a commercial capital made it a Mecca for all. Basking in the euphoria of the Lagos experience, Peter Enahoro (Peter Pan) was reported to have said that, “you can never become a true Nigerian until you have passed through the grill, come to Lagos, or at the very least, aspire to come to Lagos.” Apparently, a lot of people still believe Enahoro’s statement, as Lagos continues to attract immigrants daily.

It is important to note how political decisions have also played a major role in the growth and pattern of what we now have as the Lagos Mega City. Lagos, prior to 1967 was a Federal Territory which consisted of Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Mainland areas of Ebute Metta, with a northern limit at Fadeyi. All settlements beyond Fadeyi were in the Western Region with headquarters in Ibadan. Towns like Somolu, Mushin, Ikeja, Agege, Ikorodu were run by traditional rulers, some of who bore the title of “Olu”. So there was Olu of Agege, Olu of Mushin, etc. To limit Federal encroachment into the then Western Region, the Region had established on its fringes major developments like GRA, Ikeja and Ikeja Industrial Area. These developments were in existence before the creation of Lagos State in May 1967. So, Lagos State after its creation now took over areas like Somolu, Mushin, Ikeja, Agege and Ikorodu which were already developing towns. The Towns of Badagry and Epe were at the western and eastern ends of the new state, respectively, but had no direct motorable access. Growth of the new state was going to be limited until Mobolaji Johnson, the first governor of Lagos State constructed the first dual carriageway in Nigeria from Lagos to Badagry. He later built the Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe link which afforded improved accessibility, and thus became catalyst for growth.

The government of Lateef Jakande in deference to the recommendations of the Lagos State Regional Plan (1980-2000) built the Lekki-Epe Expressway which further opened up the axis of the state for development. More stimuli for growth came from decisions of other interest groups, for example, the establishment of the Deeper Life Church Camp Ground in Ayobo attracted rapid development in that area of Lagos while the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway made the northward expansion of the city possible, albeit within the territory of another state. All of the above mentioned underscore the fact that a city is a living organism that can respond to various stimuli around it. The population growth and physical expansion of Lagos are the result of the various decisions highlighted above.   

Succinctly captured, Lagos has undergone several phases in its growth process, though three stages are distinctly discernible: the nineteenth century period of growth (extending from 1851 to 1900); a period of rapid growth (1901 to 1950); and the period of metropolitan explosion as stated earlier, i.e. the post-1951 period. And to buttress all these Fig. 3.2 to Fig. 3.6, chronologically presented below show the growth settlement pattern of Lagos State from 1965 to 2010.


Lagos can be seen in this presentation as a Town, in pre-colonial era being an outlet for trading activities. It grew into Lagos Colony under the colonial era, migrating to Lagos, the Federal Capital with the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates. With the concentration of administrative, commercial, industrial and educational activities, Lagos has grown into a Mega City, not by the traffic congestion it experiences, nor by the overhead bridges (fly-overs as other states now popularly call it), but by attaining the population figure of Ten Million. There are statements sometimes made, even in high places,  implying that Lagos is “about to become a mega city”. The status of Lagos as mega city is determined by its population figure of 10,000,000, and not by level or sophistication of development.

Figure 3.2 Map of Metropolitan Lagos showing the Built-up Areas as at 1965

Figure 3.3: Map of Metropolitan Lagos showing the Built-up Areas as at 1985



Figure 3.4: Map of Metropolitan Lagos showing the Built-up Areas as at 2005

Figure 3.5: Map of Metropolitan Lagos showing the Built-up Areas as at 2010

Figure 3.6: Map of Metropolitan Lagos showing growth of Built-up Areas (1965-2010)

The social heterogeneity of Lagos is reflected in the residential pattern. The urban class structure affects residential patterns in different degrees, depending on ethnicity, kinship, and time of settlement. Class and ethnicity tend to be inversely proportional among higher income groups and directly proportional among lower income groups. Put in another way, the higher one’s income, the less important it is to live with one’s ethnic group. The lower one’s income, the more important it becomes to reside with one’s own ethnic or communal group. However, this generalization applies to all but one significant section of Lagos community — the traditional quarters of the city. In sections of Lagos Island, where over 75 per cent of the residents are indigenes, kinship is still a very prominent criterion of residential location, and in many cases it supersedes class considerations.

However, urbanization has greatly influenced the dynamics of settlements and transformed Lagos into a complex metropolitan centre of regional population and organization; a major focus of political, financial and cultural power for its residents. Lagos unarguably is also a congested metropolis and it has been reported that most immigrants to Lagos stay there for no less than ten years. Consequently, the delivery of housing, transportation, water and sanitation, energy and other infrastructure has remained a key challenge for the city. The shortage has created a near-desperate-residents’ scenario for the city leading to the development of urban slums, which in themselves raise vital issues of equity within the metropolitan city. Efforts to bring a new face to some of these slums have sometimes led to forced evictions which have attracted international attention; such is the case with Maroko, Makoko and Badia. The Maroko case understandably happened in the Military era but the occupants in Makoko and Badia got no better deal under democratic dispensation.



The major approach towards land use control in Lagos State has been legislative. The application of legislative instruments as guide to Town Planning in Lagos State can be classified into colonial and post-independence periods. Prior to these periods, planning was under the control of traditional rulers and chiefs.

4.1 Colonial Town Planning Legislations (1854-1960)

Town planning in Lagos can be traced to the colonial period, that is, before 1854 when the British took over the administration of the country. The 1902 Planning Ordinance empowered the Governor to declare areas to be European Reservations with Local Board of Health of their own. The Public Health Ordinance was promulgated in 1908 under the Lagos Municipal Board of Health to improve environmental health conditions. In 1917, the Township Ordinance No. 29 was promulgated which made Lagos the only first-class city in Nigeria with a Town Council.

The provision in the 1917 Township Ordinance did not allow for appreciable improvements of the Native Towns. This nonchalant attitude of the colonial government to the planning of Lagos Island and native settlements led to the disaster which preceded the introduction of a planning ordinance to cover the Native Area of Lagos Island. The enactment of the Lagos Town Planning Ordinance also witnessed the creation of the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB) in 1928. The 1928 Ordinance covered only the colony of Lagos. The LEDB’s major task was the vetting and approval of building plans. The Board also doubled as a housing authority. It was empowered to undertake comprehensive land use planning, improvement and general development of Lagos territory. The first major assignment of the LEDB was the reclamation and redevelopment of parts of Oko-Awo and Idumagbo on Lagos Island in the early 1930s and the resettlement of the displaced people from the area to south of Yaba estate. Then the 1946 Town and Country Planning Ordinance was enacted and was in materials particular a copy of the United Kingdom Town and Country Planning Ordinance Law of 1932. It postulated that each Town should have its own guiding law and how it should be developed.

4.2 Post-Independence Town Planning Legislations (1960-Date)

These include the Western Regional Law No. 41 of 1969; the Lagos Town Planning (compensation) Act 1964; the Lagos Executive Development Board (Power) Act 1964, the Lagos Town Planning (Miscellaneous provision) Decree 1967; the Lagos State Town Planning (Miscellaneous Provision) Decree 1967 and the Town Planning Authorities (Supervisory Power) Edict 1971.

The Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB) became defunct when the Ikeja Area Planning Authority (IAPA) which was created in 1956 by the Western Nigeria Government, and the Epe Area Planning Authority (EAPA), were merged with the LEDB to form the planning nucleus of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) in 1972.

In 1973, the Lagos State Town and Country Planning Law, cap 133 was enacted with deliberate effort to assemble existing planning laws under the new act.

There were also the Town and Country Planning (Building Plans) Regulations LSLN No. 15 of 1982, and Guidelines for Approval of Layout, LSLN NO. 6 of 1983;

 Later, the Town and Country Planning Edict 1985 and Town and Country Planning (Building Plan) Regulations 1986 was promulgated, and this was followed by the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law Cap N138 LFN 2004 decree No. 88, 1992, & Decree No. 18, 1999 (Amendment).

4.3 Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Decree No. 88 of 1992, Cap N138 LFN 2004 & Decree No. 18, 1999 (Amendment)

The Decree which became operational on 15th December, 1992 was among other things aimed at providing for a new Urban and Regional Planning enactment for Nigeria with the establishment of a Federal, State and Local Government structure to oversee the implementation of a more realistic and purposeful planning of towns in the country. Some of the provisions of the law include:

  • The Commission, Board and Authority shall respectively establish a department to be known as a “Developmental Control Department” which is responsible for assessing and granting approval of any development plan (S. 28)
  • It is compulsory to get approval for any development plan from the Control Department and none of the Government Agencies shall be exempted, and all laws that previously exempted them repealed. (S.29)
  • A developer shall at the time of submitting his application for development submit to an appropriate Control Department detailed environmental impact statement for an application for-permission for a major recreational development (S.33).
  • The law also made provisions for acquisition of land and compensation, power to revoke acquired occupancy, facilitation and execution of approved plans, recovery of betterment from owners of land or property increased in value.
  • The law talks about improvement areas which include rehabilitation, renewal and upgrading.

4.4 Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency Edict, 1996

As part of measures to control developmental activities as it relates to the objective of environmental protection and sustainability, the Lagos State Government during the era of military rule enacted an edict that established the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) in 1996. Specifically, as it relates to the environment, section 7 of the edict states that: “it shall be the function of the Agency among others to:

(a)           advise the State Government on all environmental management policies;

(b)          give direction to the affairs of the Agency on all environmental matters;

(c)           carry out public enlightenment and educate the general public on sound

              methods of environmental sanitation and management;

 (d)         monitor and control all forms of environmental degradation from

              agricultural, industrial and government operations; and

(e)           co-operate with the Federal, State and Local Governments, statutory bodies and research agencies on matters and facilities relating to environmental protection.



4.5 Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning Board and Town Planning Authority Edict          

      of 1997

This edict provides for the control of Urban and Regional Planning activities in Lagos State. The edict empowered the Board to perform among others functions, the following:

  1. Formulate state policies for Urban and Regional Planning and the physical development of the state, including spatial location of infrastructural facilities.
  2. Advise state government and initiate actions towards establishment of local planning authorities in the State;
  • The initiation and preparation of:
  1. Regional and sub-regional plans for the state;
  2. Master plans for each of the divisions in the State;
  3. Urban master plans for major urban centres;
  4. District plans;
  5. Outline development plans and other physical development plans and schemes embracing spatial distribution of major roads, location of industrial, commercial, residential as well as recreational facilities;
  6. The scrutiny and amendment of draft master plans and their adoption for exhibition to the public;
  7. Receipts of comments to draft master plans and hearing of objectors or their authorized representatives;
  • Determination of objections and directing amendments to be made to draft master plans thereto based on the objections where it considers the amendments to be in the public interest;
  • Ensuring that full and comprehensive records are kept of the plans and schedule of all applications for development permit and those which are conditionally approved or disapproved;
  1. The acceptance and review of the annual report on the implementation of the National Physical and Regional Development Plans submitted to it by the local planning authorities; and
  2. The supervision of the activities of local planning authorities in the State.

4.6 Environmental Sanitation Law, 2000

To further strengthen the resolve of the State Government on environmental protection, “A Law to provide for Environmental Sanitation in Lagos State” was enacted.  This Law also established the Environmental Sanitation Corps for the enforcement of the Sanitation Law. The provisions state the general civic duties expected of the residents of the state with regards to the general cleanliness of their immediate environment. It also prescribed various penalties in form of fines for defaulters.

4.7 Physical Planning and Development Regulations, 2005

One of the laws of Lagos State to guide development is the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Regulations, 2005. Section 6 of the Law states that:

“a developer shall at the time of submitting his application for development submit a detailed Planning Technical Report in respect of application for:

  1. a residential land in excess of ½ hectare or development in excess of 4 floors

or 8 family units;

  1. factory building or expansion of factory building:

iii.           office or other commercial buildings;

  1. places of worship;
  2. major recreational development covering more than 2,000m2;
  3. institutional buildings and public buildings;

vii.          petrol/gas filling and service stations;

viii.         telecommunication tower and stations;

  1. advertisement billboards of unusual sizes and heights, urban furniture; and
  2. any other building as specified in the regulations made pursuant to this law.

Section 7 went further to state that: “a developer shall at the time of submitting his application for development permit submit a detailed Environmental Impact Analysis Report in respect of application for:

(i.)           Oil and gas pipeline depots and installations;

(ii.)          Refineries;

(iii.)         Large scale industrial development;

(iv.)         Roads, rail lines, seaport and airport developments;

(v.)          Large scale educational institution/facility such as for tertiary institution;

(vi.)         Developments/production process which may be injurious to the


(vii.)        Any other development which, in the opinion of the Ministry and Authority;  

             requires the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment; and

(viii.)       Any other project as may be deemed necessary by the Ministry and / or the  



4.8 National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act 25 0f 2007

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is the enforcement agency for environmental standards, regulations, rules, laws, policies and guidelines in Nigeria. Subject to the provisions of the Act, the Agency has responsibility for the protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigeria’s natural resources in general, and for environmental technology, including coordination and liaison with relevant stakeholders within and outside Nigeria on matters of enforcement of environmental standards, regulations, rules, laws, policies and guidelines.

The act also went further to state the functions of the Agency which include but not limited to:

  • enforcing compliance with laws, guidelines, policies and standards on

environmental matters;

  • enforcing compliance with the provisions of international agreements,

protocols, conventions and treaties on the environment, including climate change, biodiversity, conservation, desertification, forestry, oil and gas, chemicals, hazardous wastes, ozone depletion, marine and wild life, pollution, sanitation and such other environmental agreements as may from time to time come into force;

  • enforcing compliance with policies, standards, legislation and guidelines on

water quality, environmental health and sanitation, including pollution abatement;

  • enforcing compliance with guidelines and legislations on sustainable

management of the ecosystem, biodiversity conservation and the development of Nigeria’s natural resources;

  • enforce through compliance monitoring, the environmental regulations and

standards on noise, air, land, seas, oceans and other water bodies other than in the oil and gas sector; and

  • creating public awareness and providing environmental education on

sustainable environmental management, promoting private sector compliance with environmental regulations other than in the oil and gas sector and publishing general scientific or other data resulting from the performance of its functions.

4.9 Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning Law, 2010

This law was meant to provide for the administration of physical planning, urban development, urban regeneration and building control in Lagos State and for connected purposes. It gave backing to the establishment of three (3) agencies, the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) under the  supervision of the Ministry Physical Planning and & Urban Development. The Ministry was empowered to perform, among others, the following functions:

 (a) initiation, formulation of Policies, coordination of programmes and review of all aspects of Physical Planning, Urban Development, Urban Regeneration and Building Control in the State;

(b) implementation of its policies through the relevant agencies established under the provisions of this Law;

(c) preparation and approval of the following hierarchies of Physical Development Plans: (i) Regional Plans;

(ii) Sub-Regional Plans;

(iii) District Plans;

(iv) Model City Plans;

(v) Urban/Town Plans;    

(vi) Urban Regeneration Plans;

(vii) Development Guide Plans; and

(viii) Local Plans including layout and subdivision plans;

(d) provision of technical assistance to all government ministries and agencies on matters relating to physical planning, urban development, urban regeneration and building control;

(e) determination of the location of infrastructural facilities and centres of economic     activities in the State;

 (f) offering advice on State development projects/programmes with socio-economic and environmental impacts as may be referred to it from time to time;

(g) formulation of legislations on physical planning, urban development, urban regeneration and building control in the State; and

(h) formulation of guidelines for fostering inter-ministerial, intergovernmental, bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation on physical planning, urban development, urban regeneration and building control.

4.10 Environmental Management and Protection Law 2017

A law to consolidate all laws relating to the environment for the management, protection and sustainable development of the environment in Lagos State and for connected purposes.



Development plans including those that were done in the past and the ones in operation, that is, in progress in terms of preparation in Lagos State will be classified in this presentation into pre-colonial, colonial and post‐independent periods.


Pre-colonial Lagos  

During the pre-colonial era in Lagos, developments were mainly traditional types born out of the local custom and practice, agrarian nature of the economy and basic everyday activities. The legal roles of trustee, beneficiary, allocator, the re-allocator and supervisor were vested in the traditional ruler, and head of the community such as the Oba.


Colonial Lagos: Town Planning practice in Lagos can be traced under the colonial period, to have started from 1854 when the British took over the administration of Nigeria. The milestone statement of Sir Richard Burton in 1863 in his book on West Africa, in which he stated that ‘the sight of Lagos is detestable’ and suggested steps to be taken to clear the ‘Lagos Stables’ constituted what could be termed the beginning of the first physical plan for Lagos (Burton, cited in Aduwo 1999). In 1873, as part of measures to ensure a clean environment in Lagos, the acting Colonial Surveyors gazetted that “Householders and owners of unoccupied lands throughout the town are requested to keep the streets clean and around their premises, by sweeping them at least once in a week as well as cutting and clearing away bush and grass and removing other sources of nuisance” (Aduwo 1999). In 1866, Governor Moloney, a botanist, established a Botanical Garden at Ebute Metta. Between 1899 and 1904 a Sanitary Board of Health was established by Governor MacGregor, who was a physician. The board was established to advise the governor on many township improvement schemes. The 1902 Planning Ordinance empowered the governor to declare areas as European Reservations with a Local Board of Health of their own. The Public Health Ordinance was promulgated in 1908 under the Lagos Municipal Board of Health in order to improve environmental health conditions. In 1917, the Township Ordinance No. 29 was promulgated which made Lagos the only first‐class city in Nigeria with a Town Council.

In 1928 the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB) was created under the Lagos Town Planning Ordinance of 1928 in response to the fundamental drawback of 1917 Township Ordinance with no provisions extended to native towns, and consequently no meaningful planning ever took place in the native areas. The physical development problems arising from congestion in the unplanned native areas led to the outbreak of bubonic plaque in the later part of 1920s. Indeed the 1928 Planning Ordinance for the first time made Town Planning a government activity and ensured that LEDB undertook several assignments including reclamation of swampy areas of Oko-Awo in the early 1930s and the resettlement of the displaced people from the area to south of Yaba estate. During this same period Yaba North estate was also established to provide housing to government officials. The Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB) was saddled with the responsibility of vetting and approval of building plans. The board also doubled as a housing authority and was empowered to undertake comprehensive land use planning, re-planning, improvement and general development of Lagos Territory. The LEDB succeeded in preparing the following Schemes:

  • Central Lagos Scheme – To be cleared first, re-planned and “reconstructed”.
  • Surulere Re-housing Scheme – To re-plan Surulere and provide necessary facilities.


Post-Colonial Lagos

In 1972 the LEDB, became defunct when the Ikeja Area Planning Authority was created in 1956 by the Western Nigeria Government, was merged with the Epe Area Planning Authority, to form the planning nucleus of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC). The LSDPC had the power to acquire, develop, hold, sell, lease and let any movable and immovable properties in the state.  It was also created to resolve lack of co-ordination, inefficiency and waste resulting from duplication of responsibilities of L.E.D.B and I.A.P.A. Therefore, the L.E.D.B, I.A.P.A as well as E.A.P.A, which usually performed its duty outside the Metropolitan Area, were merged together. Several other development Schemes, plan and authorities were also created to drive development in Lagos and they were:



New Towns Development Authority (NTDA)

The State Government created the Lagos State New Towns Development Authority (NTDA) in April, 1981 through the Lagos State Government Official Gazette Extra-Ordinary No. 19 Volume 16 to effectively implement the planned growth of Lagos State, in order to decongest the Metropolitan Centre and ensure even development of Lagos State towards the North West, South West and Lekki Axis. The Authority had the mandate to establish New Towns and the development of Sites and Services Schemes, provision of infrastructure in government estates, promotion of large scale physical development, site selection for other government ministries/agencies and private developers based on their requests, and development control/monitoring of unauthorized developments within government estates in conjunction with relevant government agencies.


Private Estate Development Scheme

The Private Estate Development Regulations was enacted in 1986 while the Lagos State Private Estate Development Scheme was initiated in August 1988 (Aluko, 2012). In 1990, the government realized the impact of private estate developers in housing delivery by recognizing the following categories of development programmes to be adopted by private developers.

(a) Comprehensive Land Development Programme: This involved the provision of a complete range of facilities in addition to the construction of houses, such as the preparation of perimeter surveys, layouts and demarcation of plots on the allocated parcels of land and the provision of other infrastructural facilities such as pipe-borne water from the public mains, or estate boreholes, electricity, tarred roads, sewage treatment, etc.;

(b) Limited Layout Scheme whereby developers were to undertake only perimeter surveys, layout demarcation of plots and provision of earth roads and functional drainage; and

(c) Comprehensive Site and Services Scheme: under which all other infrastructural facilities were to be provided without the actual construction of housing units.

Much cannot be said to have been achieved in terms of truly creating new towns. We have a collection of schemes which have predominantly functioned as dormitories; as such the sustainability being expected is still far-fetched.


Ministry of Housing

The Ministry of Housing was created in 1999 at the inception of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration in Lagos State. Prior to that period, housing was part of the former Lands and Housing Department of the Governor’s office. This was in response to the need to tackle the housing problem in a more holistic manner. The ministry was to ensure the provision of adequate and excellent quality housing in Lagos mega city and facilitate easy access of citizens to home ownership. The Ministry also had the following statutory responsibilities:

  • Formulation, review and implementation of Lagos State Housing Policies.
  • Provision of Quality Housing for Lagos State Citizenry.
  • Provision of Infrastructure in Government Housing Estates.
  • Supervision of the Maintenance of Existing Housing Estates.
  • Intervention in Real Estate Transaction Matters including Tenancy and Rent.
  • Collaboration with the Private Sector in the Provision of Housing.
  • Promotion of Artisanal Skills Development in Housing Production.
  • Facilitation of Job Creation and Economic Empowerment through the

        Promotion of Employment of Local Artisans.

  • Research into Use of Local Building Materials.
  • Consultancy Services on Housing matters to other Ministries, Departments

        and Agencies.

  • Co-ordination of Agencies involved in Housing matters.


   Physical Development Plans

  1. Lagos State Regional Plan (1980-2000)
  2. Master Plan for Metropolitan Lagos (1980-2000)
  3. Lekki Infrastructure Master Plan
  4. Ikoyi-V/I Model City Plan (2013-2033)
  5. Ikeja Model City Plan (2010-2020)
  6. Alimosho Model City Plan (2010-2020)
  7. Mainland Central Model City Plan (2012-2032)
  8. Badagry Model City Plan (2012-2032)
  9. Apapa Model City Plan (2012-2032)
  10. Agege Model City Plan (2013-2033)
  11. Oshodi/Isolo Model City Plan (in progress)
  12. Epe Master Plan (in progress)
  13. Ikorodu Master Plan (in progress)
  14. Kosofe Model City Plan (to be awarded)


  The Development Schemes

  1. Lekki Peninsula
  2. Lagos South-West
  3. Lagos North-West
  4. Lagos North-East & Lagos Free Trade Zone.

Between 1973 to date, physical planning in Lagos has been organized and implemented under various government structures, but they sometimes operated in silos, thereby limiting the outcome of their efforts.

Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA)

The agency was initially established through Edict No. 7 of 1991 as the Lagos State Urban Renewal Board (LASURB). It was restructured vide Gazette No. 25, Volume 38 of 14th October, 2005 and renamed Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA). It has the mission is to facilitate the process of improving living conditions, upgrading and empowerment of slum communities thereby creating a sustainable environment.  Further attempts were made to restructure LASURA in year 2010 through a law to provide for the administration of Physical Planning and Development, Urban Regeneration and Building Control vide Gazette No 21 Volume 43 of 16th July, 2010.

The Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) is one of the parastatals under the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and is saddled with the responsibility of implementing the state policy on Urban Renewal and Upgrading of slums (Blighted communities) in the State.

    Objectives of the Agency

  • To facilitate the process of improving the living condition of people in

         deteriorating areas;

  • To upgrade infrastructural facilities in blighted areas;
  • To empower the communities to create a sustainable environment; and
  • To provide decent and affordable housing for slum dwellers

    Urban Regeneration Projects

  • Oluwole Redevelopment
  • Isale Gangan Redevelopment Project
  • Relocation of Oko Baba.
  • Redevelopment of Ijora Badiya
  • Issa Williams [Lagos Island West Redevelopment] Master planning
  • Redevelopment of Adeniji Adele Jakande Housing Estate

   Relocation of Non-Conforming Land Uses

  • Okobaba Sawmillers to Agbowa
  • Computer village to Gatankowa
  • Mile 12 to Ikorodu Regional Commodity Market
  • Auto Spare Parts Dealers to Agemowo




Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, successive governors of Lagos State have tried to pursue a knowledge-based approach to critical reforms. Efforts have leaned toward sustainable development, but greater energy has been spent on resource mobilization, and internal revenue generation. Some investment has into the preparation of development plans and physical planning reforms as earlier highlighted, as well as transportation upgrades including introduction of the BRT buses and Blue Line Rail Mass Transit along Lagos-Badagry Expressway. Successive governments have made provision for educational and health care services and facilities, and partnership building with the private sector in development (Plates 6.1 – 6.8). Despite all of these, the Lagos Mega City still has to meet up with the challenges of a bursting population. With efforts put in so far, Lagos has witnessed some transformation meant to turn it into a modern city that offers a high level of services, an improvement over what it had been. The development in Lagos has no doubt been facilitated by its high level of connectivity, not only with cities in Nigeria but other African cities as stated below:

  • The importance of Lagos 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 Lagos-Badagry Expressway to Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana and beyond, as far as Dakar, Senegal and Nouakchott; the Trans-Sahara Highway to Algiers, which is close to completion, leaves the city as the Lagos-Sokoto Expressway.
  • Itoikin Bridge linking Epe to Ikorodu, part of a network of roads and bridges that

     constitutes what is modern day Lagos. 

  • Lagos has one of the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa.
  • Lagos is served by Murtala Muhammed International Airport, one of the largest

     and busiest airports in Africa.

The above exposure to connectivity have helped in supporting other developments and partnership with Lagos and have made it a relatively prominent city compared with other Nigerian cities:

  • The development of the Eko-Atlantic City, which is meant to represent the

Dubai of  Africa.

  • The Lagos State Government and the City of Dubai have gone into a historic

      partnership to create the first Smart City in Africa.

  • Lagos received the Certificate of Admission pioneered by the Rockefeller

      Foundation on 7th February, 2017 as one of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) in the  



         Plate 6.1: Blue Line Light Rail Terminal



Plate 6.2: Bus Rapid Transport














Plates 6.3 & 6.4: Modern Medical Facilities











Plates 6.5 & 6.6: Modern Educational Facilities


Plates 6.7 & 6.8: Modern Housing (Lagos HOMS)



Even though Lagos is often reckoned to be one of the most developed cities in Nigeria, and is probably the most sophisticated in terms of physical, socio-economic and environmental dimensions, sustainable development in Lagos has often met with challenges. Lagos sometimes may be accurately described as a city with conflicting messages. On one hand, you can view the good looking Ikoyi/Park View environment which is attractive to the eyes, while on the other, you are confronted  with Badia, one of the over 100 slums in the city, a shame of a city, in a country that has experienced oil boom (Plates 6.9 – 6.10). Compared with other cities of the world, Lagos seems to be struggling with making its environment sustainable (Plates 6.11 – 6.13). Whereas other cities have reduced the incidence of slums to a very low level, the condition here is tending towards more obsolescence aided by the breakdown of infrastructure. There is high level of urban poverty which results from the continuous influx of people into the city and the consequent unemployment, underemployment, inadequate and broken-down urban infrastructure and a weakening economic fabric.

                         Plate 6.9: Slum Settlement (Badia)

                   Plate 6.10: Planned Settlement (Victoria Island)



Plates 6.11 & 6.12: Singapore in 1960 (Source: Ehingbeti Summit, 2008)

                      Plate 6.13: Singapore in 1990 (Source: Ehingbeti Summit, 2008)

In 2015 world leaders adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. These Agenda comprise 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. It is needless to state that Nigeria did not meet any of the goals and targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs with seventeen global goals and 169 targets, is part of the UN’s efforts to build a comprehensive development plan to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs. The new Agenda, to which Nigeria is a signatory, supports the creation of peaceful and inclusive societies, creates better jobs and is aimed at tackling the environmental challenges of these days, especially climate change.


According to Ronald Kayanja, Director United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Nigeria was committed by its President to endorsing Goals 13, 14 and 15 which are Climate action, Life below water and Life on land, respectively. It is important to note that physical planning and development take place on land, and thus, Goal 15 becomes very important to this discourse. In the course of its developmental evolution, Lagos has given practitioners in the built environment cause for concern over “Life on land”. The experience from time to time is that there are quite a number of challenges. These challenges tend to manifest in some areas more than others, and the critical ones are discussed below:

     i Housing

 Many researchers have described the conditions of housing where over 60% of urban dwellers live in Nigeria as highly deplorable and Lagos is one of the most affected (Wahab, et al. 1990). High rates of overcrowding, substandard buildings, and infrastructural inadequacies have been reported in most cities (Adedibu, 1985 and Onibokun, 1987). Over 75% of dwelling units in the urban centres are substandard and the dwellings are sited in slums (Olotuah, 2006). Thus, about 70% of urban dwellers live in slums characterized by over-crowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack or inadequate basic facilities and amenities, crime and poverty, among other things.


   Plates 6.14 & 6.15: Substandard and Derelict Buildings in Adeniji Adele Estate

While some city dwellers still struggle to live in deplorable slums (Plates 6.14 – 6.15) that are nothing but objects of visual pollution to the western world, some are even homeless sleeping around in different abandoned vehicles and buildings, under bridges, in stores and so on. This is because of high housing rent and cost of land in urban centres which the rural migrants cannot afford. Urbanization tends to increase the number of unoccupied housing in the countryside, while the housing occupancy rate in the city is at the extreme to the extent that people live in any available uncompleted structures and slums. The rate of building collapse in Lagos is so alarming that it has occasionally attracted national concern (Plate 6.16). Urbanization influences building collapse, as the demand for accommodation and the high cost of acquiring good structures create avenues for rampant sharp practices in the construction industry.

               Plate 6.16: Building Collapse



  1. Crime and Insecurity

There is severe strain on existing social infrastructure of the Lagos metropolis and an increase in the population of the unemployed and the underemployed. The deplorable situation, which is more pronounced in the slum settlements, offers fertile breeding grounds for criminal activities. The rate of crime occurrence, although a little on the downward trend, is still a source of worry for many inhabitants of the mega city. The recent cases of kidnap in some of the secondary schools in Lagos State underscore the fact that a lot of intelligence work needs to be carried out with a view to curbing this heinous crime. Table 6.1 depicts the crime rate in Nigeria with Lagos having the highest report of cultism, rape, domestic violence and assassination/thuggery/ hooliganism while also ranked among the top 3 in the report of armed robbery and kidnapping. However, these figures can be probed further; for example, matching the numbers against the population may present a different rating. It does not in any way absolve Lagos from crime incidence.

Table 6.1: Crime Fatalities in Nigeria: Focus on Lagos (June 2006-September, 2015)

    States Armed Cultism Kidnapping Rape Domestic Assassination/
                                                  Robbery       Violence Thuggery/
    Abia 107 12 53 3 5 6
    Adamawa   54 18 2 2
    Akwa Ibom 66 64 15 9 11 9
    Anambra 225 64 36 4 19 9
    Bauchi 37 2 7 1 13 42
    Bayelsa 16 104 14 6 7 5
    Benue 144 67 3 9 16 28
    Borno 46 20 9 9
    Cross River 28 40 5 1 14 5
    Delta 946 202 55 7 52 32
    Ebonyi 35 16 5 4 24 16
    Edo 109 306 15 10 32 12
    Ekiti State 47 20 2 5 11 6
    Enugu 72 58 6 5 13 10
    FCT 78 5 3 3 13 4
    Gombe 13 2 3
    Imo 104 47 25 5 20 23
    Jigawa 18 1 5 1
    Kaduna 44 4 6 12 9
    Kano 49 4 14 11
    Katsina 24 1 3 7 5
    Kebbi 18 10
    Kogi 66 17 12 18 26
    Kwara 63 57 3 14 19
    Lagos 819 323 40 35 121 172
    Nasarawa 71 35 2 2 8
    Niger 22 7 1 1 14 2
    Ogun 184 99 11 9 29 32
    Ondo 98 20 11 6 20 10
    Osun 50 7 9 4 13 17
    Oyo 146 4 14 4 27 67
  Plateau 21 2 3 9 5  
  Rivers 197 765 67 3 15 3 2  
  Sokoto 24 1 9 2 1  
  Taraba 30 2 4 2 3  
  Yobe   37 1 2  
  Zamfara 160 2 10 1  
  TOTAL 4268 236 3 457 147 605 6 76  

Source: Nigeria Watch Database


iii. Unemployment

 One of the major consequences of rapid urbanization process has been the burgeoning supply of job seekers in both the modern (formal) and traditional (informal) sectors of the urban economy (Todaro, 1997). Rural-urban migration has a significant impact on unemployment levels of the destination cities (Aworemi Joshua et al, 2011). Between 1998 and 1999, urban unemployment rose from 5.5% to 6.5%, a rate higher than the national unemployment which increased from 3.9% to 4.7% during the same period (USAID, 2002). Unemployment is very high in all urban centres in Nigeria, and the main reason is the high population of migrants from the rural areas in Nigeria and few other national migrants from other African countries that come to seek for jobs that are not available in Lagos, Nigeria.

  1. Traffic congestion

Lagos daily witnesses traffic congestion. Even though the number of buses has tripled since the mid-1980s, the number of consumers is in millions. Moreover, the use of minibuses and motorbikes for transportation poses a big challenge very complex problem. The poor road system and the unpredictable behaviour of both passengers and drivers increase the tension on Lagos roads. Although successive government administrations have provided more and more means to opt out of this continuous traffic jam, for example the BRT and alternative transportation modes, the problem remains on the increase, calling for a wider look for solutions, and a commitment to the implementation of some of the recommendations in the master plans that were earlier prepared.

  1. Urban sprawl

The influence of Lagos is beyond its territorial boundaries as many workers in Lagos commute daily from towns which are beyond Lagos State territory like Mowe, Ofada, Sagamu and Sango Otta in Ogun State. Such commuting is predominantly dependent on road transportation, with very few using the rail system. This always adds to the pressure on the road network. With continuous growth in population, the peri-urban areas are forced to accommodate the overspill of population, and they are also growing informally.

  1. Gentrification

Gentrification denotes the socio-cultural processes and changes taking place in an area resulting in upper class people buying housing property in a less prosperous community and subsequently displacing the less privileged. Most urban redevelopment projects often result in increase in the average cost of land/housing acquisition, such that the originating poor families don’t ever get to return to their original base. Alongside physical eviction (sometimes forced) is informal economic eviction of the lower-income residents, as property rents, house prices, and property taxes increase astronomically. This pattern happened in Maroko and Oniru area where the initial land owners were displaced. With repeated episodes in Makoko, Badia, and recently Otodo Gbame, one is unsure if there is any plan for inclusiveness in our journey to securing a sustainable city.

vii. Health

Air pollution, which is mainly caused by vehicular emissions and industrial activities, represents a major challenge within the Lagos mega city territory. This makes respiratory conditions like asthma and several allergies prominent. The combination of high population density, poverty, and limited resources makes the city of Lagos a vulnerable ground for incubation of all kinds of diseases, from cholera to tuberculosis to sexually transmitted infections. This calls for more investment in the health sector.

viii. Environmental problems

In Lagos, several types of environmental problems classified as ecological, poaching and habitat loss, increasing desertification and soil erosion have been identified (Halidu, 2010). These are further subdivided into pollution (water, land, visual and noise), deforestation, global warming, slum development, etc. Lagos as a littoral settlement is currently experiencing widespread contamination, while the general poor living conditions along the coastlines and urban waterfronts constitute an affront to human dignity (Adedeji and Ezeyi, 2010). The difficulty in effectively managing solid waste is beginning to show up again as dumping along prominent streets is getting to be a daily feature. All of these point to a weakening urban management system. The state seems to be biting more than it can chew, while the local governments seem to have lost all their political, economic and governance authority, and so are unable to discharge minor urban management responsibilities. In fact the local governments, now subdivided into many other LCDAs seem weaker than the former local governments.

  1. Other Challenges

Apart from the above listed challenges, others have shown up in various forms like inadequate physical planning instruments, non-implementation of available laws and regulations, duplication of roles of agencies, lack of uniformity of purpose, the use of physical planning as a revenue generation tool, neglect of the informal sector of the economy and disdain for squatter settlements. There are others like lack of proper and adequate citizen engagement, disconnection from contemporary planning issues, placing priority on external relationships over internal relationships, loss of societal values, undue political interference and lethargic disposition to plan implementation. The result of all of these is a dysfunctional society where processes are clogged and feedback systems are shut down. Progress will be difficult unless we listen to the voice of reason, as expressed in one of the wisdom books, which states, “Come, let us reason together.”    


In today’s changing economy and global competition, the demand for a better living environment is on the increase. Migration into the city of Lagos presents both a challenge to humanity and a significant opportunity for (global) economic growth. Now that population has quadrupled and quality of life is degenerating, this trend suggests that living conditions in the modern city of Lagos could eventually become intolerable if steps are not taken to ameliorate the degenerating conditions. Despite that, residents of the city still look up to government for the supply of various services and infrastructural development in the following areas:

  1. Housing: Provision of affordable and adequate housing;
  2. Construction: Road redesign, construction, upgrading and rehabilitation;
  3. Transportation: Integrated (multi-modal) transportation system and traffic management;
  4. Waste disposal and functional drainage systems to prevent flooding;
  5. Health care delivery: at the primary, secondary and tertiary health care levels;
  6. Potable water supply and environmental sanitation;
  7. Security of lives and property;
  8. Energy and regular power generation, distribution and supply;
  9. Urban design: greening, landscaping, open space beautification, recreational facilities;
  10. Security of Tenure; and
  11. Ease of Doing Business.

The increasing number of people living in Lagos will continue to create demand in all areas of infrastructure and services. For government to effectively address these demands there will be need for engagement with stakeholders within the Lagos Mega City system. How to go about this is discussed in the next section of this discourse.



8.1 The Gaps, Deficiencies and Inconsistencies

This discourse is about how Lagos has evolved over the years, and is still evolving. Developments through the periods we have examined have been guided by one form of legal instrument, some development plan or one scheme or the other. One thing is clear: that all efforts at developing the city of Lagos, or any other city for that matter, are based on the concern for MAN. If all planning is about man, then the development that follows must also be about man. So, the indicator for the success of any city development is the perception of its citizens which is why every human component of settlements is important.


I had observed earlier on that Lagos is a city that seems to tell conflicting stories- the good, the bad and the ugly. Statistics suggest that about 70% of the population of Lagos lives in slums and this really calls for concern considering the investments in statutes, laws and regulations (FRN, 2006). Several regeneration/redevelopment plans have been prepared, but the will to faithfully commit to them is very weak. Unfortunately, things don’t suddenly change for the better with a “do nothing” approach, neither do they change through prayer and fasting only. Government has not demonstrated committed leadership to tackle the challenge of reversing the trend of development in slums by recognizing value, and not disdain, for the life of slum dwellers and seeking to restore that value. Responsible governance must be demonstrated going forward. As with many other laws, the laws concerning the development of the Lagos Mega City are either unimplemented or they are only partially implemented. Often times, while those laws remain unimplemented, untried and untested to discover the lacunae, we begin to clamour for an amendment, a review or a totally new formulation. A ship no matter how beautifully or technically designed and built, if it remains at the dock, cannot be passed as efficient. The ship must sail in order to be tested for functionality and efficiency, and it would take patience and commitment to get the assessment needed for further adjustments, if needed. So must our laws be if we will get the right results.

Several development plans and schemes have been prepared, but sadly, the physically built-up areas do not show results of the financial investment and professional efforts committed to those plans. The reasons for this are not far-fetched.

First is that planning was abandoned for a lengthy period, especially in the Military era, and when we finally woke up to it, we chose to work it upside-down; instead of going from the general to the specific, we chose to go for the pieces of the general, that is, in-between the general and the specific.

Second, the lower order plans meant to follow the master plans we have invested so much in have not been prepared; and this will make the day-to-day use of the planning instrument difficult because they (lower order Plans) are absent. What happens then is application of the rule of thumb and deference to individual whims and caprices. The Master Plans must be brought to the lowest scale of Neighbourhood Development Plan where the average citizen can locate his own premises, and is then in a position to defend not only his own premises but the immediate (neighbouring) environment that may impact his own premises, because it is only at that level that the citizen can easily relate with, and take ownership of his environment.

Third, there is insufficient stakeholder involvement to make the plans acceptable to citizens in general, and to make ownership of the plan as what is needed by everyone to guide the future development of their environment. It is for this reason that it was observed by Heinrich Boll Stiftung Nigeria (2016) that there is need for a more constructive and sustainable engagement among all stakeholders. The lack of such engagement is why Lagos seems to lack coherent and integrated urban development approach. To achieve the desired sustainable and inclusive development, Lagos governance must adopt a people-centred approach in undertaking urban planning. Moving toward people-centred urban planning requires a restructuring of policy making process and a restructuring of jurisdictional responsibility in physical planning and development. A dynamic process must evolve where governments will have to transform from regulating and approving institutions to bodies that enable and collaborate with citizens to respond to their needs (ITF Master Class, 2014). For Lagos to make progress, the stakeholder involvement in the city must be well structured and engaged for good results. The headmaster – pupil relationship must be buried so that a new relationship of partners may emerge.

8.2 Who Is a Stakeholder?

A stakeholder is any individual or group that has a vested interest in the outcome of the projects/actions to be carried out. A stakeholder may also be defined as a person or group that has an investment, share, or interest in something, as a business or industry. In terms of human settlements, the individual stakeholder will be the citizen. Explaining the importance of the citizen in the Citizen or Stakeholder engagement process, Frederickson (1994) argued that, “citizens are not the customers of government; they are its owners who elect leaders to represent their interests. A customer-centred model puts citizens in a reactive role limited to liking or disliking services and hoping that the administrators will change delivery if enough customers object. Owners play a proactive role; they decide what the government’s agenda will be.”

8.2.1 What is Stakeholder Engagement or Citizen Engagement?

Stakeholder engagement is the process by which an organization involves people who may be affected by the decisions it makes or can influence the implementation of its decisions.

Stakeholder Engagement may be defined as deliberation between two parties regarding a matter/project; which should be free of manipulation, interference, coercion, and intimidation, and conducted on the basis of timely, relevant, understandable and accessible information, in a culturally appropriate format. It involves interactions between identified groups of people and provides stakeholders with an opportunity to raise their concerns and opinions (e.g. by way of meetings, surveys, interviews and/or focus groups), and ensures that the relevant information are taken into consideration when making project decisions.

Citizen engagement is said to be, “what open government is all about…. It is a vital link between transparency and accountability”. The World Bank observed that, “Citizens play a critical role in advocating and helping to make public institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, and contributing innovative solutions to complex development challenges.” (The World Bank, 2017). According to the World Bank, growing evidence confirms that under the right conditions, citizen engagement can help governments achieve improved development results. The UN World Public Sector Repot 2008 further states that Citizen Participation (Engagement) “implies the involvement of citizens in a wide range of policymaking activities…… in order to orient government programs toward community needs, build public support, and encourage a sense of cohesiveness….”

It seems to me that without citizen engagement, governments would hardly deliver good governance, because engaging the broad public in the city-making process leads to better answers and a deeper public ownership of our future.


8.2.2 Classification of Stakeholders  

Although some writers have classified stakeholders into three categories, namely, internal, key and external stakeholders, I have for the purpose of this discourse enumerated a number of stakeholders (citizens) that I believe will play significant roles in putting in place a better and more functional face to Lagos. I also believe that to be effective, each category of stakeholders in the making of the Lagos Mega City, as I have identified them, will need some form of education, or re-education and awareness to help them in playing their roles appropriately. Stakeholder engagement efforts are often wasted and stakeholder participation dwindles when measures are not put in place to ensure that every stakeholder fully understands what is being discussed. And it is the lack of understanding that accounts for the incompetence and inefficiency observed in those who are meant to implement government policies. So, there must be continuous capacity building, and ensuring that the vision is in focus from time to time. Categories of Stakeholders and their educational needs

  1. Classification:
  2. Skilled/professionals in urban and regional planning

      * the trainers

      * the students/practitioners

  1. Administrators/facilitators of policy initiation and implementation

      * those in government at all levels – traditional, local, state, federal i.e. the chief

         executives, traditional rulers, leaders, elected representatives (senators,

        members of house of representatives and the various assemblies), the workers,

        government agencies.

  1. The Market Place/the entire spectrum of the beneficiary society

      * the public/ recipients of the acts of omission/commission by administrators and  


    – market women/men

    – NURTW and similar trade associations

    – landlord/landlady + tenants

    – land speculators

    – property developers

    – vendors

    – artisans

    – idle but informed

    – the strong

    – the weak/vulnerable

    – organizations/ groups

    – community associations

    – business owners

    – urban planning consultants

    – allied professional consultants

    – professional associations/registration bodies

    – corporate organizations

    – the citizen

    – faith based organizations

    – non-governmental organizations

    – community based organizations.


  1. Their Educational Needs

Category 1

The theory and practice of urban and regional planning resides in category 1. The trainers, who are teachers of the profession (in the universities, polytechnics) must understand the value of human life and realize that every inadequately trained graduate is a disaster going somewhere to happen; someone going to destroy human life because of the lack of capacity to demonstrate competence. Adediran (2017) emphasized the intellectual component of the course and profession, and it is the responsibility of the appropriate tertiary institutions to ensure that they produce only brilliant and articulate graduates. The trainers themselves must commit to continuous research, not for promotion sake only, but to solve particular physical planning and related problems of the city by collaborating with practitioners, bearing in mind the dynamic nature of the city as a living organism.

The students, who ultimately become the practitioners, need to be well groomed to handle other people’s lives. When the purpose of their being in the profession is foggy, the abuse they will commit will be inestimable. The potential registered town planner must be trained to be an advocate of sustainable living; he must be trained to be an ambassador representing best practices of the profession. The practitioner must be well informed to know that his professional calling is beyond the pedestrian level of development control. Rather, he must have been taught about the importance of preparing and having those lower order development plans that make development control an easy process for even the unschooled. He must be taught principles of leadership and problem solving. The practitioner must be taught to write well, so that he can convince the administrator that he (the administrator) ignores planning only at his own peril.  Students of Urban and Regional Planning, who eventually become the practitioners, the directors, and any other position they may be privileged to occupy, need to be taught to be articulate, and effective in language and communication. Urban planning is designed for those who can communicate it!

Category 2

At the category of administrators, there is need for awareness. The man in charge (President, Governor, Chairman, etc) must be enlightened on the importance of planning. He must know that progress is impossible without planning. Administrators need to be taught to put people before things. It is then they will realize that the value of a human life is greater than building roads and bridges. After all, what is the value of a bridge if there is no man to use it? In all of these, it is important to strike a balance and order priorities right. They must have the heart to empower the stakeholders in the city without deliberating creating barriers against some. They must learn the physical planning-economic planning nexus, and must know how to use the symbiotic relationship to the advantage of the residents of the settlement. Those in governance or administration must learn to communicate. It is an art and science which needs to be learnt by anyone taking up governance responsibility. Where there is no communication, violence is likely to take place. They must know that preparing development plans and implementing them brings order. When you have order, you are organized; when you lack order by shunning planning, you will agonize. So you must decide to either organize or agonize. Finally, those in governance must know that physical planning is not an avenue or purpose for revenue generation. You must invest to recoup.

Category 3

There is the need to declare a state of emergency here because urgent steps need to be taken to ensure that awareness campaigns are embarked upon and sustained to deliver most of those who belong to this category, except a few of the professionals. My drains that no longer flow in Ebute Metta were clogged by the action/inaction of a lot of those in this category of stakeholders. Awareness campaigns must start and continue until every citizen knows the value of physical planning and the key role it plays in the survival of human life and the environment, as well as securing a city that is safe, secure, inclusive and sustainable. This group must be involved at the conception, planning and execution of programmes. They need to be assisted with consultants who would further help them to understand technicalities, and thereby making them able to effectively articulate their views. Once this category of stakeholders is brought to speed on physical planning matters, there will be no need to advertise for whistle blowers anymore. So, the key here is to get the people integrated into the governance process. They become automatic watch over their immediate environment. Experience has shown that this category of stakeholders can be of great assistance in bringing sanity to the built environment if those in category 2 are willing to follow up.

8.4 Making Stakeholders Effective: The Principles

Experience reveals that it is not organizing a Stakeholders’ Forum that matters but truly getting the stakeholders to actively participate in the process of planning, executing and monitoring (feedbacks) that really helps in achieving the desired goals. For such results to happen, there are basic principles as agreed by experts, namely:

  1. Providing clear goals and avenue for stakeholder/citizen engagement;
  2. Ensuring inclusiveness and accessibility;
  3. Building transparency and openness (“nothing to hide”);
  4. Empowering informed engagement (deciding which is better: ignorant or informed/enlightened stakeholders?); it may require employing the services of other practitioners to be on the side of the citizen group helping to bring an understanding of the subject matter, otherwise the citizens will disengage themselves;
  5. Ensuring timeliness of engagement;
  6. Building and maintaining process integrity; and
  7. Fostering adaptability and flexibility.

Toderian and Glover (2014) also offer lessons that make room for a more engaging citizen engagement from which we can borrow a few. Some of these lessons require that we think outside the box, albeit many want to remain inside the box as a hiding place, probably because they see the box as a comfort zone. The lessons call for us to be innovative, which will be beneficial to the entire society because it will also assist in getting more stakeholder participation, especially the younger generation.


     The lessons include:

  1. Bringing the Town Hall to the Community;
  2. Thinking beyond Open House-provide fun attractions;
  3. Bringing the Town Hall Online; (employing smart cities techniques)
  4. Allowing access to governance via Mobile App;
  5. Telling stories that connect the past to present in order to chart the future course;
  6. Walking the talk – do a “walkshop”;
  7. Hosting exhibition;
  8. Expanding Online consultations, and
  9. Letting citizens get creative.

The above lessons have an added advantage of helping to build a true community where members have a relatively high level of interactions. They will help in making great strides.

     8.5 Tools for effective Stakeholders Engagement

The success of any endeavour lies in the equipment available for the discharge of the responsibilities. There are a few tools that can help deliver an effective stakeholder engagement. They are:

  1. Mutual Education- this is needed for adequate knowledge on all sides; the proponents of an idea must be thoroughly briefed of the goal being pursued. It is also important that the stakeholders (beneficiaries of the ultimate decision) be made to fully understand the idea being presented, as well as the wider implications of its implementation. Only then can a meaningful decision be taken;


  1. Effective Communication – Communication is everything; the lack of it can result in great confusion. Emphasizing the importance of communicating effectively with stakeholders, Cialdin (2016) advises the use of Pre-suasion as a strategy. A successful pre-suader is keenly aware of each word she uses and the mental associations those words will trigger in the interlocutor. Language is not just to convey an idea but also to influence;


  1. Identification of all interests that will be affected – lists should always be painstakingly drawn to ensure that key stakeholders are not left out; that may prove to be a disaster; and


  1. Openness – there must be willingness to share data, ideas and information. Reynolds (2014) advises that there is need to create an atmosphere of trust, to create a safety bubble, and to listen with the head, the heart and the gut.



*A Best Practice experience from Adeniji Adele.















In the preceding sections, we have tried to follow the course of development of Lagos, from its humble beginning as a fishing and trading town, with a scanty population to a mega city with a population of over 21 million residents. For a settlement that has the rare privilege of being capital city of the nation in administrative, commercial, industrial and business capacities, it is easy to understand why it is a destination for most fortune-seeking Nigerians. Even when it has been relieved of its role as capital of the federation of Nigeria, it still commands sufficient magnetic pull to attract immigrants from as far as neighbouring West African countries, and even beyond the African continent. The city, therefore, has experienced the dynamics of urbanization more than any other city in Nigeria has. As with many urban centres most migrants eventually dwell in informal settlements which soon develop into slums. Lagos has a fair share of its own. LASURA reckons that there at least 100 of such slums in Lagos.

Every successive government seeks to record improvement in the progress of development of the city, especially in terms of physical development. Experience however shows that most decisions are influenced by the chief executives’ interest or the interest of a few. This has often put a lid on the extent of progress that could be achieved. Better results can be attained with wider consultations and the engagement of the citizens in casting the vision for the city and the pursuit of the implementation of the same vision. This will promote sustainability and inclusiveness, which are components of Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030). It is however required that the stakeholders in their various categories possess the required education/information that will engender agreement of common values and deliver the city we will all love to dwell in.

I would like to conclude this paper with an appeal that we embrace the following recommendations:

  1. Recognize people as the key element that determines a city’s success.
  2. Embrace the idea of “People before Things”. Most of those in governance have reasoned the other way, putting things before people.
  3. We must place value on man: Consider the logistics around human development.
  4. Investment in people: small businesses, affordable housing and education should be top priority.

Adopt SAM as code of practice

S – seeing the needs of others

A– adjusting your efforts

M– measuring the impact

  1. Finally, I appeal, don’t let this city die. Let’s do all in our power to ensure its vibrancy, beauty and functional efficiency. We can give life to it by investing in all the development plans we really need, and implementing them faithfully. It is an assignment for everyone, all stakeholders in the human settlement system. We can make our cities more inclusive and sustainable. Let’s ask questions, and let’s get answers; that way, we can build a more cohesive community. Let’s bring back those drains that flowed, with a direction and with cleanliness. Maybe, I can have the opportunity to show my grandchildren what fun we had then.

Let me leave you with these pictures (Plates 9.1 and 9.2) to keep you dreaming of the Lagos of the Future.



Plate 17 & 18: Lagos of the Future



Permit me as I close this presentation to appreciate all those who made this occasion possible. I am eternally grateful to God who sufficiently loads me with benefits every day, one of which is making us all here present. I thank all those who have contributed to whatever I seem to have achieved. Foremost is Surv. Somoye whose charge inspired me to pay an important visit to Yaba College of Technology in 1987/88 which subsequently led to the commencement of the first post-HND course in Urban & Regional Planning in Nigeria. I’m grateful to all my mentors in practice whose panel-beating works have modelled me into what I am, especially those who helped in reviewing the presentation and offering nuggets of wisdom in the course of my preparations. My sincere gratitude goes to the Vice Chancellor of this great Institution, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, for accepting to host this public lecture, and also to Prof. Ayo Omotayo who has been part of my achievements here, as a post-graduate of the Master of Transport Planning in 2000, and as an adjunct lecturer here since 2010. I appreciate the efforts of Bosun Akinde who has always been the constant link between LASU and me. I also would like to thank the Chairman of my State Chapter of NITP, Tpl. Kunle Salami FNITP for graciously agreeing to a collaborative effort. My thanks go to you, my distinguished audience for the patience to listen, especially, Distinguished Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola. I sincerely want to appreciate the editing team of this paper for the excellent work done, especially the support from Toyin Ayinde & Associates. I particularly want to thank Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN for the opportunity he gave me to serve in his administration. I am indebted to my mother, my first English teacher. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Mrs. Busola Ayinde, whose support and that of my children and grandchild made the preparation of this paper a reality.

Thank you all, and God bless you.



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