10 Popular Areas In Lagos And The Original Meaning Behind Their Names

Images by K.Mozie Photography

Lagos is a fascinating city.

Most of the popular areas we pass through in Lagos every day have history behind their names. Here’s the history behind some popular areas in Lagos.


1. Ojota

Ojota used to be a military settlement in the late 18th century and soldiers practised their shooting there. The area had several gun firing spots and became known as “Oju Ota” in Yoruba which means “Bullet spots”.  It later metamorphosed into Ojota which it is called now.

Image: XClaim

 

2. Abule Egba

This area is on the outskirts of Lagos and got its name from the early settlers who were Egba people from Abeokuta. The area was first called “Abule awon egba”  in Yoruba, which means “Village of Egba people”. It later became “Abule Egba”.

Busy Lagos Island Market

Image: NationalGeographic

 

3. Apongbon

Apongbon is one of Lagos’ most popular markets, and it’s also quite close to the popular Oke-Arin market. It got its name from the then acting governor of the Lagos colony, William McCoskry, who had a Red Beard. The Yorubas who couldn’t pronounce the colonial governor’s name decided to describe him by his red beard and started calling him “Oyinbo to pon ni igbon” meaning a red-bearded man. It later became Apongbon.

Photo by J Carrier/Getty Images

 

4. Magodo

Magodo is now a posh area, but in the past, it used to be sacred land. The residents had a lot of taboos and one of them was to avoid using mortars and pestles, “Ma gun odo”  which means “Don’t pound it”. It later became ‘Magodo’.

theguardian.com

 

5. Epetedo

Epe is named after the early settlers who were Epe traders. The area became dominated by the Epes and they still trade there until today.

Image: Juju Films

 

6. Ebute-Metta

Ebute-Metta is one of the earliest harbour docks where British ships berthed at. It was a hub for trade and commerce in colonial times. Ebute-Metta is a fusion of the words “Ebute” which means the seaside in Yoruba, and “Metta” which means three.

Image: Jere Ikongio

 

7. Broad street

Broad street used to be one of the longest and widest streets in the city. It got its name from its broadness.

Image: Mufuta Apooyin

 

8. Agidingbi

The British Naval forces invaded Lagos in 1885 under the pretext of stopping slavery and human sacrifice. The noise their canon made was really loud, and the sound was heard round the streets of Lagos Island. The people described the sound as “A gb din gbinnn”. Which means a loud groundbreaking noise. The name Agidingbi was borne out of this.

Images by Mufuta Apooyin

 

9. Victoria Island

Victoria Island was also a major hub for commerce and British ships berthed there often. It’s named after Queen Victoria of England who was Queen from 1837-1901.

Image: Twitter/GidiTraffic

 

10. Ikeja

Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, is actually an abbreviation for “Ikorodu And Epe Joint Administration”. It was coined by the colonial masters for ease of administration.

Image: Twitter/GidiTraffic

 

Fascinating right? We hope you’ve learned something new. You might also want to see the history behind the names of popular streets in Lagos.