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PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT

Posted by on 2/5/2003 12:38:40 PM |

PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT

Ethnic composition, Languages, Culture and the Arts: The indigenous peoples of Lagos State are the Yoruba subgroups of the Aworis in Ikeja, the Eguns in Badagry area, the ljebus in Ikorodu and Epe, while Lagos Island consists of an admixture of Benin and Eko Aworis as well as repatriated Yorubas and other immigrants.

However, the state in its modern form is a socio-cultural melt ing point which has attracted a cross section of Nigerians from all over the federation as well as non Nigerians from other African countries and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Lagos state has its own distinc tive cultural characteristics which have been nurtured all along by its indigenous peoples. The arts and craft of the state include pottery, sculpture, mat weaving, basket weaving, hair plaiting, and raffia works.

The cultures of the peoples are also reflect ed in certain types of masquerades which have par ticular times of the year for thier festivals and some of which originate from ancient religious practices. The major festivals include those of the Adamu Orisha (Eyo masquerades) of Lagos Island, Egungun, Kori and Osun lyaAlaro festivals at Ikeja, Eluku Festival at Ikorodu, Ebi Festival and Okoso Festival (Boat regatta) of Epe, the Sangbeto Masquerades of Badagry and a host of others. The Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture was estab lished in 1973 for the promotion of the State's cultural heritage.

Population, Structure and Distribution: Estimates by the United Nations and the Lagos State Regional Master Plan put the state's current population at about 10.6 million inhabitants. However, the 1991 census of Nigeria puts the population of Lagos State at 5,685,781 or 6.42 per cent of the national total.

The figure still makes Lagos State the most populous state in the Federation. With its area of 3,577 sq. km. the smallest in the country, the state's population density of 1,590 persons per sq. km. is therefore high. The density value for builtup metropolitan Lagos, estimated at 20,000 persons per sq. km. is even higher still. A 1988 estimate indicates that the population of Lagos State had been growing at an annual rate of 8 percent in the urban areas and 3 percent in the rural areas.

Obviously, the urban growth rate has been enhanced by inmigration. However, in view of the movement of the Federal Government to Abuja in December 1991, the growth rates are like ly to have begun to decrease, or to increase at a decreasing rate.

The most populous LGA in the state is Ojo with 17.8 percent of the 1991 population, closely followed by Mushin together with Oshodi/lsolo (17.4 percent) and Lagos Mainland/Surulere (15.3 percent). While the least populated LGA is IbejuLekki (0.4. per cent); the other LGAs occupy various positions in between.

Urbanisation and Human Settlement System: The main urban centres in the State are Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Ikeja and Lagos. The urbanisation process that has taken place in Lagos has been of such significance in the State and in Nigeria as a whole that it should receive special attention.

Although not European in origin, Lagos represents most spectacularly one of that class of Nigerian cities whose growth and development have been significantly shaped by European influ ences. Starting from a small settlement made by the Awori (a subgroup of the Yorubas), first at EbuteMetta and later (for defence reasons) at iddo, probably in the early part of the 17th century, the settlement of Lagos existed rather quietly up to the end of the 18th century.

From 1821 onwards, it became an important slave port on the West African coast. Important turning points in the subsequent growth of Lagos include the bombardment of the city by the British in 1851, with the purpose of ousting the slavetrade inclined King Kosoko and restoring Akintoye as King of Lagos; the resulting aban donment of the city by the civilian population and the slow growth thereafter; the formal cession of Lagos as a Colony to Britain in 1861; and the sub sequent establishment of regular government and administration of justice.

Then followed piecemeal addition of hinterland areas to ensure political and commercial stability; the subsequent growth in com merce and the development of communications cuminating in the founding of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce in 1897. The construction of the railway started in 1895 and harbour improvement followed (19081917). The volume of trade has continued to grow over the years.

Subsequently, various public programmes relating to industrial development, swamp reclamation and mosquito campaigns, pipe borne water, transportation facilities, commercial activities and the city's increasing functions as the capital of the Federation accelerated the growth of Lagos into the greatest single concentration of skills and disposable income in the country. By 1963, the city (the Municipality of Lagos), made up of such components as Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ikoyi and Victoria Island, Apapa and other areas had an official population figure of 665,246.

However, the geographic city beyond the boundaries of the Municipality was much larger. The spectacular road development works since the 1970s (the construction of the Eko Bridge, the reconstruction of Ikorodu Road into a 10lane dual carriage way, the construction of the Third Mainland Bridge, the ApapaOworonshoki Expressway, the LagosBadagry Expressway, the Abeokuta Expressway, the Victoria lslandEpe road as well as the interconnecting roads that link them into elabo rate circumferential route ways and circulation paths have been both responses to and catalysts of the explosive growth of metropolitan Lagos.

The process of urbanisation still continues in Lagos and with it comes various problems concern ing administration, land acquisition, housing and rents, sanitation, transportation, water supply and crime. These issues are brought to the attention of the public continually through the news media, and they remain endemic subjects of governmental pol icy and programmes. Table 24.2 shows projected population for the metropolis and the State from 1987 to 2000.

The settlement system in Lagos state is obvi ously dominated by metropolitan Lagos which incorporates not less than 16 of the 20 local government areas (LGAs): Agege, Ajeromilfelodun, AmuwoOdofin, Alimosho, Apapa, EtiOsa, lfako ljaye, Ikeja, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Oshodilsolo, Somolu, Surulere and part of Ojo.

In each of the four remaining LGAs, there is typically a focal town surrounded by numerous lowerorder settlements and village communities. In Badagry LGA, the focal town is the ancient settlement of Badagry which was a major slave out post in precolonial times and is reputed as being the first place in Nigeria where Christianity was preached in 1842.

There are about 120 other com munities and villages in the LGA including Ajara, Topo, Panko, Akarakumo, Aseri, Egun and others. The situation in Epe LGA is similar, the focal town being Epe. The other settlements are about 311, including Agbowalkosi, ltoiki, Ejirin, Onisawasawa, Ubuja, lpabodo and numerous others.

IbejuLekki LGA has as the main town, not the local govern ment headquarters which is Akodo but a more developed small town, Ibeju. Distributed irregularly around and between these two are about 153 other village communities, including Lekki, Magbon Alade and others. Finally, Ikorodu LGA has as its focal town the local government headquarters, Ikorodu, which is a veritable commercial city in its own right.

Being the location of the transmitters for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, the Voice of Nigeria and Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation (Radio and Television), it is an important communication centre as well as a major gate way to the country's hinterland.

There are about 260 other settlements in the LGA, including lgbogbo, Imota, Maya, Baiyeku, ljede, Majidun, Ajegunie, Agbede, Aguru, Odugunyan and others. These four LGAs Badagry, Epe, IbejuLekki and Ikorodu contain virtually the totality of rural areas in Lagos State.




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