The unplanned journey that led Lagos to becoming an overwhelmed megacity

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Lagos was an orderly urban environment 70 years ago. This was the case from the 1950s, when the city was a federal territory through to the 1960s when it became federal capital – a status it held until 1991.

The foundations of orderliness for any city are planning and management. Lagos had this in place in the early days. The city was governed by an elected Lagos City Council, Nigeria’s oldest, established in 1900. It was governed according to colonial legislation, particularly the 1948 Building Line regulations and the 1957 Public Health Law.

The city was much smaller and was made up of Lagos Island (Eko) which included Ikoyi and Obalende neighborhoods. It was a beautiful environment that featured Portuguese, Brazilian, and British Victorian architecture. Its streets were clean and tree-lined. Urban crime was virtually non-existent.

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