What is it Like to Live in Lagos

by | Guides

Jul 16, 2022

What is it like to live in Lagos? It is fantastic. I’ve been to so many cities all over the world, and sincerely, there’s nowhere I’d rather live than Lagos. Everything I enjoy and love is possible and legal in Lagos, Nigeria.

The cost of living in Lagos is manageable as long as you have a good job and don’t try to live in the Lagos islands. In Lagos, you get to keep much of your paycheck, unlike in European countries, you have to pay much to the government.

Life is great in Lagos if you work hard.

This article offers you your first Lagos experience. Consider it a mental simulation of Lagos life. It answers the question: What is it like to live in Lagos?

1. Lagos life is Fast Life

Well, the first thing you may likely notice about living in Lagos is that everything happens very fast. Everything except the traffic, but we’ll talk about this later. Lagos days start too early, as people want to hit the road before the traffic starts to build up. 

As early as 5 a.m., before the day fully breaks, you will be awoken by honks and blares from cars and trucks. And when it is time to get off the bed, you will find that you are already late. I am talking “7 a.m”. You are already late by 7 a.m. 

Related: Top Facts About Lagos State

2. Traffic, Some More Traffic

Lagos suffers the worst traffic in Nigeria. So, the Lagos life will offer you a fair dose of sitting in buses and staring at your wristwatch, hoping they someday go on to put flying cars up for commercial use. 

Traffic is usually terrible in the mornings and the evenings, as people are more in the street at these times. In the morning, people leave for work and for school. And in the evening, they return. 

The way to beat Lagos traffic, especially on the mainland, is to find your way around with motorcycles. These men are the ghost riders of Lagos. Chill. They aren’t real ghosts. It is just a nickname, suggesting that they ride like movie stars, maneuvering their way through difficult alleys and small streets. 

3. So Many People 

You aren’t in Lagos if you don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of people around you when you first arrive. Check your map. Is that Lagos? Oh, I am not sure. 

Lagos is the most population-dense city in the whole of Nigeria. So, you are likely to be surrounded by people on every side. 

Street trade is common here so you will find a lot of shops and stalls along the street. Around these stalls, you will find people gathered around to get stuff. 

In some areas of Lagos, the population is so large that you will most likely have body contact with a stranger every day. This is especially true if you use public transportation. 

Read: How to Move to Lagos, Step by Step

4. One Lagos, Two Lives

You can divide Lagos into two halves by taking the financial state into consideration. 

The mainland is the location for every average person. It features not-so-sophisticated houses—just the regular Nigerian settlement. 

The island, however, can be considered the center of affluence of Lagos. Most of Lagos’ rich and influential people live here. There is an especially dense population of the rich in Lekki. 

You cannot move from the mainland to the island without being hit by traffic. The third mainland bridge traffic is there to welcome you always. 

They don’t usually put this out, but the island has a water problem. Some parts of the mainland also have drainage issues, so roads flood with dirty water when it rains. 

This almost only happens in the rainy season, though. Try not to wear white clothes on days when it rains. And prepare to become your most athletic self. There will be a lot of puddling and jumping to do. 

5. Are These ones Mad at Something? 

In late 2021, a series of jokes circulated on the Nigerian Twitter space, suggesting that Lagos people were mad. In Nigerian Yoruba, mad means: “Werey.” And the jokes usually read: “Lagos people are werey.” 

We are not calling anyone mad. Never. But we are saying that Lagos people “carry small craze for head“. They always look angry, especially at bus stops, and are always ready to stand up when in the face of opposition. 

You know you are at a Lagos bus stop when the conductor keeps screaming names of streets and subsequent bus stops as though he plans to rip off the insides of his throat. Oh, and when you do board those buses, be sure to have the gist of your life. 

Lagos people are always gisting. If not about politics, then about something that happened online, etc. 

Read: Cost of Living in Lagos (And Nigeria)

6. Is this Playing? What kind of Playing is This? 

Imagine an “is this playing?” face. Get ready to carry this face for long hours in Lagos. Because I assure you, you will always look like someone, and you will wear that face each time someone comes around to say you seem familiar. 

There are two possible reasons why someone might say you look familiar in Lagos: 

  • The first is that you really do look familiar. Since Lagos is a vastly populated city, you will most likely be confused for someone else. 
  • The second reason is that a lot of Lagos street thieves are getting smart. Petty thievery in Lagos is gaining ground, and one of the reasons is due to the fact that youths are unemployed—they just have to find ways to make ends meet, and petty thievery is the go-to. 

One method petty thieves use in Lagos is striking conversations out of nothing. They could walk up to a total stranger and start to talk about how this stranger looks quite familiar, and the next minute they are robbing this person. You have to shine your eyes. Check out this article on how to avoid being robbed in Lagos.

7. Light Wahala

So far, it seems as though we are only talking about the bad side of what it is like to live in Lagos. That will change from the subsequent points, but now, let us face the issue on the ground: there is no light in Lagos. 

We are not being ungrateful. We acknowledge the fact that, comparatively, Lagos has more electric supply than most states in Nigeria. 

But the reality here is that, for a city to be renowned, the amount of electricity being generated is just not enough, so most residents settle for using generators. And boy! Can these generators make noises! If you live in an area where most residents use generators, you may want to get yourself some earbuds. These will definitely help you sleep better at night. 

Or better still, you can move to the island. There is relatively more electricity supply on the island compared to the mainland. 

8. Enjoyment No Go Kill Person

An Afrobeat singer, Soft, in one of his hit songs, said: “Enjoyment no go kill person, amen.”

I believe he was talking about Lagos here. Because like every Lagosian will say: Omo! Don’t let them tell you otherwise; there is enjoyment in Lagos. 

I mean, Lagos is not the entertainment capital of Nigeria for nothing. There is enjoyment here, and it is enough to make you forget all the hassle you had been through for days. 

Lagos clubs are small and prime. If you are one who likes to club, check out these ten best clubs in Lagos

If you would rather not club, you should find your way to beaches or go on shopping sprees. I like to go on art tours. And, I tell you what, you will enjoy this! You will also enjoy a visit to National Park, where you will walk across the longest canopy walkway in Nigeria. 

I don’t even want to get started on hotels in Lagos. These!? Life. 

Read: How to Start a Business in Nigeria

9. Events Choke, Die

Still, on Gbedu and enjoyments in Lagos, you should know that Lagos has some of the most exciting events in the country. From music events to comedy events. As I mentioned earlier, Lagos is the entertainment hub of the country. There is a lot of fun here and events. 

Attend afrobeat events and watch your favorite singers perform live. Or turn to some comedy shows and listen to your favorite comedians and comediennes crack your ribs. 

The good thing about attending Lagos events is that you will definitely have the opportunity to make connections with people with similar interests.

It is needful to say that connection matters quite a lot in Lagos. You have to know someone who knows someone. This puts you in the face of opportunities. Many people in Lagos have been able to get jobs because they knew someone. 

You don’t only have to attend entertainment events. You can even attend regular events, like climate change events, etc. 

10. Food

Lagos is a home of good food. The infamous Agege bread is a special stretchy kind of bread with lots of milk and butter. It tastes like heaven. 

Bukas, small stalls by roadsides, sell the best rice. You have to eat three kinds of rice in Lagos. The first one is the Nigerian Jollof. This is, well, I’d say the best price in Nigeria. The second is rice and goat meat pepper soup. Some pepper to burn your taste buds is not a bad idea, especially in cold weather. The third kind of rice is a local dish called Banga rice. 

Also, eat Ewa Goyin. There are no words for this one. You will understand when you have eaten it. It is the kind of food to leave one speechless. 

Photo by Nupo Deyon Daniel on Unsplash

By Ubee Johnson

Ubong Johnson (Ubee) is a medical student and freelance writer. He writes articles that cover everything from Lagos city guide to lifestyle.

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