A First-Timer’s Guide To Understanding Lagos

If you are new in Lagos, welcome to the City of Excellence, one of the most unique places in the world! We know you must have heard a lot about the city and the people that live here right? Some of the things you heard are wrong, while many others have been downplayed to a large extent.

In this blog post, we’ll run you through some of the most obvious things you’ll notice about Lagos, especially as a first-timer.


Many big corporations have their headquarters in Lagos. This means the number of workers in the Lagos eclipses that of most of the states in the country, what this translates to is the fact that Lagosians spend hours in traffic commuting to and from their various places of work. No jokes, a typical Lagosian spends an average of 20 hours in traffic on weekdays, that’s almost a whole day out of the 7 days of the week. What this means is that people are bound to get angry, frustrated, tired, mentally fatigued and easily irritated at the slightest provocation.

Major causes of traffic in Lagos asides the “normal” things that cause traffic elsewhere include but are not limited to:

    • Police and other law enforcement agents who sometimes hold up a motorist for routine checks or for breaking one law or the other at the expense of other motorists and road-users. Do not be angry when you notice this, just drink a bottle of cold water to suppress whatever emotions you start feeling.


  • The “My Car” people:  This happens when two (or more) motorists dent each others car after a collision. Regardless of how much damage is done to the cars, it is generally customary that the two drivers come down, assess the level of damage done to their vehicles, argue about who is at fault, all of these with hands akimbo. These kinds of situations happen everyday in Lagos and this can cause some really annoying traffic jams but please be civil when this makes you spend 45 minutes for a 600-meter drive.


As we round up the talk about traffic, it is imperative to define the different kinds of traffic we have in Lagos.

  • GO-SLOW – Like the name implies, this kind of traffic moves, albeit very slowly. In a go-slow, a 20-minute drive might cost you at least 1 hour 30 minutes of your life.
  • HOLD-UP – No need to explain so much, whenever you find yourself in an epic Lagos hold-up, you have two options – cancel all your plans for the day and go back home or come down from whatever vehicle you are in and start walking… that demonic traffic jam is not moving!



Except you live in Abuja, there’s barely any city in Nigeria with half the amount of activities available in Lagos at night. In most cities in Nigeria, 9pm means lights out.. No stores open, little or no movement and no more fun for the day. This is definitely not the case for the people of Lagos. When the hustling and bustling of the day dies down, the city comes alive with activities of all kinds. Putting it mildly, you can go out in Lagos by 11pm and buy enough ingredients to  prepare a pot of soup. So for the newcomers, do not be dismayed when you see a friend getting dressed by midnight and no, he isn’t necessarily going for supernatural activities, it’s just the Lagos way!



Living in Lagos makes people who live in the city behave in a certain way. Some traits of Lagosians include, but are not limited to:

    • Being overly proud: Let’s put it this way, everybody in Lagos is a CHAIRMAN, so don’t be shocked to see a tricycle rider raining insults on a chief in his air-conditioned SUV. So yeah, Lagosians are generally proud, because come to think of it, anyone who lives in Lagos is a superhero of some sorts for overcoming this very stressful city daily


  • Having the confidence of 3 Presidents: Have you noticed the way Lagosians behave when they see people who live in other states? How they see them as second-hand citizens who should not be in the same geographical space with them? Yes, living in Lagos starches people’s shoulders and gives them an extra layer of ego. We are sure you must have heard the saying “Eko For Show”
  • Alarming levels of lawlessness – In Lagos, some unwritten laws might make cultured people cringe. A simple example of this is the Area Boys or Agberos who dorn the white and green uniform in other to harass and extort money from commercial motorists. So when you see them in action, forget about your inner Gani Fawehinmi and look away, and if the driver/conductor wastes time in cooperating with the Agbero, tell him to pay up so you can move on with your life.


Asides all the aforementioned, Lagos is the perfect depiction of Nigeria – unity in diversity. Lagos is a melting pot for all the tribes in the country and an all-welcoming state. Lagos offers opportunities that can hardly be found elsewhere, all you have to do is apply wisdom and make the best of the numerous opportunities in the city. Lagos has the best spots, cuisine and every other things in between. So when you finally get a hang of the city, feel free to mix in and enjoy Lagos like a true Lagosian!

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