Lagos is an amazing city with a lot to offer people fortunate enough to experience it. While Nigeria has not always held the most positive image, you can learn a lot about the benefits of Life in Lagos by reading the information offered here, on our Facebook page, and in The Inside Guide. Most importantly, talking to other partners and employees will offer a personal and helpful glimpse into the unique culture that defines Lagos.
Lagos lies six degrees north of the equator on the Gulf of Guinea. It is the second largest city in Africa with an estimated population of approximately 21 million inhabitants. It is a vibrant chaotic city, located on a collection of lagoons, islands and swamps. Today, bridges connect the islands and reclaiming of land has enabled Lagos to expand in every direction.
Lagos Island is the main commercial and administrative area and one of the oldest parts of the city. It is connected to the mainland by three large bridges: Eko Bridge, Carter Bridge and the Third Mainland Bridge. This is where most of Shells offices are located, about 16km from Shell housing and 24km from the airport.
Originally a swamp area on Lagos Island, Ikoyi is now mainly residential and has become a very affluent area. It has many high rise apartment buildings and is popular with expatriates. All of the Shell housing accommodations are located on Ikoyi. It is also home to many affluent, gated communities for both Nigerian and expatriate residents. Since 2012, a number of grocery stores and services have opened on Ikoyi and the new Lekki Toll Bridge makes commuting across town much easier. It is also home to dozens of art galleries and multi-functional spaces, boutique hotels and spas.
By crossing the Falamo Bridge from Ikoyi you reach Victoria Island. This is a residential and commercial area with many supermarkets, restaurants, offices and more accommodation. The American International School of Lagos (AISL), the Dutch School (NISL) as well as most of the embassies are located on Victoria Island.
Now one of the fastest growing areas of Lagos, the Lekki Peninsula, also part of VI is primarily a shopping and residential area. There are several international schools there (CIS, Italian school), grocery stores, and a shopping Mall.
The Lagos Airport - Murtala Mohammed International Airport, is located on what is normally just known as "The Mainland". On a good day, the trip from Shell Housing to the airport or vice versa should take 45 minutes. However, traffic in Lagos can be unpredictable. Company-provided buses are available for employees and families traveling to and from the airport and schedules are available on the Shell website. When returning to Lagos, a Shell representative meets all flights outside the customs hall and escorts passengers to company-provided buses.
In addition to the Airport, the Mainland is home to several large marketplaces, sporting venues, schools and housing developments. Most expatriates only travel to the Mainland to access the airport. Visiting markets or other tourist destinations is allowed but some security measures need be taken due to the size of the Mainland, road conditions, and general security issues.
Lagos is in the Northern Hemisphere, above the equator. It is hot and humid with average temperatures ranging from 28 – 31 degrees centigrade (82-87F) throughout the year. The rainy season occurs in the summer months from June – October with a short break in July and August. Even in the rainy season, there is an average of three hours sunshine per day. The dry season runs from December to March and coincides with a climate change called "Harmattan" - when fine sand, blown down from the Sahara. The sky appears overcast and it often looks like smog over the city. Fortunately, the humidity drops and the nights are typically cooler.
The country is 1hr ahead of GMT.
The name Lagos came from the Portuguese word for "lagoon". Before this, it was an old Yoruba town called Eko. In the 15th century it grew as a trade centre and seaport and by the 1820s it had become a notorious centre of the slave trade. In 1954 it was merged with the rest of Nigeria and enjoyed the status of capital city. In 1960 Nigeria gained independence and in the early 90’s, Abuja replaced Lagos as the Federal Capital.
After independence the country spent many years under military rule. The Biafra crisis in the late 1960’s slowed economic growth but the oil boom of the 1970’s saw rapid expansion of infrastructure and wealth.
English is the official language of Nigeria but tribal languages such as Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba and Fulani are also widely spoken. There is also a very large Indian and Lebanese community that have resided in Nigeria for the past several decades.
The two dominant religions in Nigeria are Islam and Christianity. There are places of worship for most major religions in Lagos including Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Judaism, Mormon, Muslim, and Pentecostal faiths. There are also some non-denominational fellowships and churches as well as Bible Study Groups within the expatriate community. Despite Nigeria's negative reputation, Lagos has an extremely diverse population and differences are generally celebrated and respected.
Other excellent sources of information about life in Lagos are:
• “Culture Smart Nigeria!” – available through amazon.com
• “Lagos Easy Access” compiled by the American Women’s Group (AWC) and available through the
• The magazine “TimeOut Lagos” - often found at small bookshops in Lagos, published annually
• www.facebook.com/outpostlagosnigeria - this is a closed group monitored by Outpost; all expatriate
residents in Shell housing can join
• www.globaloutpostservices.com/lagos - this is the Global Outpost site and requires a sign-on/
registration for detailed information, calendars, and contacts.
• www.lostinlagos.com – a great website for shops, grocery stores, restaurants and events around town
• www.itkworld.com – a great website for events, activities and networking events around town
• “Welcome to Lagos” – a three-part documentary sponsored by The BBC and available for rent or
through YouTube/itunes; a harsh but fascinating look at the daily life of most Lagosians.