Awori are the original indigenes of Lagos, say historians

PHOTO: Architecture Lab

Akiolu, Ambode, Okunnu fault claim that Lagos is no man’s land
Speakers at the Lagos History Lecture yesterday explained that the Awori are the original indigenes of Lagos.

They also described the claim that Lagos is no man’s land as erroneous.

Deliberating on the theme, Lagos: yesterday, today and tomorrow,” the keynote speaker and panelists maintained that the Awori were the first occupants of Lagos though the city over the years had evolved, accommodating different tribes.

The keynote speaker, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, Prof. Hakeem Danmole, said: “The unparalleled growth that Lagos has witnessed over the years is a product of having been blessed with men and women of vision, who have been able to effectively anchored developments in the state.”

Providing an insight into the history of Lagos, Danmole said Lagos Island, called Eko by the indigenous population is a name with an origin in two well known traditional but controversial accounts.

“Nevertheless, it is important to note that one version of the name relates to the advent of Awori, while the other is connected to Benin adventures in Lagos.”

Despite this controversy, Danmole maintained that it is certain that the Awori settled in Lagos earlier than the Benin, which eventually subjugated the emergent settlement.

According to him: “Written records insist that Olofin, the leader of the Awori at Iddo divided Lagos among his children. Although many versions exit with regards to the number of children Olofin has, these children established various settlements within the Island and beyond.”

Danmole further said that unlike the Awori, the accounts of Benin’s relations with Lagos were fundamental to the evolution and eventual administration of the emergent settlement.

His narrative that the Awori are the first occupants of Lagos was supported by other speakers, including Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, Senator Habib Fasinro and Oba Rilwan Akiolu.

They all said it is erroneous to say Lagos is no man’s land.

While Fasinro described those claiming this as being confrontational, Okunnu said, “they do not know what they are saying.”

Akiolu and Ambode added that it is an error to say Lagos is no man’s land.

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