The Rules Of Lagos

Welcome to Lagos! Eko o ni baje o!

There's a Lagosian saying: once you live in Lag, your life will never be the same. Thankfully, Intimaciti is here to provide you with the basics of surviving Lagos.

To reside in Lagos, you have to pick between living in a house or having a corner under any of the many bridges that abound. Assuming you decide a house is the better option - good for you! Now, you have to pick between the Island and the Mainland area. Here's a basic guideline to help you figure out where you'll best fit in.

Ikoyi (Including Banana Island) & Victoria Island - Expatriates and the uber-wealthy. Good luck trying to break into the social circle.

Lekki(Including Victoria Garden City{VGC}) & Magodo - New money. You'll find the movie and music celebrities are gradually taking over the Lekki environs.

Apapa & Ikeja - Old money that refuses to let go of past glory. You'll find importers and exporters earn their daily bread in Apapa

Gbagada, Yaba, Surulere & Ajah - White & blue collar job workers. Reasonable living Nigerian standards.

Ajegunle - Uhmm, there are no words. You'll need to find out for yourself

Festac/Amuwo Odofin - Money-miss-roads with questionable sources of income Entrepreneurs  - Importers and Exporters. If you have plans of travelling to China, Germany, Malaysia, Taiwan, Italy, Switzerland etc this is where you'll meet like-minds. 

Points to note - 

*The amount you'll pay in rent will largely depend on the area you choose, before other factors like size and basic amenities come into play. Generally, expect to pay way more on the Island than on the mainland area. 

*You'd probably expect to find more mosquitoes on the island but don't kid yourself, the ones on the mainland are as big as houseflies and they show no mercy. If you're a lover of cats - make your way to the Island. If not, stick to the mainland or prepare to freak out all the time. If your fear of rats is bigger than your fear of cats however, then you're better-off on the Island.

*Beggars are more prominent on the Island and can be quite aggressive persuasive so try to make arrangements accordingly.

*The electricity situation keeps fluctuating so it's kind of hard to keep track. However, you'll find that the back-up generators on the mainland are more offensive to the eyes, nose and ears.

*Availability of pipe-borne water varies from place to place but, you can expect slightly brown water on the Island so, make arrangements accordingly.

Our advice - Build your own house as soon as you can :)


Two Schools of thought have emerged with regards to driving in Lagos.

1) The first School believes that if you can drive in Lagos, you can drive anywhere else because driving in Lagos is madness.

2) The Second School believes the reverse is the case. Driving in Lagos makes it difficult for you to drive anywhere else because driving in Lagos is madness.

Let's explore the rationale behind both lines of thought, shall we?

*We wont even talk about the quality of the roads. Just ensure you keep regular maintenance on your car.

*The traffic in Lagos is second to none. It's either you join in or you join in. There's no escaping it.... except you wait until midnight to go anywhere and who wants to live like that? Traffic robberies abound too, especially around festive periods. Learn to carry all valuables in the trunk of your car. Mobile phones can have their place under the seats.

*Forget all the rules you learnt in driving School. On Lagos roads, there are no rules. It's survival of the fittest - and fittest in this context is the ability to constantly struggle to move, while engaging in a honking, cursing and shouting match with other drivers and road users. However, the fear of LASTMA (Lagos State Transport Management Authority) is the beginning of wisdom - your car could be impounded for a million reasons. Guilty or not guilty... you must shell out some bucks.

*Always assume every road is a one-way traffic road unless you see more than two - three or four to be safe - other cars going in the opposite direction (never ever rely on Motorcyles or Keke NAPEP tricycles for this judgement call). GPS/Google maps may or may not help you in this case, so user beware. Also, don't be surprised to find roads have been blocked off for an Owambe. You're in Lagos remember?

*Agberos aka Touts own the roads, pay the dues (both merited and unmerited) and you should be fine. Otherwise, prepare for your tyres to be deflated or windows broken at the slightest provocation. They may even throw in a few slaps. Do you really want to get into all that instead of handing over some change?

*If your car happens to collide with another car, the mode of conflict resolution with the other driver is another shout-fest. If you get defeated, you have to hand over some bucks for repairs of the other car on the spot (No, it doesn't matter if you have third-party insurance). How you want to fix your own car is your business.

Given the above points, the first School of thought is of the opinion that the experience of driving in Lagos prepares you for any challenges you may encounter in other cities, which will in no way be as severe as that of Lagos anyway. However, the second School of thought believes that the crass driving experience you get from driving in Lagos, will cause you more harm than good in more civilized cities. Which School of thought do you support?

Don't drive? Ah! Make the Taxi Companies (Uber, MetroTaxi, RedCab, OgaTaxi etc) your best friends. If you think those are too expensive, sharpen your negotiation skills and learn how to hop on/off a moving vehicle without killing yourself. You'll sustain a few bruises though but that's the price you'll pay for using cheaper options :) There are also options of motorcycle (Bikes) transportation, but that's for the strong-hearted few who can handle the reckless driving of the cyclists AKA bike men. Please always, always ask for a helmet! Oh, they are banned in some areas too so, be prepared to jump off the bike and start running without any warning.


The Lagos dream is to live close to your place of work. If you're yet to achieve this dream, your wake-up time should be anytime from 3.30am to 5.30am. Only the lucky chosen few have exceptions to this rule. Are you one of them?

Whether you have an employer or you're self-employed, no one will tell you why you should have one, two, three other hustles on the side. You'll find out on your own soon enough.

To succeed in Lagos, you have to learn the official language - Pidgin. Ask the expatriates, they'll tell you. Want to go the extra-mile? Learn Yoruba. That language opens doors - no kidding.

If you're the outgoing type, Lagos is ready to embrace you. We at Intimaciti don't have much of a social life because, we have to stay here and run this blog and give you these guidelines. However, if you're looking for spots to eat and drink in Lagos, click here

There are no rules about dressing. For the girls though; if you're going to Alaba or Balogun markets, you're better-off without that mini-skirt or plunging neckline. Otherwise, be prepared for a mixture of weird cat-calls, insults and gropes.

When it comes to dating in Lagos, all is fair in love and war. Don't ever assume anything. That the guy isn't wearing a wedding band doesn't mean he's single. That the chic is pregnant or has a child doesn't mean she's married. 

Packaging is everything. Don't take all those 'expensive' good looks and Cars on the surface. Dive deep and verify.
Be prepared to be sized up from head to toe. Anything is a deal-breaker these days.

The guys are looking for chics that can add to their ministry...financially and otherwise. So girls, be sure that you're bringing more than your good looks and home-making skills to the table.

Avoid DSTV & Chill or IrokoTv & Chill situations (Don't worry, Netflix is coming)... not only will you be responsible for whatever goes down, be prepared for the walk of shame the morning after. Sha be sure you have vex money.


Events in Lagos, AKA Owambe can spring up without any warning. If you're looking for free Nigerian jollof rice or hot amala, find any event were more than six people are wearing asoebi, gatecrash and hover around the food area.

If you're an invited guest and feel you're too posh to clamour for food, please eat before attending any event. Being omitted during food sharing is a normal thing although, they'll always remember to give you toothpick. LOL!

Souvenirs are a big part of any Owambe. The rule of thumb - always collect the souvenir as proof or you were not there :)

There you go. Come to Lagos and make merry. Living in Lagos sucks but you're gonna love it!

Do you Live in Lagos? Share you experience in the comments!


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  1. Lagos na wa. No be today jare.

  2. It takes a lot of energy to live in Lagos. I'll rather live in abuja if work will permit me. Lagos has too much wahala

  3. Lagos is just crazy. there was peace during xmas sha but nowthey are all coming bak again so back to square one. as for dating, dont bother dating lagos boys. all of them are fake heart breakers

  4. Yeah fear of deportation is the beginning of wisdom ;)

  5. Lagos sounds scary, but I'll still love to visit. The piece on driving in Lagos is quite funny :).