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A chair market at Badagry in 1910.
A chair market at Badagry in 1910.
Badagry shown within the State of Lagos
Badagry shown within the State of Lagos
Badagry is located in Nigeria
Location of Badagry in Nigeria
Coordinates: 6°25′N 2°53′E / 6.417°N 2.883°E / 6.417; 2.883
Country Nigeria
State Lagos State
LGA Badagry
 • Sole Administrator Jacob Kent
 • Total 170 sq mi (441 km2)
Population (2006)
 • Total 241,093
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Badagry (traditionally Gbagle) is a coastal town and local government area (LGA) in Lagos State, Nigeria. It is between the city of Lagos and the border with Benin at Seme. As of the preliminary 2006 census results, the municipality had a population of 241,093.[1]

Founding and early history[edit]

Founded in the early 15th century on a lagoon off the Gulf of Guinea, its protected harbour led to the town becoming a key port in the export of slaves to the Americas, which were mainly to Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. It was such a big departure point for slaves headed for French Saint-Domingue (today's Haiti) that a main god of Haiti's official religion of Vodun is called Ogun-Badagri.

Badagry is a monarchy headed by the Wheno Aholuship, a kingship headed by the Akran of Badagry and his seven white cap high chiefs. The white cap chiefs administer the eight quarters into which Badagry is divided — Ahovikoh, Boekoh, Jegba, Posukoh, Awhanjigo, Asago, Whalako, and Ganho. These quarters and the families that ruled them played prominent roles in brokering slave trade with the Europeans and Brazilians.

From the 1840s, following the suppression of the slave trade, Badagry declined significantly but became a major site of Christian mission work. Christianity (as a religion of the so-called white) was first preached in Nigeria at Badagry in 1842 by Rev Thomas Birch Freeman. He celebrated the first Christmas in Nigeria the following year. The site where Christianity was first preached then is now the "Agiya Tree Monument" beside the Badagry Town Hall.

The first education system of Nigeria as a British colony started in Badagry where the first primary school was established by the Wesleyan mission (Methodist Church) in 1843: The Nursery of Infant Church later became St. Thomas’ Anglican Nursery and Primary School. It was founded by Rev. Golmer of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1845, inside the first storey building in Badagry. The Wesleyans in the same year 1843 then went to central Lagos and founded Olowogbowo Methodist School and Ereko Methodist School in 1869. Olowogbowo Methodist School is still waxing strong just behind Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo. Ereko Mehodist School was relocated to Berkely Street and is still going strong. The first secondary school in Badagry was built over 100 years later; it was called Badagry Grammar School in 1955 due to misunderstanding between the missionaries and the natives that made them leave the town unceremoniously. In 1863 the town was annexed by the United Kingdom and incorporated into the Lagos colony. In 1901 it became a part of Nigeria.

Badagry subsists largely on fishing and agriculture, also maintaining a small museum on slavery. Residents come from all over the country to do business in the town. Some trade in clothing, food items, used cars from overseas, and other imported goods. The town is a few kilometers from Seme — a border town to Republic of Benin — and generates the highest Nigeria customs duties income till date.

This is the building[which?] commonly called the first storey building in Nigeria, overlooking the Marina waterfront. It was built in 1842 by Rev Bernard Freeman and other missionaries. Although it was built thousands of years after the first story building was constructed in Nigeria, with many still standing multistorey buildings, the name has stuck.

In 2012, De Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi I (OFR, LL.D, D.Litt, JP), the Akran of Badagry Kingdom, bestowed upon Mayor Dr. James L. Walls, Jr., president of the World Conference of Mayors a Chieftaincy title — "Yenawa of Badagry Kingdom" — making him the only living chief from the Western world.

See also[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ The area is led by a traditional chief, Akran De Wheno Aholu Menu - Toyi 1, who is also the permanent vice-chairman of obas and chiefs in Lagos State. Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, published 15 May 2007, accessed 8 July 2007
  2. ^ "Badagry". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. London: Wesleyan Mission-House. VIII: 12. February 1851. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°25′N 2°53′E / 6.417°N 2.883°E / 6.417; 2.883