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Iwuanyanwu: Igbo developed Lagos, made swampy lands habitable

Iwuanyanwu: Igbo developed Lagos, made swampy lands habitable
December 02
12:46 2023

Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, says “Igbo forebears” are the “heroes” of the Lagos state of today.

The Ohanaeze president-general spoke on Friday during a press briefing.

Iwuanyanwu’s comments came in the wake of the controversy over remarks attributed to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, regarding the origin of Lagos.

The monarch had sparked a debate on social media when he said the Binis founded Lagos.


Speaking on the role of the south-east in the development of Lagos, Iwuanyanwu said Igbo forebearers made parts of the state habitable.

He said when Lagos was made the federal capital territory (FCT), the Igbo rose to the challenge of investing to make the state befitting.

“Igbos have been part of this country for a very long time. When Lagos became the federal capital, the development of such territory was a challenge in all countries,” Iwuanyanwu said.


“The Igbo forebearers, most of whom are dead today, rose to the challenge of that time. The challenge of that time was investment to make Lagos befitting as the federal capital territory. That is how the Igbos moved to Lagos by a sense of patriotism. 

“Igbos converted swampy lands to habitable places. They built businesses, homes, schools, and developed Lagos. The Igbo forebearers are the heroes of the time, the heroes of what we have as the strong Lagos of today.

“The Igbos in Lagos are highly respected citizens. Respected Yorubas and Igbos built very solid relationships with each other. Igbos are the great shareholders if Nigeria is a corporate body.”



The Ohanaeze leader said it will be difficult for the socio-cultural organisation to defend any of its kinsmen who flout Lagos construction laws.

Iwuanyanwu said he is yet to get the “facts” about the ongoing demolition exercise in Lagos, but he understands that all demolished houses were found guilty of contravening the land acquisition laws. 

In October, the Lagos government ordered the demolition of illegal buildings erected on water canals and drainages.

The state government said on Wednesday that the demolition exercise is not targeted at the people of south-eastern extraction. 


Commenting on the situation, Iwuanyanwu advised all Lagosians of Igbo extraction to get necessary approvals before the commencement of land acquisition or building. 

“On the demolition of houses of Igbos, I have not gotten the fact, but the information I have from the government is that some of the houses are built on roads and drainage lines,” he said.


“We have to obey the laws of the land. Wherever we are, if you want to build a house, buy and register the land properly. Apply for approval from the government agency. Then you can be rest assured that Ohanaeze will defend you.

“But if you go on to build on drainage lines, and roads, you failed to abide by the law of the land and did not get approvals, it will be be difficult to support you in any way.”


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