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Welcome to Lagos - it'll defy your expectations

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Will Anderson Will Anderson | 13:18 UK time, Thursday, 15 April 2010

When my friend rang to ask me out for a drink, I was already in Heathrow Terminal 5. "I'm not going to be around for the next four months or so," I told him. "I'm going to Lagos."

His immediate reaction - "Why? What's wrong? Are you in trouble? Is it the police?" - was typical. Nigeria, and Lagos in particular, seems to have a terrible reputation in Britain.

Everyone thinks of it as a noisy, dirty, dangerous city, probably because all we ever hear about it on the news is the corruption, religious violence, and dodgy email scams. I was convinced there was more to it than that, which is why four of us were heading out there for such a long period of time.

Our insurers had insisted that we were met at the airport by a team of armed police men, who would escort us and all our expensive filming equipment safely to our hotel. I have never been so embarrassed in my life.

As our convoy sped through town, sirens wailing, blue lights flashing, it seemed to me that this was by far the best way to advertise our arrival to all the criminals in the city.

The next day, feeling sheepish, we dispensed with all policemen, armed guards and security advice, and decided to go it alone.

We were heading for the ghettos and slums, which make up three quarters of Lagos, to find strong characters who could would let us into their lives, and present them to an audience in the UK. We had no idea what to expect or how we'd be received.

First stop was the city's main dump site, Olusosun. This definitely isn't on the tourist trail of Lagos, but then Lagos doesn't have much of a tourist industry at the moment. Some 5,000 people work on the dump, and we were immediately struck by how organised and efficient everything was.

As well as all the scavengers working behind the dump trucks, grabbing anything and everything they could to re-sell to the re-processing factories, there were shops, bars, restaurants, a mosque, a barbers, and even a cinema.


The longer we hung out on the dump (it very soon became one of our favourite places to film, because the people were all so friendly there) the more astonishing it became. It turned out that the scavengers even had their own form of democratically elected chairman, who sorted out any arguments or disagreements.

The dump became symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films. It looks at first sight like a rough, lawless, dangerous place, and most people in this country will be horrified to see people working there.

But in actual fact, through the eyes of the people who actually DO work there, it's a well-organised place where there's good money to be earned. Decent, honest people choose to work there, preferring a life of grime to a life of crime. Some of them are university graduates.

They are proud of the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work.

We realised the scavengers were people to be admired rather than pitied, and it changed our whole perspective on the place. They didn't feel sorry for themselves, so why should we feel sorry for them? We decided that the films should celebrate their resourcefulness, and challenge our audience's views of what poverty is.

After the dump we went to Makoko, an extraordinary floating slum, where everyone travels round in boats. Some people call it Lagos's version of Venice.

Programme two's star Mr Chubbey outside his home on the floating slum of Makoko

There's 100,000 people living on houses built on stilts, and after a week or so of drifting around in boats, stopping at people's houses and talking to them, we stumbled across Mr Chubbey, who went on to become the star of programme two.

He has 18 children to look after, and is always on the look out for some scheme or another which will help him make more money. He's like a character from Only Fools And Horses, buying selling, wheeling and dealing, doing dodgy deals and getting by on his charm and his luck. All that's missing is the camel skin coat.

The last film is set on a beach right in the heart of the swankiest part of town. It sounds idyllic - white sands, clear blue Atlantic waters, baking hot sunny days - and in many ways it is.

But it is also home to 1,000 or so squatters, who have built homes on the sand because they have nowhere else to go. After a couple of trips, walking along the sands, explaining what we were doing to the inquisitive children, we met Esther, a sparky, intelligent, beautiful young woman who had been staying on the beach for the last six years.

She lived with her husband Segun in a little house which they had built themselves out of scrap wood, cardboard and old tarpaulins. It probably cost them about £80.

Esther, the star of programme three, outside her house on the slum on the beach

But when Esther and her husband started to have problems in their marriage, and it looked like they were going to split up, they used to have terrible arguments about who was going to get the house - every bit as vicious as they would be if they were living in a mansion in Beverley Hills.

We realised then that all our characters, wherever they lived, however extreme their working environment, went through all of the same things which we do in the West - love, heartbreak, marriages, births, deaths etc. It's just that they live on a different scale to us, in the slums of the fastest growing city in the world, and with no money. This forces them to be more resourceful, energetic, and optimistic than most people in the West.

And yes, they may be terribly poor, but that doesn't stop them being human and, if the films have succeeded, then I hope they've succeeded in showing that.

Will Anderson is the series producer of Welcome To Lagos. Welcome To Lagos is a three-part series on BBC Two, Thursdays at 9pm, from 15 -29 April.The first episode is now available on the iPlayer


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  • Comment number 1.

    This is a challenge to BBC

    Time and time again, most of the news, documentaries etc you bring out on Lagos, Nigeria and Africa as a whole are stories or news on poverty, war, disesases etc

    This breeds stereotype in the viewers mind as to what to expect from Lagos, Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

    Could you challenge your team to dedicate time to finding out the beautiful stories coming out of Lagos, Nigeria and Africa as a whole for your viewers delight?
    A viewer like me, who is eagerly waiting for this balanced view.

  • Comment number 2.

    How does this compare I wonder to the BBC's own recent drama "Blood and Oil"?

  • Comment number 3.

    Just like Susan said above, I wonder why western media always like to show this kind of documentary about Africa to their viewers. I am still waiting for the day when BBC and the likes will showcase the beautiful part of Africa to their viewers. I cant be paying TV License to watch this type of show with my kids...What does BBC want viewers to learn from this programme?

    I guess it's another means of telling "British Public" not to visit Africa and Nigeria particularly...whereas there are more beautiful places BBC can show the public but refused to show. Why cant BBC show a documentary about the ongoing gigantic projects like EKO ATLANTIC CITY or LEKKI FREE TRADE ZONE? Whenever you guys want to show documentary about Great Britain, it's always West London, West Minister...I am yet to see dirty places like Peckham on the TV!

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm just wondering who the target audience of this documentary is. It portrays Lagos as one big joke. I hope there will be a balanced view of Lagos. If it's going to be all slums and ghettos then what's the point?

  • Comment number 5.

    This is exactly the kind of documentary we should be seeing more of, surely? Too many times these films concentrate on corruption or degradation or extreme poverty. This sounds like the opposite of that: a genuine attempt to capture people, albeit slum dwellers, as they see themselves, as they are. I actually think this is quite a brave move by the BBC. It isnt fronted by a western presenter(unlike almost all of the Channel 4 slum series, with do-gooders wringing their hands in dismay/pity); it isn't trying to force home any meta message. It seems designed to leave you to make up your own mind, which is ultimately far more difficult, and much more uncomfortable.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is extremely patronising. Will Anderson must think Nigerians are thick. I quote him "And yes, they may be terribly poor, but that doesn't stop them being human". So the British public need to see more of the dirt in Nigeria to understand that people who live there are human? I dont blame Will, I blame his bosses in bbc that gave him the go ahead to produce such an offensive, degrading, patronising and insulting programme. All they show the world of UK is the London eye. Every advert about anything in the UK must have a picture of the London eye, the Gerkin and Canary wharf whereas there are those illetrates in Liverpool, teenage pregnancy issues, lowlife yobs, crackheads, dirty Salford, Brixton etc to show the world the dirty linens of the UK-but that will never be shown. BBC etc go around the world giving people the impression that UK is built with gold and glitters. Its very easy to pick on a nation they have no regard for, they dare not paint some countries in this light but Nigeria is an easy target, isnt it? By the way there are so many people who live such a good life in Nigeria that they will not contemplate living in the UK for any reason. They dont find those that look good and live in decent places in Nigeria nor any other part of Africa, only disgusting things about Africa can be shown-its a law set in stone. Its a big shame, this is more or less a bullying behaviour. Its disgusting of you bbc, Big shame on you Will and Big shame on you bbc.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am a British Midwife and I spent a month in Lagos (May 2009)and have seen first hand what living there means. I look forward to watching this programme tonight, interested to see if Lagos is portrayed in the way I saw it. It is nothing like anywhere I had been before, manic, chaotic, loud...but also suprisingly welcoming...not a tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination but I loved my stay and look forward to returning. My blog discribing my trip can be read at www.jowatts.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 8.

    I think most of the other posters have covered the main issues with this type of documentary. The criticism levelled by Indians at the negative portrayal of their nation in films like "Slumdog Millionaire", also has equal resonance in relation to a documentary like this.

    Lagos a city of 16 million people and the best Mr Anderson could do was go to a rubbish dump? He marvels at the humanity of Lagosians, what does he believe that in some way they are less human?

    Documentaries like this are a reason why I despair in Western depictions of Africa, like another poster mentioned where is the balance? You have individuals like Governor Babatunde Fashola who is really trying to improve Lagos, who has launched Transport(BRT/Light rail) and infrastructure initiatives like EKO ATLANTIC. Also amidst the grinding poverty which is regrettable, you do have wealthy districts like Victoria Garden City in Lagos. But instead we are forced to see the same prejudiced drivel.

  • Comment number 9.

    I accept, Nigeria does have a lot of challenges and shortcomings, however, it also has many beautiful and great aspects, but if the BBC and other major western TV stations only ever show the former, that would be the only impression the world has of Nigeria. Another side of Nigeria: https://www.greatnigeria.tv/video/35/Cross-Rivers-Tour

  • Comment number 10.

    The programme has not yet being screened, and yet the haters are already expressing themselves.
    Why don't you wait and see the programme first.

    Of course, it is true that the Western media like to portray Africa as a wartorn, starving, poverty stricken continent. I will always challenge media stereotypes of Africans as either victims or warmongers.

    However, from the producer's description, this programme's aims were very different. They aimed to show poor people not as victims or sinister predators, but as ordinary people struggling to get by in difficult circumstances with great nobility and generosity of spirit. Whether they have succeeded remains to be seen.

    What exactly is the problem with showing the poor people of Lagos? Do I need to remind the commentators that 45% of Nigeria's population lives below the poverty line and most of the rest live in conditions that people on benefits in the UK would complain were unfit for public health?

    Perhaps, you would prefer to pretend that Lagos is something else other than what it is.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am shocked to hear the broad day lie that slums constitute 3/4 of Lagos. I really what people benefit from dehumanizing others.

    By the way, this is the Nigeria that BBC never shows you:


  • Comment number 12.

    In reply to Shege,
    What we are asking for is balance.
    I for one would love to see programmes on the BBC also show casing the beautiful and positive sides of Lagos, Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
    I think the present programming is lopsided, concentrating on the negatives.
    This is not balanced journalism and it breeds stereotyping.

  • Comment number 13.

    why dont you show the good sides of Africa, you biased idiots.if Nigeria is such a dump, why do i see white people in vgc and the nice places in Nigeria.TV is the window to the world and what you feed this ignorant idiots in the UK IS THE PERCEPTION THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE ABOUT THE PLACE. everywhere in the uk i see homeless, HOBOS and drug addicts and useless people, who depend on benefits to survive. you dont talk about those.

    show the beautiful sides of Africa and the comfortable, people who reside in Africa and are doing better than most of you in THE UK

  • Comment number 14.

    @Shege, the issue here is about a "factual" documentary on Lagos state.

    A documentary is an academic material and should therefore offer its audience a balanced argument i.e. balance the negative aspects of Lagos state against its positive aspects. Isn't it ironic how every video about the London seems to have a picture of the London eye, the Gherkin or the Palace of Westminster. I never see the pictures of yobs, crack-heads, of London slums. The Lagos state governor, Fashola, has put in tremendous effort to reverse the problems of Lagos state but none of that was addressed in the documentary. The producer's description is patronizing and I think Nigerians are far too intelligent to buy into it. Will Anderson's documentary is biased and BBC should endeavour to tell both sides of the story if it wants to be taken seriously as an unbiased media source.

    Here's the other side to the Lagos story;


  • Comment number 15.

    And here is the Lagos BBC is not interested in showing the world. https://www.greatnigeria.tv/video/61/Eye-On-Lagos--Model-City-Finance

    @Shege: if they want to show poor people surviving in spite of want, they have the UK slums to resort to. Why would they travel to Lagos, and drive from the airport in search of slums? That tells you sth, regardless of what BBC wants you to believe. I know the motive - to show that we are not equal, after all.

    It's time for us to tell our own stories!

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't really understand the negative views. I watched this with my 13 year old son and we loved the people, their attitudes the way they deal with daily hardship - what is the problem with showing this? Maybe some of the commentary was a little patronising, but to me it showed the strength of human spirit. I loved it and can't wait to watch the next one. Real peoples lives are always much more interesting than made up dramas (blood and oil as mentioned above - please it was terrible). I love Africa - all parts the good the bad and the ugly. You can use my license money to make more fils like this - it's great to educate my son and me on how other people live.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ha ha ha, please, I beg! There have been so many documentaries about slums in the UK, showing Hoodies and Chavs brandishing knives and guns etc.

    The comments on this page remind me of the Chinese bloggers who are paid by the Chinese government networkers to attack and vilify news reports and stories that present any vaguely negative perceptions of China.

    And who are these somebodies who keep posting links to puff piece videos marketing Abuja and Nigerian business? Do you travel through the streets of Lagos, or Port Harcourt in chauffer driven limousine with blacked out windows, so not only can people not see in, but you can't see out?

    I reckon you are paid employees of Dora Akunyili, attempting to re-brand Nigeria as something it is transparently not.

    If you cannot acknowlege that there are problems, then you cannot do anything to resolve the problems.

    There is a reason why the wild ostrich is a very rare bird.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks to everyone that has given blind 'Shege' a befitting response. Open your eyes Mr Shege, dont be brainwashed.

  • Comment number 20.

    I wonder why anyone could think we are all haters because we demanded that BBC should be balanced in it's documentaries and reports about Africa. I have been living in Liverpool for some decades now and to be honest with you, I sometimes find it hard to believe that this city is in the so-called "western world". Yes, Lagos aint like London, New York, Paris or Washington DC...but at least there are some parts of the city that BBC can show its viewers, not the rubbish dump.

    @ Jo Watts ...claiming that Nigeria aint a tourist destination, but am sorry to disagree with u cos there are many top tourist sites in that country that you dont even know because you believe what you see in TV. Even though you claimed to have been in Lagos before, it doesnt mean that you were able to see the other side of the city maybe because of your perception of the city.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I became really wrapped up in each character of this documentary - it was absolutely nothing that I expected. Contrary to some comments posted, this is the first time I've ever thought about visiting Nigeria and nothing I viewed came across as patronising, degrading or negative.

    The documentary is by no means perfect, but nothing interesting ever is. From my perspective, I simply saw a side of Lagos that I never had a clue about. My impression of Lagos had always been of a facinating cosmopolitan African city, populated by academics and wealthy business persons enjoying the wealth of their oil resources.

    However this side of Lagos was equally fascinating and deserves to be showcased. I saw men and women who toiled from morning til night in the most ridiculous circumstances and still remained positive. I saw people who laughed, cried, shared, quarrelled and thrived matter how tough the situation was. I found it very inspiring and made me sit and think very hard about how ungrateful I am with my own lot. I question whether I would have the courage to burn ox blood in perishing heat so that my family can have the essentials or spend hours in the night burning copper from plastic so that I could give my one year old daughter a lovely birthday party with treats and a cake.

    I sit on my bum all day long in a lovely office clacking away on a PC and compared to these guys I have it easy - yet I don't get a thimbleful of the satisfaction these amazing guys seem to get.

    And as cliche as it may sound, Life gave these guys lemons and they made some amazing lemonade with it....

    I can't wait for the next episode....

  • Comment number 23.

    @Shege, sorry mate but you dont seem to be on the popular side of this debate, if anything your posts make you seem like the paid up stooge of Mr Anderson. What most of the posters wanted was balance and that was sadly lacking in this documentary as expected.

    You mentioned that some of the people posting links remind you chinese bloggers paid by the government "to attack and vilify news that presents vaguely negative perceptions of China". I doubt anyone posting here is paid by the Lagos government, but the Chinese approach does appear to be working as the country attracted 23.44 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year alone!

    Also your main point was probably the most important, how is Nigeria ever going to attract the kind of FDI that would help turn it into a successful economy with negative programming like this and "Blood & Oil". You have to realise today perception is pretty much everything, something places like Dubai, India and China are all too keenly aware of. When markets suddenly shift, it isnt because economic fundamentals have suddenly changed overnight, it is because the perception of that market has changed (e.g. Greece)...

  • Comment number 24.

    Shege, the notion that anyone who argues for a less biased portrayal of Nigeria is somehow on a propaganda mission or as you say "paid employee of Dora Akunyili" is not only ignorant and misguided, it also shows a degree of inferiority complex. Nigeria is not a perfect country and nobody has said we don't have problems. I also may not agree with the implementation of Dora's re-branding exercise but the concept is the same in most countries across the world, sometimes subtle and sometimes agressive. Every country, state, town and indeed family, tries to portray themselves in the best light possible and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. This BBC documentary does nothing to solve the problems of Lagos state. If it bothers you so much, get involved! I don't how you can possible argue against the idea of a more balanced analysis of Lagos state or any aspect of Nigeria for the matter.

  • Comment number 25.

    What a good programme.The fact is this ,by the grace of God go I.If you were lucky enough to be brought up by good parents who looked after you ,worked all the hours to put a roof over your head ,and put food on the table then I/you were lucky.
    This programme just highlights that if you are not so lucky i.e. the people of Lagos then yuo make the best of what you have.The people get on with it and try and make money and survive the best they can.
    I do not think that I shall complain again.

  • Comment number 26.

    @shega, if you read my comment, the first thing I said was, "Nigeria does have a lot of challenges and shortcomings". I am not interested in rebranding Nigeria, I am interesting in inspiring change in Nigeria, that requires constructive and balanced coverage.

    This documentary would be better viewing on CNN because they give a more balanced view of Nigeria. The BBC doesn't cover Nigeria much and whenever they do it tends to be programmes like this. Calling the documentary "Welcome to Lagos" is not helpful either, because it gives the impression Lagos is mainly slums, and the comment Lagos is 3/4, which is untrue, proves the BBC is not being constructive or balanced. Why produce a 3-part documentary and base all 3 parts on the slums only? What about the other sides of Lagos?

  • Comment number 27.

    I love the programme but NOT the way Lagos was potrayed. The tiltle should not have been WELCOME TO LAGOS.I was looking forward to watch the programme with my family which we did and in the first 10min we turned away because of untrue disgust about Lagos. Everywhere has its slum in different states. Let me ask the producer this question " you said you were picked at the airport with police escort" how many countries would you go and get a police escort if you not a VIP? i grew up in Lagos and i never saw the an unfair image of Lagos as this.I reckon you go back and show both the good and bad places of Lagos (beautiful seaside). And i reckon you start from a location with three statues saying "WELCOME TO LAGOS". for your information You cant fly there to this location.

  • Comment number 28.

    I feel that white people would not be able work so hard in those conditions in the dumps of Lagos, the people are happy & greatful they are not Racist, they work hard, I have a lot of respect for them. Which person in the UK would be able to work like those people NONE, I this Mr Anderson done the right thing going out to Lagos to show how BLOODY LAZY some of the people in UK are, and that all people want here is the DSS Benefits jobseekers allowance, Jeff Davis Birmingham

  • Comment number 29.

    "His immediate reaction - "Why? What's wrong? Are you in trouble? Is it the police?" - was typical. Nigeria, and Lagos in particular, seems to have a terrible reputation in Britain.

    Everyone thinks of it as a noisy, dirty, dangerous city, probably because all we ever hear about it on the news is the corruption, religious violence, and dodgy email scams. I was convinced there was more to it than that, which is why four of us were heading out there for such a long period of time."

    And so Mr Will Anderson, you decided that the best way to counter these views was to go make a documentary about a slum? Are you intentionally patronising the people of Lagos or are you really that stupid?

    So this is the view we should have of Lagos. Lagos is not a noisy, dirty, dangerous city full of corruption, religious violence, and dodgy email scams. Lagos is just a big slum on a landfill.

    Go stick your face in a dustbin, Anderson.

  • Comment number 30.

    You guys will never seize to make me laugh. You will never understand us no matter how hard you try, no matter how many one-off documentaries you shoot in Lagos/Nigeria, you will never understand what makes us tick.
    I know that we baffle you with our ability to stay afloat in the face of so much confusion that would and has buried so many countries in Africa and beyond.
    So you hop on planes with your fancy filming gadgets and come here and to spend a few weeks and make documentaries in ways that you know will appeal to the average white audience out there that does not have a clue...and you think you will ever understand us? I am laughing so hard i can hardly see my keyboard.
    If you want to even have a clue about what we are about....put your fancy equipment to one side and step into our world. Learn to speak pidgin english, learn to listen to and enjoy Nigerian music, learn to dance, if you are a man, learn to live with a Nigerian woman and if you are a woman , experience being courted by a Nigerian man, drink our water and eat our food, visit 12 of the 36 states across the country and spend time in each.
    If you are to do this well (it should take you at least 2 years) then maybe....just maybe you would understand why people who have never come here never want to come here and those that have never want to leave, maybe you will understand why Nigeria has defied all socio-economic theories known to man, maybe you will understand why Nigerians get to the peak of what ever endeavor they are involved in from Science, music , arts, sports and yes....fraud. Maybe you will get a small nugget of knowledge of that which has been referred to as THE SPIRIT OF NAIJA.
    Maybe.....just maybe.....but then...i am yet to see a pig with wings so i guess we will be treated to more of such documentaries that would give SOME MOTHERS DO HAVE THEM with Frank Spencer a run for its money....
    MORE!!!! MORE!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    I agree with Shege, that Nigeria has many problems and think the only way to resolve it is to admit to having them. However this documentary had three opportunities to portray different themes, given that there are three parts to this documentary. It has clearly chosen to neglect three opportunites and depicts only one reocurring theme: Poverty. I don't think its a fair and I totally discredit this documentary I do believe that this programme has or will exacerbated any negative perceptions individuals or groups may have had or have on Nigeria.
    "We realised then that all our characters, wherever they lived, however extreme their working environment, went through all of the same things which we do in the West - love, heartbreak, marriages, births, deaths etc. It's just that they live on a different scale to us, in the slums of the fastest growing city in the world, and with no money. This forces them to be more resourceful, energetic, and optimistic than most people in the West.

    And yes, they may be terribly poor, but that doesn't stop them being human and," (DID ACTUALLY THINK WHEN YOU WRTOE THIS)"if the films have succeeded, then I hope they've succeeded in showing that."

    This was a quote from the blog, this has got to be the most condescending, patronising and dergrading piece of garbarge Ive read in a long time. It assume that Nigerians are not humans, yet uncivilised animals, "who go through all the same things we go through in the West" Are you serious?? All people regardless of what country they are from are unified beacuse of the shared experineces. Do you really believe to be necessary to make a documentary expressing that, do you really believe the British public lack sense!! (There was me, thinking that all those experiences you listed were just part of the human cycle) Will Anderson I think Welcome to Nigeria has generated a lot of interest, which could have been a good thing had you utilised your journalism skills in the right way. However I don't believe you should do anything along these lines again. "It'll defy your expectations" Irony at its best.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    I enjoyed the programme. It showed people who had been dealt a tough hand in life coming out as survivors not wallowing in self pity or asking for handouts from either the West or the wealthy of the country.
    So now the world knows Nigeria is not the land of corruption and a haven of scammers as is so often portrayed, could there now be a programme to show yet another side of Nigeria, the comfortably living people, the oke-arin material traders, the journalists working for media houses, R Jolad Hospital where one man is pulling out all the stops in Hospital care, the industrious furniture makers, the PR consultants, the record producers, the musicians, the event management guys ( Cocktails In and Out)..and I didn't even have to mention those working for the bank and Oil sectors.... 'Welcome to Lagos', let's see - the slums, the middle class and the wealthy places.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    It so good to talk and show Lagos, but the same happen in England in a modern manner. Ask me and I have a stroy to tell

  • Comment number 36.

    Mariory I absolutely applaude your last paragraph. You have my thoughts in a nutshell.

  • Comment number 37.

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  • Comment number 38.


    ‘Arise o’ compatriote’- a sentence in the Nigerian national anthem with a very strong connotation: UNITY. So much has been written on this giant of Africa; mostly negative and who are we to blame but ourselves- Nigerians because of our failure to stand up for this great nation and take back what rightfully belongs to us- PRIDE. Nigeria has its pitfalls and rightfully speaking; which nation doesnt? Corruption and redtapes; robbery; poverty; diseases; lack of basic amenities and social infrastructures amongst other downsides but that hasnt stopped us from forging ahead. Life is a learning curve on its own and whilst we are still identifying and adopting different alternatives to dealing with these issues; I would suggest the ‘literate’ countries and stakeholders alike with tried and tested solutions to come to our rescue. Poverty may be biting deep in the economy but obviously not every member; and I am not refering to the greedy politicians but rather the hard working members of the society. A saying goes that ‘more money more problem’ and perhaps so because we have once been voted as the happiest country in the world and this occured in the same trying period the country is presently in. Our government has been failing us since far back I was able to understand their essence and is evident in the lack of basic amenities and infrastructures but some noticable improvements by some leaders I have chosen not to name in their respective states could one day lead to a developed Nigeria if continued. Note that some international companies which operate in Nigeria would not do so if the conditions for operation is not condusive enough. More so, might I add that these companies share their secret of operation in a country which has been castigated as being corrupt. What have they done to overcome these issues if they claim they haven’t adopted these practices. In a similar line of thought, the issue of internet frauds has been traced back to Nigeria and may contradict the happy fact but whilst there obviously would exist ‘innocent’ victims of fraud but how innocent can you be to fall for such atrocious claim of being given a lost but found heritage that can only be released having provided personal information and paid a certain amount to have it transferred. Shouldn’t the person who contacted you have this information already for them to have contacted you in the first place? On a lighter note I wish to ask these questions- are you aware of our beautiful culture and heritage like the Oyo Festival; Ojude Oba done in Ijebuland; our food and language; lifestyle amongst others in the same vein and interest as you do know our downsides? As there are two sides to a coin; your judgement should be based on a thorough analysis of who Nigerians are and what makes us US. Whilst some individuals; organisations and countries at large have taken it upon themselves to ‘help welcome you to Nigeria’; might I add that they assist in ‘welcoming us’ to their own world with the same level of brutal honesty. There is a native saying that ‘a fi n ran Olorun leti’ (only reminding God Almighty of our plight) and whilst we have silently listened and not question such gruesome but somewhat honest negative brutality of this country; I hope your able to do the same about your own world. Reminds me of the story of the prostitute that Jesus Christ asked to be stoned if any one was clean and no one could stone her. Perhaps, a further look by these stakeholders who have taken it upon themselves to discuss Nigeria into their own environment would help reveal the hypocricy of the world. Beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder; I believe WE (Nigerians) are not in a better but in a BEST position to welcome you into OUR world. I am not denying our corrupt practices and apportioning blame, I am only suggesting we all think twice before acting and always provide a balanced viewpoint. We may be taking baby steps at the moment but we shall one day take the long stride of an adult and this only justifies the beautiful work of Ayi Kwei Armah by saying the ‘beautyful ones are not yet born’.

  • Comment number 39.

    I watched with interest your documentary about Lagos, Nigeria. I also read your blogg about why you’re doing it. You said that “It will defy your expectation”. In what way will it defy people’s expectations? There’re so many beautiful places in Nigeria where you could have done documentaries on, examples are VGC – Victoria Garden City, Mushin, and Oshodi which are all in Lagos. To be candid with you, I think you’re actually doing it to disregard Nigerians. How would you have felt if another country decides to do documentary on Britain while focusing on areas that still need development and people that need encouragement? If however your intentions are pure, then I do apologise but if they are otherwise, you're nothing but a flipping waste of space.

  • Comment number 40.

    >>We realised then that all our characters, wherever they lived, however extreme their working environment, went through all of the same things which we do in the West - love, heartbreak, marriages, births, deaths etc. It's just that they live on a different scale to us, in the slums of the fastest growing city in the world, and with no money. This forces them to be more resourceful, energetic, and optimistic than most people in the West.

    And yes, they may be terribly poor, but that doesn't stop them being human and, if the films have succeeded, then I hope they've succeeded in showing that.

    This quote sums up the theme of the documentary.

    I don't know what programme you guys watched, but for once I saw a documentary that made me proud of my roots. Well done Will and BBC for showing life in the Slums in a positive way.

    The few minutes it took me to register to comment here, a face book page "VOCAL SLENDER TO PERFORM LIVE IN D UK!" has been set Up. Not only that, its membership grew from 79 to 168 in less than 10 minutes. The number is still growing. Friends are posting a link to his Myspace page with positive comments on their face book walls.

    I will only think this is happening because people can relate to the human aspect of the documentary. Credit to Will and the BBC.

    I am looking forward to the next two series.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ Vocal Slender's rising popularity on fbk.....wow that was quick.....Credit to Will and the BBC.....

  • Comment number 42.

    I spent more than half of my life in Lagos and I conveniently chose to avoid the so-called dirty Lagos. The fact is, a lot of us are living in denial. We would rather be regarded as people driving the latest cars, to the happening places, wearing the best clothes. We tend to 'forget' that for more than half of the Lagos population, this documentary rings true!
    I believe the sole aim of the programme was to show how the so-called 419 Nigerians are more and better than that stereotype.
    Nigeria isn't perfect and it's our job to make sure the nation improves, without making excuses or putting the blame on others.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nigeria like any other country under heaven has got it's problems, but it's really hypocritical of an element to then show our country in this negative light. Britain also has got its problems like adult illetrates in some area of London. In the area I used to live, I personally had to help 2 caucasian male read letters sent to them by family members living in Spain,you have 13 yrs old teenage girls getting impregnated by their father, as a matter of fact, this happenend in Sheffied,lowlife yobs, crackheads just to name a few. So next time you want to do a documentary on a country, pick out the log in your eyes first before getting on the plane to help others take out the speck in their eyes.

  • Comment number 44.

    Rather than attack the producer, our so called NTA,AIT and other private owned media organisation can borrow a leaf from this.Our so called Nigerian media such as Bisi Olatilo et al only show programmes about the corrupt ruling class and their friends.Somebody from the BBC makes a programme about how the less priviledge ones survive and make it in Lagos some of you are already crucifying him.The NTA and private media should be doing this,some may not like it but it is the content that matters which shows the determination of the average Nigerian if given the right environment. Love the programme and can wait for the next series.

  • Comment number 45.

    On the 15th April 2010 I watched the documentary you aired on BBC 2 "Welcome to Lagos" and was highly disappointed on the way Nigeria and Nigerians were being portrayed to the world. When did Wil Anderson produce this documentary. Has he been to Lagos recently. How dare him and BBC 2 show this documentary about Lagos when there are hundreds of other good things you could have shown about Nigeria. What was the objective of showing this programme. All the Western world has ever done for our country is to take from us and even in our struggling times you still try to take away our dignity. This is the highest of insults upon injury. Without the Oil, Diamonds, Gold, Cocoa, Coffee, Bauxite, Aluminium and other natural resources that have been taken away from our Africa what does that leave Britain with -ABSOLUTELY NOTHING so who gave the BBC the right to label Lagos in Nigeria "a city of scavengers". I hope Will goes back to Nigeria shoots the good things and airs it. This is such a deformation of character and personally I think that BBC and Mr Anderson should go back on air and apologise publicly to all Nigerians for the insult. If Nigeria is that bad why do tourist from the UK end up returning to settle there. Mr Anderson probably meant well when he produced this programme which was shot in Nigeria however the portrayal of it's residence is disrespectful especially when worst situations exist in the UK.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    As a Nigerian also fed up with the loop-sided portrayal of beloved Africa in western media and tired of explaining to my friends in the UK that we do not live in clay huts, I found this show intriguing. Having lived in Nigeria all my life this documentary is as revealing to me as it is to its intended audience, I had no idea that this dump exists nor did I know about these amazing people and the lives they live.
    Nigeria is a multifaceted country going through rapid growth and transformation and in it places like these ( which are the extreme) exist but other places of beauty, affluence and more appealing do exist. The BBC is clearly in the entertainment industry not the educational one and will present to its audience stories that will most likely elicit a reaction and hence documentaries like these.

  • Comment number 49.

    Why do the bbc and western media in general continue to paint a negative image of Africa. This was the perfect opportunity to challenge people’s views of Lagos. To show not just the bad, but the parts that are prospering and vibrant. Nigeria has its faults everyone knows that, but all countries do.

    And what is the purpose of this documentary? Is this going to benefit Nigerians? From what I’ve seen no. This documentary does nothing to change perceptions of Lagos. In fact it’s patronising and is degrading to Nigerians.

    BBC is it too much to ask for a balanced unbiased documentary on Africa for once!

  • Comment number 50.

    When I first heard about this documentary series I thought it was going to be the typical doom and gloom portrayal of Nigeria, so to an extent I agree with some of the commentators that there are too many of them out there that paint such a negative picture of Nigeria or Africa in general. However, I think that this documentary does strike a balance, yes it shows the slums, but it actually portrays the people there in a very good light.

    How many times have western delegations, presidents or prime ministers condemned Nigeria for being undemocratic, corrupt from top to toe, and yet this producer, subtly shows westerners that actually, that's not completely true. Even in the slums, which most people in Britain would think would be ruled by anarchy, there are systems of democracy in place, unity and kindness. That wouldn't happen in Britain, here people lock their doors for a reason.

    It seems some of the commentators here can't get past the location of the documentary to see the finer details. So what if it's focused on poor people? Why shouldn't their lives be seen? By lambasting the producer for not showing the rich lagosians, you are inherently suggesting that the lives of the poor are not worth showing. In other words you are advocating that these people's lives and personalities should be ignored, you are acting like the very corrupt politicians who treat the people portrayed here like rubbish, syphoning public funds which should be used to help them, for their own benefit.

    Also, in my opinion:

    "When my friend rang to ask me out for a drink, I was already in Heathrow Terminal 5. "I'm not going to be around for the next four months or so," I told him. "I'm going to Lagos."

    His immediate reaction - "Why? What's wrong? Are you in trouble? Is it the police?" - was typical. Nigeria, and Lagos in particular, seems to have a terrible reputation in Britain."

    This demonstrates that this documentary was meant to change the perspective that a lot of British people have of us Nigerians. So showing the slums was just a method or tool of doing this. After 'Blood and Oil' about two weeks ago, simply showing the rich side of Lagos, may only have made more people think that rich people in Nigeria gain their riches through corruption.

    What I love about this show is that it emphasizes the dignity in labour that a lot of Nigerians world wide have - not all of us are scammers or potential suicide bombers, just try looking in a British hospital and tell me of one that doesn't have a Nigerian or African working there, whether sweeping the floors, working as nurses, or DOCTORS!

    At any rate, the documentary has already benefited at least one of the protagonists, Eric, by exposing his music. People are talking about it on Gidilounge, (https://gidilounge.com/%29 demanding that they post his music there.

    Please, learn how to see the silver lining in every cloud, like the people in the show. It seems that even some Nigerians have some lessons to learn from them, and not just westerners. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 51.

    It seems some of the commentators on this board dont know where people like me stand as per this documentary...Honestly, I like the documentary because it shows the diligent and "hardworkmanship" of the Nigerians. And against all odds, I was happy that people featured in this documentary aint "scammers" or "internet fraudsters" as western media has made all Nigerians to look. Even though these people are poor, they aint begging for money, they 're working for it with high optimism! ...that's what makes me love it more!

    But all being said, like most of the commentators, all I asked for is "balanced journalism". This 1st part of the documentary would have been better off if other side of Lagos was shown even for just 2 minutes...so as to let the "British Public" know that not all Lagosians are scavengers. And again, the title "welcome to Lagos" isnt suitable...it makes the whole city of Lagos looks like a "rubbish dump". It could have been titled "the lives of scavengers in Lagos"...maybe that could have softened the insults on all Lagosians.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for a day when BBC and the likes will showcase the beauty of African continent on their platform...!

  • Comment number 52.

    I agree with Oge on this one. Well said. Some people have been blinded by inferiority complex that they failed to see the positives in the story.

    To mention the subtle things in the documentary that showed how big Lagos is.
    1. Didn't you guys notice how the dump was being filled round the clock. Where was the waste coming from? There is actually waste management in Lagos that seems to work.
    2. The cows came from markets all over Africa to meet the demands of 16million people in Lagos. We must be a great consuming Nation for other countries to supply us cows.
    3. I didn't know fire service in Lagos worked
    4. Didn't you see the jammed up Third MainLand bridge? If you had such traffic, where on earth were they heading to?
    5. While watching the documentary, my wife pointed out the bus lanes in Lagos. I didn't know that existed.
    6. The guys in the slums were organised, had a leadership that worked. Can we say the same about the leadership of the country?

    I could go on about the positive things in the documentary, but like Oge said, the producers set out to change the perception people in UK have about Nigeria and I think they achieved that.

    I would rather my son sees a documentary like this that shows how people are able to deal with their condition and make it in life, how despite his condition, Vocal Slender has the hope and he is actually working towards this,that one day he will achieve his dreams. Than a documentary about the wealthy Nigerians that live in VGC who are probably 419ers or corrupt govt official.

    Oge, you can check out Vocal Slender on his myspace page. https://www.myspace.com/vocalslender

  • Comment number 53.

    Manifestation of Unity--- I was so proud of Joseph. It seems myopia has stopped a number of people from seeing the programme the way it was intended.
    'Our insurers had insisted that we were met at the airport by a team of armed police men, who would escort us and all our expensive filming equipment safely to our hotel. I have never been so embarrassed in my life.' - Reading this objectively only shows that these guys were embarrassed their insurers had insisted on being escorted about because they stood out, because they did not feel comfortable with it and that's why the armed escorts were dispensed with the next day. So why has this been taken to mean something more than it actually does?

    Could it be defensiveness which means regardless of what is said it would be taken in such a negative and derogatory way.

    I love the article by Munira A. Adama of Sahara Reporters on Manifestation of Unity. 'This documentary shows beyond the pictures. Beyond the spoken. It shows us the future of our country, not the poverty but the unity, the organisation, the camaraderie, the resourcefulness, the optimism, the vigour for life, the justice that can prevail, the honesty, the good People, the great Nation'.
    Now that was exactly what I saw from the programme.

    The full article can be found at

  • Comment number 54.

    Didn't anyone notice how the Olasosun community got together and helped Eric out of the predicament he found himself in, after the other victim lost his eye and Eric was asked to pay 5m Naira by the victim's family?

    Oh no, surely that wasn't in this same programme or was it. Somehow, guys in the BBC bashing mode over image and effizy that went unnoticed and so nobody commended the 'manifestation of unity' in Olasosun that was portratyed for us all to see but I guess that must have been way too subtle, hmm. Wow

  • Comment number 55.

    Firstly I would like to say this is the worst piece of journalism i have seen in awhile (no offense will). It makes me question the motives of BBC editors about Nigeria.
    This isn't the first case, I remember last December where a Nigerian almost blew up a plane in the United States, all we heard was he's a Nigerian but what they failed to mentioned was he was taught and brainwashed in Britain.
    Also, this is a slap in the wrist on our information minister and her 're-branding' ideas. We have to advertise our country, show our natural resources such as Olumo rock, our games reserves, Ikogosi warm spring, etc., the hospitably nature of Nigerians, the progress the country has made in the last 3-4 years especially Lagos. We should show this on the foreign networks like CNN, BBC, Sky, Fox news, etc. We should try to beat them to the punch.#
    Finally I just want to say their isn't any country that doesn't have its own slums, so it's unfair to broadcast our slums alone to the world.

    It's just UNGODLY!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    I am a Nigerian born and bred and although I currently live in the UK, I do intend to return to my homeland in the future.
    Irrespective of the negative comments left on this page by other Nigerians, for me this has by far been the most challenging documentary on Nigeria I have ever seen. It made me realise what a sheltered life I have lived and grown up in. I live in Ogudu which is a suburb only minutes from Ojota where this Olasosun dump is and I remember every time we drove past the dump on the highway, even with our windows up and Air-condition blowing, I'd hold my nostrils and stop breathing until we had gone past it just because the stench was that bad. I never realised that people/Nigerians actually live in that slum. So for me, this documentary was very revealing and for this Mr Anderson I say thank you.

    This documentary has made me grateful for what I am and what I have and has challenged me to want to do more for my country. It has made me realise that irrespective of where you find yourself, you can make the best of it and still be happy. I totally loved the guy with the family (I can't remember his name) who despite all was still able to celebrate his daughter's 1st birthday within his means and he also had a great sense of humour and a surprisingly good command of the English language. Just like you, Mr. Anderson, I do not pity these people but I admire their tenacity even in the midst of struggle as well as their optimism and high spirits. I think we all have something to learn from these guys, I definitely have.

    I agree with Psalm 23 above and Munira A. Adama of Sahara Reporters who said that the documentary shows beyond the pictures. Beyond the spoken. It shows us the future of our country, not the poverty but the unity, the organisation, the camaraderie, the resourcefulness, the optimism, the vigour for life, the justice that can prevail, the honesty, the good People, the great Nation'.

    Just like Psalm 23, I saw beyond the poverty of these people, this is what I saw.

    I am totally looking forward to the next two episodes.

  • Comment number 57.

    It would seem that the vast majority of previous posts are from native Nigerians - I am not, I am white Englishman, married to a Nigerian lady and have been to Lagos to visit my in laws and have lived in other parts of Nigeria for over 3 years. So i appreciate my viewpoint maybe somewhat different

    I felt this was an excellent piece of film making that really captured the spirit of the Nigerian people - friendly, resourceful, fun loving and able to just get on with life no matter the hardships that befall them. Don't get hung up on the fact it is slum life that was being shown - the language and characters were all genuine and the Nigerians watching this should be proud that their underclasses have been shown in such a positive light - I wish I could say the same about the British.

  • Comment number 58.

    its a good docu..shows good human spirit etc ..but it doesnt show me anything new regarding the stereotype view of Africa and Nigeria. It might make interesting viewing to people here, but unfortunately does not show them the other aspects of the country which they would never have seen. Most of the viewers would have seen programs like this on other countries in Africa or other third world countries.
    BBC and the producer show try and balance things out, be brave and adventurous and dont be PC and show the postive progress, people and places in lagos..balance it out. Theres rich and poor everywhere. the title is not the best because looking from the outside I would think Nigeria is mainly that coupled with all the other stereotypes i have seen about the country..
    So as a Nigerian, I am not impressed with the docu..cos theres so much more the producer could have decided to devote his time to in Nigeria to really show what hes intending. I am not ashamed of the slums or the poor because its a fact of life, there's slums and poor people everywhere in the world. Nigerians are very resilient, innovative, caring and clever, Nigeria is a lovely place too - show that, but this time through the other sides of Nigeria or Lagos

  • Comment number 59.

    I took time to analyse this program with friends, families and colleagues and i must say this is totally unacceptable. Its so sad that how lovely Lagos is, this is the only show you can put on, to me this is just to discourage millions of people wishing to visit africa. The producer mentioned that Lagos lack tourist attractions, for heaven sake where are you from? You need to do your home work well and run more fascinating documentaries. We all know there is poverty, corruption etc, for heaven sake we want to hear other news, are you saying nothing good comes out of Nigeria, what about the Dr Emeagwalis of the world, the guy that bought london city airport, the yooungest lady to fly an airplane in US etc. this documentary is unacceptable to Nigerians in the diaspora, are you discouraging us or encouraging us. When last did u showcase the negative areas of london, like the stabbings, corruption in the parliament, robberies etc. Enough is enough !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    to shege am sure by now every is object to your comment. we just want them to show different side to nigeria lagos, to every one. we just want balance in any documentary shown and broadcast. always remember there is two side to all stories. thank you.

  • Comment number 61.

    The beebs needs to get its fact right i.e. 3/4 of Lagos is not slum.
    Secondly, at the very least, Will Anderson could have shown the world so clips of where he stayed for his duration in Lagos. I bet it was better than some of the best places in England?

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    I am a British-born woman of Nigerian parentage, who has only visited 'home' once when I was 12. I had a very traumatic experience there which has prevented me from going back - up until this point. I am now a mother, and would desperately love to take my daughter to see where her grandmother grew up. The change in my previously negative views of my country (and its' people might I add) have been reinforced by this programme.
    I was blown away by how the true nature of what all humans yearn for was portrayed - contentment, happiness and sense of belonging. The humility of the people shown put me to shame. How dare I complain about the difficulties I face here in England, when there are people suffering on a constant basis just to survive - and make do with what they have! Yes, Nigeria is known for its' scam artists, hot-tempered and seemingly 'lazy' inhabitants, and dishonest government, but can this not be said about England too?
    However, I was highly impressed by the REAL portrayal of people just trying to get by with what they have - honestly and legally. How hard-working were these people????? I was truly astonished by their resourcefulness set against the 'wastefulness' of the Western world.
    I take offense with the previous comments made here, which vilify the programme-makers for choosing to show the 'negative' side to Nigeria. Does that mean that these slums do not exist because you don't want it shown??? Have a conscience if those of you complaining grew up ill-treating your house-help, and look down your nose at those less fortunate than yourselves. Those of you who think you have 'made it' because you have a nice house/car/wardrobe of clothes etc - does your inner being gleam white and pure??? Does your countenance match to those you have seen in this programme? Truly ask yourself if you are as happy, hard-working and committed as the people interviewed? Hmmmm, feeling a little lower down on your pedestal??? Ask yourself if you would have had the same opinions had you looked beyond where the program was made. Did it still not show OUR PEOPLE in a favourable light?
    I do not believe the aim of the show was to highlight the dumping ground of Nigeria, but to show the extreme adversities faced by those living in poverty and how they overcome these challenges.
    I am proud to be of Nigerian heritage and look forward to making it my second home. I just wish to say well done to the programme-makers for their honest attempt at capturing what I feel this programme was about - the essence of true, honest humility and strength of character.
    Shame on you to those who have missed the point completely - stop lying to yourselves about what you KNOW about our people! I shall most definitely be watching the next up-coming episodes - KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. All you negative commentators - CHECK YOURSELVES

  • Comment number 64.

    OH THANK YOU!!! I am sooo happy that people are now saying something. Gosh it's sooo annoying when you never see the nice side of Nigeria. I'm 15 and was born here, but I've been to Nigeria, Homeland, 3 times and not once have I seen all theese dumps, but Will chose to search high and low for these places. Can you imagine someone who has never been to Nigeria before, they'll be like 'What on earth, i'm never going there', I mean Lagos was once the capital state so no one can say there are no nice places around.

    Another thing... if your going to call it 'Welcome to Lagos' then show us Lagos, show us slums and show us the modern houses and commercial areas...if your not going to show that and choose to focus on the ghetto parts call it...'Welcom to the Slums of Lagos'

    Gosh its frustrating...oh well...As long as I know what my country has.. :D

  • Comment number 65.

    I really wonder why BBC cannot sponsor something productive that will bring honour to a country but i don't blame you, i blame the nigerian officials who even granted you entry into the country. Mr Will Anderson, your figures are very wrong, how could you ever say 3/4 of Lagos is made up of slums. You all put in so much effort to bring another country down, why dont you divert your energy and resources into sorting out all the drug problems, yob culture, teenage pregnancies etc you have got in Britain. If you want to do something noble with your career, then don't spend your time looking for the negative things, yes..we have slums but what do you want to do about it. If the answer is nothing then please take your leave and build your career on more positive grounds.

  • Comment number 66.

    I very much agree with Adeyemi Adisa re: comments about EKO ATLANTIC CITY or LEKKI FREE TRADE ZONE. Before reading this blog and its subsequent debate I had never heard of either development and I think that such projects should recieve more media exposure in the UK. However this is a responsibility of commissioning editors - not Will Anderson.

    Adeyemi why don't you put a proposal together? Although I'm not sure what is so attractive about a programme that focuses on privilaged upper classes anyway. I think it would more likely bring shame on your good people.

    I wonder how much coverage the Olusosun recieves in the Nigerian media? I would be willing to bet vey little! So on the contrary I think the programme shows that the BBC is open minded pioneering supporter of real life scenarios.

    The producer has shown remarkable flare and tenacity to go to Lagos and capture a far more positive essence of the Nigerian mind set and the very unique code of strict ethics which apparently governs everyday life. Working on a low budget and without the police escorts the producer shows humility and successfully avoids being too invasive or biased and as such he has gained the trust of those he is recording.

    I found the programme remarkably informative - I even emailed two of my old uni friends who live in Lagos to tell them about the incedible people I'd just witnessed on TV. Their efficiency, will power and love for their children was nothing short of inspirational. Yet one of my friends had not even herd of the Olusosun Slum!

    Did someone say ignorance is bliss? This programme challenges ignorance on BOTH sides

  • Comment number 67.

    Will, I grew up in Nigeria, lived in London for about 10years, then in Lagos for another 10years (in the very best parts, if I may add), then in Abuja for 3 years.

    I must say that your documentary is the best thing I have ever seen on TV about Nigeria.
    It captures the stark reality of life in the country and also exposes the real Nigerian spirit for all it represents.

    Your effort and creativity are simply amazing. It's simply a shame that the Nigerian government spends so much money creating fake and damaging publicity with the excuse of trying to re-brand Nigeria.

    I really sympathize with all these people making comments about how unacceptable your documentary is, ignore them all they are only deluded people.
    Without a doubt 'Welcome To Lagos' deserves an Emmy nomination for best real-life documentary.It must be one of the most inspiring works on TV this year. A major plus for Nigeria's image.

  • Comment number 68.

    I believe what many commentators here find unsettling is the fact that there is a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers regarding the true state of life in Lagos city.
    The author claims Lagos is a mega-city of close to 10 million inhabitants, but focusses only on a small 5,000 group of individuals living and working at a dump site, close to the outskirts of the city.
    There is a casual mention of affluence and wealth to be found in the city, but this is not given much light, nor is it explored for a more balanced view, if only as an indicator of social inequalities. This we know is a common trait found in most emerging mega cities bulging under the strains of rapid urbanisation; social infrastucture struggling to cope with population growth. It is reflected in the slums of Mumbai, and the favelas of Rio for example.
    A title of "Welcome to the dumps of (or a dumpsite in) Lagos" would have been much more accurate, but not captivating enough for viewers to tune in to the BBC to watch, at a time when ITV had live coverage of the political debate between the major political party leaders.

  • Comment number 69.

    Nigerians - like any other race, black, yellow, green, purple, and white - fall into several categories but none more vocal than those that constantly exhibit what can best be described as 'fake outrage', with a tendency to bloviate. When I saw the preview for this program a week ago, I could already imagine the comments and 'outrage' that some viewers would show. All the forums I have visited that are discussing this program have the same vitriolic comments that I have come to expect from some of my people; "why show the bad parts", "Get your facts right", "Unacceptable to Nigerians", "The Westerners are at it again", blah, blah, blah, gibberish, gibberish, gibberish!

    What exactly is the true picture of Lagos? What was wrong with this program in the first place? Did the producer place those scavengers in those places? Can you do better???? The gentleman that made the comment about Peckham pretty much shot himself in the foot; many Nigerians live in Peckham. We really do need to stop pandering to stereotypes we are not capable of defending and get rid of this "Sweep-it-under-the-carpet-so-that-we-are-not-disgraced" mentality.

    I go to Nigeria bi-annually. I invest in Nigeria. I have family in Nigeria. Is Nigeria a terrible place? Heavens No! I know of worst places. Are there Issues?? Like every other place on earth. Are there times when I am saddened and angered by what I see in Nigeria? Every living moment. Can I make a difference in some way? Absolutely. My access to the UK has afforded me the skills, experience, exposure, and knowledge to discern between what can and cannot be done about Nigeria as a whole. Programs like these only go to highlight the many areas that need addressing and the so-called 'potential' that we Nigerians love to talk about. 2006, and a friend of mine called me from Lagos saying he did not realize people were so wicked. I asked what he meant and he said he did not realize there was a machine for sweeping the streets. He had just seen his first street sweeper!!! On my many trips to Lagos I often wondered why the streets were being swept by crews with brooms. To those with any entrepreneurial spirit that is a viable market for you - and ME.

    My family and I sat and watched this program in its entirety in complete silence. Too stunned for words. I had just finished complaining about not getting enough food on my plate and was totally ashamed for words when I realized that I had just watched people who had it tougher and were not complaining.

    Are there other parts to Lagos or Nigeria? Absolutely. ALL the luxuries and frivolities you find in any developed world are available here but how does highlighting how wealthy people live in the midst of abject poverty address the issues of fairness and a sickening lack of resources? Not to even talk of the lack of tourist attractions in the first place.

    I am totally on the same page with Liz. All her points were precise and to the point. THIS SHOW WAS NOT PRIMARILY TO HIGHLIGHT ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT LAGOS!!! Perhaps the producer of the program put it best and we need to be reminded:

    "They are proud of the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work"

    "...the scavengers were people to be admired rather than pitied, and it changed our whole perspective on the place. They didn't feel sorry for themselves, so why should we feel sorry for them?"

    "We decided that the films should celebrate their resourcefulness, and challenge our audience's views of what poverty is"

    "We realised then that all our characters, wherever they lived, however extreme their working environment, went through all of the same things which we do in the West - love, heartbreak, marriages, births, deaths etc. It's just that they live on a different scale to us, in the slums of the fastest growing city in the world, and with no money. This forces them to be more resourceful, energetic, and optimistic than most people in the West"

    "And yes, they may be terribly poor, but that doesn't stop them being human and, if the films have succeeded, then I hope they've succeeded in showing that."

    The sad truth is that a lot of people - Nigerians and non-Nigerians - just won't get it and will never understand programs or media like this, and depending on the individual persuasion (and level of thought) this will add more to this ongoing debate of Lagos and Nigeria in particular not being portrayed in a positive light. All the malarkey will be said and eventually, this will be forgotten and no one will do anything to solve the problem.

  • Comment number 70.


    There is nothing wrong in doing a balanced story of Lagos State. The documentary is titled "WELCOME TO LAGOS" not "THE LIVES OF THE SLUMDOGS IN LAGOS". The title of the BBC documentary gave the false impression that a three-dimensional picture of Lagos life was going to be portrayed. I have to say that the documentary is not all bad since it shows the reality that poor Nigerians are hard-working despite the odds. But why should all 3 parts of the documentary be based on slums only? Is the entire Lagos made up of slums only? (By the way, the comment by Anderson that slums make up three-quarters or 75% of Lagos is shockingly false). The patronizing statement that showing developed parts of lagos will "focus on privileged upper classes anyway...likely [to] bring shame on your good people" is quite silly. Do you honestly believe that there are no middle-class people in Lagos: doctors, engineers, teachers, judges, lawyers, university professors? These are a socio-economic class of people whose lives in Lagos cannot be represented by a skewed documentary series that exclusively focus on a dump site, cattle market and floating slums. Do you honestly think that there are no wealthy Nigerian people who made their money through honest hardwork and good business acumen? I am referring to upper class and upper middle-class Nigerians who live in beautiful well developed parts of Lagos and whose wealth did not come from stealing from government coffers or 419 email scams. How can Mr. Will Anderson spend months in Lagos and not deem it fit to show the profound changes that the popular Governor Tunde Fashola-led state government is making in order to improve lives there. If this documentary was exclusively about ghetto life in Lagos, then it should have been titled appropriately.

  • Comment number 71.

    What BBC showed was purely what they want their people to see so that continually, the British people can look down on Nigerians.
    Let them show a ballance documentary. Show the Good the Bad and the Ugly and not only the Ugly side of Lagos.
    Irrespective of what you show, I am proud of Nigeria.
    Tell us about the YOB culture in UK, the beggars and the homeless that are increasing daily because of unfair financial treatment in this country.
    Tell us about those villages where things are not rosy and those areas where people are not willing to live in Scotland.

    Sambassey, your comment about people who are deluded is very unfortunate. You wrote that you stayed in Lagos for 10 years and quickly added that it was the best art of Lagos. Why that clarification. It shows that you find it hard to associate with the dump called Lagos by BBC. They can equally show your best part also.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ Richard: thank you and thanks for the link too!

    I'm glad that some more constructive, positive thinkers are actually posting comments now. I despair at all the negative Nigerians, they're very embarrassing.

    Those of you advocating a change of title, your suggestions are hilarious. Would you honestly have watched it if it was called, 'Welcome to the Slums of Lagos'? I highly doubt that, you would have found reason to complain even with that. I would have spent most of my time justifying Nigeria's case, and probably not watched it at all. In fact, such a title would only have served to reinforce the negative image of Nigeria. If any one is being patronizing it is you, asking Will Anderson to spell everything out to the British public as if they were all complete idiots. I'm sure they can get the point if they try, from their comments here they seem to have gotten it more than the majority of Nigerians on this blog.

    Also, bear in mind the wider context in which this documentary is being shown: in December we had a suicide bomber try to blow up a plane, many of us were angry that American and British news channels didn't emphasize that the boy's father had warned America months in advance. Beginning of the year, there was the Jos crisis. I would have expected the first documentaries being shown of Nigeria since then by the BBC, to emphasize the 'religious violence' there etc. The fact that this documentary actually ignores that and focuses on more positive aspects shows that in the wider context, Will Anderson is balancing out the negative views about Nigerian people, not the place itself.

    Can anyone, particularly those criticizing the statistics given in the show, tell me the exact ratio of slum-dwellers to those living in fancy mansions in Lagos? You can criticize the 3/4 statistic all you want, but no one is going to believe you unless you counter it with some accurate, factual statistics.

    Also, Will Anderson, has done what few Nigerians seem to be willing to do themselves. If they bother, they show a skewed image of Nigeria by displaying only Lagos or Abuja, neglecting the other cities and other states. At any rate, perception isn't the most important issue, there are as many perceptions of the world as there are people. The real issue is what we as Nigerians in diaspora, or Nigerians actually LIVING in Nigeria, doing to change the situation. And I'm not just referring to the government, I'm referring to the middle-classes and the rich that a lot of you so desperately want to showcase.

    And FYI, Britain does show its bad side: the documentary series about pregnant teenagers, the documentary of youth in the 'ghetto' rearing dangerous dogs used to defend themselves and attack other people, and don't forget the TV show 'Little Britain' is very self-deprecating whilst being funny at the same time. There are so many others that could be listed.

  • Comment number 73.

    I must clarify some facts that are absolutely wrong in this post.three quarters of lagos isnt a ghetto or slum.That's not true!!!

    Dear readers, i want you all to view this video clip on youtube


    A lagos or nigeria that never gets shown abroad.

  • Comment number 74.

    Brilliant programme, it portrays a people who have been dealt a difficult hand by life, but have chosen to not stay down. They wake up every morning to earn a living, come up with inititiative ideas that I believe will impress even Sir. Alan Sugar. (The agric graduate that knew to use blood to make poultry feed. Come on, that's a more honest job than most of the so called "leaders" we have in Nigeria are doing).

    They are not waiting for hand outs from the wealthy, or expecting a bribe before carrying out a job they've been employed to do. They trust each other and are fair to each other (which is a lot more than u can say for the "the high class people").

    They even have a present leader for their community which is a lot more than Nigeria can say we have as a country. Where is our President?

    Femi what exactly will be the point of showing Olumo Rock, Ikogosi warm springs and other tourist attractions? (U probably don't know this, but it's all there on the Virgin Atlantic's website about things to do in Lagos). This wasn't a tourism documentary.
    I guess if it was a film like Danny Boyle's portrayal of India's slums in "Slumdog Millionaire" that won all those awards, u'd be of a different opinion.

    Kudos to you Will Anderson. More grease to your elbows.

  • Comment number 75.

    I am a Nigerian, I do not see anything negative about this program. It is only the ignorant, that will suggest showing Victoria Island, VGC, Lekki etc as a positive image of Nigeria to be proud of.

    With all the money Nigeria have at our disposal, look at the deplorable infrastructure we have. All the roads in lagos are bad and full of pot holes (even in Victoria Island), there is electricity problems in the whole of Nigeria, shortage of fuel in an oil producing country etc.

    What I saw in the program, was the resourcefulness of the Nigerian people and the absence of government intervention in the lives of the average Nigerian.

    The image shows that the problem with Nigeria is the government and those in the upper class of the society. It also shows that there are hard working and honest Nigerians as opposed to the negative image Nigerians have worldwide.

    What touched me most was the collective responsibility the slum community has, and the democracy that was in operation in the slum. If Nigerian governments can practice a fraction of what the slum inhabitants have been shown to practice, the country will become the Giant of Africa that it is supposed to be.

    I can see most of the commenters on this post live in the western world, but you have learnt nothing. People like you when you are given the opportunity to be in government, will pretend that places like the slum do not exist, and thus will do nothing about it, and this is the problem Nigeria has been facing for decades.

  • Comment number 76.

    I am ghanaian and it really annoys when programs or anything to do with Africa depicts poverty poverty poverty. What about what Africa is doing now and how beautiful some of the cities are? I grew up in ghana for at least 16 years and I pretty sure most people will agree that they have never seen or heard some of the towns and slams shown on these TV programs. The average British person will watch the show and he/she will assume all africans are from SLAMS!!!

    What will children from afican origin born in england think watching the show as maybe they have never been to africa to to the other side?

    This is licence fee payer's money and I am assuming BBC should be able to do a program called the side of Africa no one shows...... what about that?

  • Comment number 77.

    "Welcome to Lagos - it'll defy your expectations"

    So true. The British people would have been expecting to see animals working hard on scams.
    So rather than showing them the side to Lagos they do not see or hear about (culture, vibrance, beauty, innovation etc), you base your show on Lagos about slums.

    The British will be surprised to see that Nigerians/Lagosians are not just scamming subhumans. They are simply hardworking subhumans.

    Expectations defied indeed. Another good use of the licence fee.

  • Comment number 78.

    I watched the programme and enjoyed it, albeit an extreme side of Lagos. Having been there for a month working in a medical centre in Mafoluku not far from the filming, so much of it bought back memories and familier sights.
    I think this was a positive view and Nigerians should be proud of the way they were protrayed in this...the way the stabbing was dealt with, how even the poorest members of there society clubbed together to pay the hospital bills!

    How hard working and resourceful these people both male and female puts many of us in the UK to shame. The positve and happy way everyone was, that is just how I remembered everyone I met.

    Nigeria(ns) has got a lot to offer and with many going over seas and realising that life can be better, then as diaspora returning and improving things there. Also facing up to the problems that must be addressed, before you can change and improve. This programme shows that not all are corrupt and criminals, that help is needed but Nigerians are willing to put the work in to grab there dream.

    @ Adeyemi, I aso agree that there are many places in Nigeria that are beautiful, I also stayed in the capital Abuja which is very different from Lagos. Lagos itself and much nicer areas, I stayed in Lekki for example but poverty is on every door step far more than here in the UK, even in Abuja from my Hilton window I could see it!!

    It time to stop turning a blind eye, We should stand up and notice it as Gods people we are all one and as such like those living on the dump, we should all do our bit to help make the changes in the world!

  • Comment number 79.

    Thank You so very much for taking time to show these hard-working men and woman. As a Nigerian living in the UK it made realise how fortunate I am...!

    I for one am against showcasing all the riches in Africa when we Africans hardly help each other or create opportunity for other Africans apart from ourselves alone. The government in Nigeria do very little to help the common man!!!

    Africans should showcase themselves overseas and not wait for the BBC to do it for them by sending film crew. Most Africans are very hard-working, but when you expose a desperate poverty streaking man to wealth of others...then, it is only a matter of time before covetousness takes over him.

    Once again, many thanks for the production and showcasing the plight of my people to succeed in life.

  • Comment number 80.

    @Doydorcas: When I say people are deluded, I mean to say that they are holding on to totally false and baseless notions.

    The truth is that Lagos is not a pleasant place to live in. The good thing about Nigerians, which was brilliantly captured in the program, is that despite this we are ready to make the best of a horrible situation and if given the chance we can change that situation by force of incredible will and an ebullient spirit.

    Yes, I won't identify with the slum but it is quite pointless showing even the best parts of Lagos, like someone is trying to show us via the You Tube video. It makes no sense.
    How do you get to those parts? We all drive past these slums every morning, breathe the stench even through the car air conditioning. What is anyone doing about it? Of course you can not take a walk from your house anywhere in Lagos to any of those places.

    If you pause a moment, rewind and watch the program again from the beginning perhaps you will begin to understand the positive impact the BBC program can have on Lagos and on Nigeria in general.

    I can understand it when some of you say Lagos is not 75% slum, its the same way Eric, Joseph and all the other fellows think Ajegunle is a cool place to live in.

    Delusion means putting in a new sofa when your roof has been leaking for weeks. So what if the leather is Louis Vuitton, the walls are stained and the damp carpets stink.

    Thanks to Will Anderson and his crew I've just downloaded Vocal Slender's new Album from iTunes, hopefully with your help a Nigerian ex-scavenger can become a global superstar.
    And that will be something to be really proud of.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ Jo Watts
    "This programme shows that not all are corrupt and criminals, that help is needed but Nigerians are willing to put the work in to grab there dream."

    Well that's just what a vast number of people have a problem with. Those who are ignorant and only know of information provided by popular media will come away with the perception that successful Nigerians/Lagosians are corrupt criminals. And only those living on landfills (which according to the programme outrageously claims 3/4 of Lagos are slums) are honest and hardworking.

    There are millions of other Lagosians and thousands of square miles of Lagos the British public will not get to see. Ergo all Nigerians are wealthy criminals or honest subhumans.

  • Comment number 82.

    I wonder why you are trying to defend the indefensible. This is not about whether Nigerians living in Nigeria or the diaspora should help develop the country. The issue here is whether it is fair for Mr Anderson to spend 4 months in Lagos and come back with a 3-part documentary which focusses only on a small part of Lagos.

    I express surprise at your statement that Anderson should not have to spell out everything to the British people since they are not ignorant . Are you sure you are a Nigerian? Most British people (and by extension, most Westerners) know nothing about Nigeria. There are many Brits who think all Nigerians live on trees or mud huts and that those who live in houses are corrupt government officials and rich 419 scammers. I had a British classmate in my University who expressed surprise and found it hard to believe that I could have studied Physics and Mathematics in a secondary school in Nigeria! Many of other Nigerians living here in Britain have regaled me with tales of ignorant funny questions asked by Brits: "Do you live among lions?"; "Where did you learn to speak English so well?!!"; "Where did you learn to use a Computer?",etc.

    Even Will Anderson acknowledges this ignorance implicitly when he tells his British audience that his documentary will "defy your expectations". He was referring to British expectations about seeing the usual stereotypes about Africans. To some extent, his one-dimensional documentary did show that poor Lagos people are not helpless dummies waiting for western generosity, but hard-working people. However an overall analysis of the documentary will indicate that Anderson missed a great opportunity to portray Lagos in a three-dimensional way as argued by many commentators here,especially when one realizes that this documentary has 3 one-hour episodes.

    Contrary to your opinion, Perception is indeed everything. Chinese investment in Africa helped kill the negative perception among non-African investors that there was no business opportunities in the continent. That explains why the EU, India and Japan scrambled to host their own Africa summits after that of China. That is why Gulf Arabs, South Koreans, Malaysians and Brazilian companies are coming to Africa to invest. That explains why rather than lament lack of investors, Africans are proudly displaying statistics showing how Foreign Direct Investment to the continent has risen astronomically. (This not an attempt to deny grinding poverty, but to show that foreign investment in telecoms, infrastructure,etc, is creating job opportunities that are helping to reduce poverty). China's venture into africa helped break the wrong perception about our continent. It is not unreasonable for us to expect BBC not to give wrong perception about Lagos (after all, will tourists or investors visit lagos to spend time in a ghetto?). This does not detract from the fact that Nigerian political class is corrupt and that Nigeria has deep problems that threaten its unity. Oge, if you cannot understand this, then try and imagine why BBC did not make documentaries portraying the United Kingdom EXCLUSIVELY as a dangerous country where IRA terrorists routinely exploded bombs that killed and maimed lots of people prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement

  • Comment number 83.

    I am sure Will Anderson on his blog is well aware of the view of a lot of Nigerians who have watched his programme.

    Sorry we need a more balanced view. Not even one photoshoot of a nice looking place in Lagos. We get the message, Nigerians survive despite all odds, we are optimistic and resilient and resourceful, but we deserve a better treatment from BBC.

    Apparently, after blood and oil, which is not true as no kidnapped British has been killed in Nigeria, this is not a fair portrayal of everything that Nigeria has to offer. You know what, we have our own share of world's problems but Lagos state has been massively improved by the new Governor. I would have loved to see that having not being back for some time.

    I grew up in Lagos and knows Lagos very well but I do not recognise these two places. I am trying to remember Makoko where the next programme is about and can't. So why not a mention of all the other places? Not even the airport (of course with your comments of how bare it is), your hotel, the streets, landmarks or indigenous Lagosians. The programme could have done us more justice. If it is a programme about the poorest, then call it that. If its a programmes about Lagos, then show Lagos with its diverse nature.

    I shall be writing my letter of complain to the BBC and believe me it represents the views of a lot of Nigerians who live here.

  • Comment number 84.

    Well said Chimaoge Okezue, well said.

  • Comment number 85.

    Well done Mr Anderson for showing this excellent programme. As usual I see some of my fellow Nigerians are engaging in illogical and angry debate, fuming at the temerity of a "Western" (read white) journalist to depict a facet of Nigerian life. It's a free world and we as Nigerians are free to shoot documentaries of the wealthy and upscale parts of Lagos to show the world or fly to the UK and film the slums here. The irony of the matter is that the Nigerians who complain the most about the depiction of Nigeria by the Western media virtually all live in the West and educate their kids in the West. Stop your hypocritical nonsense, it's this kind of behaviour that has made our country a cesspit of corruption, fraud, disease, crime and chaos. As Fela the Afrobeat super star famously sang, "let us face ourselves in Africa and develop our continent" instead of perennially blaming all our problems on the West. Abeg, second bass jare!

  • Comment number 86.

    You are being overly optimistic if you assume the BBC or western media in general think it is part of their responsibility to do Africa's 'PR' for her.
    Only us can tell our own story. Will Anderson needs not apologise for his choice of subject just like any artist can decide what to do with his art.
    The west have chosen the perception they want to have of Africa. Its' our own responsibility to to wake them up to the eccentricity of their perception by telling our own story.
    And the truth is, we tell that story everyday. When you stand out at work, excel at school and generally live life in the west as an African, you tell that story.

    I for one not only thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of the Olusosun dump, I asked my 10 year old son to stay up to watch it. The spirit of those guys teaches an important lesson to anyone who is not one of the dud-headed, celebirty-obsessed, mass-drunk zoozies one sees sleep-walking through life on the streets of Britain.
    It is that spirit which makes me see Nigeria's rising as inevitable. We pick ourselves up by the bootstraps -and we do it oh so well!

    For sure the poverty isn't glamorous and defies reason that people should have to live like this in the 21st century in country as resource rich as NG. But, mark my words, tomorrow belongs to those who ask something of life and demonstrate by their determination that they are willing to pursue it. Those guys are teaching their kids the value of hard work.

    So, wise up. BBC will not tell our story for us.

  • Comment number 87.

    As I watched with keen interest the first live ministerial debate at primetime on ITV/STV, my attention was drawn to the charade of enthusiastic journalism being shown on BBC, for a moment I switched over to catch a glimpse of it and all that stared at me was nothing but a well tailored documentary lacking any intellectual capacity to captivate anticipating audience. It was nothing but a well orchestrated conspiracy against the 3rd world. It will not surprise me that this is just one in a series of many documentaries to come as part a broader agenda to keep the minds of the generation I refer to as "new Britain” in check. A generation that has come to accept race, gender, sex and class equity, a tool for social integration of universal continuous co-existence.
    One question that readily comes to mind is on what grounds was a work permit issued to Will-Anderson? Has he in the course of this documentary flouted the conditions of his permit? Whatever the case may be, what offends audience is the Title given to the documentary-"Welcome to Lagos"! Absolutely ridiculous, Who in his right senses welcomes you to a Place filled with filth? Who in his right mind drives through Murtala Mohammed Airport, through Bank-Anthony, through Magodo, through Marwa gardens then ends up in a place that stands out of human traffic and habitation, then decides to perch his tent for investigative journalism. Did he spend the night there? Was that his hotel room? If he had read his history books well, there were better issues to have touched upon, issues on Kensarowiwa, Yar-Adua , emigration and if he wanted a more holistic perspective to African issues, talks on apartheid, Rwandan genocide, Sudan crisis, South African Election etc, would have been a better choice however political illiterate he might be. Where was enthusiastic British journalism when black south-Africans couldn’t vote till 1994, Where was investigative journalism where hands were being chopped off in Sierra-Leone? I do understand that free speech is being celebrated in Britain and Lagos alike as any man can open his mouth to any convenient radius and inscribe arcs of nonsense out of it because he feels he has a platform of expression and by extension broadcast. I feel confident in saying the documentary was nothing but an indictment of the core principles of fair British broadcasting giving balanced views to issues especially when it is done with tax payers T.V Licensing fees, it is indeed an insult on the composition of tenses and the classics of English. I don’t mean to say Nigeria has to hide the state of stupor and structural decadence but a balanced report showing strategic effort on the path of those who are saddled with putting things right mustn’t go unrecognised. This indeed is a slap on the collective effort of Lagosians being geared towards the rebuilding of the metropolis. It does undermine the conscious effort of the present state Government in Lagos state.
    Haven said all that, i do hope this serves as a clarion call to Gov Raji -Fashola to take actions to see that places like that are maintained and controlled in compliance with world standards and regulations on human health and safety. Makoko should also be seen to and the inhabitants are properly re-homed and that place should be given a fresh breadth of air. Gov fashola should now prove that he is not only a Lekki Governor but a Lagos Governor! The World is watching......

  • Comment number 88.


    You are absolutely right that Anderson does not have to apologise for portraying us negatively (Westerners love showing Africa as backward, so no surprise there anyway). In fact, our incompetent/corrupt Nigerian government officials should apologise for granting Anderson and his crew the visas to come to our nation to shoot a TV documentary that patronizingly commends hard-working poor people for their resilience while simultaneously sending out the message that no British investor or tourist should ever contemplate visiting Lagos State since it is one huge human zoo of rubbish heaps. (Of course, Anderson's documentary will not dissuade western companies such as Transfigura from coming with their toxic wastes for our landfills...)

  • Comment number 89.

    Have you ever been asked whether you live in a mud hut, or have experienced electricity. Have you ever been asked whether you are a refugee or your parents have been killed by a drug lord or pirates. I have and I have been asked these questions by average British citizens who watch these documentaries shown by large media houses. Yes Nigeria and Africa are not perfect, but in this world were image is your first selling point we need people to see that Africans are not the helpless and needy people, they portray us to be.
    Will Anderson description of his documentary is flawed. He indicates that three quarters of Lagos geography consists of slums. I would like to ask whether he actually decided to visit other parts of Lagos or was he so focused on his documentary that he had no time for sightseeing. I acknowledge that you decided to focus on the less privileged people in our society but I wish that you have emphasised this point and specified that a significant number of our citizens are living lives better than that.

    Ignoring the Island and Lekki, do we consider Surulere, Ikeja, Ikoyi, Lagos mainland, Mushin, Isolo, Ogudu, Yaba, Ketu, IIepeju, Gbajada and Anthony Village as slums. Not to mention other more opportune areas such as Aja, Magodo, Odetola and Omole estates. I am pretty sure that these areas have expanded beyond the quarter section Mr Anderson has allocated us. Mr Anderson Lagos is just like any other city we have our centre where a significant section of our population work, naturally we are keen to make it as appealing as possible and then we are divided sections based on your preference and ability. We have areas where people live if they choose to be close to island and areas where people live depending on their finances. I believe you understand this Logic.

    A common saying in Nigeria is that “the tongue is very powerful”. I suggest that next time when undertaking such a project view all areas of the city before you come to a conclusion, your comment has only increased the stereotype that you trying to diminish. I do commend you however for noticing what a lot of journalists have failed to uncover, these people as you said are happy they making an honest living have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. My only regret is the sheer quantity of people who find themselves in this situation, however being the smallest and most populated state in Nigeria we have very little space left for new arrivals.

  • Comment number 90.

    My people please sheath your swords and appreciate the true message being conveyed by this documentary. This was not meant to be a tavel brochure for Nigeria (READ the producers introduction).

    Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and my two cents on this is simply that Mr. Anderson has produced an incredible piece of work here. I have never seen the true spirit of Nigeria and the essence of Nigerians potrayed as well as it was on the programme. I was so proud of my people, from the scavenger on weekday, music maestro on weekends to the very articulate copper dealer ("the only difference between me and stockbrokers is the suit and tie and their very fiiine shoes) or is it the fulani guy that went from a cattle rearer from a village in the north to an international cattle broker speaking 5 languages (yes international! some of the cattle dealers came from other African countries)

    Everything does not have to be in your face, some of the deepest messages are subtlest. Open your eyes and see the good in yourself. Many thanks Will, you did good.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Nigerian teenager i find nothing wrong wit this program.It shows the truth and the realism of Nigeria.What ppl ave to go thru everyday.y some of us ave 2 move abroad to live a better life.Wats the point of showing the rich ppl?wat more attention do they need?Most of them get their money in dishonest ways anyways!Im nt embarrassed by wat was shown because this is the truth we Nigerian c everyday nd yet avoid.Ppl need help in 9ja nd we should stop turnin a blind eye nd whining like little children!LETS GET TOGETHER AND MAKE NIGERIA WORK!

  • Comment number 92.

    I honestly think Will has done a good job even though i totally disagree that Lagos consist of 3/4 slum,we have very beautiful places in Lagos and really nice people in it..Having said that it is the truth that most nigerians are suffering,things are hard,and people are trying to survive whether rich or poor...there is no point critizing what Will has done,he wrote what he saw or simply put what he wants to see which is the truth.
    I studied sociology at the University of Lagos and i have been priviledged to visit slums, ghettos,places in lagos that is below human expectations atleast i visited a place where they still use palms as roof tops and electricity is a dream, so what are we talking about...but despite all odds there are still hard working and courageous nigerians doing well and being very hopefull that things will get better.
    I urge all of us to see this documentry with all positivity,whether Will failed to show places like ikoyi or chevron estate lekki He is still saying the truth and like i said earlier on he showed what he wants to see as in what his documentry was all about.

  • Comment number 93.

    "My people please sheath your swords and appreciate the true message being conveyed by this documentary. This was not meant to be a tavel brochure for Nigeria (READ the producers introduction)."
    "Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and my two cents on this is simply that Mr. Anderson has produced an incredible piece of work here."

    You consider calling 3/4 of Lagos slums as an incredible piece of work?

    I have heard despicable comments about Nigeria in the past but, that one takes the cake. This is suppossed to be the information age. To make such an outrageous claim partly funded by my licence fee is infuriating.

  • Comment number 94.


    So it is not necessary to show middle-class Lagosians such as doctors, engineers, teachers, university professors, etc. It is okay to portray your state as consisting entirely of slums (okay 75% of the state). It is not necessary that a documentary consisting of 3 episodes (each lasting one hour) should show that you Olanike did not live in a landfill.It is okay for BBC to pretend that Lagos has no government, not to mention a government that is doing a lot to improve the lot of Lagosians in terms of providing services and attempting to build necessary infrastructure.What kind of truth is Anderson telling if he refuses to acknowledge other parts of Lagos? Why the obsession with portraying only poor Africans. Is your life and mine as a middle-class/upper middle-class Nigerians less valid (or less real) than that of those that are poor?

  • Comment number 95.

    I will honelstly like to commend Mr. Will Anderson.I am a full Fledged Nigerian (lived in Nigeria for 21yrs) now studying in the U.K.I started seeing this documentary, with the typical bias that the British are at it again, but you know what? at the end all i could say was that this documentary was the best thing that had happened to my ungrateful self this year and for Mr. Anderson's bravery and genuinity(sumthing commendable and so rare in journalism of today),i can only pray he gets recognition and well merited awards.

    I appreciated the many opinions that have already been raised here, as a part of me equally feels this outrage, but i tell you that this is not the one! this documentary is not the one we should speakout against! its not the one we should pour our venom on and certainly not on poor Mr.Anderson.He has only actually done us a big favour; of portraying sumthing so uniquely Nigerian- our resilience and JOY(optimism) AMIDST ADVERSITY which is what truely makes us who we are.To be honest, i will rather live in poverty and be like these decent people shown in this documentary, than be wealthy and loose my principles and my happiness.A GOOD NAME IS BETTER THAN WEALTHY.

    I most add that i have been given a priceless wealth of knowlegde and encouragement from this documentary.How then can it be derogatory and condecending? if it is starring up such positivity in many????

    Kudos to you and your crew Anderson!!

  • Comment number 96.

    I want to congratulate the programme makers - an utterly gripping documentary that I found entirely unpatronising to its subjects. In particular, the decision to allow people to tell their own stories and document their own lives made it feel like being part of people's lives rather than looking in voyeuristically.

    I can't wait for part 2 and sincerely hope the BBC will continue to produce this type of documentary, and promote it as vigorously, in the future.

    I worked in international development for many years and feel this would make a great educational film raising questions about poverty, dignity, development, and cooperation in a changing world. An edited (age-appropriate) version would be a wonderful resource for Citizenship or Geography teaching.

  • Comment number 97.

    @ Chimaoge Okezue,
    There was no need to personally insult me by questioning my nationality or my loyalties to Nigeria. If you had bothered to read my first post, you would have seen that actually, I do generally agree that the constant negative portrayal of Nigeria is getting out of hand. However, this particular episode/documentary series exceeded my initially very low expectations and I advocate looking at the positives and moving forward with them.

    You said, "The issue here is whether it is fair for Mr Anderson to spend 4 months in Lagos and come back with a 3-part documentary which focuses only on a small part of Lagos."

    Being fair to who? His documentary showed a pretty fair assessment of the Nigerian people he was focusing on.

    Also, I know that there are a lot of Brits out there who think that way, I live and study with them and unfortunately know too many of them. Don't you think I've shown them all the nice houses and nice places and beautiful locations? Their usual comeback is something along the lines of, oh well its a shame it's not being put to good use to help the poorer people, or, that doesn't change the fact that they're scammers or the fact that Nigeria is a dangerous place to visit etc etc. It's frustrating, but Will Anderson seems to have taken an approach where he shows them, not just tells them, that they're wrong by emphasising the admirable qualities of Nigerian people. And in that sense it cuts to the core, and is humbling. The fact that he depicted people living in slums doesn't make them any less Nigerian, I for one am not ashamed or too big to let them represent me.

    When I said perception isn't the most important issue, I meant it in the sense that even if the whole world thought of Nigerians in a bad light, we should focus on solving the main problems we face first. There is no point trying to change people's perceptions of us without backing it up with substantial change. People can see through such shallow lies and propaganda.

  • Comment number 98.

    I have heard despicable comments about Nigeria in the past but, that one takes the cake. This is suppossed to be the information age. To make such an outrageous claim partly funded by my licence fee is infuriating.

    If you are so infuriated why don't you come back home and pay your license fee to NTA, perhaps they'll show the world all the Eko palaces. Surely that would be a more fulfilling way to spend your life.

  • Comment number 99.

    I happen to have met the Will in Lagos when he was filming this and saw him afar a few times. I recall asking this recurrent question on why he was only going to the worst part of town. He himself was staying at an expensive boutique hotel in SW Ikoyi and hanging out with the ra-ra crowd and other expats and returnees. He did give me a rather passionate reason which sadly I cant recollect at this time but appeared to justify his line of action and I grudgingly accepted his reasons at the time.
    Having said that whether we like it or not lets stick to facts and to statistics and what I agree with and dont.
    1. According to the World Bank 70% of Nigerians live on $1 a day.
    2. We remain the 13th poorest country in the world.
    3. We have missmanaged our wealth. If all the oil we sold from 1959 was distributed to every Nigerian equally we would have been better for it.
    4. A slum is a slum. Seek the definition. Which part of Lagos, even V/I, Ikoyi has constant runnning water, constant electricity, good roads, good drainage, smooth traffic, zero crime. 10% maybe. Talk less of Ikeja, Mushin, Festac, Surulere, Lekki, Agege or Apapa. Everyman in Lag is his own government, provinding his own power, water and security etc.
    These people Will captured are real, the locations are real and the 'slum' condition remains, Fashola or no Fashola. Its important this BBC 2 side is also shown so we know how far we are to proving a structured and guaranteed path for each child. We are in deep shit and we pretend that all is well and God will come down and tackle these issues. We are still far away from providing utilities, good governance and a welfare system that works. This documentary tells me that if we can fix these Nigerians will take over the continent and then the global.
    The only issue I have is that he should have called the article/documentary "Welcome to the he Other side of Lagos" and not Welcome to Lagos.
    I guess the Beeb are happy as this documentary Has got more viewership and comments than the expected.

  • Comment number 100.

    Fellow Nigerians, stop complaining about Will Anderson's programme and instead complain about our corrupt and thieving federal, state and local government in Nigeria that does not encourage film and art which would encourage young Nigerians to become documentary makers and make positive films about our country. Why not expend your energy complaining about our "Nollywood" film producers choosing to make endless films about money, family disputes, withcraft, and "419". Maybe if they could show some interest in documentary making and are encouraged by the Nigerians abroad moaning about the BBC programme someone will decide to make a programme depicting other facets of Nigerian life. Like I said said earlier it's a typical hypocritical fact of Nigerian life that the Nigerians who complain the most about Nigeria's treatment in Western media all live in the West and educate their kids in the West NOT in Nigeria. Yet they moan the most. If you are so unhappy and disgruntled in the West please go back to Nigeria and develop it like the hard working and patriotic men and women shown in Will Anderson's fantastic programme. Thought not, we are all too busy trying to obtain Western education, Western money and Western passports. That is the reality of being a Nigerian abroad.


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