Unending traffic jams, incessant noise and a population of over 20 million people: Lagos is a city on the brink of insanity.

Unending traffic jams, incessant noise and a population of over 20 million people: Lagos is a city on the brink of insanity.

Foto: Adeyinka Yusuf / Anadolu / Getty Images

Lagos in Nigeria A Week in the World’s Most Chaotic City

Lagos is poised to become the world’s biggest city. The Nigerian megacity is a massive experiment – unregulated and wild, with endless traffic jams, waterfront slums and an impressively resilient population.
Global Societies
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To many, Lagos is the embodiment of chaos. But that same chaos fosters a lot of creativity.

To many, Lagos is the embodiment of chaos. But that same chaos fosters a lot of creativity.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
The megacity is located on the shores of a vast lagoon. The Victoria Island business district can be seen behind it.

The megacity is located on the shores of a vast lagoon. The Victoria Island business district can be seen behind it.

Foto: Akintunde Aklnleye / DER SPIEGEL
Aliate Ajagun’s (left) greatest fear is having to leave Makoko.

Aliate Ajagun’s (left) greatest fear is having to leave Makoko.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL

Parts of Lagos flood regularly after heavy rainfall.

A swimming pool for the city’s wealthy. If you want to live on Eko Island, you’ll have to shell out a monthly rent as high as 6,000 U.S. dollars.

A swimming pool for the city’s wealthy. If you want to live on Eko Island, you’ll have to shell out a monthly rent as high as 6,000 U.S. dollars.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
The officials behind Eko Island say it is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently taking shape on the African continent.

The officials behind Eko Island say it is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently taking shape on the African continent.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
The "Great Wall of Lagos” is comprised of 100,000 concrete blocks, each of which weighs five tons.

The "Great Wall of Lagos” is comprised of 100,000 concrete blocks, each of which weighs five tons.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
At Alpha Beach, homes are sinking and the water is slowly consuming everything.

At Alpha Beach, homes are sinking and the water is slowly consuming everything.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
Bar owner Afolabi Animashaun says he has had to move three times in the past few years.

Bar owner Afolabi Animashaun says he has had to move three times in the past few years.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
Oluwadamilola Emmanuel manages Lagos’ extensive network of ferries.

Oluwadamilola Emmanuel manages Lagos’ extensive network of ferries.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL

Congestion for as far as the eye can see: Commuters in Lagos need a lot of time.

Everything in Lagos seems to be some kind of business transaction.

Everything in Lagos seems to be some kind of business transaction.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL
Precious Oyem spends 45 minutes each day just fetching water. And that’s after sitting in a traffic jam for two hours.

Precious Oyem spends 45 minutes each day just fetching water. And that’s after sitting in a traffic jam for two hours.

Foto: Akintunde Akinleye / DER SPIEGEL

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.