“Welcome to Lagos” – BBC TV Programme on Lagos

Watch the documentary here: https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/watch-welcome-to-lagos-bbc2-tv-programme/


*Trailer Above

After “Blood and Oil” the BBC continues with another programme on Nigeria. The programme is on next Thursday April 15, 2010 at 21:00 on BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).

It is a three part series of programmes on Lagos, Nigeria. The BBC’s synopsis of the programme says that the first episode will uncovers life in Olusosun rubbish dump. “Here, around 1000 people live on top of the rubbish in houses built from scrap. The film follows the daily lives of two men who have become skilled at turning rubbish into gold. Eric, aka Vocal Slender, is a musician, and every bit of scrap he finds brings him one step closer to his dream of launching his music career, but a serious fight nearly ruins his chances.

Joseph is a trader who works hard to provide for his wife and two small children, and who has filled his house with things he has found on the dump. ‘If there was a bigger, dirtier, stinkier dump where I could earn more money for my family, then I’d go there to work,’ he says.

With extraordinary access to some of the poorest parts of town, the series celebrates the resilience, resourcefulness and energy of Lagos’s 16 million inhabitants, and shows how successfully many of its slum dwellers are adapting to the realities of the world’s increasingly extreme urban future.

Thu April, 16 2010 – 21:00 GMT, BBC2

The Guardian and the BBC website also contain excellent summaries of what to expect from the programme.



24 responses

  1. […] to Lagos – BBC TV Programme on Nigeria https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2010…amme-on-lagos/ __________________ […]

  2. The BBC is not always accurate on Africa! I once recorded a piece for them about ancient Indonesian influences in Africa which they arbitrarily cancelled at the last minute (for reasons not disclosed). Anyone interested in this historically important subject might like to contact me at robert.dread@ntlworld.com . I am in Winchester, in England.
    Robert Dick-Read

  3. I’m not sure what the point of this show is or who the target market really is. if it is the ordinary individual, the only thing i can get out of it is “lagos is bad news, stay the hell out of that place”. if it is so the current leaders can see how bad the situation is, it’s pointless. even if they weren’t greedy, thieving losers, they are the most incompetent group of people i have ever seen. either way, this show does not make any sense to me. it just portrays lagos as one big joke.

    1. Target Market is anyone who wants to know more about the life in Lagos. I was born in London but I am Nigerian and after watching this documentary, it has made me feel so GRATEFUL for everything that I have. It’s made me to understand more about life in Lagos rather than feel sorry for people, they actually have inspired me to work hard. As a teenage living in London I often take things for granted and act selfishly, but after seeing those people in my motherland I feel really ashamed of myself for grumbling about exams or school work or doing small chores. That’s what I have gotten out of this. Our so called civilised western world just seems like such a cold heartless place where people are so self centered and grumble about stupid nonsencicle issues, in contrast to the people of the rubbish dump who don’t care about All the meningless vanity of life and just get on with it. Smiling as they pick through rubbish and happy as they struggle through the heat, sweat, and stinking garbage.

      I really think this documentary is great, it’s not the same old “pity me, I’m poor” show or the ” I’m a celebrity helping the poor to b post my personal ego” charade. This documentertary shows real life the real deal not the usual stuff we see to try and squeeze us of our cash.

      1. I am sad that as Nigerian this is what you see life in Lagos to be! I wonder the last time you visited Lagos, if you do, you will see that a documentary such as this one which focuses on the life of a few people does not reflect the diversity of what happens in Lagos. Like you, I live in London, but unlike you I am very much at home to Lagos and I know for a fact that there are a lot of activities going on in Lagos except scavenging. Did it not strike you that nothing was shown of other Lagos city areas, areas where millions of people live a lot more comfortable than here in London. To base on a tiny aspect, on the lives of less that half a million in a city that has 16million residents, is to tell a baised story of Lagos. My issue with this documentary is not on the content, it is on the impression that is created by showcasing this sort of content especially if you title it “Welcome to lagos” and make it appear like this is what Lagos is all about. Sadly, people like you, who ought to know better, are sold this half baked story, you swallow it hook line and sinker and claim to be grateful for all you have in London.

        I must admit, the documentary is insightlful. It sure does say a lot and wise people will learn something from it. But this is not Lagos life, this is one aspect of Lagos life (just like you have people stabbing themselves everyday in London! You woudnt define London by the life of crime, gangs and stabbings that occur everyday). Western media will always show us the slums of Africa…I am yet to see documentaries that shows the good areas. It is only once that I saw a documentary on Lagos where people from all over the world were interviewed, with all claiming they wouldnt wish to go back home…sadly, it was nigerian documentary and it ended there in Nigeria. BBC would not show you these good aspects. The market is for people like you, to make you grateful and not complain of the lootings and ills that you suffer from poeple like your MPs. To make you think you are a better situation than people like this, to make you say the things you have said, “ahhh, I am lucky to be English”. If they showed you how teenagers your age lived in the Lekki area of Lagos, i am sure you would not be saying what you have just said. Read more, ask more questions, find out more and dont be decieved by this documentary…not everone in Lagos is a “scavenger”. That documentary does not welcome you to Lagos, it welcomes you to a tiny aspect and lifestlye existent in Lagos!

        1. That is the real lagos and not the facade of V.I and Ikoyi where few priviledged people live. More than 60% of Lagosians live in a refuse dump like environment. BBC did not even get to Badiya, Amukoko, Okokomaiko, Ajangbadi, even places like FESTAC and Surulere are rotting away. It is the truth deal with it. Don’t hate the messager…

  4. Nigerian music seems to work in every way. These tracks are on Soundway Records – you can hear them in full on the website

    1. I mean the tracks featured on the Welcome to Lagos!


    I look forward to watching this documentary. I completely agree with an earlier comment that wondered who this documentary is targeted at. This is the million dollar question. Why this documentary? Why is it always the case that it is only the slummy areas and aspects of life in developing countries that form the major focus of documentaries. The few good aspects you will see on BBC would be the game reserves in Kenya!

    I am appalled with the documentary’s title “Welcome to Lagos”. The author(s) of this clip assume that Lagos can be defined by life of people in the slums. There is nothing about the other sides of Lagos. Why choose thre slum areas and say this is a “welcome to Lagos”??? To portary Lagos from three perpectives all of which are based on life in the slum is yet another improper depiction of a city rich with diversity and so many bright city areas. For the information of those who do not know, I know very well that Lagos has its goods and bads, just like London (where I live for example). I do not mean to make any comparisons, however, I will use a counter example to show the danger of telling tales from a narrow perspective.

    Assuming I was to make a documentary of London, say I call it “Welcome to London” and all I show is the street life and crime, the everyday stabbings and shootings that nowadays define a present gang lifestle in these days, would this be a true depiction of London? Would it suffie to base such coverage on an interview or following of the lives of 3 or more gang members. If I was studying crime and gangs, I would be right, but to qucikly call the results of this documentary “Welcome to London” would amount to making a hasty generalisation. A fallacy that does injustice to the magnitude of good things about London. It is this sort of fallacy and misrepresentation that you see in naming the documentray in question, “Welcome to Lagos”

    I wonder why no one has made documentaries of life in other areas of Lagos and juxtapose this with other parts of the city. Let the author(s) go to the Lekki area of Lagos, where millions of Lagosians live in beautiful spacious houses, drive expensive cars and live quaility lifestyles better than those of the average Londoner. Let the author(s) interview the many Nigerians as well expatriates that live in this and similar parts of Lagos! Do a more comprehensive documentary and let the world see all the sides of Lagos. Why focus on slums, do two interviews and claim this gives us a “welcome into Lagos”. One of the slum areas as the author(s) rightly note has a population of about 1000 people. Asssuming we say the other two areas shown in the documentary have another 1000people each, making a total of 3000people whose lifestyle are documented, to what extent can one TRUELY claim that the lifestyle of 3000 people out of 3,000,000 – three thousand out of three million – offers a “welcome into the world of Lagos!!!

    Lagos has its problems, Yes. The governments have not been as responsive as they ought to be to the plight of the people, agreed (the UK is still rocking from MPs’ scandalous misappropriation of funds… even the Prime Minister was invloved!), but lets tell the truth comprehensively as it really is. Do these slums mentioned in the documentary exist, of course they do (I also know of slum area in the United States and parts of the United Kingdom!). My point is simple, they do not adequately define Lagos. Let documentaries not give the wrong impressions about a generality of people by simply focusing on tiny aspects that do not tell the whole story, and claim that such tiny aspects gives a “welcome” into the general world.

    I am still looking forward to watching this documentary…untill then I will rest other thoughts that I have. Who are the authors of this documentary anyways? And who funded this documentary…perhaps this might give us some idea into “why this documentary”. Like I stated, I rest my case for now….

    I am still waiting to understand why this documentary was made and why the idea is to air it on the BBC! This documentary

  6. Chijioke Uba i completely agree with your thoughts, every single sequence of thought you had, reflects my own argument exactly. why is this being shown in the UK? so that some middle class family can sit in the comfort of their living room and observe poor people who live in the slums of Nigerian as if they they were lab animals. you show the few who live in deplorable situations and call it “WELCOME TO LAGOS”. Tomorrow you wonder why you say your Nigerian and someone looks at you as if your beneath them.

  7. The BBC HAVE the sheer audacity to go and show this programme, just like most of the people have said why show only one side ( the minority) of what supposedly happens in Lagos.
    I was born in London but I have lived in Nigeria and only last week arrived back form Lagos, there are places so many in fact like Ikeja, LEKKI , Victoria Island and even remote suburbs like Ikorodu and Akesan that have breath-taking houses… very beautiful nothing like the crammy, squalid ones you find in London.
    Coupled with the fact that they drive the latest cars … there fast food restuarants are a sight to behold with plasma tvs and expensive decor not like your plain & boring Macdonalds or KFC.
    So show both sides of our Great Nation Nigeria.
    The South East of London have some of the most deplorable flats you can think of and again remeber Nigeria was and is still an oil rich nation unfortunately being mismanaged by the government.

    1. Siju, unfortunately, it’s not minority like you wrongly pointed out. I also wish the nicer parts of Lagos would be shown but, lets call a spade a spade: That was Lagos, the part us (the minority) chose to conveniently ignore

  8. There is a didatic effect that can be seen in this documentary. I agree with an earlier comment that watching the commentary made him put things in perspective and see how selfish the western world can make you. However, what i found empowering was the resilience and creativity of the people featured.(A very good example is of the the guys working at the rubbish dump..thats what i call recycling) At first i, like many others started to pity them because of their situation and then it occured to me that they didnt need my sympathy because even they didnt think the are pityful.
    Who is the target audience i hear some of you ask? Everyone! I found it very inspiring and so will a lot of people. To those of you who found it uncomfortable, you probably wouldnt feel that way if it were a slum in India that was shown. If it makes you uncomfortable it means your concerned (just being diplomatic but frankly it means you are ashamed).
    The point of the documentary was to show Lagos in its extreme. Make visible some areas that appear hidden and how people strive to turn their adversity into success. I would rather every bad thing in Lagos was shown and have those greedy Fat Cows moving uneasily in their seats than have areas like victoria Island and the life of the wealthy (self made or slice of national cake) beamed from my tv screen.
    The only reservations i have are the title of the documentary ( they could have been more creative to ensure its intent is not misleading) and i really do hope the featured people are somewhat compensated for their contributions.

  9. A five minute contextual overview would have been appropriate to locate the dump in the context of a city of 13 million . apart from that the documentary was fine . I think that nigerias living in the UK who are upset about the documentry should commision their own documentary that shows lagos in context Its not that hard or expensive. The documentary did have a few flaws in the context of a developing country (eg india). Lagos is not three quaters slum but it lacks basic infrastucture (which is currently being addressed by the current Governor). The other two parts may just address this , the marginalised people in lagos do need a voice and it was good to show this secondly (ajegunle is not the center of the music industry (I have reiends whou run studios and recording companies comparable to the UK and are not located in Ajegunle). On the other hand on getting to work (i live and work in the UK) I have to answer questions about how I escaped the slum based on the message some of my co workers have taken from the documentary. Considering in my immediate family my siblings : Doctor, lawyer, Business graduate who live in nigeria and are not corrupt but making a honest living .There a two extremes in the media. Corrupt politicians and 419 scammers and the marginalised slum dwellers . We as nigerians should be able articulate our message without the anger we have allowed this misconception without rejecting the pervasive faults in our country dont blame the BBC.

    1. Chijioke Uba | Reply

      Dear Steve,

      I am glad that a white westerner who has been to lagos on a number of occassions has stated here in his/her comment that the welcome s/he gets anytime s/he arrives Lagos is not what is depicted in this documentary.

      I think you fail to see the point that a lot of us have made. No one denies the fact that Lagos has slums. No sane Nigerian says Nigeria is not corrupt. If you accept that Lagos has numerous sides; of those who make honest living, scammers, corrupt leaders etc, then you are talking about Lagos. If anyone wants to make a documentary entitled “WELCOME TO LAGOS” then they ought to show us Lagos and the things that make it unique and tick as a city and not focus on slums. My arguement and that of most people is that the documentary is partial, and if you want to show something partial then do not present it as a “whole”…in this case change the title and tell us in the documenarty that this is what you want to show and give us more accounts on the whole picture so people do not get prejudiced or biased, like a lot of people have!

      Not one of us is ashamed of our country like you claim. On the contary, we are proud of it, the reason why we stand up when we feel we are misrepresented as a people or nation. Why would anyone make a documentary on the lives of a few poor people and say it offers a “welcome” to Lagos. The implication of giving a title to a movie or even piece of writing is that is tells immediately what the enire project is all about. While i agree that the documentary higlights the resilience of people living in the slums of Lagos, to extend this to all of Lagos, by implication using the title “welcome to Lagos” is what I argue against. To imply that this is what Lagos is all about is false, wrong and should be challenged. If the title is changed, a lot of people may not have any further issues. Do you know that if the the documentary had focused on the lives of people on Lekki, a different picture of Lagos would be painted, and even that would still be a partial one.

      The point is this, if a story is told from a partial point of view, then it ught to be presented as such, and the title has to depict the partial nature of the documentary.

      I will not go at lenght into the history of qualittative research endeavours such as this one. If you are aware of such history, you would know that such studies on “other” cultures by the west have always been biased. Their methodical and even methodologicl foundations have ofetn been biased. The earliest ones were done to understand the “other” who is argued to be primitive and somewhat less “human”. It is this ideology that reflects in the title of this documentary.This is ur arguement…not on wether Lagos is corrupt or not, or if governments are responsive or not!

    2. Chijioke Uba | Reply

      Dear Steve,

      I am happy that Wole Soyink shares the same views as I did. he has used very similar exampls as I did and I am pleased that a fellow acadamic sees issues from the real perspectives. I am sure you will agree that Soyinka is one of the best thinkers the world has seen and that he is not ashamed of his country like you claim we are! Read his comments at http://destinationnigeria.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/soyinka-slams-bbc-over-documentary-on-lagos/#comment-124

  10. What is the aim of this program? There are more than 5 channels on sky showing 24hr Nigerian programmes, Why would anyone want to watch BBC’s biased view on Lagos, which is aimed at making the british people feel good about themselves that ppl live in slums.

    I live in Lagos (35 yrs of my life), currently in the UK on holiday and am disappointed at how the media manipulates its people by refusing to air positive Nigerian and African stories( I know this for a fact!) The first time i came to the UK, my first reaction was what a stingy, violent, crime filled, hungry country this is so watching a documentary like this about where i come from is just a huge joke.

    There is poverty in Lagos just like there is in London, every sensible, non brain washed person knows that, focus on the good parts in Lagos so your people can bite their fingers in envy and wonder what on earth they are paying all those ridiculous taxes for!

  11. UcheOkoronkwo | Reply

    This show really should have been called ‘welcome to lagos slums and dumpsites’…it does not portray lagos at all. I do wonder why the foreign media choose to paint Africa in such a bad light when its obvious to even them that they are not telling the whole story. My beef is not the fact that they did stories on people living in slums and garbage dumps, its with the fact that they dont get the middle classers living in Mushin, Ikeja ans Surrulere. Like a very intelligent author called Chimamanda Adichie said, the danger of telling a single story is that you end up painting a wrong picture. Tell the whole story. Bottom line THIS IS NOT LAGOS!!! On the other hand a better program is a show called Eye on Lagos on CNBC Africa.

  12. mandy marley | Reply

    how about lagos part 4? can someone get a better documentary of the real posh part of lagos to counter the effect that part 1, 2 and 3 has on everyone?
    surely the producers of some nigerian home movies could be patriotic enough produce a non profit documentary cant they?
    get on it boys.

  13. As a white westener who has to visit lagos on a regular basis, I was shocked by the title of the documentry “welcome to lagos” although these areas do exist just like the drug epidemic and homless epidemic crisis in the uk, however it is not the welcome to lagos I get. Its a vibrant city with hard working people who work in banks offices airports and all the other jobs you will find in any city. I am saddend and shocked at the title as I know first hand that it gives people a bad impression of lagos. I had several people call me to point out that they would not be traveling there. This documentry does a lot of damage. Dont get me wrong I enjoyed the documentry but i detested your blaintant lie in the documentry and title that this summed lagos up.
    get your act together bbc and stop being so ignorant to other cultures.

  14. Why was this documentary made???… well i guess the narrator thought it was more interesting and informative to put together a show on the resilience and creativity of marginalized sector of society (especially as they are about to be displaced) than make a documentary on suburban country living.

    The BBC and the documentaries producers are well within their rights to do so (freedom of broadcast) …. it isn’t the first documentary of its kind depicting the slums of a country and wont be the last

    Its basic human curiosity wanting to know how the other half live and if you are appalled with the quality content shown on your t.v…. complain to watch dog.

    Moving on …. the context of the show is described in a brief overview as each episode starts. I’ve watched and read many anthropological studies of this type and this by far is the most endearing.
    But what’s more interesting is the timing of the documentary. It runs simultaneously with the BBCs “africa series” with coverage on a wide range of topics from urban architecture to politics and railways. It also coincides with the “urban africa” exhibition at the design museum, the exhibition on west african art and culture at the british museum and a number of lectures and seminars following the series being given at SOAS and RIBA.

    It seems that the more sensitive and defensive of you may take the documentary a little too close to the heart and its not meant for one feel ashamed or be bitter after all we watch all manner of shows from all walks of life and from all over the globe without as much as a yawn.

    Do you really think the perspective of all programming is open minded and broad? It is simply the nature of modern media culture, a mish-mash of opinions vs facts.
    And of course there is much more to life than what we see on tv.

    There is nothing documented that is fictional and the lives followed are not fragments of the imagination.

    The title could definitely use a rework but apart from that just simply take the show for what it is with a little dash of salt for good measure.

    Its the closest you’ll probably ever get to knowing anyone who dives to the bottom of the lagoon to scrape sand for a living.

  15. It would have been nice if they had some balance….i.e. feature slums, then also focus on the affluent/middle class areas too. I mean, Londoners might object if someone made a documentary focusing exclusively on run down, poor council estates in London, then called it “Welcome to London”. Just my thoughts.

  16. Soyinka has always been this focused!

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