Banana Island is a man-made, exclusive island in Lagos for the insanely rich and influential. It is slightly curved in shape; like a banana (where it got its name). Banana Island is located in the Lagos Lagoon and is connected to Ikoyi Island by a dedicated road which is linked to the existing road network near Parkview Estate.
If you never heard about Banana Island, now you know. Banana Island is Nigeria’s most extravagant and expensive neighbourhood – on par with the
Seventh Arrondissement in Paris, La Jolla in San Diego, California and Tokyo’s Shibuya or Roppongi neighborhoods.
Architectural history of Banana Island
The original Banana Island construction project entitled Lagoon City was the brainchild of the late Chief Adebayo Adeleke, a University of London trained Civil Engineer (MICE), and CEO of City Property Development Ltd.
The late Adeleke had originally commissioned a new urban development in Maroko, Victoria Island, but the project was acquired by the Lagos State government. Following a lengthy 10-year court case, Lagos State government offered other parcels of land as consideration for the Maroko development which was acquired. Adeleke then proceeded to engage the Westminster Dredging Company to dredge the foreshore and create six interlinked and symmetrical islands.
His idea was to create a developmental project that would “Make Nigeria Proud”, and he engaged Minoru Yamasaki, an American and the architect of Manhattan’s Twin Towers, to design replica twin towers as the flagship iconic buildings on the main island. To complete the Lagoon City concept, Adeleke planned an aesthetic design including a city airport, which was a vision conceived long before the London Docklands Development, London City Airport, Dubai’s Palm Islands or Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport.
Soon thereafter, the project was acquired again with no consideration being paid to City Property Development Limited. The acquisition was again challenged in various courts, and there were Caveat Emptor warnings in place to warn prospective buyers that their investment could be at risk in the future. There was also litigation pending in the UK and European courts regarding this matter.
The subsequent developers were principally interested in maximizing the yield of the land. Consequently, the land was filled in to create a banana-shaped island, which is now a residential scheme rather than the commercial development originally envisaged by the late Chief Adebayo Adeleke. The present-day Banana island project is a joint venture development between the Construction Division of the Chagoury Group and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
Where is Banana Island Located
Banana Island, is an area of Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, 8.6 kilometers east of Tafawa Balewa Square and is part of the Lagos Local Government Area of Eti-Osa in Central Lagos.
The Size of Banana Island
Banana Island occupies a sand-filled area of approximately 1,630,000 (1.6 million) square meters and is divided into 536 plots (of between 1000 and 4000 square meters in size).
Life on Banana Island
Banana Island is no doubt a place of unrivaled opulence and grandeur. It is an entirely different world from other parts of the country. It is a gated community, and its inhabitants enjoy such luxuries as underground electrical systems and water supply networks, 24 hour-electricity supply, extremely tight security, good road layout, a central sewage system and treatment plant and the well-cherished company of fellow wealthy folks.
Banana Island hosts several high-end residential developments such as Ocean Parade Towers – a series of 14 luxury tower blocks strategically situated at one end of the island to take advantage of 180-degree panoramic views overlooking the lagoon. Similar to many of the developments on the island, it has dedicated leisure facilities such as a private health club – with tennis courts, squash courts and a swimming pool surrounded by extensive gardens. At launch flats in Ocean Parade sold for over US$400,000.
Cost of Properties in Banana Island
Banana Island is the most expensive place in Nigeria and one of the most expensive in Africa to own a house. Properties in Banana Island are Dollar-denominated in value. The average cost of buying a three-bedroom apartment is $2 million. For those who have no interest in buying and would prefer to rent a place, they can rent the same apartment for about $150,000 per annum. The clause, however, is that an initial minimum term of two years must be paid in advance, with no option of a refund. Tenants are mandated to pay a ‘service charge’ of about $17,000 per annum.
A typical plot of land on the island usually runs between $4 million and $6 million, and the cheapest building on the island costs upward of $8 million. But because of the ridiculous prices of property on the island, about 60% of the completed buildings are currently unoccupied.
Banana Island Prominent Residents
Despite being expensive and only available to just a few, some of Nigeria’s big industry players comfortably bask in the glory of the island. The list includes multinational corporations, well-paid expatriate employees, corrupt government officials; their concubines (or mistresses), and wealthy businessmen such as:
- Alhassan Dantata – Son of Alhassan Dantata, the wealthiest man in West Africa up until his death in 1955
- Kola Abiola and Nigeria’s newest billionaire,
- Mike Adenuga – Billionaire and CEO, Globacom, Nigeria’s first indigenous network operator.
- Aliko Dangote – Billionaire and CEO, Dangote Groups.
- Kola Abiola and Tundun Abiola – Children of the late, prominent MKO Abiola
- Iyabo Obasanjo – Daughter of former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo
- Olusegun Okugiya – Businessman and engineer
- Linda Ikeji – Nigeria’s most popular Blogger
Banana Island is also home to several leading Nigerian and International corporates such as:
- Etisalat Nigeria (now 9mobile)
- Airtel Nigeria
- Ford Foundation Nigeria
- Olaniwun Ajayi & Co.