The hotels Lagos has to offer are tantamount to base camps from which to explore the city and the environs of this, the economic capital of Nigeria (Abuja being the political capital). Located on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa and sharing borders with Chad to the north-east, Cameroon to the east, Benin to the west and Niger to the north-west, Nigeria is one of the biggest countries on the continent. Spanning over 923 000 square kilometres, it is home to over 150-million people – making it the most densely populated country in Africa and one of the 10 most populous countries in the world.
Nigeria is named after the Niger, the third largest river in Africa that flows south through the western part of the country, and Nigeria is an example of the good hotels Lagos can boast about that are scarce in most other parts of a land that is very diverse in several respects. The landscape varies from mangrove swamps on the southern coast to hardwood forests inland, and although English is the official language, there are 250 ethnic groups speaking over 200 languages and some 4000 dialects in no fewer than 36 states or provinces that the nation has been divided into. Islam and Christianity are the major religions, but there are a number of others including Yoruba, Orisha and Ifa – Muslims dominating to the north and Christians to the south.
The hotels Lagos has on its islands and mainland host many a business traveller, many of whom are somehow engaged in the oil business – oil accounting for 80% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, with the country ranking among the world’s top dozen oil producers and among the top five when it comes to natural gas reserves. Among the others who check into the hotels Lagos prides itself on are people in the local movie and music businesses, the country’s politicians, and not forgetting the occasional soccer hero – Nigeria’s Super Eagles having one of the most successful football track records of any African country.
Of Nigeria’s labour force amounting to some 50-million people, 70% are involved in agriculture, 10% in industry, and 20% in services. Just over 30% of the land is arable, with the farming activities encompassing cassava (tapioca), cocoa, corn, millet, palm oil, peanuts, rice, rubber, sorghum, yams and timber, as well as cattle, goats, pigs and sheep. Fishing also contributes to the gross domestic product, and the industries in which the country is involved include oil and gas, coal and tin, iron ore, lead and zinc, cement and other construction materials, chemicals and fertilizer – the list goes on.