If you live in Nigerian and you’ve never heard of Banana Island in Lagos, you’re probably living under a rock. There’s hardly a day that goes by without someone talking about it on TV or social media. Several artistes have made references to Banana Island in their songs and there’s even been a movie about it. What’s there not to talk or sing about, Banana Island is the holy grail of residential areas in Nigeria. It’s where the super-rich and crème de la crème of Nigerian entertainers, top politicians and business moguls reside. The calibre of people you’ll meet in this area has given it the reputation of the most expensive neighbourhood in Nigeria
Banana Island is a no go area for the middle class or the average Nigerian millionaire. Unlike areas like Ibeju Lekki, to have the slightest chance of owning a home on this Island, you must be stupendously rich and ready to fork out two million dollars on average to own a three bedroom flat in this neighbourhood . If you have no plans to buy or stay here for a long time, you can rent a three bedroom flat for 7 – 20 million naira per annum and you’re required to pay two years in advance. The $17,000 per annum service charge is also not included in the house rent.
The Island is a well-planned multi-cultural community, with dedicated areas for residential purposes, commercial and recreational activities. The Island hosts several high end residential developments such as: Knightsbridge apartments, Living gold estate and ocean Parade Towers. This exclusive area of the super-rich is also home to leading Nigerian and international companies likes Suntrust Oil, Olaniwun Ajayi, Etisalat Nigeria among others.
This luxurious community enjoys facilities not peculiar to the average Nigerian residential areas, even the so called “estates” and “GRAs” . The utilities include:
Underground electrical systems
street lighting and satellite telecommunications networks
water supply networks
24 hour electricity supply
Top notch security
good road network
a central sewage system
Lastly, the company of fellow super rich folks.
Location of Banana Island
The Island built on reclaimed land is located in ikoyi area of Lagos of foreshore. The Island covers a sand-filled area of approximately 1.6 million square metres and is divided into 535 plots (of between 1000 and 4000 square metres in size)
Brief History of Banana Island
Banana Island was formally named Lagoon city by late chief Adebayo Adeleke, a civil engineer and CEO of property development Limited who conceived the banana Island project idea.
The late Chief had originally commissioned a new urban development in Maroko, Victoria Island, but that project was ‘acquired’ by the Lagos State government with no form of financial compensation. After a lengthy 10 year court case, parcels of Land were offered by the Lagos State government as compensation for the Maroko urban development project.
The decision to go for the Ikoyi area was mocked by many who were blind to the foresight of Chief Adeleke. The Late chief promptly engaged the services of the Westminster dredging company to dredge the foreshore and create six interlinked symmetrical Islands. The Late engineer’s dream was to create a project of international relevance.
He employed the services of Minoru Yamaski, a world renowned architect famous for designing the original world trade center in New York. He was commissioned with the task of designing a replica of the Manhattan twin towers as the flagship buildings on the Island.
The chief had plans to transform the island into a beautiful urban city but the plans were cut short. After reclaiming the land, the project was “acquired” once again.
This illegal ‘acquisition’ is still being challenged in various courts, and there are Caveat Emptor warnings in place to warn prospective buyers that their investment could be at risk in future.
Real estate developer later came in play to maximise the yield of the land. Consequently, the land was filled in to create a banana shaped island (hence the name: banana Island).
Cost of Land in Banana Island
A typical plot of land on the island usually goes for 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.
Notable Residents of Banana Island
Below is a list of celebrities, politician, business moguls and high net worth individuals who are resident on the Island.
This very popular blogger and former Miss Nigeria contestant has put in tremendous work over the year to become one of the residents of Banana Island. She owns a two storey luxury home which consists of 6 bedrooms ( all ensuite), two living rooms, media room , cinema room, fully fitted kitchen, gym room, water fall and an amazing water view.
The Okoye twins are also one of the few Nigerian entertainers residing on this prestigious Island. It’s really no surprise that Peter and Paul live on this Island. Before they both went solo in 2016, their official fee was fifteen million naira per show (yes! 15 million naira).
The Pquare’s mansion is estimated to cost 1.5 Billion naira. The house sits on 3 floors with 6 en suite bedrooms. The mansion also has two huge living rooms, a cinema room, swimming pool and a standard music recording studio.
Nigeria’s second richest man also owns a home here. Mike Adenuga who has a networth of 4.1 billion dollars (as of 13th October 2018) is a man of great taste. Sources reported that, his banana Island Mansion costs 8 billion naira. The estate consists of 9 duplexes; it also has a meeting hall, a church, mosque, berth for yachts and a large swimming pool.
Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, cousin to Africa’s richest man: Aliko Dangote is the founder and Chief executive officer of MRS holding limited (Formerly, MRS Group). He resigned as the chairman of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc. in June 2017, a position he’s held since March 2009.
His luxurious banana Island mansion hosted Chris brown after his sold out Lagos concert in 2012.
The high court has since ordered the forfeiture of former minister of Petroleum Dieziani Alison-Madueke’s $37.5m property on banana Island, Lagos after being accused of diverting over $20 billion from the petroleum agency.
It’s really no prise that Africa’s richest man owns a home in Nigeria’s most expensive area. Aliko dangote is a man with great taste in property. Aliko Dangote needs no introduction. He’s worth 10.9 billion dollars (as of 13th October 2018).He also has a mansion worth 6 billion naira in Abuja
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Populary called Jagaban, the former Lagos state governor and national leader of the all progressive people’s party (APC) also owns property on this Island. Asiwaju is said to be a man of great taste in real estate. Rumour has it that he has 22 properties in Lagos with other luxurious apartments in Abuja and other parts of the country.
She is the daughter of the former president of Nigeria; chief olusegun Obasanjo. Having worked as a former commissioner in Ogun state and also as a senator representing the state, it’s no surprise that Iyabo can afford to own property here. Her multimillion dollar banana Island home is believed to be her place of solitude.
Kola is the son of the Late MKO Abiola. He’s a very successful man who maintains a very low profile in the Nigerian social scene. His wealth is believed to have been inherited from his late father.
Tundun is the sister to Kola Abiola. She is a famous lawyer that provides legal security for many famous business moguls in Nigeria including her brother.
Having lived in the United States for many years, she finally relocated to Nigeria and now a resident of Banana Island. She also leads a quiet lifestyle and is rarely seen at social events just like her brother.