Who founded Lagos: Yoruba or Binis? Oba of Benin’s claim stirs controversy, again

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A comment by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, that the Binis founded Lagos State, has sparked debate on social media.

During a visit to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, the monarch said, “It is in the history books that the Binis founded Lagos. When some people will hear it now, they will go haywire, what is the Oba saying there again? But it is true. Go and check the records. Maybe not all over Lagos as we know it now but certain areas in Lagos, maybe the nucleus of Lagos, was founded by my ancestors. The Oba of Lagos will say so.”

Following the comment, notable personalities and netizens have taken to social media to air their views on the matter.

A Lagos Chief, the Balogun of Eko, Abisoye Oshodi, disagreed with the monarch, stating that Lagos was not founded by the Binis.

He partly said, “Point of correction Sir, Lagos was never founded by the Binis. I am glad that you said some parts of Lagos, not the entire Lagos. You are right, your ancestors settled on a small Island that was called Eko then, before the creation of Lagos. On this very Island, they never created it.”

Comedian, Seyi Law, said on X, “The distortion of our history in the South West will never cease to amaze me. What is the sin of South-westerners that make some tribes want to revise our history? Maybe we just have to revisit our liberalism.

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“The same way some Itsekiri warriors settled in Epe was the same way some Benin warriors settled in Isale Eko of Lagos Island. The journey of the Binis to Lagos was a joint war of the Binis and Itsekiris against my ancestor, the King of Mahin Kingdom, Oba Alagwe.

“Oba Alagwe of Mahin Kingdom had terriorised the Itsekiris and Binis so much they joined forces to kill him which led to search teams to the interior of Lagos. The fierce battle between the Binis and ilaje mahin led to the drowning of the Benin Oba which weakened their warriors and caused them to settle in Lagos.”

Knocking the Yorubas, an X user, B0lutife said, “You ridiculed our traditional leaders before and during the election. The Ooni of Ife and Oba of Lagos were your regular punching bags but small ‘clearance’ by the Yorubas when your Oba misyarned on Lagos history, you are threatening us with curses.”

“Oba of Benin is 70. Oba of Lagos is 80. There are certain things you wouldn’t say to your 70 years old father or 80 years old grandfather. Please control your emotions, moderate your language and disagree in a civil manner. It’s the right thing to do,” OgbeniDipo said on X, warning netizens about their comments on the issue.

The agelong controversy on the founders of Lagos State has always sparked debate among the Yorubas and the Binis.

A prominent Lagos Prince, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, in 2019 stated that the Binis were the first settlers in Lagos, adding that Lagos was part of the Bini Empire.

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This came after a former Chairman of the Island Club, Lagos, Chief Musiliu Anibaba, claimed that the Aworis were the first persons to settle in Lagos.

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