After spotting out the most cordial seeming bus-stop thug at Obalende-ikoyi axis, I walked up to him and asked, ‘Abeg, which bus I fit enter to reach Banana Island’, the haphazardly dressed tout eyed me while desperately attempting to suppress a mischievous smirk, and he finally directed me to where I could get a cab.
Less than five steps away from him, he called out to me, ‘You sabi anybody for there. If you no sabi person for there, you no go fit enter oh’. I smiled and said ‘thank you’, and walked away.
I never intended to enter the Island. I simply wanted to get a view of the most luxurious real estate in Nigeria.
The Island, which was the brainchild of the late Chief Adebayo Adeleke, CEO of City Property Development LTD, is Nigeria’s most expensive residential area which possesses an architectural landscape to die for. Its streets reek of opulence and inescapable oppression.
An average Joe would be forgiven for missing a step or two while strolling through the overwhelming streets of excess, simply because of the surrounding intimidating structures, and the lonesomeness of the paved roads. There are only a few men who can afford to purchase real estate on the superficial island.
It is undoubtedly Nigeria’s most extravagant and expansive neighborhood, reportedly on par with the ‘Seventh Arrondissement’ in Paris, ‘La Jolla’ in San Diego, California, and Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood.
Apparently unaffected by the CBN directive that all transactions must be carried out in Naira, property on Banana island is predominantly dollar denominated. A typical plot of land is said to go for between $4million- $6million, and the cheapest building on the island costs upward of $8million. Expectedly, as a result of the ridiculous prices of property on the island, about 50-60% of the completed buildings are currently vacant.
The exclusive playground of Nigeria’s obscenely affluent is a man-made island built on reclaimed land in Ikoyi, Lagos. From an aerial view, the island is shaped like a banana, hence its name. Forbes online called it ‘a place of unrivalled opulence and grandeur, an entirely different world from other parts of Nigeria”.
It is a gated community, and its residents enjoy such luxuries as underground electrical systems and water supply networks, 24 hour electricity, tight security. The island is the most expensive place in Nigeria, and one of the most expensive in Africa to own a home. The cost of buying a three-bedroom apartment is $2 million, while renting it goes for about $150k per annum.
The occupiers of this exorbitant upscale choice area are the some of the richest Nigerians which includes the likes of Globacom C.E.O, Dr Mike Adenuga, who is the biggest land owner on the island.
He reportedly has 9 duplexes, two watch-towers, a mosque, a church and a multipurpose hall, all of which sits on 3 hectares. He has the likes of Iyabo Obasanjo, wealthy businessmen, Alhassan Dantata, and Kola Abiola as neighbors. Multinational corporations also own a chunk of the estate which they acquire for their expatriate employees.
Politicians and past leaders, who have mass-embezzled the public loot in the past have also managed to get their hands on some of Banana island.