Exploring the Origins: A Look Back at the History of Lagos’ First Primary School

Given the current abundance of elementary schools in Lagos, one may wonder about the very first primary school established in the state. However, it is important to note that education has undergone significant transformations since then. Nevertheless, the oldest primary school in Nigeria was situated in Badagry, a coastal town known for providing refuge to slaves during colonialism. This article will provide details on Lagos’ inaugural elementary school.


Upon examining the origins of this primary school, it is evident that there was no official directive present. It was established prior to the introduction of Christianity and during the colonial era. The presence of a language barrier between the natives and foreign colonizers also played a role in its formation. This often led to challenges in communication and frequent misunderstandings between the two groups due to their differing languages. In an effort to address this issue, the first elementary school was founded in Lagos, Nigeria, with the goal of alleviating and resolving this ongoing crisis.

After the introduction of Christianity in Nigeria, the oldest primary school in Lagos was founded in 1843 by foreign missionaries in Badagry, which is now part of Lagos State. Originally called the Nursery of Infant Church, it was later renamed St. Thomas Anglican Nursery and primary school by Rev. Golmer of CMS. Notably, it was located at the site of Nigeria’s first storey building and eventually moved to its current location in Topo Badagry. Remnants of the original structure still stand today.

Having established the first primary school in Lagos, other primary schools were soon set up in the state as a result. With the establishment of schools in many areas of Nigeria, the Anglican and Baptist Churches have remained at the cutting edge of improving education.

Delving further into the history of the country’s inaugural primary school, there are several fascinating details worth noting. In 1843, members of the Wesleyan Mission (Methodist Church) established the first church in Badagry, a coastal town situated near Seme. The classrooms were designed to accommodate approximately 30 students each and formed a square with multiple other classrooms. Over the span of more than 100 years, this primary school has educated countless students and its remnants still stand today.

Compared to what the picture suggests, the current state of the school is very different. The relics of the old Badagry school are still present, however the main school has been upgraded into a two-storey building that is much better. Nevertheless, reviews of the current situation of the school shows that the site improvement is not worth attributing as the premier primary school in Lagos, Nigeria.


Once a historic town and now a bustling city in Lagos, this location was home to the most prestigious primary school in the nation. Founded in the mid-fifteenth century, by a farmer known as “Agbedeh”, this notable town became renowned as the site of Nigeria’s first elementary school. The Yoruba settlers originally referred to it as “Agedagari” due to its challenging terrain. However, with the arrival of European Slave Traders who saw the potential for trade, the name was changed to “Badagry” and played a significant role in establishing both the town and the country’s initial primary school.

It may be of interest to note that the first preaching of Christianity in Badagry took place at the “Agia Tree” and was delivered by Reverend Birch Freeman. Additionally, a significant site in Badagry is called the ‘point of no return,’ which served as a departure point for exporting slaves from the country. A similar structure can also be found in Ikot Abasi, located in Akwa Ibom state. Unfortunately, this port transformed into a hub for slave trade and the suffering of slaves. Eventually, Badagry was incorporated into Lagos by the Government of the United Kingdom and remains so today.

A lot of Nigerian historical sites and tourist destinations are found in Badagry as well. The Agia Tree Monument, the Slave Market, the Attenuation Well, the Mobee Museum, Seriki Abbass Museum, and the Whispering Palms are other tourist attractions in Badagry town, close to the first primary school in Nigeria.


The recurring question of “which is the first primary school in Lagos state and where is the school located as of now?” has prompted us to provide an answer through this piece. The initial elementary school in Nigeria was Bishop Crowther LGA Primary School, established in Badagry, a historical town along the Atlantic Coast in Lagos. However, there is currently no record of the oldest primary school in Nigeria as it only exists in ancient memories and history.

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