Ilojo Bar

Ilojo Bar
Ilojo at the background in a 1954 picture. With Permission: Jere Ikongio

Ilojo Bar; (formerly known as Casa De Fernendez or Olaiya House) built in 1826 stood as the best example of Brazilian style architecture introduced by Africans who regained their freedom from their “Portuguese masters” in Brazil. This historical Lagos building bears striking features with its attractive arches and fine iron works as statue described as being Gothic in style and balustrade reminiscent of a Venetian palace. Ilojo Bar, located at Tinubu, overlooks a non-functioning fountain. It was built about late in the 19th Century by a slave faciy returning from Brazil. This is one of the first modern styles building put up by Nigerians shortly after Lagos became a colony. Mr. Fernandez bought this building from Mr. Anthony Ronkonton. In 1933. Mr. Fernandez sold this property to Alfred Olaiya the father of present owners.This house is one of the most striking of the Brazilian style houses In Lagos with attractive arched doorways and windows, fine iron balustrades and statue. Although Ilojo Bar has been declared a National Monument, its maintenance remained uncertain for almost a decade.

The social and architectural values of Ilojo Bar was well acclaimed, thus, prompting the Federal Government to give it special protection status as a National monument through Gazette 25 Vol. 43 of April 5,1956. National Commission for Museums and Monuments has since then maintain, promote and preserve the monument with members of the Olaiya Family of Lagos. On the eve of Eid-el Kabir, September 11,2016 however, a developer moved in to demolish the Ilojo Bar, masterpiece of the only surviving Brazilian houses in Lagos.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer