Ilupeju is a community in Lagos State, Nigeria that shares boundaries with communities like Palmgrove, Mushin, Oshodi, Obanikoro, Anthony down through some parts of Ikorodu road towards Ojuelegba.
Ilupeju’s name was derived from several communities converging at a place, hence the name, ‘ilu’ – town, ‘peju’ – meeting place.
Ilupeju is an Indian locality in the state, in fact, many houses in the area have the caveat of ‘Indian/Lebanese tenants only’ or ‘Indian/Lebanese tenants preferred.’ This has left a lot of Lagosians wondering if Ilupeju is an Indian settlement.
However, according to the president of the Indian Cultural Association, Sanjay Jain, who is also a Lagos chief, Ilupeju alongside Isolo were industrial areas and due to its nearness to the industries, it became the hub for Indians who were working in the companies in the areas.
“Initially, the two industrial areas Isolo and Ilupeju housed many big industries, which were in close vicinity of Ilupeju. These industries gave employment to lots of Nigerians but few experts. It was because of nearness to these industrial estates, where they were working that the area known as Ilupeju became attractive.”
Ilupeju is an industrial community that caters for Indians with the Indian Schools, Hindu temple, Ilupeju central mosque, Indian and Chinese restaurants. It also has cool places like Ilupeju Model Market, Bazaar, PZ Cusson’s recreational centre, the National Open University Library, laundry shops, cool spots, restaurants and eateries, and for the Indian communities.
Popular streets in Ilupeju are; Town Planning way, Ilupeju bypass, Coker Road, Tinubu road, Association Avenue, Ilupeju Industrial Avenue, amongst others.
The serene and conducive state of Ilupeju as well as good houses with amenities, also made Indians find it appealing, and according to Chief Jain, “the Nigerian community also welcomed Indians with great warmth.’’
The Indians in Ilupeju follow different religions, there are Christians, Muslims and Hindus. This, however, does not stop them from celebrating Indian festivals.
Known worldwide for having colourful festivals, the Indians in Ilupeju also celebrate festivals like Diwali; the festival of light, Holi; the festival of colour, Navratri; the festival where a form of dance is presented to the goddess Durga.
Chief Jain also revealed that “the Indian Cultural Association, which is the apex body of Indians in Nigeria, celebrates many such festivals in this country too. We also invite our Nigerian brothers and sisters to enjoy with us.
“During Holi, at our centre in Ilupeju, community people gather and play with colours. People come, meet and greet one another. The Indian Cultural Association organises food for all the participants.
“Apart from the colours, snacks, soft drinks, awards for the most colourful person and so on, are also organised to increase the vibrancy of the event. This normally falls in March. We also invite our Nigerian brothers and sisters, as well as artists to perform at this festival.”