Shitta-Bey Mosque

The Shitta-Bey Mosque was built in 1892 and is one of the oldest mosques in Nigeria. Construction of the mosque started in the previous year and was funded by businessman and philanthropist, Mohammed Shitta Bey, who was the son of Sierra Leonean parents of Yoruba descent. The mosque has a capacity of about 200 and was built in the Afro-Brazilian architectural style by a Brazilian architect, Joao Baptisa da Costa, assisted by a Nigerian builder, Sanusi Aka, at a reported cost of £3,000. The mosque was constructed with concrete, granite and marble with attractive tile-work. The Record newspaper of July 7, 1894 described the Shitta-Bey Mosque as ‘the finest specimen of ecclesiastical architecture in West Africa’. The Shitta-Bey mosque was officially launched on July 4, 1984 at a ceremony attended by the then Governor of Lagos, Sir Gilbert Carter and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Oyekan I. At the ceremony, Mohammed Shitta was honoured with the title of ‘Bey’, the Ottoman Order of Medjidie 3rd Class by a representative of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. This led to Mohammed Shitta and his offspring being known by the double-barrelled compound surname, Shitta-Bey. In 2013, the Nigerian Commission for Museums and Monuments designated Shitta-Bey Mosque as a national monument.