FIRST DOCUMENTED MOSQUE IN NIGERIA

The first documented mosque in Nigeria was located at Martins Ereko Street, Lagos Island, Lagos. The Mosque is popularly known as SHITTA -BEY MOSQUE and it was established in 1892 and designated as national monument by Nigerian Commission for Museums and Monument in 2013.

Shitta-Bey Mosque is a mosque, religious learning centre and one of the oldest mosques in Nigeria. The mosque, considered one of the most important historical legacies of Nigeria.
Shitta-Bey Mosque was named after its founder Sierra Leonean-born Nigerian, Mohammed Shitta Bey, who was an aristocrat, philanthropist and businessman.

The construction of the mosque started in 1891 and was financed by Mohammed Shitta- Bey, a businessman and philanthropist, son of Sierra Leone-born parents of Yoruba descent. A Brazilian architect João Baptista da Costa oversaw the construction which was done with tile-work depicting the Afro-Brazilian architecture.

The Shitta-Bey Mosque was officially launched on July 4, 1894, at a ceremony presided over by Governor of Lagos, Sir Gilbert Carter.

It was at the launch that Mohammed Shitta was honoured with the “Bey” title, the Ottoman Order of Medjidie 3rd class (the highest class for a civilian) by Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

Others in attendance included Oba Oyekan I, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Abdullah Quilliam (who represented Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire), and prominent Lagosian Christians such as James Pinson Labulo Davies, John Otunba Payne, and Richard Beale Blaize as well as foreign representatives. Quilliam brought a letter accredited to the Sultan of Turkey asking Lagos Muslims to embrace Western education.

Thereafter, Mohammed Shitta became known by the compounded name Shitta-Bey.

Reference to “Shitta Bey Mosque”. City Seeker. Retrieved 19 October 2017.

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