Mohammed Shitta Bey

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Mohammed Shitta Bey was a Nigerian philanthropist and businessman who was involved in commerce in Lagos and the Delta during the latter part of the nineteenth century and was one of the most successful immigrants during the period.


He was born in 1824 in Sierra Leone to Liberated Africans from Yoruba land. His father named Salu was a Muslim leader in Sierra Leone. He came to Lagos with his parents in 1844 along with some Aku or Yoruba Muslims from Sierra Leone. They originally settled in Badagry. At Badagry, Shitta Bey's father was the Imam of the Badagry Muslim community.

After his father's death in 1847 in Badagry, Shitta Bey and a few other Muslims moved to Lagos, he then started commerce in the Lagos colony around 1861 but in a few years moved to the Delta where he was an agent for Miller Bros. He was very successful in the area and was able to continue doing business on his own account, later having his brother as an agent for the Delta

He returned to Lagos in 1885 and later built a mosque which was opened in 1894, (1) the opening ceremony had notable guests such as Edward Blyden. Earlier in 1873, he had contributed financially to the erection of the Lagos Central Mosque. Later in his life, he was conferred with the tile of Seriki Musululmi (head of Muslims) of Lagos and was a prominent political leader of the Lagos Muslim community. He also had a good relationship with Oba Akintoye and Dosunmu and supported various Islamic causes including the erection of mosques beyond Lagos specifically at Otta, the use of Sharia as a guiding law for Muslims and the establishment of a Muslim school in Lagos.

Further reading

  • MOHAMMAD SHITTA BEY. AND THE. LAGOS MUSLIM COMMUNITY,. 1850-. 1895. (Parts I and 11). Titilola Euba. Nigerian Journal of -Islam, Ife


  • (1)Jean Kopytoff. A Preface to Modern Nigeria. p 299.