Top 5 Cities with worst traffic in Nigeria


Posted by: Henry Egan

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Nigeria is noted for heavy traffic. These are the top cities in the country you should have a pre-knowledge about before visiting due to traffic. Here are the top 5 cities with worst traffic in Nigeria that you should pay extra attention to.


Traffic congestion or what we locally refer to as "hold-up" can be a real pain in the ass. In fact, a good number of cities across the country are currently being tormented by this man-made issue. This challenging situation has found a way to grow bigger and is now able to defy several measures put in place by different governments over the years to tackle this issue across the various cities with worst traffic in Nigeria.

Experiences across virtually every city in the country reveal traffic congestion effects and the trouble citizens have to endure to reach their destination. Moving from one point of a city to the other has continued to remain unreliable. Commuters alongside residents have not only had to endure the disturbing inconveniences of traffic congestion but have had to live with the other consequences of it like pollution and extra spending on petrol. So,  what is traffic congestion?


The traffic congestion across the country is a major challenge 

What is traffic congestion?

When traffic volume increases so much that it approaches the holding capacity of the road, intense traffic congestion results. It generally features low vehicle speed, excessive queuing, and extended trip times, usually resulting in vehicles coming to a complete stop for long periods of time. In cities with most traffic, this causes drivers to become increasingly frustrated, prompting them to sometimes engage in road rage. 

Traffic congestion has become an increasing debilitating problem experienced on roads across the globe, beginning as far back as the 1950s when traffic volume became increasingly heavy. 

Major Causes of traffic congestion

A study from the International Journal of Engineering and Technology has shown that poor driving habits and ineffective driving skills are the major traffic congestion causes in Nigerian cities.

Other significant causes of traffic congestion in Nigeria include:

  • Inadequate road capacity
  • Poorly designed roads
  • Traffic incidents such as car accidents
  • Presence of heavy vehicles
  • Inefficient parking skills
  • Poor traffic control by traffic management personnel

Further investigations carried out to identify the cities with the most traffic congestion issue, show that Lagos city has the worst traffic and most affected by congestions in Nigeria. Other cities severely affected by this, include Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Ibadan, Aba Kano, Onitsha, Enugu, and Warri. Now let’s have a closer look at our list of cities with the worst traffic in Nigeria.

5 Top cities with the worst traffic congestion in Nigeria

1. Lagos

The issue of traffic congestion in Lagos is a story that doesn't seem to have an end. Almost half of all the cars in Nigeria are registered in Lagos, making it one of the most crowded places in the country. As a result, nearly all major roads in the city experience some level of traffic congestion with varying intensity. Clear evidence that the city’s road capacity has far exceeded its threshold.

Most of the commuters in Lagos spend about 25 percent of their whole day in traffic jams on the Third Mainland bridge and other traffic jam hotspots. This has led to many issues for Lagosians like loss of jobs, loss of lives, and loss of properties.


Lagosians spend about 25% of their day in traffic jams

What makes the whole story complicated is that most people head towards the same direction around the same time of the day, since most of the major companies are situated on the same axis. Making mornings and evenings the apex periods of traffic congestion with just a few hours of free traffic flow on these hold-up hotspots. The traffic issue in the city has been accredited to terrible planning and severe population congestion in the city.

These are some of the reasons why Lagosians should embrace bicycles to withstand the Okada ban, since with the traffic situation, Okada was a favorite way to get to places fast.

>>> Read also: Types and prices of bicycles in Nigeria

2. Port Harcourt

The Port-Harcourt metropolis has emerged as one of those cities you should absolutely try to avoid during the much-feared rush hour. Unlike Lagos, there are no significant measures put in place to help mitigate the issue such as the BRT buses.

Traffic congestion in Port-Harcourt has become an all-day affair, which has been aggravated by the impatient and angry commuters who seem to want to reach their destinations all at the same time, even as this is surely impossible. Vehicular congestion in this city has generally been traced down to indiscriminate parking, dumping of refuse on roadsides, high population, etc. Until the government finds a way and adequate measures to remedy these issues, traffic congestion would still be a menace in that city.


Traffic congestion in Port Harcourt has been traced down in part to indiscriminate parking

3. Abuja

Much to the despair of many, the agitating traffic jams, a significant feature of the nation's former capital city has suddenly started appearing in Abuja, the nation's present capital. Taillights of vehicles stuck in traffic for hours lining up all over the city's streets have become a common scene.

An ultra-modern city, a city famous for its "from scratch" planning was at least expected to have anticipated ways of tackling this issue. Residents and commuters have attributed the increased rate of traffic congestion to many factors.


Abuja currently has a population of about 2.4 million

One of those factors is the fact that the city welcomes a vast number of visitors and residents, way more than the infrastructure can handle. Anyways, I still believe Abuja is one of those cities you will surely require the services of a Personal driver or personal chauffeur companies to help you manage all the road wahala while you concentrate on important business. 

4. Aba

The southeast city of Aba seems to have roads that are either in bad shape or are under construction. This, combined with the ever-increasing economic activities and the high population has made it one of the worst traffic cities in Nigeria.


Aba is an economic hub in southeast Nigeria 

As a result of the businesses, as well as the high economic and human activities happening at virtually every corner of the city, commuters have grown to have a certain degree of impatience, as everyone wants to do everything at the same time.

5. Kano

The list of cities with worst traffic in Nigeria is incomplete without Kano. The city is the second most populated city in the nation and coupled with the increasing number of vehicles, it is no surprise that the city has been plagued with severe vehicular congestion.

One of the main reasons why the city's vehicular congestion is getting worse is as a result of the overall unorganized nature of traffic in the city.


Kano is the second-most populous city in the country

Traffic congestion problems and solutions

Traffic congestion comes with a lot of negative impacts on societies. Some of these traffic congestion problems and solutions are highlighted below:

1. Problems associated with traffic congestion

  • Road rage
  • Lost time and increased cost for commuters and car owners
  • Wear and tear of vehicles
  • Noise and air pollution
  • High probability of car accidents

2. Solutions and possible ways of tackling the traffic congestion issue

Traffic congestion has slowly risen to become one of the main challenges affecting urban areas. In a bid to find ways of arresting this ugly trend, a number of solutions have been proposed;

  • Increased Funding for transport infrastructure

This is no doubt one of the best possible means of curtailing the issue. Our road infrastructure is generally in a sorry state and is in need of complete overhaul and reconstruction. Some roads that were built as far back as the 1960s are still in use with just minimal repair work done on them. Truth is those roads either need to be abandoned completely or reconstructed. The new roads should be built using the highest possible construction technology and materials. Specific consideration should be given to tackling future congestion issues, especially at junctions and intersections.

Investments in alternative transport infrastructure other than roads should be a top priority. Cities like Calabar, Uyo, and Port Harcourt, are in desperate need of intra-city rail networks. 

  • Effective traffic management

GPS and mobile apps should be used in this regard, to give road users up-to-date traffic reports and timely traffic advice. CCTV Cameras could be installed along major roads with traffic congestion issues, to help monitor traffic situations on these roads in real-time and offer accurate traffic reports at all times. Traffic officers and law enforcement personnel should be properly trained to help reduce road congestion.

  • Urban planning and design

Major cities should be designed with the mindset of having future issues with road congestion. Gridlock plans and traffic maps, as well as zoning laws, should be enacted especially across cities with the worst traffic in Nigeria.

The video below highlights how to beat traffic Jam in Lagos daily:

Video: Tips On Surviving Stressful Travel In Lagos Nigeria

>>> Check out some of the most Perfect cars for Nigerian roads


Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Ibadan, and Aba are clearly the cities with worst traffic in Nigeria. These cities are the most affected by the traffic congestion problem. So if you must visit those cities, then we advise that you be mentally prepared to face their grueling traffic which will surely test your limits on patience, endurance, and self-control.

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Henry Egan

Henry Egan


Henry Egan a poet, essayist, content writer, blogger and technical writer who is willing to read just that last material to develop the best content possible. Henry feels he is more of a new generation writer with a sassy and swanky style. You can be sure you'll get all the facts in and never get bored with his articles.

He has got a flair for technical reviews on automobile and cars. He studied Mechanical Engineering but his first love remains Literary Art.

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