Louis Theroux – Law and Disorder in Lagos

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On the streets of Lagos, it is not the police who wield power but gangs of fight-hardened young men known as Area Boys. Louis spends time with several outfits, joining them as they patrol their turf, clash with local rivals and keep the peace in a brutal and haphazard fashion. The main income for the Area Boys is an arbitrary and unofficial form of taxation, extracted from local businesses and commercial drivers. Louis gets to know the rich and glamorous Area Boy leader MC, a former street youth himself, who has now become a friend of the most powerful men in the city. Taken under MC’s wing, Louis experiences the top levels of the Area Boys’ world from the inside, complete with a tour of MC’s grand residence and extensive shoe collection, and ending in a chaotic mini-riot with gunshots, blood and mayhem.

On the side of the law, Louis Theroux rides with KAI, the government’s Kick Against Indiscipline paramilitary task force, as they storm different city districts. With bulldozers and arrest warrants, KAI use their own strong-arm tactics, and are in their way as feared as the Area Boys.

In Law and Disorder in Lagos, Louis Theroux wrestles with life in a world in which the forces of law and the forces of disorder are not always readily distinguishable and nothing is quite what it seems.

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Louis Theroux - Law and Disorder in Lagos, 8.5 out of 10 based on 35 ratings

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  • Ekute ile

    I’m so gutted that a Docu like this was shot in Lagos and I did not know! I’m an aspiring Documentary filmmaker and I need that lucky break! Any connection,anyone???

  • fdsf

    10:05 boob grab

  • ayo

    show of shame

  • doculover

    The BBC’s portrayal of Lagos is disgustingly ridden with racist connotations and fails to approach the subjects of the documentary with the same cultural respect it would have if filming in Spain or Hong Kong. Firstly, this is the fourth time in 2010 the BBC has conducted a documentary portraying the street life aspect of Lagos. We’ve already seen the Area Boys, Welcome to Lagos, Storylife, and now this ignorant excuse for a documentary. The BBC is incredibly disinterested in portraying the aspects of Lagos life that rival the wealth of Western countries. It is disinterested in portraying the flourishing artistic scene in Lagos, the interesting multi-culturalism of British Nigerians and their perception of their home, the difference between the North and the South. The revitalization of Lagos as the capital and the exciting new enterprises the city presents. The BBC ALWAYS shows Nigerians as either thugs, or very poor people who are victims of circumstance and have no way out. IT. IS. SICKENING, DISGUSTING, AND ASTOUNDING that this type of journalism continues in the year 2010!!!

    The documentary itself made me cringe the whole time through. Louis without a doubt in my mind viewed those he came into contact with as beneath him and had no qualms about showing his interest in the most animalistic of their behaviour. His curiosity about these people did not extend beyond asking them, “Can you fight? How do you fight?” They are not monkeys, Louis. He displayed SHOCK when being confronted with the equality of some of the Nigerians in the documentary. When being told MC shops in Italy he exclaimed, “YOU shop in Italy?! Where?!” Italy is not Antarctica Louis. I’m sure when MC’s right hand man said “Madrid, I mean Milan” the BBC interpreted it as a GOTCHA moment. Maybe it was. Louis’ constant constipated, worried, uncomfortable facial expressions and terrified, “Is everything alright????” made for an inarguably racially packed documentary highlighting the difference between us, and them. When Louis confronted MC’s right hand man with the completely inappropriate and misguided criticism of MC’s position, the rejected the analogy that in Lagos, as in the United Kingdom there are political figures appointed for life that serve no real purpose and it is unfair to criticise the practices of Nigerians when every culture is different. “The Irish are different from the British.”

    Basically….the BBC is racist and finds animals, nature, starving blacks, and Nigerian ghettos the only thing worth making a documentary about. I am MORTIFIED!!!

    • GetAClue

      Almost always, Louis tries to capture the most horrendous, over the top, extremist aspects of civilization and society. For example, “The Most Hated Family in America” (Extremist), “Louis and The Brothel (Over the top), “The Ultra Zionists” (Extremist), etc., etc. Documentaries are made to be eye-opening and morally reflective. This makes the film both interesting and captivating, while usually leaving one with sympathy for those affected, both directly and indirectly, if, of course, you reflect on what you are watching. So, instead of taking the context of the imagery and misconstruing it with a deep-seeded hatred for the BBC and some odd discord for the West in general. I think you need to reflect on who the true “racist” is here.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J6JDCIHPR4BBB5AXX2BM3SMO5A Ola

      @67cc721d2aad7024eb101a699c38435b:disqus you are wrong. This is a ticking time bomb. God how can we fix this.this is way out of control

    • Lin

      Doculover, you seem to have some kind of deep-seated self-loathing. No one is looking at this documentary and thinking such demeaning things like you assume here. Perhaps if you had bothered to view Louis Theroux’s other specials, you would realize that he portrays the most extreme, and therefore intriguing, aspects of society. GetAClue is certainly right. I wonder if because BBC did a documentary on the Westboro Baptist “Church,” does that mean the entire US is as nutty as they are? Is anybody even thinking that? Apparently you are.

      • Yo

        You can’t compare a country almost no-one has ever heard of (Lagos) to the United States, a country every civilized human being has an idea of. That being said, generalizations are never good regardless of the situation. You are trying to rationalize Louis’ behavior and the way the people of Lagos are being portrayed by the BBC. You shouldn’t — it is what it is.

        I somewhat agree with doculover. I wouldn’t call what Louis produces “documentaries” but shows….

        not gonna waste time u__u

        • Donnyballantyne

          Lagos isn’t a country, it’s a city. The country is Nigeria. Whether or not you realize it, many many people have ‘heard of’ Lagos, Nigeria.

    • Loop

      I really don’t see it the way you assume the viewer is thinking. And it’s almost like you are saying the things in the movie didn’t take place. Like the BBC had staged it somehow.

  • Joe

    Ive noticed that in most of the documentaries I have seen about African countries is that they don’t know how to run their countries properly without using violence and intimidation. There is so much potential but with the lack of education, and all of the corruption that goes on it seems that it is impossible for things to change.

    • JD

      i’ve noticed that western countries can’t help but enslave their own people with long hours less pay and an ever increasing gap between the rich and poor.  It obvious that the great leaders of the west care so much about their people that they’ve successfully torn down trade barriers and exported jobs underdeveoloped countries- paying the workers subhuman wages.  Ive also notice that developed countries can’t help but invade other countries thus robbing them of their resources and acquiring astronomical wealth while thousands if not millions suffer and die.  And lets not forget ensuring that these foreign (usual dicators) leaders are well taken care of.  this is a sick world africa or not. 

      • Yo

        @JD: very nicely put lol. You said a lot of what was on my mind in just a paragraph.

      • Mr.Joshua

        Not to mention how many of these ruthless dictators are funded and propped up by the West. That is until they start thinking for them selves…see Sadam Husien.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J6JDCIHPR4BBB5AXX2BM3SMO5A Ola

    Drinking beer in the Office.wow

  • Dee see

    Franchise slums, porno, abortion and Oprah do NOT a culture make.

    Theroux’s standard BBC ‘EUGENICS friendly’ demoralization op.

    Move ON dot —NOW.

  • Dick Poopbutt

    It is apparent that the area boys provide the service of social stabilization and that there is clearly a very convoluted line between the officially recognized governing bodies and unofficial forces. From what I gathered these reluctantly intertwined organizations are forced to rely on each other for area stabilization. It may not be what some would consider the best system of governing it is what has been accepted in the area. Sometimes progress comes in small steps and without the financial resources to offer more pleasant solutions to governing issues social and governmental progress will have to come in small steps. 

  • Dick Poopbutt

    It is apparent that the area boys provide the service of social stabilization and that there is clearly a very convoluted line between the officially recognized governing bodies and unofficial forces. From what I gathered these reluctantly intertwined organizations are forced to rely on each other for area stabilization. It may not be what some would consider the best system of governing it is what has been accepted in the area. Sometimes progress comes in small steps and without the financial resources to offer more pleasant solutions to governing issues social and governmental progress will have to come in small steps. 

  • Peter

    This is the first Louis Theroux documentary I have seen but his journalistic abilities seem to be amateurish. The questions asked were very stupid and he seemed to show any ability to detect nuances within the culture.As a born and bred Lagosian, I know the topic intimately and while he exposed some things on the topic, he failed to make a coherent dissertation on it. First off all he showed and presented no background knowledge on the topic. Secondly, he failed to ASK THE ACTUAL OFFICIAL UNION MEMBERS i.e the taxidrivers about their thoughts. Some of the NURTW money goes back to Lagos State officially and unofficially. It is a form of tax. LASTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, he failed to show how an Underdeveloped MEgacity attempted to organise its transportation union. A very important union in any city talk less of one of 15 million people where very few have access to personal transportation.

  • Peter

    This is the first Louis Theroux documentary I have seen but his journalistic abilities seem to be amateurish. The questions asked were very stupid and he seemed to show any ability to detect nuances within the culture.As a born and bred Lagosian, I know the topic intimately and while he exposed some things on the topic, he failed to make a coherent dissertation on it. First off all he showed and presented no background knowledge on the topic. Secondly, he failed to ASK THE ACTUAL OFFICIAL UNION MEMBERS i.e the taxidrivers about their thoughts. Some of the NURTW money goes back to Lagos State officially and unofficially. It is a form of tax. LASTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, he failed to show how an Underdeveloped MEgacity attempted to organise its transportation union. A very important union in any city talk less of one of 15 million people where very few have access to personal transportation.

  • Peter

    This is the first Louis Theroux documentary I have seen but his journalistic abilities seem to be amateurish. The questions asked were very stupid and he seemed to show any ability to detect nuances within the culture.As a born and bred Lagosian, I know the topic intimately and while he exposed some things on the topic, he failed to make a coherent dissertation on it. First off all he showed and presented no background knowledge on the topic. Secondly, he failed to ASK THE ACTUAL OFFICIAL UNION MEMBERS i.e the taxidrivers about their thoughts. Some of the NURTW money goes back to Lagos State officially and unofficially. It is a form of tax. LASTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, he failed to show how an Underdeveloped MEgacity attempted to organise its transportation union. A very important union in any city talk less of one of 15 million people where very few have access to personal transportation.

  • Peter

    This is the first Louis Theroux documentary I have seen but his journalistic abilities seem to be amateurish. The questions asked were very stupid and he seemed to show any ability to detect nuances within the culture.As a born and bred Lagosian, I know the topic intimately and while he exposed some things on the topic, he failed to make a coherent dissertation on it. First off all he showed and presented no background knowledge on the topic. Secondly, he failed to ASK THE ACTUAL OFFICIAL UNION MEMBERS i.e the taxidrivers about their thoughts. Some of the NURTW money goes back to Lagos State officially and unofficially. It is a form of tax. LASTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, he failed to show how an Underdeveloped MEgacity attempted to organise its transportation union. A very important union in any city talk less of one of 15 million people where very few have access to personal transportation.

  • Areaboys

    Cross N’ Die :D

  • Areaboys

    Cross N’ Die :D

  • Nosa

    Pls, What are the names of the artists and titles of the songs played at: (9.43; 14.20); 
    (31.20; 51st; 57:50)

    • Kingston

      Anwuli -Six Foot

  • Guest2

    I think the societal problems portrayed here are no different than in so called “civilized countries”.  It’s just more out in the open in Lagos.  Look at the problems in whatever country you are in and they can be equally compared.  Taxes, corruption, thuggery, no jobs, power hungry men and women, it’s everywhere.  I once read a very good book called Neither Wolf Nor Dog about Native Americans and an elder was quoted saying, white people think that because they put their garbage in a dump that they are somehow more civilized than those on reserves who leave the garbage in the yard.  The garbage still exists.

  • Dark

    Louis does it well again. This country, at least the city, is fucked. up. I lost hope for some part of Africa.

  • Loop

    holy crap. There is just so much chaos it makes me dizzy.