Origin of Catering Craft/ Hotel Industry in Nigeria

The history of catering and hotel industry in Nigeria can be traced back to Nigerian Railway Caterers under the management of Mr. Roberts Forth who operated catering services on Nigerian railway cabins consisting basically of restaurant and bar.

He did not run this service for long. It was on the 10th of March that the Nigerian Railway took over the organization and registered it as a limited liability company. It was however later sold to the Nigerian UAC and GBOLIVANT company. In 1946, the name was later changed from “Railway Caterers” to “Nigerian Hotel Limited”.

In 1962, the operation of Nigerian Hotels expanded when Mr. Roberts took over the management of the guest house from the Federal government of Nigeria. The guest house grew to become Ikoyi Hotel Lagos and soon hotel business started to flourish in Lagos.

By 1974, the Hotels managed by the Nigerian Hotel Limited were as follows:

  • Ikoyi Hotel Lagos
  • Airport Hotel Lagos
  • Bristol Hotel Lagos
  • Arewa Hotel Kaduna
  • Sokoto Hotel Sokoto
  • Lake Chad Hotel at Maiduguri
  • Hill station at Jo’s
  • Premier Hotel and Lafia Hotel in Ibadan
  • Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar

In 1944, Nicolas established the first private hotel in Nigeria at No. 6 Broad Street, Lagos. It was called Olympic Hotel. The second private owned hotel was Grand Hotel situated at Idumota also in Lagos.

Currently, the country can boast of various hotels spread across the 36 states having realized the importance of the hotel industry to the economic development of the nation. Hotels pay tax to the government according to their ratings.

The 5-Star hotels ensure the comfort of foreign tourists who bring foreign currencies to invest in our nation which in turn helps facilitate economic development.


The Author


I am simply known as Ikenwa Chizoba, a seasoned blogger and the Founder of Nigerian Infopedia. A very simple person who loves writing, reading and research.


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  1. marvel

    Thanks you helped me a lot GOD bless you

  2. Nnamdi

    Hello NigerianInfopedia, thanks for this article. It stoked my curiosity. Please, can I ask for the full details of the article? Is there a book or website where you found the information about Mr Robert Forths and the Nigerian Railway Caterers? I would appreciate it if I could find that information, Sir. Thank you.

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