Located in the historic town of Ijebu Ode in Ogun State is a stretch of defensive walls that date as far back as 800 AD. The 100-mile-wide walls of Eredo encircle an expansive area covering several towns and villages, and rise 70 feet in the air from the bottom of a ditch. It is said to have been all hand-built by a large, well-coordinated labor force working towards a master plan.
The structure has, for centuries, been a source of wonder to both indigenes of neighboring towns and tourists from all over the world and has been compared to the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China due to its size and historicity. Recognized by UNESCO, it is one of the largest man-made structures in Africa.
An inquiry into its origin has birthed several theories, the most prominent of which features a Biblical character. The walls are said to have been built by Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo, a wealthy and childless woman who left an unforgettable legacy upon her passing.
According to oral lore, Sungbo was a foreigner who changed her name upon reaching the shores of Ijebuland. She is best known as the Queen of Sheba, the beautiful monarch from Ethiopia.
However, the timeline makes that narrative questionable, some archaeologists note. The reign of King Solomon, who lived during the time of Queen of Sheba, was 3,000 years ago—about 2,000 years before the walls were erected.
Other theories suggest that the walls were built to protect against military attacks when many Yoruba kingdoms were waging wars against each other. The walls were also meant to keep elephants out.
Still, the walls of Eredo remain a testament to African architecture, showing what the historian Ed Ekeazor calls “evidence of a civilization with immense organizational and technological capabilities for its time.”
It is a relatively new source of attraction, as it was only re-discovered little over the last two decades.