‘Gangs Of Lagos’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Who Killed Iffy? Does Oba Exact Revenge?

Crime dramas are a beast to deal with. They must have interesting plot lines and nasty villains for the audience to understand why the crimes are being committed. They need to have a journey taken by the leader, who evolves from being a certain type of person to becoming a different creature altogether. “Gangs of Lagos” is one such tale of a boy based in Isale Eko, aka Lagos, who grew up in a life of crime and gang wars and told the viewers the story from his perspective. Will the boy grow up to become a gangster, or will he make his way in the world and fulfill the destiny meant only for him?


Spoilers Ahead

Obalola’s Life In Isale Eko

“Gangs of Lagos” begins with the Eyo festival, where the souls of the departed Lagos Kings are guarded by the men taking part in the festival, and they escort the souls to the other world. It is a festival that celebrates the dead person’s legacy, and amidst that, one of the guards has been hired to kill a man, and he carries out the task. The story takes us back to 2007 when Obalola, Iffy, and Gift are pre-teen kids living off the streets of Lagos and robbing people in broad daylight. Lagos’ streets were notorious for the stories of kids as young as ten or eleven were forced to resort to stealing from people. The kids’ only means of survival were to rely on the things they gathered from robbing. Oba and Iffy are young boys, and they and their adopted sister, Gift, try to remain as happy as they can with whatever they get daily. Since they are close, they always remain together. These kids are from very poor families, and their source of income barely helps them with anything in their life, and that’s why they have to resort to a life of crime. There are no schools for them because providing them an education would take money that their families don’t have.


In one such instance of robbery, Oba and Iffy stole the bag of a rich lady, which contained her American passport and some cash. The boys plan to keep both for themselves. The woman turns out to be related to a powerful gangster, Eleniyan Alay Bam Bam, in Lagos, and Oba is caught by his men and brought in front of them. The men working for Alay Bam Bam are fascinated by the confidence exuded by the kid. It catches the attention of Nino, the son of Alay Bam Bam. Though Alay Bam Bam has political ambitions, Nino does not, for he wants to start a business of his own. Fascinated by Oba and the way he speaks, Nino and his wife decide to adopt him with Oba’s permission, even though Oba’s biological mother opposes it. Oba’s mother always resorted to physically abusing the kid, which made the child decide he’d prefer to be with Nino and his wife, and they were very happy to bring him into their world.

Oba’s physically and emotionally abusive mother and his painful childhood made him choose to live with Nino. He wants to be free from the violence he’d been subjected to in the name of spiritual healing. Oba was done with being subjected to such pain, and this made him choose Nino’s family over his mother. Oba is a smart kid who has reached an age where he is sure of what he wants. He, along with Iffy and Gift, manages to live a decent life with Nino and his wife. Oba always saw Nino as the father figure he never had, and he was happy to have such a stable fatherly influence on him. Nino introduces him to a lifestyle that the kid was not used to up until then. The kid was flabbergasted by the way of life his adopted father was leading, and all he wanted after growing up was to be like Nino.


Oba has a liking for Teni, who happens to be the daughter of Nino’s best friend Kazeem, and he is happy to see she is Nino’s neighbor. Though Kazeem is a butcher, his actual job is to kill people as per the orders given to him by the gangsters. Nino is not keen on showing the killer side of himself to Oba yet because the kid is too young to fathom all the bloodshed that happens. But Oba accidentally witnesses a murder done by Nino and Kazeem and is taken aback by learning what Nino does. Oba is shocked but not scared, and he takes it as something Nino must do to keep his standing in the community strong.

Nino was all set to become Eleniyan (owner of men), for he is the most recognized and helpful man in Lagos. Nino was happy to be taking over from Alay Bam Bam and was all ready to let people be. Even though Nino had a past of killing people, he was known for providing help to many who were in dire trouble. The people in Lagos hardly went to the police. In that year, most went to Nino to find solutions to their problems. Nino was the godfather that the people needed at that time, and he was there for them. Oba was happy to have a strong and influential father alongside him. The boy was leading a life surrounded by power, luxury, and influence, which is what Lagos ran on, and soon Oba was going to become a part of the trifecta. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when Nino is found dead, with his mangled body dumped on the street by the killer. No one knows who he was killed by, but it is assumed that the rival gang was the one who killed him, and in retaliation, the rival gang attacked them too. Oba, Iffy, and Gift’s lives have changed for good, and there is no way they can live the life they always wanted. The life of luxury and power they always dreamed of.


‘Gangs Of Lagos’ Ending Explained – Who Killed Iffy? What Happens To Oba And Gift?

Fifteen years later, Oba still dreams of moving to California to study coding and probably gain from getting a stable job in that field. Unfortunately for him, Oba and Iffy are reduced to working for Kazeem, the new Eleniyan of Isale Eko. Both Oba and Iffy have the job of collecting money from every business establishment as a way to get security from Kazeem. The boys find it hard to collect money from the poor, but they are forced to do so. Oba, Iffy, and Gift are still close, and they want to be there for each other. With Kazeem now standing for election, there is a woman from a humble background standing up to Kazeem to fight to be the governor of the state. Oba, though, wants someone new for the state of Lagos, but he is somewhat forced to be aligned with Kazeem. Kazeem has become more ruthless with power in hand, and tons of the money that he collects have reached Teni, his daughter in America. Sadly, Oba and Iffy are stuck in Lagos, trying to make ends meet by carrying out hired jobs. Oba hoped for a better life, but since Nino’s death, he has been restricted to living in Lagos off the life of a thug and finding it hard to make a decent living for himself.

His love for Teni still exists, but sadly, there is a huge barrier between them in the form of money and luxury. Seeing the apartment Kazeem got his daughter; Oba is shocked to comprehend the kind of money Kazeem has on hand while refusing to do anything for the poor other than just exploiting them to carry out his dirty work. Teni, though she has been raised around money and is privileged, still loves being in Oba’s company. She has become rich and powerful while he has remained poor.


Kazeem was known for his bad temper and ended up killing plenty of people in a gruesome fashion in his butcher house for betraying him. Kazeem goes to a barber, and as a show of power expects people to leave the place at once; this was the level of power-hungry Kazeem had grown to become. The megalomaniac wants people to fall at his feet and make way for him as he passes by. He is now aware that his rival, London, is at the barber, and he plans to ambush him. Kazeem does as he plans, and London is killed, and there is panic in the street because Kazeem killed an important man, a person who was as powerful as him.

Since Iffy was present at the murder of London, Kazeem’s rival and opposition, he is asked to take care of the barber, who was the only witness to the crime. Iffy wants to be a musician as well, so he is asked by Kazeem to come by the club so that he can introduce Iffy to a music producer. Iffy is scared to commit the crime of murder, and he requests that Oba be with him. Oba promises to be with Iffy, and a plan is hatched. Iffy had only gone so far as collecting cash from the poor for Kazeem, but killing is something new for him, and that’s why the young man is terrified. Iffy is unable to kill the barber, so Kazeem’s other hired men did the job; meanwhile, Iffy was cornered by London’s men and butchered him. Iffy did not expect to face such retaliation. Gift and Kazeem, though, are waiting for Iffy at the club, where he does not show up. Gift finds his body and is horrified to see the way he was killed. Iffy was the youngest and the timidest of the lot, and they did not expect him to die the way he did.


Oba, on the other hand, is with Teni, and he lets her know about the disparity that has emerged between them, which she has not noticed at all. She apologizes for what she was born into and says she cannot do anything about it but accept that her father is powerful. They are soon ambushed by bunch of men wielding guns. They retaliate soon, but Teni and Oba are injured. They end up spending the night together, but he is asked by Gift to meet them soon, which is when he comes to know that Iffy was brutally murdered. Oba is equally devastated, for though he and Iffy were not blood brothers, since they were raised together, they were practically family. Oba, backed by his gang, and Gift attack the people he knows were behind Iffy’s death.

Ekun lets Oba know that Iffy’s murder was planned by Kazeem because he didn’t want to take the fall for killing London. Iffy became collateral damage. If Iffy hadn’t been killed, their godfather, Olorogun Araba, would have kidnapped Teni, and Kazeem would probably have had to pay for it. Iffy became an easy target, and he was killed by Oba and Gift’s associate, Terrible. When Terrible is kidnapped by Oba and his men, he reveals that Kazeem and Olorogun Araba were the ones who orchestrated the death of Nino as well because they did not want Nino to become too powerful. Oba is shocked to fathom that the person with whom he worked for years was the one who assassinated his adoptive father.


Oba and Gift bring all the gangs of Lago, gather them on the funeral procession of London, and plan to kill Kazeem that day. Kazeem is killed by Oba after a protracted fight ensues between them. By the end of “Gangs of Lagos,” Teni is taken away. Oba also reveals that no one in the city of Lagos was keen on seeing Kazeem in power, so many were happy to see him killed the way he was. Oba and Gift wanted a brutal end for Kazeem because they were rendered fatherless because of him. Nino, despite his brutal past, was a good father to the three kids, and he wanted a better future for them. Kazeem stole his childhood away in his greed for power. Oba finally takes revenge for the way Nino was killed, and he is happy to have become Eleniyan, the owner of men.

Final Thoughts

The lackluster treatment of a gangster genre movie could have been easily made juicy with a well-layered screenplay, but that opportunity was lost thanks to a mixed bag of narratives that do not help the viewers connect the dots in the film. “Gangs of Lagos” begins well and has a decent narrative going on until the film reaches its midpoint. The second half of this film becomes a bane because the screenplay loses track and tries to introduce new plot points that have no definite closure. There are characters introduced, but they get no proper character graph defined for them.


“Gangs of Lagos” could have been a straightforward revenge drama where Oba seeks out who killed his adoptive father, but the writer and director ended up injecting so many new plot points that they had to end the movie in a rush, and the final reveal of who killed Iffy and Nino happened so quickly that there was no time to react or process the information. The climatic reveal, too, was something that could have been predicted easily; there is nothing unexpected about someone close to Nino having betrayed the man. The screenplay could have been spread out, which would have allowed other plot points to breathe instead of being jammed into one. The action sequences from the start to the end are lazily executed. The direction lacked the depth and emotion to properly portray the story of a boy who misses his adoptive father a lot. “Gangs of Lagos” is a good attempt to showcase Nigerian culture. It is a good example of representation when it comes to talking about stories from the African continent and the lifestyle of the people who live there. However, as a stand-alone piece of work, “Gangs of Lagos” does not work.

“Gangs of Lagos” is an Amazon Prime Original, now streaming with subtitles.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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