Welcome to Nigeria!
“When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations (with the exception of South Africa) catch cold.” Along with South Africa, Nigeria is considered a super-power in the African continent. It is the most populous nation in Africa, and is the Africa’s largest oil producer and second largest economy. Although its tourism is still fragile since Nigeria suffers from a reputation of being corrupt and prone to violence, the travelers do report that the Nigerian are friendly and generous. Nigeria is a culturally and religiously diverse country with 250 tribes, where tribe and ethnic affiliation is important. Be sure to be sensitive to these differences, respect the local customs, learn the following Nigeria travel tips, taboo, dos and donts, to make a safe and pleasant trip to Nigeria.
Nigeria Travel Taboo
It is taboo to ask the size of a man’s herd in Nigeria Yoruba society.
Transvestism and homosexual practices are prosecuted.
Nigeria Travel Donts
- Do not use your left hand at all, as it is considered unclean. Do not eat with it, do not give or receive a present or objects with it. Using the right hand only or both hands.
- Do not rush a greeting without inquiring about the other person’s general well-being, which is considered extremely rude.
- Do not step on anyone’s toes.
- Do not show indifferent facial expression which indicates ignorant or obnoxious. Nigerians prefer facial expressions that imply empathy and believe an expression.
- Do not keep constant and direct eye contact, which can be seeing as being intrusive.
- Do not ever criticise Nigeria or Nigerians, no matter how much a local may do so. Be polite and conservative in your actions, although in many cases, the politeness can easily be mistaken for weakness.
- Do not try to wear Nigerian clothes. They are beautiful, but Nigerians think they look stupid on other nationalities.
- Do not travel alone. Go around in a group, and do not let anyone touch or intimidate you. Voice anger if necessary.
- Do not discuss or make generalizations about religion in Nigeria. Nigeria is a religiously diverse country, maintain an open mind.
- Do not feel obligated to leave tips. Tipping is optional in Nigeria.
Nigeria Travel Dos
- Do shake hands with a warm, welcoming smile with everyone, as a customary, on meeting and departing. Muslims will not generally shake hands with members of the opposite sex.
- Do have cash on hand to help negotiate either a good purchase or a bad situation. Bribery is still common throughout the country, handing over a few dollars could save you from unexpected troubles. Leave your credit cards behind to prevent from the fraud.
- Do take an extra copy of your passport which may help in some situations in case yours are taken.
- Do dress casual, although modest wearing required in the northern Muslim areas, particularly for women. A lightweight suit and tie are only necessary for businesspeople on formal meetings.
- Do respect the elders, and lower your eyes or bow when meeting an elder. Nigeria is a hierarchical society, and the extended families are the norm and the backbone of the social system in Nigeria.
- Do address people initially by their academic, professional or honorific title and their surname, unless invited to call someone’s first name.
- Do try eating with your hands! You will be given finger bowls and towels to keep clean. If you’re uncomfortable eating with your hands, then ask for utensils.
- Do bring fruit, nuts or chocolates for the host if invited to dinner at someone’s home. A gift for the children is always welcomed. Do compliment your host’s home and belongings.
- Do say that a gift came from your wife, sister, mother, etc. female relative, if you’re a man giving a gift.
- Do understand that Nigerians communicate with a lot of gestures and body language, pay attention to non-verbal cues when conversing.
- Do bargain at a market. You can usually get the price down by 50%. But do not walk away without buying something after you’ve agreed on a price with the merchant.
© 2010 traveltaboo.com