There was so much that you don’t expect when you first visit Nigeria. Here are just a few things.
- People are really friendly. This is not only an offhand shade, but everybody was really good to me as a guest, greeting and giving help.
- There are scams, but people don’t really want you to be a victim. Nigeria is famous for it’s scamming (419s) and before visiting you are made aware that it is a big deal, but for every scam I saw, there were 10 people that warned me about them beforehand. It seems the majority of people are embarrassed by them but have come to terms with them being part of life.
- Everyone is invited to a party. It is not required of you that you know the people hosting but it is expected that you can just go about if you know anybody.
- Weddings are large. Hundreds, even thousands of guests. An invitation doesn’t seem to be a substance and again, anyone it appears can attend. Even people roaming about the street can just enter and be fed.
- The rich are mighty, the super-rich and the poor are abjectly poor. Few of the most expensive real estates in the world are in Lagos, with skyscrapers and plush hotels. There are also lots of people that live in squalor spitting some distance away.
- Nigerians cannot do without the English Premier League. You will begin t see minibuses and trucks, even some luxurious buses painted in Arsenal, Chelsea Manchester United etc. colour rioting everywhere and bars are always filled up when live English football is on.
- Buses in Nigeria especially in cities like Lagos, Port-Harcourt etc often have preachers and/or salespeople who get on and openly evangelize or sell their products. Even at very early in the morning when people are still going to work and shops but mostly in the afternoon or towards the evening when people are already coming back from work.
- No much discrimination because Christians and Muslims stay together and interact together so happily. The only people that could have any issues (from my experience) are Atheists (they do not believe in any God), which are mainly treated as if they have an illness.
- Petrol is most times a general problem. As a foreigner, you are already aware that Nigeria is a big oil-producing nation, but there are lots of petrol shortages and in a fewer time may cause long queues at petrol stations, which change their prices accordingly, that you will be surprised to hear.
- Some buildings have a write up like ‘THIS BUILDING IS NOT FOR SALE’ written boldly on them, as apparently, a popular scam is to ‘sell’ somebody else’s building without their knowledge, Yes is a true happening.
- Majority of the buses don’t have a schedule, they leave when they are full, which can take hours or less depending on your destination. in addition, what might seem like a bus station, with so many of the smaller buses scouting for passengers, often isn’t. I remember being aboard a bus that bolted off at very a high speed along with the 30 or 40 others that were in the same place the moment they heard a police siren.
- Customer service is really good virtually in all shops and restaurants (aside perhaps from the supermarkets and weirdly KFC). It is not ideal to have to tap somebody to serve you, there is never any haste to help you and there seems to be no pride in doing a nice job. I know this might sound so bad but is purely accurate from my experience. It appears in response, a customer becoming rude, loud and clicking its fingers etc. to get service has emerged. Am always good and polite, but hardly had the same granted back to me by the person I was paying.
These are just little of the things I remembered, but I had a nice time there and will eventually be returning many times in the future. I hereby recommend you go see for yourselves and don’t just believe the bad talks from people that are even talking based on hearsay.