I’ll be honest – It’s not going to be easy writing this post without coming across as a pessimist but I need to give you a taste of the attitude of Nigerians I have experienced in recent times. From all indications things seem to be going from bad to worse. Just yesterday I was at a beautiful wedding reception and at a point all guests were asked to stand up for a prayer from one of the wedding couple’s family members. As we were repeatedly saying a resounding ‘Amen’, right in the middle of the prayer I suddenly heard the pop of a champagne bottle.
I don’t know about you but I think that was just downright rude. What would it cost the stewards to wait a minute or two for a prayer to finish before causing such a distraction. In the presence of God some level of decorum should be expected during prayer – no talking, no selfie-ing, no walking and most definitely no champagne popping! Of course it wasn’t long before the final Amen that another champagne cork went off with a loud *POP!* At this point the ridiculousness of it all made me giggle and shake my head – Nigerians! Continue reading →
It’s the start of a new year and the Nigerian economy isn’t necessarily better than it was in 2014; power supply has gone from epileptic to epically lacking, Boko Haram terrorists’ have orchestrated more explosions than all the fireworks set … Continue reading →
It is worthwhile holding varying denominations of Naira for ease of giving or receiving change e.g. N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500, and N1000 notes. Refrain from carrying excess cash in hand. At the same time, do not flash/expose so much cash when you are out in public. You can attract the wrong kind of attention and become vulnerable to theft.
For the men, do not put your wallets in your back pockets – even if you wear tight jeans. For women, keep your handbags closed/zipped up at all times. Do not count large amounts of money in public view – that includes even when you are in the comfort of your car. Passers by (especially some street hawkers) are constantly watching and may serve as informants for thieves ahead.
If you are not planning to live in Nigeria, and therefore do not want to open a local bank account to deposit large cash sums, you can get a Naira Cashcard in order to save your pocket money. Cashcards are like electronic wallets that do not require account opening. The cards are available from most banks and the cost of one can range from N100 and N500. There are usually no monthly fees attached to them and they can be used for making ATM withdrawals, POS (Point of Sale i.e. like in Eateries, Cinemas and reputable Supermarkets), and internet transactions. Cash loading limits and loading fees may vary across banks.
When buying from street hawkers whilst you are in a moving car (this is common activity with motorists during traffic jams or ‘go-slow’), always make sure you receive the item you want to purchase before you release the cash. Also try to hold the exact amount of cash for your purchase as most times the hawker may not have change to return. In doing so, you can prepare the hawker e.g. you want to buy something of N150 but you have a N200 note. You ask the hawker if he has N50. He/she has N50-change ready and then you collect the item and the change before handing over your N200 note – You wouldn’t want to hold up cars behind you because you’re waiting to collect change, nor would you want to jump out of your car chasing a hawker who ran off with your change!