Time: Local time is GMT +1.
Electricity: Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. Round and square three-pin plugs are used.
Money: Nigerian currency is the Naira (NGN), which is divided into 100 kobo. Approved exchange facilities include the major hotels and the airport, but official rates are very high. It is illegal to change money on the street. Credit card fraud is a problem and visitors are advised against the use of credit cards throughout the country; credit card facilities are also limited. Facilities for changing travellers cheques are also very limited. Prior to travel, visitors should ensure they have a variety of currency options available to them (Sterling, US dollars or Euros) in cash. Travellers should be aware of the prevalence of commercial fraud in, and emanating from, Nigeria.
Currency Exchange Rates
NGN 100.00 = A$ 1.04 C$ 0.89 IRR 7.54 NZ$ 1.25 ? 0.59 US$ 0.84 R 6.72
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Language: English is the official language and widely used, though many other languages are also spoken.
Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is required.
Passport/Visa Note: Nationals of virtually all countries require a visa to enter Nigeria (the few exceptions are mainly neighbouring African states). Visas must be obtained in advance and all visitors require a return ticket, documents for onward travel and sufficient funds. Those entering for business reasons must also have a letter of invitation and verification from Nigerian representatives abroad stating purpose of entry. Passports must be valid for at least six months after arrival.
Health: Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required by anyone arriving from infected areas. No other vaccinations are required for entry to Nigeria, but visitors should seek the latest medical advice on inoculations at least three weeks prior to departure. At present there is a high risk of polio infection in northern Nigeria and inoculations are advised. Malaria is common to Nigeria and travellers should take the necessary prophylactics. Sporadic flooding in Nigeria often results in waterborne diseases such as cholera. Visitors should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. There are some adequate private hospitals, but government facilities are of a low standard and should be avoided. Most foreign companies have arrangements with private clinics and hospitals for their expatriate workers. Individuals needing spe...ed treatment for acute illness or severe injury are usually evacuated to Europe or South Africa. Good, comprehensive insurance is strongly advised, and should include evacuation.
Tipping: In restaurants a 10% tip is adequate if a service charge hasn't already been added. Negotiate taxi fares before embarking on a journey; remember that fares are usually increased for tourists so tipping isn't necessary. Porters should be tipped accordingly.
Safety: Violent street crime, armed robberies, muggings and car jackings are prevalent in Lagos and elsewhere in the more populous south of the country. Recent gang violence in central Port Harcourt means that visitors should take care when travelling around the town. Security at Port Harcourt has been increased due to safety concerns, but visitors need to be vigilant and cautious. Numerous hazards await unwary and uninformed visitors, from bogus greeters at the airport, to scams involving efforts to extort money from visitors' relatives back home and even taking hostages for ransom. Visitors should ensure that their local hosts and/or family and friends at home know their travel plans. The reliability of domestic airlines has also been questioned due to numerous accidents. There are frequent outbreaks of civil unrest and violence, usually caused by ethnic tensions and strikes often cause disruption to transport and other services. Following riots in Kano, travellers are advised to be extremely cautious in the northern region. Travellers are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations. Fuel shortages often occur, adding to uncertainty for road travel that is already hazardous because of the risk of armed robbery and car jackings, particularly in traffic jams and rural areas. Public transport is extremely dangerous with buses and taxis poorly maintained and fraud and criminal activity rife among drivers. The Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States should also be avoided, particularly the riverine areas and Port Harcourt, due to hostage-taking; workers are being kidnapped on an almost daily basis, and further threats have been issued. All but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State should also be avoided. Oil facilities have been attacked and expatriate oil workers seized, and in 2007 there was an increase in attacks offshore, with abductions taking place from oil rigs.
Customs: Nigeria has a relatively formal society and it is appropriate to address Nigerians by their surnames until you know them very well. Beachwear is only appropriate for the beach. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in Africa living mainly in the north. Women should dress modestly, and avoid wearing trousers, and all visitors should exercise discretion in behaviour and dress, especially when visiting religious sites, and during the holy month of Ramadan. Time has a different concept in West Africa than in Europe or North America. Being 'on time' to a Nigerian could easily be a couple of hours after an agreed start-time. Evening social events tend to start late and often continue into the small hours. Photography in airports may lead to arrest. Homosexuality is illegal.
Business: Nigeria is known for a variety of business scams and it is well worth investigating the company one is dealing with beforehand, particularly if it is a new business venture. It is best to contact a local embassy or consulate for more information. Business tends to be conducted formally, and punctuality is important, although meetings may not begin on time. Dress is usually smart, with suits and ties the norm, and conservative clothing for women. A lightweight material is best due to the climate. Business cards are exchanged when meeting, accompanied by a handshake. Doing business in Nigeria can be a slow process and there is a large amount of bureaucracy to be overcome; patience is essential. Women tend to be key players in Nigerian business and therefore will be well received. Business hours are usually 8am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Some businesses are open until 12.30pm on Saturdays. Further north in the country, businesses may be closed on Fridays.
Communications: The country code for Nigeria is +234, and the outgoing international code is 009, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00927 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Lagos, (0)9 for Abuja. Full international direct dialling is available. There are good GSM 900 and 1800 mobile phone networks covering Lagos, Abuja and some other major towns. Internet cafes can be found in major cities.
Duty free: Travellers to Nigeria over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 medium sized cigars or 200g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 1 litre wine; perfume or eau de Cologne for personal use; and gifts to the value of N300 (excluding jewellery, photographic equipment, electronics and luxury goods.). The following items carry substantial duty levies: Cameras, projectors and other electronic goods, unless visitors can provide proof of possession for at least three years or can submit a certificate of re-importation. Prohibited items include beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fresh fruit and vegetables, textiles, mosquito netting, jewellery and precious metals, cereals and eggs.
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