Business travel: Anyone ever work in Nigeria? Lagos, Abuja, River States?

Reader question: I know there are folks on this board from all walks in life and was looking for any advice, thoughts, stories…

I can’t get into details except to say I will likely be in Nigeria on and off for quite a while. A buddy said to carry a gun but I don’t think carrying is an option right now because it could get complicated due to corporate but I will probably look into it. I will be in and out of country a lot.

Answer 1: I have a good friend from college who worked there as a petroleum engineer. This was in the mid to late 1990s. He said that Lagos was incredibly dangerous. The company secretary had to carry. She ended up having to shoot a guy that was trying to carjack and kidnap her. Really like the Wild West. I also heard you have to bribe everyone to get anywhere in certain locations.

Answer 2: Big lessons from everyone I know: stay close to security, it’s not safe on your own. Don’t end up dead over having fun, and honestly there’s not much to be had. HIV is rampant and understanding of the disease in country is about as low as it gets. If you need to bribe someone stay away from them. The money you pay is nothing compared to what they think they’ll get for your sorry butt in ransom.

The traffic in Lagos is legendary — also let your driver get you places. I know personally of a few traffic run ins that ended in guns.

There are big percentages of folks in country that hate you off the plane because you represent the oil subsidies they are currently not getting. Imagine occupy Wall Street with hungry people with assult rifles. That’s been happening daily for half a year.

Bottom line, make your money do your job, let the company protect you and get home.

Answer 3: I’m from Nigeria, but I grew up in New York. I usually go every 4 or 5 years. I did a summer internship at an archtectural firm in Nigeria also. Those areas you mentioned are the main Cities including Ibadan, with Abuja being the capital. There’s a lot to see and do there.

Nigeria Is a Beautiful Country. You just have to know where to go. And just for the record, AIDS isn’t as big of an issue there as some other countries in Africa. The people in general are very educated and informed.

The biggest issues right now in the country is the Muslim fundamentalist in the Northern region of the country; and the corruption particularly in the government. That’s why if you do go there on a vacation or business it very important that you go with someone you can trust who knows the country and the best places to stay.

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  1. Anon says:

    Lagos and Abuja are the least dangerous for foreigners. You’ll be nicely surprised.

    Rivers State is complicated. Don’t try to go out at night on your own. And don’t inform too many people (staff ie driver, etc) about your schedule.

    It also helps to pretend like you’ve lived in Nigeria for years. Learn a few slangs and local words used regularly.


    Hope you have a pleasant experience.

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