241 - Nigeria; Getting to Know The Local Customs
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Nigeria; Getting to Know The Local Customs

Nigeria is a very diverse country; there are well over a thousand different ethnic groups residing within its borders. Nigerian culture, therefore, cannot be grabbed by one set of features with people from so many diverse backgrounds. However, certain local customs will help you navigate with ease during your time spent with the Nigerian people.

The Local Customs in Nigeria

Nigerians are very relaxed when it comes to physical contact, especially compared to individuals with a Western background. You might get the feeling that your personal space is being invaded. While having a conversation, gender-like people will regularly touch each other on the arms or back. This is considered perfectly normal. Touching between people of different genders is not as common though, particularly in the Muslim communities in the north. To not be offending, you should behave and dress modestly.

Traditional family roles are essential in many of the local customs in Nigeria. For example, when having dinner, it is not strange for men, women, and children to sit apart, with the men being served first. As an honored guest, you will be served first, but you should not start eating until everybody else has started. Avoid using your left hand when eating or passing food and make sure that your feet are pointing towards the food.

Greetings are an important aspect of social interactions in Nigeria. When meeting someone, a long list of well wishes for your counterpart's family and good health is expected. Even if you have just seen that person a short time earlier, often the whole ritual is repeated. Moving quickly from a handshake on to discussing business may be interpreted as rudeness.

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