Nigeria, the self acclaimed giant of Africa, is blessed with over 180 million interesting people with different cultural backgrounds. When this many people with a very diverse outlook on life converge in the same area, be sure to expect all manner of behaviours which may sometimes come off as weird especially to a total stranger.
Here are some weird facts about Nigeria that will interest you.
1. Adding ‘O’ at the end of every sentence
This is usually done to show emphasis or to sound a little less formal.
“My dear, I am just coming back from the market o!”
“I’m leaving for work o, come and lock the door o!”
2. Snapping the fingers over the head
This superstitious gesture is usually done to rebuke something bad from happening. In Igbo language it is called tufiakwa and Olorun maje in Yoruba, which simple means God forbid.
3. Different ways of greeting
Respect is one thing different cultures in Nigeria have in common and one way to show that is through greeting the elders. A Yoruba male greets his elder by prostrating while the ladies greet by kneeling or genuflecting. The Hausa’s greet their elders by squatting and holding up both hands in reverence. The Igbos greet in the western style of shaking hands. They only bow a little when they shake hands with those they respect.
4. The “How-far” greeting
When next you hear a Nigerian say how far, please know that he is not asking for the distance in time or miles. This greeting basically inquires about a person’s well being just like saying ‘What’s up with you’. The response to this greeting is usually.
5. Nigerian time
There is African time and then there is Nigerian time. The average Nigerian is always habitually late to every occasion. This is usually done to show how “important” a person is. The general belief behind this habit is that the low class needs to be waiting when the high class arrives. Instead of complaining about this habit, take Nigerian time into consideration for every event you plan by starting an hour or two later than the actual time fixed. However, some Nigerians are starting to see the importance of punctuality.
6. Repetition of words
If is dear to your heart then you have to repeat it twice. Nigerians are of the habit of saying a word twice usually to show emphasis like waka waka (a person who is always up and about), play play (a playful person). Even some delicious Nigerian delicacies are named in this style such as moin moin, puff puff.
7. Left hand is a no no
The use of left hand is highly frowned upon, especially when giving or receiving things from older people or people in authority. The left hand does not feature well in inter-personal relationships. Most people consider it a taboo to give, receive, or eat things with the left.
8. Most men are generally unfaithful
In northern Nigerian, marrying more than one wife is acceptable due to their Islamic religion. Outside of religion, men pride themselves on how many women they have slept with and are sleeping with. Being unfaithful by Nigerian men therefore is viewed as an acceptable behavior with most wives accepting this as the norm without complaints. Thankfully, civilization is starting to make the women stand up against this.
If you are visiting the country for the first time or you just want to understand Nigerians a lot better, be sure to have this list as a guide.