The official language of Nigeria is English. This is largely because the country was a British colony until 1960; it also provides a base language since officially there 521 languages spoken in Nigeria. English is taught at schools and is the language used for business transactions and other formal situations, so all Nigerians are able to communicate in English. Some areas of the country will use a dialect called ‘Pidgin’ English, which uses a lot of slang mixed in with native words, and can be difficult to understand. However, in main tourist areas and hotels they will use the plain form of English.
The official currency of Nigeria is the naira coming in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 denominations. There are also some coins. If you arrive into Nigeria with US dollars or euro you will be able to change your money with professional currency changers at the airport, or you can use the foreign exchange kiosk. It is advisable to convert all remaining nairas you have left from your visit back into your home currency since it is unlikely that any bank in a country that does not border Nigeria will accept them. There are several banks where ATMs can be used in the larger cities. Visa is more prevalent, although you will be able to find some places that accept MasterCard and Maestro. In addition, you should be able to use credit cards for purchases at larger shops, hotels, and restaurants since Nigeria is driving towards a cashless economy. American Express and Diners are unlikely to be accepted. It is always best to ask the vendor first to ensure your payment will be accepted.
The time zone in Nigeria is GMT+1, which is the same as Europe (excluding UK and Ireland). No daylight savings is followed in Nigeria
Electricity in Nigeria runs at 240V/50Hz variable. You may need a transformer if your electrical appliance differs from this standard (most North American appliances run at 110-120 volts). They use a flat, three-pinned style British plug with a grounding pin. You will need an adaptor if your plug does not meet this standard.
The international calling code for Nigeria is +234. The landline network has historically been unreliable, but Nigeria is now moving towards an advanced cellular telephone network. There are around 88 million cell phones currently in use, and the network runs on the 900/1800 MHz GSM spectrum. If your phone is compatible with this and you have international roaming set up, you will be able to connect to a network if your provider has a sharing partnership with Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom, or MTN.
Duty-free goods can be purchased at Murtala Muhammed, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Port Harcourt international airports. If you are travelling to the US you are allowed to import one liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or four pounds of tobacco.
Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation: http://tourism.gov.ng
Consulates in Nigeria
American Embassy, Abuja: +11-234-9461-4000 Canadian High Commission, Abuja: +11-234-9413-9910 British High Commission, Abuja: +11-234-9462-3200 Australian High Commission, Abuja: +11-234-9461-2780
Emergency Services: 199