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White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

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White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Hi Everyone!

I've been doing a considerable amount of reading on this board and figured it wouldn't hurt to post some of my own questions and concerns, as well.

I am considering a trip to Nigeria (Lagos, in particular) in May/June 2012, and although I've traveled extensively in the 'developing' world (Brazil and India come to mind...), I can't help but have my concerns about traveling to Nigeria.

I'm a (white) Canadian woman in my mid-twenties who is currently living in London (UK) and pursuing my MA Degree in International Communications and Development. I am considering a trip to Lagos for my thesis research and am concerned about safety, transportation, accommodation, cultural exchanges, etc.

That being said, I do have some friends/contacts in Lagos, but organizing this trip is starting to overwhelm me... perhaps it's a bit of information overload (and all the scare tactics/scam posts I've seen), as well?

Any information/advice/insider's perspective is much appreciated. Thanks!

Jackie

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11. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Trishaf22 - I would bet that your friend Catherine would not appreciate her full name and email posted on this very public forum. You should remove it and treat this site with more care.

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12. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Hey,

I'm Nigerian, currently living in Victoria, BC with the fam. I'll be objective, nevertheless.

You say you have friends in Lagos, will these friends accompany you around the city? Assuming they won't, I still do not think you'll be in danger as Lagos is not that type of city.

Lagos (and Nigeria in general) is very complicated. Your experience as a white Canadian woman in Lagos will be different from the next, which is not surprising. I'm going to be blunt: If you will be travelling alone, dress down and don't look rich lol. It would be easier if you were black because you'd blend in. If you can, go everywhere by taxi.

Public transport is a pain in the butt, I'm Nigerian and I don't use it. Taxis make life easier, so account for that in your budget.

Where exactly will you be going to in Lagos? There are worse cities to visit in Nigeria.

LOL at "no safe ATM's in Lagos". Trust me, there are but I'd still bring enough cash just for convenience as Nigeria is a cash society.

You can also go to Nairaland.com, the largest Nigerian online forum and post this question on there for more feedback. I would do a "mock trip/itinerary" and post it on their to get feedback from people, as well as to get advice on costs, etc.

Let me know if you have more questions, which u probably do.

PS: Sorry for rambling, it's 3.41am

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13. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Forgot to add: Get your friend to pick you up from the airport. Highly advisable!!

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14. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Like any other huge city there are some basics rules to observe and some do' and dont's. In general I would say the stories about Lasgos are hugely overblown. It is a super vibrant city, full of life and colour. You will be husseled, widely overcharged for stuff, some people will cheat you. But that's most likely it. If you go out during the day and have someone with you during the evenings and nights when you go out, you will be fine. My personal experiance after two years here is that there is little chance of something violent happening to you (traffic excluded). Gop to the markets, and beaches during the day. Try the nightlife not just in the expat areas of Lekki of VI which is just the same as so many other cities. Try Felas shrine and enjoy.

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15. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Hi Jackie,

I've been living in Lagos for 18 months. I'm white, mid-twenties female and its fine.

Lagos isn't the easiest place to live but its exciting and not as scary or dangerous as is sometimes made out. In particular, since 2002-3 (as Patricia was talking about) things have changed. Safety wise, you do need to be careful, but there is no need to think that you can't leave your house without a security patrol.

If your coming to do research I would have thought that your biggest issues are going to be accommodation and transport. Lagos is very very expensive.

Its also not somewhere that is set up for tourists/ visitors. Outside of the islands

and expat areas, you will draw attention. Not a bad thing in itself but can become trying.

Goodluck, and if you've got any specific questions, I'm happy to try and answer them.

I

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16. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

I was on youtube and saw video diary of TIT LAYO ONYIBO IN NIGERIA...she is a white girl that went to nigeria in a masters program out of chicago to learn Yoruba language..she speaks yoruba in all her diaries and also a white man counterpart doing the same..they wore the local clothes,language and drumming on local drums with good skill. go to youtube and type in Nigeria and also type in lagos with the year 2011 attached for up to date video and you will see lots of images and stories of people there overcomeing the VERY REAL RISKS...My mother is white woman and my father a full bred nigerian born and raised and he raised me there from age 8 to age 17,My mom lasted 4 years there and i crawled out of there after 8 years depleted by frequent malaria...I would love to go back but it will be later and i have better income now than my family did when i was raised there...i just did 2 years in philippines and on my way next month for a year in central america and so maybe nigeria 2 years away for me.....There are stories on youtube and other sites of "OYINBO'S" on low budgets wandering into nigeria among locals on the streets and making it back home happy and posting the videos on youtube.....Even knowing people there may not be enough..i have family there that are not trust worthy and would just as is,rob me of my possessions if even leave me unbeaten or alive...i even have to be selective of which family membere i go to visit..it doesnt matter if i go with lots of money to give to them all,some will want to clean me out at any cost regardless of anything i give or do for them unconditionally....

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17. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Hi culture_mix I think it will be a good experience for u I v been to Lagos n Nigeria several times n I can tell u there are foreigner working n living there do why cant u go there? I guess as ur doing ur thesis u will be working with an oil or Telecomm coy then u will v a Gud experience as people with fall over each other to make u enjoy ur time. But pls be on guard at all times n there are fantastics places to visit in Lagos but I'll advice u stay in Victoria island, ikoyi or ikeja n if u v to go out at night make sure u v a pre arranged car hire or taxi to take u bck n always club or go to bar locally. Like u said u v had ur negative experience in brazil so Lagos shldnt be a problem for u I will say things v changed but the traffic chaos is still there. Enjoy

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18. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

HI Jackie,

I just randomly came across this thread.I am living in Lagos (VI) with my wife.I have been here for last 4 months and work for a big oil company.

Trust me VI / Ikoyi is not so bad.I have been out till late nights and early mornings on my own with my driver and nothing happens.You just need to be a bit careful as in every other place.I am an Indian and even in India , it's not advisable to walk at late nights.

If you want any guidance/help, you can call me at 08105433244 anytime.

Before moving to Lagos,I was always given wrong infos about the place, so just give it a chance.

Have a safe trip.

Take care

Kirti

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19. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

I was in Lagos in february and was told not to go out after dark! It's a very chaotic place but we were in the centre. Victoria Island is ok but like any major port you have to watch yourself.

I wouldn't rush back to Lagos there are better places in Nigeria to visit. As the previous poster said though the people are warm and friendly and yes there are scammers but no worse than Paris or London. Get someone to escort you around that will save you a lot of hassle, if you are staying in a hotel one of the girls there will have a trusty brother who can escort you and he will ensure you are protected. But don't go out after dark it is not safe for an Oyibo after dark.

That said about Lagos I love Nigeria so much i've decided to settle here...it's a fun place in the main but i'm further North in Anambra and Enugu.

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20. Re: White, Canadian Girl in Lagos... are my concerns valid?

Hi Jackie,

Good to know your coming to nigeria, as every country in the world has its ugly side so does nigeria has some ugly side. I feel it would be more advice able to know certain areas which you can easily avoid, that is where you have the slums or rural areas. Like DC, there are some areas you can't walk freely without being robbed.

Am a nigerian and I could boldy tell you nigerians are very accommodating and interesting people, but every community has the good and bad and its the same everywhere in the world. I have had the opportunity to visit several countries and just the same thing happens almost everywhere. My advise is to avoid some certain areas which are prone to attacks and be very alert at all time. I hope you have a great time out that and feel free to connect with your friends who are there they would be the best to teach you on how to go about things. I hope you have a great time out there and be safe. I don't know if I would be ashore by then but keep intouch.