My Love Affair with Lagos, Nigeria
My parents come from Nigeria and gave birth to me in London. Dad was given a Scholarship to study Law in Cambridge University and somewhere in between, I was born. Even though I had my secondary Education in Nigeria, I have spent most of my life in the UK. I visit Lagos, Nigeria once in a while and keep in touch with what is happening in the Country.
Nigeria is the most Popular country in Africa. Billions of dollars have been generated in the production of oil in Nigeria and it would probably have been the richest country in Africa, if Politicians in power didn’t deposit millions of dollars into Personal Accounts abroad. This has all stopped now and the economy is growing.
Nigeria is an interesting Country and I would like to share some interesting things about life in Lagos - one of the states in Nigeria. (which used to be the Capital) Hopefully, a few things you didn’t know.
During Celebrations, in parties it is the tradition to Spray people with money. (See photo above). This means when you are dancing, people put notes of currency on your forehead or the neck. It’s put on the head, note by note and if it’s a big celebration, there will be a member of the family who will have a box/bag to collect the money because many people could be spraying you at the same time and it starts dropping on the floor. Nigerians are very good dancers – both men and women. I have been informed the government are asking people not to "spray" these days but it's still common in the parties I attend in London.
Nigerians definitely have an eye for fashion. The Traditonal wear is lovely and colourful. Both men and women look very elegant. Traditional clothes are actually sewn out of various materials. The material is bought and given to a Tailor to design. There are also lots of Fashion Designers who make lovely designs and exhibit them in their shops to sell. Jeans is very popular especially amongst youth, but nothing beats the Traditional attire.
Its also customary for a husband and wife to wear similar clothing, if they are going out for a social event. Example, See photo below. (looks like hubby and wife are being sprayed)
Head Wear worn by women called "Gele"
The Film Industry
Nigeria has a good film industry (Nollywood) and make their own films. According to CNN, Nigeria has a multi-billion dollar movie industry, churning out some 200 "home videos" every month to become the third largest in the world after the United States and India. Most of the films are based on situations that happen in real life and have great story lines. It’s very popular and now has satellite channels that just show only Nollywood movies. The industry has grown trememdously. You can view as many as you want for FREE on youtube.
Nigeria is a country full of Christians and muslims and lots of men have more than one wife. The first being the Senior wife and the last (if more than two) the Junior Wife. I honestly don't know how these guys cope with more than one wife and how the wives cope with themselves. The word "competition" comes to mind. I just want to be the only sugar in my hubby's tea. (◕‿◕)
There is no pressure in Nigeria for women to be slim or a size zero. In fact people prefer robust women. Most times when I travel, the first thing my mum does after hugging the daylights out of me, is to comment that I am not eating. So, these days, before I travel, I go on a crash diet of Burgers, Kentucky Fried Chicken, cakes, ice cream etc.
Rice and Plantain...one of my favourites.
There are various types of food. Rice dishes, beans, plantain, peppersoup with different types of meat, Yam. The food is very tasty and spicy. There are also big departmental stores where you can buy foreign food. So if you want things like burgers, cheese, baked beans etc. you can find it there.
Talking about food, my mum always likes to buy certain food for me to take when I return to the UK. Well, the last time as usual she packed some food in my hand luggage (dried African food). On arrival at Heathrow Airport, the announcement was made in the plane that people were not allowed to bring food into the Country and there would be a Fine. Well, fancy telling us as we were landing. I panicked so much that I decided to turn myself in and apologise. There were also dogs sniffing bags which wasn’t helping matters.
Anyway, as I approached someone who looked like an Immigration or Security Officer, I was about to tell him and he waved at me, to keep walking towards the exit. Narrow escape!
Tinubu Square, Lagos
Update - I went to Nigeria in 2013. This is me on one of my visits.
Contrary to what is shown on Television programs about Africa, Lagos is a beautiful place and the Government are doing a lot to improve it.
So, hopefully you now know something new about Lagos.
Photos - The City of Lagos, Nigeria.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Update May 2014
At the moment, Nigeria is in Crisis. About 2 weeks ago, over 200 girls were abducted in School by a Muslim Terrorist group. Nobody knows anything about the whereabouts of these children and parents are helpless. The government is not doing much. You can support by raising awareness on Twitter or Facebook. #BringOurGirlsback ♥