Latest travel news from Nigeria
September 26, 2012 2 Comments
By Consultant in the Field
The following travel advice was issued in September 2012, and are the personal reflections from a consultant in the field [CF] on a business visit to Nigeria.
General top tips for travel
- Normal three pin plugs UK style
- Only plan to use one credit card if you have to, as expect it to be cloned, so clear and use one with a low limit
- Don’t use debit card
- Try not to use a credit card at all if you can
- If you have to use an ATM, use one inside a bank
- Take cash – Sterling, US Dollars and Euros – small denominations
- You can only change Sterling into local currency when in Nigeria. Approx 256 Naira = £ as at 25 Sep.
- May not be able to change it back when you leave.
- High factor sunscreen if working outside, as the sun is hot
- Expect heavy rain showers, so take a strong umbrella or light rain coat
- Take mosquito repellent.
- Consult you doctor about which vaccinations you require and whether or not you need anti malaria tablets.
Getting into Nigeria and Immigration
Nigeria is an English speaking country, but bear in mind your accent will be different and allow people to get used to your accents by speaking slightly slower at first and more clearly. Avoid slang.
UK citizens need a visa. Apply early as they take a while to come through even with a 24 hour service. Use a visa agency so you don’t have to go backwards and forwards to the Embassy. This is a bit more expensive but well worth the money.
You will need a letter of invitation from your hosts in Nigeria, stating what, where, why, when and how you will be visiting. You will also need a letter from your company stating that you will return to the UK and what your position is there, as well as to show you have the funds to support yourself whilst there.
You must have a yellow fever certificate to show on arrival at the airport (you show it after baggage reclaim)
You will have to fill in a landing card on arrival and another one for exit.
So be careful about using personal addresses, bear in mind your own personal security when travelling.
Your luggage gets delivered on belts on the other side of passport control, after your passport has been stamped. You have to pay for trolleys, but you are better to hire a porter who will then push and shove on your behalf if required to get your bags. The area where the baggage comes out is cordoned off, so wait opposite. Keep an close eye on things as it all comes out to ensure that no one else takes your bags. If your host has a protocol officer you can use them to get you through.
Leaving the controlled building
It is mayhem once you come out of the building with lots of people and signs. Be sure of where you are going and who is picking you up.
Expect the police to ask for a “little something to help them” when you are trying to get into your transport. If it is dark, make sure you can account for your bags all the time and take something to tie them together, so no one can snatch bags from the trolley as you walk along in the crowds.
Keep your valuables tightly in your control. Have money ready for tips.
Getting a taxi
Look for the taxi signs. Only take official cabs – yellow ones. Make sure you have small change and Naira (which you can get just between baggage reclaim and exiting the controlled area). Ensure you enquire at the information area how much to expect the cab to be before exiting the airport. Make sure you agree a fare and don’t trust the meter.
Make sure the driver turns on the meter anyway, just as a matter of principle! It will be easier to negotiate if you have a problem.
Expect good service. Take a torch with you as power cuts are frequent. Take small travel towels and wet wipes as sometimes the water goes off just when you need to take a shower. To ensure your internet security, do not log into your private banking whilst in Nigeria. Change your passwords once home to protect yourself.
When you depart, get dropped off at the departure area and use a porter, as he will take you to the right desk. Cost is approx 500 Naira (£2.50) and well worth the money as he fights to the front for you. Just keep an eye on bags as he moves fast once loaded up! So make sure you are ready to walk fast behind him!
Leave yourself plenty of time to get through, as it is a time-consuming process. Expect all your bags to be searched prior to check-in and don’t leave attractive items on display (put them in bags). We were asked to leave the security officer a swiss army knife as a “present”.
Once checked in, it gets easier but still time-consuming. You get the exit card at check-in. Fill it in and present to immigration. Be prepared for a bit of a crowd. Keep smiling sweetly and move through X ray to airside. Be prepared for this area to hot, as there did not seem to be much air conditioning. You have to take out your laptop at security but no need for shoes. Removing belts was random, so wait to be asked. Keep an eye on your kit if goes through the X ray before you to ensure that no one picks up your stuff. If you can wait and go through as your stuff is in the X ray machine.
If you want to buy anything in the duty free airside, there are some shops.
That’s about it, so happy travelling and enjoy a lovely country with incredibly friendly people……
- More travel advice from INSI’s Consultant in the Field
The views here are those of the author and are personal reflections on a business visit to Nigeria in September. They are not meant to be negative in nature, they are meant to assist the international traveller in being prepared to work there. If they cause offence to anyone, sincerest apologies are offered in advance.