Last updated on December 14th, 2022 at 08:53 am
From January to December, Lagos is the first point of call for foreigners to Nigeria because of the commercial activities of the city.
Popularly called “Eko” Nigeria’s most populated and commercial city has a high crime rate, yet you can enjoy yourself in the city if you carefully take to the security advice.
Apart from the travel advisory of your country, here are first-hand security tips expats can adopt to stay safe while in Lagos for holidays or on a business trip.
Security Tips For Expats Visiting Lagos for Holidays (or Business)
Here are a few tips to help you move around Lagos with ease.
Get first-hand information about airport activities
Immigration is the first point of contact when you arrive in Nigeria. The first hassle is getting through immigration at the airport without any hitches. Ask your host to give you detailed information about the activities at the airport.
Be wary of the pranks of some immigration officials
The present administration is fighting hard to reduce the rate of bribery, but there are still some official bribery you will encounter at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
This is way too frustrating as they would want to strip you of every cash on you. Apart from immigration officials, everyone at the airport wants a tip, you can tell them next time.
Get your international passport ready, when interacting with the immigration don’t lose balance or get carried away with their pranks.
Some of them act funny when they see unsuspecting foreigners apparently seizing their goods.
Get little local denomination
Get little local denomination of cash with you to tip them when asked, it would serve you well at that point. Nigerians are always on the lookout for instant gratification, be pleasant but unyielding to those who are legally representing the country. Avoiding giving tips to everyone.
Don’t give your passport to anyone
Don’t give your passport to anyone, keep it with you. Put away your phone (s) and camera, there are instances where security agents have asked unsuspecting visitors to “surrender the camera” you will never get it back. That’s stealing by trick.
Make inquiries from your embassy
Make inquiries from your embassy to help you with recommendations and travel information, especially at this time when the country is preparing for the next elections.
Set a transaction limit on debit card
Using a credit card is not advisable, get the equivalent in Naira, and inform your credit card company to set a transaction limit on the card before travelling with it.
It is advisable not to exchange currency at the airport, you can do that at the hotel but be discreet about it.
Make reservations with a genuine transport company
Another security measure for expats visiting Lagos for the first time for holidays and business is to make reservations with a genuine transport company to pick you up from the airport, with your host no problem.
Taxify and Uber are some of the online transit you can use. Even as you use any of the online transport methods, be on the alert, use your Google map and keep in touch with your host every minute.
Be wary of airport taxi
Don’t take an airport taxi, it is extremely dangerous unless your trusted contact in Nigeria makes such a plan for you.
Be wary of dubious gangs hanging around the airport roads
With congested roads, tourists are at the mercy of dubious gangs hanging around the airport roads, be cautious. There are transport companies that operate online.
Do not accept any suggested business deals
Do not accept any suggested business deals unless the person has been your long time trusted business ally
Doing business with someone you’re not familiar with may lead to a scam.
If anyone tries to lure you into such, check online for the Economic & Financial Crime Commission ( EFCC) to make an immediate report, don’t wait until you get scammed. The agency is responsible for the fight against corruption.
Avoid cyber café as much as possible
There are also cybercrime perpetrators known as “yahoo boys” beware of them, and don’t use public cyber café.
As time goes by, you will integrate with society, and learn how things work in Lagos without facing dubious people and activities.
Learn few words of the local language.
Be on alert in traffic
Be on alert in traffic, don’t bring down the car windows, and lock the doors too. You being a stranger, avoid friendship with strangers too. Lagos has a golden rule –If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
Make Google Map your friend
With the help of Google Maps lookup places, you want to visit, if you must ask people about directions to find your way be brief about it and ask only once.
Don’t bring huge cash to public places
As an expat visiting Lagos, avoid as much as possible bringing out huge cash at public places even when it’s the supermarket. Make your budget and spend before leaving your hotel room.
Whatever transactions you indulge in the bargain, don’t bring out huge cash for people to see when making transactions of any kind, no matter how little it seems.
Another Lagos City safety measure is: If you are alone, don’t join a gathering of people nor disturb their gathering, it is dangerous. When going around town, be mindful of the transportation vehicle you enter.
Enter from the bus stop, don’t enter any vehicle that is half empty or the conductor is shouting “one chance”( meaning one seat left to be filled up) or when you come across a vehicle with youngsters –be cautious. Preferably to go around in a cab booked online, a reputable company.
One of the popular reserved locations in Lagos is Victoria Island. Victoria Island Lagos safety measure you can adopt for yourself is by travelling around with a tourist guide, exchanging pleasantries, being moderate in your dress style, eat only what you know. If you want to try new cuisine do it in a neat environment.
Don’t book just any hotel
One of the security tips expats need to pay attention to is reading reviews on hotel booking sites before making a final decision.
There are dangers in Lagos, but they are surmountable if you can adopt some of the above safety tips for you to enjoy your holidays in Lagos or for you to have a wonderful business trip.