Nigeria

Nigeria

Travel Alert: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against all travel to some areas and against non-essential travel to others, please check with your relevant national government.

Nigeria dominates West Africa and its population of 127 million made it the seventh-most populated country in the world in July 2012. The country has lots to offer visitors, from its two UNESCO World Heritage sites to the vibrant cities of Lagos and Calabar. It dominates West Africa economically and politically, and has produced music and literature whose influence spreads far beyond the continent. However, any journey to Nigeria carries potential risks, so you should check the State Department’s latest travel advice before you leave.

Some areas of the country are more dangerous than others for travelers from the United States. Situated in west Africa, Nigeria shares borders with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Lagos and Port Harcourt are important cities on Nigeria’s Atlantic coast; the capital city Abuja is situated in central Nigeria.

Nigeria is a lower-middle income country, the second largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, and  is the World’s 8th largest producer of oil with a current output of 2.4 million barrels per day (mbpd) of quality crude. Despite Nigeria’s oil wealth, Nigeria’s GDP per capita is low and unemployment is at approximately 24%. (source:FCO)

Nigeria’s media scene is one of the most vibrant in Africa. State radio and TV have near-national coverage and operate at federal and regional levels. All 36 states run at least one radio network and a TV station.

More info & History: 50 Years of Nigerian Independence by the BBC

MUST SEE & DO

Lagos – The commercial capital of West Africa, Lagos is a spirited, bustling place with a population of 10 million. The city has an excellent nightlife, many street markets, and a decent National Museum. If you take basic safety precautions you’ll enjoy urban Africa at its most vibrant.

Yankari National Park – Nigeria’s most popular national park is located in the savanna of the north-east. Yankari is a popular eco-destination, with lots of wildlife including elephants, and wonderful hot springs.

Jos – Recently wracked by violence, Jos is really a very pleasant city with an interesting museum and small wildlife park where pygmy hippos are the main attraction. The climate is nice and cool and who would miss a chance to visit a city

Kano – the main city in northern Nigeria has lots of interesting sights for visitors, including traditional Hausa homes, markets, mosques, the emir’s palace, and original dye pits.

When to go

Varies from area to area. The southern coast is hot and humid with a rainy season from March to November. During the dry season, the Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. The north’s rainy season is from July to September. Nights can be cold in December and January.

TRAVEL

Travel Alert: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against all travel to some areas and against non-essential travel to others, please check with your relevant national government.

Nigeria’s International Airports: Murtala Mohammed International Airport (Airport code: LOS) lies 14 miles (22km) north-west of the city of Lagos, and is the main entry point into Nigeria for foreign visitors.

HEALTH

The government-provided health care facilities are of a poor standard and are subject to shortages of drugs, equipment, materials and even electricity. It is advisable to take a sufficient supply of drugs or medication to meet personal needs.

However, there are some adequate private facilities where the standards approach those of Europe. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Medical insurance is essential.

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled.

Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended.

PRACTICAL INFO

Area: 923,768 sq km (356,700 sq miles)

Population: 160 million  (World Bank, 2012)

Capital City: Abuja

Other Major Cities: Lagos, Ibadan, Kano and at least 7 other cities with a population of over 1 million

People: Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw and some 250 ethno-linguistic groups
Language(s): English (official) but Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo are also used in the National Assembly

Religion(s): Muslim, Christian and traditional

Currency: Naira (NGN)

Visas: You must hold a valid passport to enter Nigeria. U.S. citizens require a passport and a visa for entry to Nigeria. Please contact your local Nigerian embassy for information on Visa’s for entering the country.

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