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5 Easy Ways to Spot Nigerians When You Are Abroad



Do Nigerians really like going abroad? We see hundreds and thousands of people at the International Airports everyday, but what percentage of the population are these people? How many Nigerians even have passports? Perhaps it is the ‘eternal’ unfavorable situation of the economy that makes it so hard to save for such, or the fear of being in the sky for way too long, but the few who are traveling this Christmas are probably traveling locally.

Thankfully, some Nigerians actually own a passport and really like to travel. The thing about these ‘travelling’ Nigerians though is that, for better or for worse, they tend to stand out when they travel abroad.

Believe it or not, Nigerians have some very unique habits that are dead giveaways of our nationality. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with being Nigerian, but we certainly have our fair share of eccentricities and oddities that can rub other cultures the wrong way. Here are 5 easy ways to spot Nigerians anywhere else in the world.

Spot the flashy and glamorous outfits
Travelling outside the country seems to be a sort of achievement for most Nigerians, so,
when they do travel out, they tend to wear a kind of confidence that comes off as them being all “bad and boujee”. From the bounce in their steps to the flamboyant attire, full facial makeup and glorious hair, you just have to notice them. The woman comfortably strolling Dubai mall in high heeled pumps, full makeup, and flashy jewellery is probably Nigerian; also, the man in the well-tailored suit waiting his turn at the London Eye is certainly Nigerian.

So loud… So, so LOUD!
Nigerians are popular for talking loud in public places when visiting abroad. Walk into a tourist bar and ask any of the officials how they can tell that a customer is Nigerian and noisemaking is the first thing they’ll mention. Nigerian just can’t be bothered with comportment. They are the  “classic” drama queens causing a scene in public. If they find a thing funny, they will not just laugh, they will squeal. They will take their phone call while in a bus or train and talk very loudly.  Worse is if they are in a group, you will be forced to listen to their gist. And do not even try to signal at them to keep their voices down, they will turn on you or give you the evil eye.

Zero sense of personal space & the need to ask inane questions
Nigerians are bold and friendly. And while this might seem like an admirable quality, their outgoing personality often startles the more reserved people like Germans and Brits. Unfortunately, Nigerians will not bat an eyelid when it comes to communicating with strangers. The Nigerian will be the one asking for directions on Oxford Street or questioning someone at the Trafalgar Square to know why there are not as many pigeons as reported.

What is a tip?
Americans have the obsessive culture of tipping so much that it is included in the bill most times. People in other countries remain courteous with their tips, however, Nigerians don’t. The few who do in the country do so to either appreciate the waiter or create an impression. Likewise, when they do travel, they do not adopt to the tipping culture. In fact, they sometimes kick up a fuss when they realize they have been forced to pay a certain percentage of tip. Even if they are out with  foreign friends abroad, you really cannot guilt a Nigerian into tipping

Road is road… for walking carelessly
The one you see walking on the bike lanes abroad are most likely Nigerians. But can you really blame them? In Nigeria obeying traffic laws is already a huge strain for them, talk less of pedestrian laws that they know nothing of.

What other ways do you think you can spot Nigerians abroad?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography


  1. californiabawlar

    December 11, 2017 at 4:36 am

    What’s new? Pretty much how to spot most foreigners.
    Also when you’re done spotting them, what do you do after? Abi what’s this info for? msschew… alai nikan she, ara Galatia…

    • Whocares

      December 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Lmaooooo. I was going to drop a similar comment. Like you wrote a whole article that effectively denigrates Nigerians to come and post on a Nigerian blog – senseless much? These aren’t the typical Nigerian behaviour in the abroad either so someone should please give the writer of this several seats.. mingle with better people honey, it must be the people you know not the Nigerian diaspora as a collective. Complaining about tips…kmft. it irritates me when people expect Nigerians to strive to or behave in a certain way because that is what is expected in the country they have migrated to. It’s the whole colonial mentality all over again! We can’t even escape it on a Nigerian blog either!

  2. Ottawa Queen

    December 11, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Lol! Foodies and currency converters! The ones who look for nkwobi at mcdonalds and will convert the equivalent of $20 or $50 in naira right there before the cashier and most often walks out without purchasing the item.

  3. akama

    December 11, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Please what is wrong with “asking for directions on Oxford Street”?

    • MIA

      December 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Nothing!!! And the Nigerians I have met abroad are nothing like what was described.

  4. Me

    December 11, 2017 at 7:35 am

    “The Nigerian will be the one asking for directions on Oxford Street or questioning someone at the Trafalgar Square to know why there are not as many pigeons as reported”. ?. What about speaking pigin to peeps (cashier) who don”t understand it. Twice in a store in london I have encountered this two elderly women on different occasions bagaging like they are in yaba market. “Why no u no sell this for 30 pounds ………….” ?

    • omobolanle

      December 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

      …but I equally experienced a lot of other nationals in Chicago and Michigan who could hardly speak any English and were in business of their own. They spoke scantily but we communicated all the same and I patronized them where I had to.

      Moreover on an official ground, I was there for a large conference with people from different nationalities and I noticed that the real Americans or maybe westerners understand that not everybody speaks English and are patient with you when you are not as fluent.

      That changed my orientation completely and I stopped being judgmental. Having done a bit of travel, I observe that its only Nigerian who have issues when you cannot speak English in a certain way. I notice that the guy in London does not exactly criticize his Scottish counterpart, he simply knows that this man is from Glasgow. Tries to understand him and move on.

      I cannot be bothered about English language there are more serious matters to deal with as a country. If it is the pigin English that will make the physics student understand how to develop iron, gas cooker, telephone etc with local resources so be it abeg!!!!

      How many of you fight the Chinese when they impose their languages on product labels! Stop this slavery mentality simply because you now live a borrowed life in UK! we are not oyinbos and you the Englist speaker, have you ever been to France or Italy or Germany before? if yes did you kill yourself over trying to keep up wih their language!

      Abeg free us we are fine as we are. oversabi somebody

  5. Jojo

    December 11, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Lols.. As for the tip. I am case example. So this other day, I went out with my friends to a restaurant. Our bill was probably around £72. Each of our 8 persons paid £10. Right, within me I wanted everyone to leave so I can ask for change. That £8 was a huge cash for me. Lols. I agree on that. Thanks for that

    One way of knowing also are those with Blackberry phones. That, was common in those era of Blackberry.


    December 11, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Carliforniabawler it is a crime against humanity that I can’t like your comment one million times. People looking for ways to bash Nigerians all the time as if other countries don’t have their problems. I watch crime channel a lot and obviously ‘abroad’ is veeeeeery far from perfect. Rubbish article.

  7. Tchewww

    December 11, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Whoever wrote this article needs to learn it’s primitive to generalize like this and this article is extremely stereotypical and also wrong. Tonnes of people do these things a it has nothing to do with being Nigerian or even African. I have seen loud Italians, loads of Brits that don’t tip, Malaysians asking the most irrelevant questions but at the of the day everything boils down to exposure regardless of what country the person is from

  8. Tutu

    December 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I didn’t know i was loud until I was with folks from about 10 different countries and they all said I was loud. I would never even think I’m loud. I’m so soft spoken…in my mind. Lol. They loved my crazy self all the same. 🙂

  9. Physio Tinu

    December 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I love how Nigerians take over wherever they are. From the mama’s bargaining in stores, to the party folks during the weekend, even the ‘illegal ‘ migrant leads the pack when it comes to hustle. No shaking Nigerians in diaspora, you do well.

  10. Smh

    December 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

    No wonder people keep asking who the heck writes these Bellanaija features. Na real wa.

  11. Lisa

    December 11, 2017 at 11:03 am

    WTF!!!! Who wrote this stupid article??!!! And BellaNaija posted it???? Ah! I’ve never met any Nigerian that acted like this abroad. False false false!!! It’s hard for me to even spot Nigerians until I hear their accent then I ask them and we say hello and move on. I think out of all other people, Nigerians blend the most abroad. I don’t even makeup when I’m abroad I go for business or to born child, who has time to paint face, especially when you know ure not going to run into anybody familiar. Mscheeew

    • flemzy

      December 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      No be small kind who has time to paint face, me wey come write exam here. I no even wear earring sef, this kind cold weather.

  12. Samira

    December 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    What an awful article. So putting your fellow Nigerians down is the height of effective article writing. You sound so condescending its unbelievable.

  13. tunmi

    December 11, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Okay well I have met Nigerians like these abroad. In fact I have acted like this because I do and I can. And? They are themselves.

  14. Mrs Linda

    December 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    And some Nigerians (like the writer of this article) will travel and start forming oyibo more than the actual oyibos.
    Please leave us to be ourselves.

  15. Razz N Bougie

    December 11, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    From the comments above it appears that we Nigerians are suffering from a serious case of Denial Syndrome. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the feature is referring to Nigerians VISITING abroad not Nigerian DIASPORANS who have been sufficiently “reculturised” or those born abroad (in that case are they actually Nigerians?). If that’s the case, then the write-up is even lenient. I used to work at Heathrow airport about 10 years ago and I can tell you things that will make you all go and hang your heads in shame. Let nobody come here and say that all visitors from all countries are like that because we saw people from all over the world passing through but Nigerians were a special case. First of all you could literally smell the area where they were assembled trying to check-in ridiculous things like very large Plasma TVs, Fridges, Freezers, Car Bumper (yes car bumper) etc. Very intelligent people will be forming “mumu” and pointlessly trying it on to see what they can get away with. Someone in an earlier comment mentioned that the writer was “mingling with the wrong people”; are you for real? Of course the so called “right people” also passed through with their smart looking suitcases piled 5 or 6 high, and pushed by an assistants. But these people made up less than 1% of the people that passed through so they cannot be representative of the average Nigerian traveller. Notwithstanding my personal opinions though, I still wouldn’t stand for anyone treating any Nigerian in a bad or disrespectful way when I was there.

  16. The real dee

    December 12, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Nawa o. Is it only obnoxious things you notice about Nigerians visiting the ‘abroad’. Yes i think we really need to ask what kind of Nigerians you’ve been observing. Did you intentionally fail to observe the following things:

    1. Most Nigerians are heavy spenders: they came to the abroad for vacation and ‘shopping’ money must come along with it. My MIL is a very nice and pleasant host, people call her whenever they have visitors around because she knows how to take them on a ‘wakabout’, so she’s met quite a number of Nigerians on vacation. And the first thing we observe is how they dole the dollars out in the stores. There was a time a cashier in a perfume store (all those types that carry very expensive brands) even asked, ‘where are you from?’, when we mentioned ‘Nigeria’. He wasn’t surprised, Nigerians patronize the store.

    2. Nigerians are very sharp dressers: I’m not referring to full flashy make up type you highlighted. I mean sharp suits, stunning dresses and shoes, and in a delectable way. Even non-Nigerians admire them. At least i’ve had Americans tell me they love the way Nigerians dress. I’m not a fashionista, so America has made my dressing style even worse. I remember an incident where my parents came on vacation and I had to take them to my non-Nigerian church, my mum saw me and was gobsmacked. ‘What is this you are wearing? I was wearing a plain skirt and top and a beanie hat. My mum was decked in a trendy turban and well tailored traditional skirt and blouse. When she got to the church, she felt like a queen from a kingdom in Africa?. ‘Ah, next week I’ll dress down’. It’s our style to deck up and I tell you, it commands respect.

    3. A woman strapping a baby to her back with a wrapper:- 99% of the time, she is Nigerian. And I love their guts. Some people may stare but when that child is resting comfortably on that back and you’re having a smooth shopping experience, who cares! See, they wish they could do that too but they don’t know how to.

    And shey when people don’t know road, they should not ask abi? They should go and miss road. So, it’s only Nigerians that ask for directions. O ga.

    • aj

      December 12, 2017 at 4:39 am

      nice write up…so true abut Nigerians knowing how to dress and spending lots of money.

    • Mz Socially Awkward.....

      December 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      I love it when I see Nigerian mum’s who’re unashamed to back their babies in public. Funny how we always made it seem bush but it’s so practical and mama has her hands free. Plus, as you say, it’s our unique method of childcare.

      The oyibos have that belted child-restraining kini (you know the one which is like a long elastic strap attached from your hand to the pikin’s body, stopping him or her from wakaing too far?) and we have our wrapper. Since I don’t judge the oyibo method, biko, they should not judge our own.

    • Mz Socially Awkward.....

      December 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm


  17. Aaarrrggghhh

    December 12, 2017 at 4:54 am

    That tipping kini always pisses me the f**k off!

  18. omomo

    December 12, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    my dear go to designer stores in uk and dubai ..we have left out footprints there……i walked into one of such stores on Rodeo drive and once they heard my accent..they quickly said your Nigerian right?? and started giving me vip treatment and told me how we “lock down” the place with purchases …and how they would like to visit lagos or Abuja bla…so we bad like that

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