First-time driver in Lagos? You have to read this article

08/29/2018

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Every country has its own "road culture". Nigeria is no different. Check out these notes while travelling in Lagos city!

Lagos is not only one of the fastest growing city as reported by the Nigerian Bureaucratics department, but this is also amongst the top destinations for foreign visitors as well as local people who want to seek for shelters. We took a random look at the statistic with a period of 10 days, the result is unbelievable, with every 100 people visiting, 50 will stay, which means more than fifty percent of people who've come here became emotionally attached and didn't want to leave. That should tell you something about the attractiveness of the city of Lagos.

If this is the first time you visit Lagos, you will certainly feel overwhelmed at some points because of the temporary barriers between you and the local, the cultures, the city, and the country. First of all, you might struggle with some names here such as the Ojuelegba or Wole Pelu, which, to many foreign visitors coming from an English spoken country, looks like a bunch of Latin traits sloppily put together. But you would soon get over that since we speak English as well, so you'd be able to ask for its meaning quite easily. Another issue that might arise is the way you travel around, problems on the street, troubles with the authorities or how to have some fun here. All of which will be discussed below.

1. Problems with the police

Generally speaking, the police officers anywhere are nice people and Lagos police officers are not exceptions. After all, their job is to keep the street clear of criminals and get people to follow the law. But, microaggression is something that's hidden in every corner of the world, it's some sort of subconscious bias that even some people cannot explain for themselves.

It means that you might receive a slightly different treatment if you don't speak the language here, which is a combination of English and local dialect and also the accent. "But I won't break any rules", you might argue. But still, that doesn't make their behavior any less discriminative, though very subtle, against you. So you should always carry a sufficient number of license, driving papers and insurance certificate with you to avoid any unwanted pullover. To be extra certain, if there are two routes that lead to your destination, choose the one that the police less frequents.

>>> See more: 

a policeman stops a truck

Sometimes your foreign status could cause you some troubles

2. Issues with Lagos special bus: Danfo and Keke Marwa

Those 2 names alone can turn any driver in this country plain white. Not because they are serious killers or anything of the sort but because of the way they behave on the road. Naturally, you'd think that drivers that are responsible for the lives of more than 3 dozen peoples would be the one that's most obedient of the rules, well, you might be wrong.

In Nigeria, every driver avoids driving alongside the Danfo and Keke Marwa drivers, that should tell you something about them. They literally veer left and right on the street, steal your lane abruptly and appear out of nowhere. Not to mention how they'd get very vocal in case of any dispute even though they're the one hundred percent wrong.

>>> Also check out: Lagos Danfo buses now run on gas instead of petrol

Our explanation is that they need to drop and pick up passengers as fast as they can because they're individually owned, meaning the more passengers, the more money they make, and they also had the license from NURTW! Our advice is to stay as far as you can from this guy and avoid conflict even when you think you're 101 percent right.

a keke marwa

Don't argue with these guys, they are relentless and willing to argue all day long!

3. The LASTMA Officers

Besides rule number 1: fear the Danfo and Keke, fear the LASTMA officer is the second. First off, their duty is to direct you and other million vehicles on the road of Nigeria to travel with correct direction.

The thing here is that there're so many one-way streets in Nigeria, but not so many signs, or they're very small. If you are new here, we suggest you take the cab at least a month, you know, to get yourself familiar with the roads before you hold the steering wheel yourself. And if you're a daredevil or the man-can't-do-no-wrong and you believe in your perfect vision to detect those signs and officer, good luck.

Even though the LASTMA officers are looking and directing a sea of cars, it doesn't mean they can detect a foreigner going into a one-way road and turn around, they couldn't wait to jump in front of you and "kindly" invite you back to their office.

LASTMA officer

The LASTMA officers are very strict, you don't want to get into trouble with them

4. The Road safety and Vehicle inspection officer

They are from different departments, one is responsible for vehicle inspection and is governed by the state and one for the safety condition of your car on the road, governed by the Federal. Their names might differ but the responsibility is the same to some extent, to check your licensing and provide tickets for drivers from breaking the law.

Even those who have successfully broken the law without the law enforcement around, they might be recorded into the system, and when the VIO (Vehicle Inspection Officer) finds out by checking your driving history, the fine will not very pleasant, at least 10,000 Nairas per the lowest. The FRSC (Federal Road Safety Commission) would do pretty much the same to you, but with a more pleasant amount of fine, and your license will be temporarily taken until you pay the fine.

>>> You might also want to check out: 10 parts on your car Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) will check for roadworthiness

a VIO car

When the VIO (Vehicle Inspection Officer) finds out your violation, the fine will not very pleasant

5. Agbero (the local lads) 

As known as the agberos of Nigeria, they are a "special" kind of youngsters in Nigeria that is unofficially responsible for giving you newcomers a "warm" welcome, such as holding the phones, laptop or your Gucci purse for you when you're not paying attention and of course, they keep it so safe that you will not ever see those things again.

Jokes aside, remember to always keep your valuable belongings to the front where you can see it or away from the window if you're on a cab. The weather in Nigeria is always hot year round so it's a good idea to keep the window up, too.

some young Lagosian men
Look out for these guys when you're on the road of Nigeria
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