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The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a complex and fascinating country. They have seen their fare share of civil wars, foreign intervention, and economic turmoil. The name Nigeria derives from the Niger River, which runs throughout the entire country. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and is divided into 36 Federal States whom have their own laws and cultural customs. The official spoken language in Nigeria is English, but there are 7 tribal languages which are accepted in different regions throughout the country. In the oil rich north, many of the inhabitants speak Arabic and adhere to strict Islamic customs, known as Sharia. Nigeria’s land mass is encompassed by vast oil reserves, booming agricultural exports, and a thriving tourism sector. These factors have allowed Nigeria to be one of the most sought out destination for global travelers.
While touring in Nigeria, you will be able to experience and taste rich West African flavors. Food in this genre is generally classified as very spicy and full of flavor. These flavors are used with either palm or groundnut oil, which has become a staple in all Nigerian dishes. Also many of the main dishes are accompanied with a rich, spicy soup made from ground chili peppers. These soups could accompany rich bbq and pit roasted meats, and generous helpings of plantains.
The naira is the currency of Nigeria and this can be divided into 100 kobo. Each kobo can then be subdivided into denominations as small as ½ kobo. Coinage is usually reserved for kobo and paper currency is for Naira. The current exchange rate on the global market for the Nigerian naira compared to the US dollar is $1= 158.87 Naira. To put this in perspective most Nigerians make about $5 dollars a day and for tourism a five star hotel will cost about $79 a night.
Nigeria is a relative easy country to enter, but it does require you to obtain a visa before you depart your host country. Visa times in the States can take anywhere from 4-10 business days. Once you enter Nigeria, an immigration official will stamp your passport showing that you are allowed entry. If you have an STR visa you will have to adhere to more stringent entry policies which may include an interview and a final review of your documents.
Nigeria has been home to many domestic and international terrorist organizations. Just recently there was a coordinated attack on a luxury hotel which injured or maimed dozens. The US government frequently issues terrorist warnings and states that attacks could happen at luxury hotels and other locations frequented by Westerners. It is highly recommend one avoid travel to the Delta region, which is the center of a vicious conflict between the local populous and the Nigerian Government. Nigeria is relatively safe in the cities, but petty crime and random acts of violence can occur. It is best to exercise vigilance and forthright when travelling in certain rural areas of Nigeria.
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