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How to be an expatriate in Nigeria

I have always held that the Nigerian god is far too kind. Too kind to our political leaders in spite of their wickedness, to our religious leaders in spite of their hypocrisy, and to our traditional leaders in spite of their complicity in the mess we find ourselves in. And too kind to foreigners. I mean, you can be a technician from the roughest, poorest parts of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and suddenly become a foreign engineer with servants, a huge salary and a secure mansion in the best parts of Abuja. We are in awe of expatriates. I’ll share a little story: A Nigerian family friend who is a senior engineer with a big foreign construction company went to the mansion of an influential Nigerian politician to carry out some repairs together with his young white junior assistant. As they entered the house, a daughter of the politician gave the white man a seat and ignored his black superior. The white man of course kindly explained that he was not in charge, but his boss who had been totally snubbed. Don’t ask me how the story ended. The moral of the story is that we love you more than we love ourselves. Nigeria is expatriate heaven. 

You have left hardship, harsh winters and a horrible economic recession in your nice developed country and are now an economic refugee in Nigeria. Of course, we don’t know this; to us, you are the expat who will save us from ruin and teach us how things ought to be done. You have a job with an organisation or company that has applied for expatriate quota for you and has secured a nice accommodation with a generator, a car and a driver. You have said goodbye to your family, friends, and depressed alcoholic friends and have moved to Nigeria. Maybe you have even come with Hector, your cat. God will bless you for choosing our country. You could have ended up in dingy Togo but you came here. This is how you must conduct yourself while living in Nigeria.

As soon as you arrive, get in contact with other expatriates. There are online groups and you will quickly find whatever it is you need, from stores that sell foreign food to people selling off their furniture and books.

You are here to work and live large, not contaminate yourself with the locals. You can enjoy this country while pretending to live in your own country. Identify hangout spots that are ‘expat joints’. Your expat friends will tell you which joints are suitable for expats – joints with food so expensive it scares the locals away. If there are any locals, you can be sure they belong to the safe upper class. You don’t want to get lost in a crowd of locals and catch some deadly disease like malaria or dengue fever. Do nice expat things like jogging with fellow foreigners through the nice safe streets of Abuja and having a nice picnic afterwards. Of course, there will be the odd local but that is alright – makes it nice and colourful.  

When you are able to muster the courage to go to a non-expat joint, go in a group and dance with members of your group in a corner. The important thing is you have done something revolutionary: risked kidnapping by going to a local joint. Have a local guide, a nice junior local staff from the office who understands the pecking order. Drink as much as you can and party as often as you can. Where else in this messed-up global economy can you enjoy this much luxury? 

Do not learn a local language. What’s the point?

Complain about everything in the country. Complain about how you can never find the kind of cat food that your cat, Hector, enjoys. Complain about how nobody cares about animals. Talk about how rude the locals are and how sloppy everyone is. Complain about how bad the driving is and how loud (except if you are American) everyone is. Complain about how nothing works in this country. Complain about the heat, because in your cold, civilised, recession-hit country, everything works. 

Have a nice upper-class local couple who can agree with you when you talk about how horrible things are. Invite them for dinner occasionally. This proves you are cool with the locals and are not racist. 

Avoid the local food. Something terrible will happen to you if you eat the local food that is so low in nutrition and high in cholesterol and bacteria. Hire a cook who knows how to make food from your country. 

Expect the locals to respect your culture, even though you are in their country. It is alright to dress inappropriately, after all in your country you are a free to wear whatever you like, or nothing at all.

I hope that you enjoy Nigeria and slowly get used to the heat and the reports of explosions and violence. Not to worry, you are safe. When we kill each other, we usually leave out the foreigners. And the guys who used to kidnap foreigners are busy with more official duties. Stay well and God bless your foreign hustle.


Comments

Lol! I have interacted with a couple of expats myself and I know what ur talking about. It's so damn true. Hahahahahahahaha!

you are a complete fuking idiot

I am an Albanian guy and I have been living as an expat in Romania for 12 years.My advice : Never envy an expat. It`s the most inappropriate way to have a living.

i mean seriously, thanks for this article. geez! what is so special about white people? common white people? i cant stand the sight of nigerians flipping switches because a *white* is on the scene. in their own countries these people are hungry and cant even pay for heating in their houses! they suck for petes sake! yet, bring them here, and because their skin is albino and their hair is fulani and you have people treating them like deitys. for crying out lound they are nobodies where they come from! gosh! my white friends are as poor as stale pizza on a window sill! they come here for ego fanning, to feel like gods. no one gives them a second look where they come from!

most idiots are whites.

WOW!

look may be we should look at d other side may be this guy who is a sub and happened to be white see his hosts as friendly, but this expat thing, no body should be given that kind of power, to segregate themselves from the locals if you cant live amongst us and learn our ways of live no body should be allowed to take a job in d country, how can this companies afford this perks, this only happens in nigeria i have never heard of immigrants claiming superiority over his host, we've got to drop this colonial mentality thing in afica, africans should be treated first and other nationalities second and we have to be united, and end the culture of hatred among each other. if u r in any part of d world while u r immigrant u get what u r given or else u cab live

All of them in 9ja are there to pay back their mortgages and alimonies. They are as poor as church rat. I am an expat in another country and the expats from western world here always wonder how I pay back my credit cards at the end of the month while they can't , when I tell them that I don't pay back any mortgage back home and that I built my houses without any loan but from my savings , they always wonder .....they accumulate debts that their grand children can not pay.....they are really poor in real sense of it.

U need shock treatment unr sick

As an expat, I would like to comment on some of the asinine comments being made about expats. If you have an issue with people hiring expats, take it up with the people doing the hiring, not the expat. Furthermore, Nigerians under 40 years of age need to take a serious look at their education and ask themselves some hard truths, i.e. would it stand up to scrutiny? I can tell you that as an expat employee who had to hire and supervise Nigerian staff, more than 3/4 of them couldn't string together a grammatically-correct english sentence. From the comments above, I would say that those of you who don't take the time to proofread your own work should ask yourself why anyone should hire you. I wouldn't.

By the way, Jacobs, we're not all here to pay back mortgages or make alimony payments. That's another ridiculous statement from someone who hasn't taken the time to do their research. Some of us are here to earn tax free money since in our countries of origin we pay astronomical amounts of tax, in some cases more than 50% of our hard-earned salary. I say hard-earned because I did work for a state government and I can tell you that there was NO work going on. People sat there, day in and day out, doing nothing and appeared to be satisfied with it.

Dear Nathan,
First off I am glad you read the article (I hope there weren't too many grammatical errors. I blame all on my editor. LOL).
I hope you realise I did not mean to say that ALL expats are the same. The article seeks, like all others in the 'How To' series, to identify a certain type of behaviour in a group. No group is completely bad or good. Thanks for commenting

Nathan, truth be told, a lot of Nigerians under 40 years of age went through awful educational systems that have rendered them inadequate in terms of general work ethics...stringing a sentence is just a tip of the problem. However, you seem to be aware of this hence my presupposition that you are indeed a part of the problem! If I may ask, are the employment terms of the company you represent competitive? If yes, then I challenge you that 3/4 of the staff you supervise will be very competent hands. I think it is disrespectful to suggest that in a country of 150 million - yes with her problems - one will struggle to find educated enough personnel to employ, except, of course if your job is to maximise profit for your company by recruiting cheap labour! If you bother to enquire, HR personnel in the thriving oil industry will tell you of their successes with their Nigerian trained workforce and the fact that they still can't resist inviting a few of their most trusted friends to the free lunch called Nigeria despite being inundated with job applications from very competent "locals" - by their own admission.

Secondly, you made a reference to "hard-earned salary" and I wonder if those workers who certainly didn't earn their keep at the end of the month were ever asked to do some work like employers in the Nigerian private sector would do? Much as I abhor the lack of productivity, suggesting that they seem to be satisfied with earning but not working reeks of self-righteousness! who wouldn't? How noble would it be for a soldier to ask for action to justify his salary! as far as hard work is concerned, they aren't much different from the expats with cushy jobs.

Finally, the article is more about the attitudes of expats rather than the hiring of expats. I think the reason why you've bothered to comment on this write-up is because it strikes a familiar chord with you...that of guilt! you see, expatriates all over the world are generally considered as "spongers" regardless of the skill level, especially the ones who actually brand themselves "expats". They are the ones who have taken up foreign jobs due to several compelling reasons ranging from the ones the writer and other commentators have mentioned to your tax evading strategy (I beg to see the morality in that). These "expats" are unlike the professionals who have and still give a lot to developing Nigeria - the ones who certainly do not reason like you do.

@Nathan...you don't strike me as particularly the most erudite of all the 'expats' in the country, I mean, if you are really an 'expat' in the country. English is written with an uppercase 'E' anytime and anywhere. That's your first lesson. Intrinsically, the author writes about the attitude and cheap complex of self deprecation that pervades the Nigerian socio-cultural landscape, particularly when in the presence of "white" foreign fellows or a Caucasoid. It's my educated understanding that this piece is not necessarily about the foreigners in our midst, but about the unnecessary, undue esteem Nigerians lavish on you guys. We are in our doggone country, damn it!

mr expat, you're all here to pay your mortgages because truth talk: expats are dirt poor in their homelands.

and excuse me, nigerians are educated. you sound as bigoted as they get. as you can see, my words are well strung though i dont carry a phd or caucaian traits.

being an expat isnt some big medal to wear, like all whites in nigeria do. they act all high and superior in a country that isnt theirs. imagine, one day a fat white bastard, yanked off a no parking sign because he felt as a white he could park there when the kerb he wanted to use was private.
and really, is there a need for the escorts? at least a few rednecks drive themselves around in abuja.

oh, and mr expat nathan, i am below 22. can you beat your claims up for being plain prejudiced?

What about niger wives? I'm one of them and I can't never feel at home in this country when Nigerias never stop calling me "yellow" and expect to give money away all the time like if I were a rich expat!

...Nigeria, Expatriate heaven? You’re absolutely right with everything you said except a few important things.
I do agree, there are some Expats witch match your descriptions. But that is a minority. They work for the rich Oil companies or Embassies. But what’s about all the other once, working for small Construction or Engineering Companies? What about the once married to Nigerians?
It is the same blind look, as to say all Dutch wearing Wooden Shoes, all German are Nazis and all Americans are fat and all Nigerian are 419er.
Let me tell you something about the average Expats living in that Expat Heaven.
We leave in House where the finishing but tears in our Eyes, where the electrical installation is scarring and makes us to put a fire extinguisher besides each Socket outlet or Switch. Where our Landlords ask for huge amounts for Service Charge, but the Generator breaks down regularly or run out of diesel, where we open the water tap in our Bathroom before taking of our clothes to check, if Water is there. We live in Houses where not a single Door or Window closes proper and the Roof is leaking and for all that we have to pay rent so high that you easily can get a Villa in London’s Central City. Most of us invest a lot of money and hard labour to bring our accommodations at last into a safe condition for us and our Families. To top all that we are forced to pay for one or two years in advance and for sure our Landlords do double the rent after the first term and enjoys a fare better House or Flat each time an expat leaves the Facility and demand for more rent from the next one who moves in.
Yes, our Salaries are not too bad but, most of us are working 250h per Month or more. If you now divide the Salaries by the working hours, it is not much more then that what we would earn in our Countries as well if we work the same hours.
And yes again, we are going to buy our Food stuff at the Supermarkets and being punished for that by prices 3 to 4 times higher than in our countries.
Yes, we do look for our fellow brothers or sisters from our homeland. But is this not something what all Nigerians and others are doing as well if fare from their own Countries?
I learned that Nigerians in UK have even their own Districts where most of them gathering together. Yes, we go to that Expat joints, but check on your Brothers in our countries, don’t they do the same?
I know lots of Expats who likes to go to local markets or events, but what is our enjoyment to do that? Paint your skin white and enter, let’s say, Wuse Market. At least 5 Traders will hang on you, pulling you almost apart by trying to force you into their Shop to sell their fake or china made Stuff. Enjoyment pure! By the end of these excursion you’re lucky if your Car is still where you parked it and in one piece. If we are not lucky you go and complain to the police, first they will do is to let you know that there is something you have to do for their family, because they are all hungry.
If we arrive on your Airport first words we hear is, “Master, what did you bring for me?” The second question you hear is from the Men or Woman, with the nice shiny uniform and some Stars on the epaulet, “anything for me?”
If I leave the country for vacation together with your wife, even after being married for 10years you will be ask to pay “dowry” from the custom officer. I guess that is the culture you ask us to respect.
Many of us like your local food, but we have difficulties with the unhygienic way it’s prepared on many places. Our Stomach is not ready for that. Sorryo!
You’re mentioned driving on your roads. What reaction do you expect if everybody drives as he owns the Streets and not as he owns only the car he’s driving?
Why is everyone who can afford it going abroad for shopping or medical treatment? It is my belief, if your people would have the financial possibility to run away and live abroad, Nigeria would be an empty place.
Is that the Heaven you are talking about?
In this case I am lucky, because I found it

Like i always say, "stupid" generalizations should never be done. It is always regarded as hate, next it moves to tribalism, and then to racism. I wonder what will happen when aliens are found.

You just made a good point, a very good one.

You see, things are very different in places. Even the wrong things have become the norms in our society.

Housing has been a very huge problem in Nigeria, especially for foreigners. Price tags in Nigeria are very indeterminate, they quote prices based on your looks and accent. Landlords do not maintain their houses because they believe its the sole job of the occupant.

This has become a norm because Nigerians do not move houses unlike the Europeans. Landlords collect atleast the minimum of 1 year rent in advance unless ofcourse you're a student coming to take a professional exam, in which you pay monthly.

In Nigeria, supermarkets has always been known as a rich man's place...but things has actually changed, this has gone out of vogue

Looking for your own nationalities or brothers is a natural thing, i wonder why people would ever object to it. Infact when you travel to a new place, you need to find your 'Brothers' to learn how to adapt and feel at home. They show you places to get good food, how to stay out of trouble and even how to succeed well in the new environment.

Yeah, the poor ones. and also the 'weak' once. Who always look for 'things for them'. Not having much to say about them but just that it is every where, in the whole wide world.

If I leave the country for vacation together with your wife, even after being married for 10years you will be ask to pay “dowry” from the custom officer. I guess that is the culture you ask us to respect.

Oh yes, but maybe you misunderstood it. Marriage is a very delicate matter in our traditions and has extended into our legal systems (Well, this happens everywhere). In Nigeria, you don't just tell a woman to marry you and start living with her, you have to do the necessary things (traditional marriage, white wedding). When the custom officers ask you to go pay the dowry(which am sure that's not what they literally said), they meant you should go and do the necessary things required and get a proof of marriage. If not, every body will claim married and get a family visa. Besides, its easy, it all depends on the girl's family/tradition. White weddings are even much easier, they'll issue you a marriage certificate.

eehhmm, for the food, you need to meet more Nigerians, we know where to get good locally prepared food (hygienically made **winks**)

Not everyone is actually harboring the dream of leaving the country, there're people, so many of us, who knows the real value of the gold mine called Nigeria. Those who not only believe things will change, but is working to change it ourselves. It is only the depleted resources that make us leave for other countries. The blessed country where we enjoy almost tax free income, yes, that is what every foreigner/investor is coming for. Am just ashamed of the 'weak' ones who haven't noticed that opportunity.

For all is worth, am a Nigerian and am proud to be a Nigerian.
#ProudNaija

Ok then. Please go home and work in yr own country. I would not want u to continue to suffer as u have suggested. Thank u. Go pay yr taxes at home. It is yr. Country. Do not bite the finger that bites u.

Mr Anonymous...why the heck are you still in this country. You are so uneducated, its difficult to comprehend your writing. Okay, you are not from an English speaking country. You sound like you learned your English from here in the Nigeria. Big deal! You are the bottom pot that was scrapped off of one of those EuroAsian countries and dumped in this country to do construction jobs as "Site Engineers." Or is it? To paint the picture you did of your haven in the country, your employers must have hated you so much that bringing to Nigeria was for them, hauling your 'arss' off to Siberia of the African sort. Ha ha ha! "Git out" if you don't like it and quit yapping about it!

no commend, it's fare below of my uneducated level, Mr. Naijaman!

Great post, I actually wrote something similar on my blog recently. This is the second post of yours I m reading, your thinking is eerily similar to mine.

As you say, there are many expats that behave like your description and others who embrace the local culture.

Some expats are obnoxious but others treat their drivers with more dignity than the local ogas who behave as kings because they have absurds amount of money or even just a little money.

I have also known many talented Nigerians abroad (engineers, doctors etc...) who do not want to come back home because they don't think they have a fair chance of operating in this environment and prefer to stay as 'expats' in cushy jobs in what they perceive as 'safer and less complicated havens'. So something does need to be fixed...

I will finish with 'dingy' Togo. Even as an ill-advised joke, it was not needed for the points you were making and smacks of arrogance or contempt for a small West African neighbour.

It is a shame how we Nigerians still reduce ourselves to foreigners especially White people including North Africans. As long as your skin is light, you are "white" and everything you say is to be considered true.

I have been living in Germany for the past 15 years. No matter how intelligent you are, as long as you are an African, you are nothing here. Germans, like most Europeans think that Africa is a country and so all black people come from the same village.

If you are an Afro-american that may be a very different story.

Most of the white expatriates that call themselves "Engineers" in Nigeria have never practised these profession in their own countries but in 9ja they are semi-gods.

I just wonder why in today`s world we still have that mentality in Nigeria.

An amusing article and much of what you say applies to the majority of Expats I have worked with in Nigeria, but not all. You are of course referring to stereotypes. Lets not forget that stereotyping is the basis of all racism. By the way I'm an Oyibo Expat in Nigeria, I try to mix and learn Pidgin, much to the amusement of my Nigerian friends, some of which are middle class, some of which are as poor as church rats.
Racism will only die when we all learn to treat people as individuals, not stereotypical groups.

Love it. Hilarious!

I have enjoyed immensly this article. I do not presume to know or understand the exact situation in Nigeria or how it is felt by Nigerian natives. All I can share is the fact that even some of the so called "developped countries" have the same feeling about expats in their territories.
I'm offering as example my native country, Romania. It is situated in the European continent, since 2007 also part of the European Union. We do not consider ourselves as a developped country, but we are on our way. However, even we have our expats, the same type... calling themselves engineers and showing a certain "educational superiority", taking the best jobs our market has to offer.And do not get me started on the payment level, because the differences are huge. Almost 10 times more than our highest payment level.
I have been surrounded by expats for several years now, they come, they go and we stay, struggling to survive and sometimes hoping for a better life.
It is true however that to apply the general snub comment for all expats will be a mistake from my side. In all these years I did find amongst all these expats, people from which I truly had something to learn and they were always happy to share their knowledge and experience and I am most grateful to those people.

I think in the end it is not so much about the status of being an expat, but the quality of the person having that status at a certain moment. Unfortunatelly, private companies that use expats do not always consider the necessary soft skills a person should possess when interacting, even for work, with another culture, religion, state of mind, level of developpment.That's why you get arrogant "specialists" that know nothing of your culture or better, their own, they tend to forget the best practices of their countries because they just crossed the borders to your country and believe we should treat them like gods coming to show us the light.

First of all, Niger wives, you are not called yellow because you are white or yellow. I wouldn't consider that racism. I am a very fair skinned Nigerian girl, with absolutely no trace of white blood and my fellow Nigerians also call me yellow, sometimes oyibo. It is not racism. Many Nigerians are dark skinned so I guess something different from the norm is exciting to them, not necessarily that its racism and if you ask questions, you will find that you're being called yellow out of some kind of admiration so it may help if you look at it this way too.

Secondly to Nathan, I don't even understand why you should judge Nigerians by their command of the English language. I lived and studied in the UK and I can tell you that most English people cannot even read and write English compared to Nigerians. Their tenses are usually not correct, the way they pronounce words are wrong, their spellings are a nightmare so what exactly are you talking about??

Then for the 'EXPATS" who don't like living here, its no big deal.....the solution is easy....Go back to your country. You don't have to be here.

I personally experienced racism in the UK. It is constitutional, it is everywhere, in schools, on the streets, in the shops when sales assistants spot a black person and follow you behind like you're about to steal something from their shop, giving you bad looks and talking with their 'eyes', asking you if you're alright every five seconds and giving you that fake and suspicious plastic smile.
I studied Fashion and textiles design in the UK and I can tell you my head of department was so terribly racist and couldn't stand that the fact that an African person was so talented. She went as far as asking me what degree classification I was working towards getting and I said I was working to get a first class. Her response was 'what do you need a first class for when you're going back to Africa? My son had a 2:2 (Second Class Lower). Then she went on to say I would be better off if I were shipped to America....(she used the word shipped)and from then on made it a point of duty to give me B grades no matter how greatly I performed. In the end I came out with a second class upper which wasn't good enough for me at that time but I've grown to find out that talent will always prove itself. So I don't want to hear any expat here complaining about racism in this country....a lot of you are racist and come here so biased in the first place.

For those complaining about high rents....you shouldn't dare to complain ever again. When I was a student in the UK, I was paying school fees which was six times the fees paid by home students so please tell me if that is also fair?

For Mr. Anonymous complaining that Nigerians beg, we might have Nigerians begging you for money at the airport and so on, but I can confidently tell you that I have also experienced lots of begging in Oxford street, in Ealing Broadway including all those Big Issue guys harassing people everywhere for money in the UK.....so pls begging is common in most countries and there's no dignified way to beg.

If you also complain about the quality of housing finishing in Nigeria, please you might also want to hear what I went through to find a decently finished house in Leicester and London so this problem is also everywhere. Truth is, if you are ready to spend good money, you will get what you what anywhere in the world.

Some of you come with the impression that Nigeria is a third world country and therefore everything must be cheap for you. Its Ok for you to pack all the money but not Ok for you to give back to the Nigerian economy. Isn't that some sort of greed??
Like I said again, everybody has a choice....you are free to resign from your current job since its not a good deal for you.

"It is my belief, if your people would have the financial possibility to run away and live abroad, Nigeria would be an empty place" .......Once again Mr. Anonymous, this is soooo not true..... I personally got tired of living abroad. I found the system so shitty and there would never have been potential for me to grow career wise and guess what?? After my education in design, I packed my bags and came back home to my country - Nigeria. And guess what again, I have grown my business to a level that even foreign high fashion magazines like Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Brides have fished me out and featured me numerous times in spite of the fact that I live and run my business in Nigeria. So make no mistake, not every Nigerian wants to live abroad.
Every country has their ups and downs and yours I'm sure can not be an exception.

I spent around 15 years on and off in Nigeria as n expat.

The subject of race is, in my view, poorly understood.
It doesn't matter the colour of your skin but the difference in culture and how your brought up and educated is.
We are defined by our past and our culture and if say two or three different 'coloured' persons were brought up in the same culture they normally look past the differences in skin colour.

As for Nigeria:

I have so many memories of this country, the challenges it has given me, the laughter and especially the warmth of its people.
I have no regrets of my time there and would not of missed it for the world, as it has enriched me in so many ways.

When I first arrived in Nigeria, in Warri, there were no mobile phones, phone landlines (Nitel) rarely functioned and most cars were old Peugeots with the occasional Mercedes. The roads at that time could have been used on a war film, the holes were that big. You can still see similar roads today, in some places but they are improving.

There was a tribal war, over resources, going on and as the Chinese would say it was an interesting time to be here.

Also as usual, power supply was erratic, the nights were very dark and it was a struggle to get fuel for the generators. Who remember the huge long queues at the petrol stations, that were so common at that time?

I remember seeing Warri school children, clean and smartly dressed going to school in the early morning, in such poor environments that meant their mums and dads must have really made an herculean effort for them.

It’s never easy to keep children clean at the best of times but try that when you don‘t have a good water supply and it‘s a nightmare.
Something I have not seem too much of elsewhere in the world and something to be proud of.

Nigeria a challenging environment, yes but moving slowly on to better things.

It’s only by remembering the past that you can see the great changes over the years that have occurred here, though those changes may have not been as fast as one wishes.

To me this is a country starting slowly to get grips with nation building and wealth distribution but the problems are huge.

Look at the difference now compared to ten years ago, mobile phones everywhere, hundreds of different makes of good quality cars, fuel supplies are good and slowly the road networks are being rebuilt.

Nigeria is a country still coming to grips with democracy. It took hundreds of years in Britain to get where we are today, including a civil war or two and Nigeria is trying to do that in a just few decades. So many problems and so diverse a people.

What is more amazing is the Nigerian people themselves living under such hardship unknown to most Westerners. Cheerful, vibrant societies within societies, diverse cultures and most people multi-lingual, English not being their mother tongue. Being multi-lingual forces you to understand some of the differences in the cultures of each language and the gulf between them. Now that’s not easy.

From white ex-Waffi man.....now retired

I have to agree with the writer... A large majority of expats do fall into the obnoxious category. However, we're not all like that.

Having lived in China, India and now Nigeria, I have always been grateful for the experiences, treated the opportunities to live/work abroad as blessings, and approached each one with humbleness, humility and curiosity. My philosophy: "It is not what happens to you, but how you react that defines you..."

My expat tips:

1. Respect yourself and respect the people, the culture and the ways of the country you are living in (you are only a visitor)
2. Keep an open mind at all times
3. Patience (is a virtue)
4. Don't go into a country expecting to change things (let the country and its people change you)
5. Don't expect the locals to conform to your ways and how things are done back home (if you want that, then stay home)
6. Commit random acts of kindness (it doesn't kill you to be nice or smile at the locals)
7. Be rational, switched on and exercise precaution to stay safe; but, don't kill the experience by believing everything you read/hear and becoming too paranoid
8. Be grateful for the opportunity, leave old habits/ways at home, keep an open mind, stay safe and enjoy the journey

Cheers!

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Stop kidnapping expats.....They're just there to work

The problem with your logic is that you presuppose that expatriates are in Nigeria solely because of the colour of their skin. This is simply not true if Nigerians were capable of handling skilled jobs the jobs of foreigners would be different instead of expatriates they would be called immigrants. I agree that a lot of expatriates who come to Nigeria go over board, when they come they all of a sudden have a driver, a house girl, a cook, secretary, etc... and they let it go to their head. Personally I don't have any of the above, I wake up half an hour earlier to clean my house, I drive my self around in Port Harcourt, I do my own secretarial work despite my chairman telling me to hire one, I also cook my own meals. The tone of the article sounds like you sat down and wrote this in frustration because of something you had just experienced, with out actually taking time to rationalise it. Nigeria has a love hate relationship with white people. I experience racism all the time even just the fact that people can walk around in the street shouting oyibo is racist, imagine if you were in Europe and everyone shouted blacky at you. That country would be touted as racist and justifiably so. Yet here in Nigeria it is just part of the local charm. Nigeria has a long way to go, and it is not a case of Nigerians be incapable or even less qualified then the white people working here. The problem is most are too lazy to do a job properly, if something is a bit crooked the general attitude is that "oga make we manage um". "Let's give it 90%" is the general work order of the day. You look at what is called luxury here and that is just the normal standard abroad. Even the catch phrase "it's standard" is a perfect example of what's wrong with Nigeria a standard is supposed to be the minimum not the maximum. To sum it up if Nigerians want all white people to leave, no wahala but we won't go any where until you achieve the same "standard" of work that we can. Which is the primary reason we are here in the first place because we get paid more then in our own country for what is just the norm for us, yet here it is considered to be luxury or a high standard.

PS. Naijaman using a few big words you learned specifically for the sake of this article does not make you intelligent. Sure you might be knowledgeable but if your so bigoted then it's obviously a waste of a good education. I have met dozens of people like you who think because they are smarter then the average bushman they are one in a million, and unfortunately it's true in a country without a good education system and where diplomas can be bought you probably are one in a million. But that's probably why you are in Nigeria and not abroad be cause abroad you are just another of the million. Being bigoted and racist isn't going to solve any problems your comments remind of white supremacist who have gone to college and try to rationalise their racism by using a cafeteria style learning where they pick what ever convenient snipets they can glean, which support their small minded racist ideas. I shouldn't be surprised though just like house girls and drivers go to a lot of expat's heads, obviously whatever amount of time you spent educating your self has gone to your head, you are human after all although front the tone of your posts you seem to have forgotten it.

PPS. What is so wrong with someone going to another country where they can get paid more for their work? It is human nature to better themselves after all. Or is only ok for non whites to do this but if a white person does it, it's wrong?

Ah, the article with the most comments. Small wonder.

Hearing words like "bushman", "illiterate"... makes me smile. All are racist words used when talking about blacks. I know that "bushman" is a scarce word in an all white country. Suppressed racism is the worst sort.

Let's face it, racism moves all expatriates in the country. It's what makes them tick. Between moaning and groaning about everything (believe you me, it's all they ever do, I work with them) and acting haughty, they feel they are sidelined.They don't want you to work in their country, but are ready to scream human rights when they want to work in yours. Fine, they can come in and work. You work with people who like you because you have a pointier nose than most and like you for that, but hate on those with flatter noses. That isn't racist? I speak a few european languages, and trust me "schwartzer" isn't said with the same genialty as "oyibo" is.
Plus, port harcourt is the worst place to find expatriates. They are revoltingly cushioned here. What do you need an army detail for where civilians are? Because you are an expatriate?
When I lived outside Nigeria, I had the drivers, but no gun wielding soldiers running after me. It has nothing to do with security, just how stupid expatriates get in Africa.
But that's a surprise, that need for security. At least we don't have serial killers in Nigeria. Now that's a cause for bodyguards when near white people, because whites are psychos(and smell of garlic and other icky stuff). ;-)

I know all expatriates wish to be treated as gods. We can guess the reasons why, but they need to realize some people hate them and that they know nothing. I saw an expatriate "engineer" who artisans were teaching to do some on-road construction that he was directing wrongly. Half-baked fellas.

Anyway, all I can say is this: to hell with whites. They are all nonsense. Racists in the depths of their hearts, they will always profess equality. And they don't know shit. Just lazy red, fat, smelly, self obsessed whiny little expatriates with cotton wool for brains and the belief that what isn't white can never be good. Really, get over yourselves.

All expatriates in their own countries are black lynching machines.

Don't like the country, then leave it. So much whining. Rednecks. Wops. Terrorists. What a bunch. :)

Seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions. I refuse to believe that "all" people have such extremes of opinion. It is wrong to say that "all expats this" or "all Nigerians that".

Where is the balanced view?

I agree that some expats overseas behave terribly. I agree that some people are prejudiced. But then it is also important to remember that many expats behave respectably overseas and many people are not prejudiced.

Anyhow I am disappointed by reading many of the comments posted here because they represent extreme viewpoints.

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