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  2. Nigeria Guide
  3. Nigerian Society and Culture
  4. Nigeria - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

The size of funerals depends on the social standing of the deceased. Men are expected to set aside money that will be used to ensure they have a properly elaborate funeral. Women, children, and adolescents tend to have much less elaborate funerals. Nigerians, like people in many developing countries, suffer from widespread disease and a poor health care system. Widespread poverty also contributes to the poor level of health care, as many people shy away from modern treatments that are too expensive. Corruption at all levels of government makes it difficult for health care funding to trickle down to the average Nigerian.

Underfunding and neglect have left many clinics and hospitals in poor physical condition and without modern equipment. Pharmacies, both state-run and private, regularly run out of medicines. Patients looking for cheaper remedies often turn to black-market vendors, who often sell expired or counterfeit drugs. There also is a shortage of qualified medical personnel to adequately treat the whole population. In , the estimated life expectancy of Nigerian men and women was fifty-one years. The estimated infant mortality rate was over 7 percent, or about seventy-four infant deaths for every thousand live births.

AIDS has extracted a devastating toll on Nigeria. The vast majority of Nigerians who are HIV-positive do not know it. The primary mode of HIV transmission in Nigeria is through heterosexual intercourse. Both Western and traditional forms of medicine are popular in Nigeria. Traditional medicine, also known as juju, is common at the rural level. Practitioners of juju use a variety of plants and herbs in their cures. Most families also have their own secret remedies for minor health problems.

Many rural people do not trust Western-style medicine, preferring instead to use traditional ways. In many instances the traditional medicine is very effective and produces fewer side effects than modern drugs. Most of modern medicine's prescription drugs grew out of traditional herbal remedies.

However, there are conditions in which traditional medicine can do more harm than good. Sometimes this leads to conflict between the government-sponsored health care system and traditional ways. Some organizations are now looking at ways to combine the two in an attempt to coax people back into health centers. The federal government is responsible for the training of health care workers and running nationwide health campaigns such as those aimed at fighting AIDS, Guinea worm infection, river blindness, and leprosy.

Nigeria observes three secular national holidays and several officially recognized Muslim and Christian holidays when government, commerce, and banks are closed. Aside from Christmas, the religious holidays fall on different days each year. Support for the Arts. Nigerian art traditionally served a social or religious purpose and did not exist for the sake of art per se. For example, dance was used to teach or to fulfill some ritualistic goal. Sculpture was used in blessings, in healing rituals, or to ward off bad luck.

With increasing modernization, however, Nigerian art is becoming less oriented to a particular purpose. In some cases, Nigerians have abandoned whole forms of art because they no longer served a purpose. For example, the elaborate tombstones once widely produced by the Ibibio are becoming increasingly rare as Western-style cemeteries are replacing traditional burial grounds.

The government has recognized this decline in Nigerian art. In an attempt to promote Nigerian nationalism through art, it has launched some programs, such as the All-Nigeria Festival of Arts, to Women engrave designs into yellow calabash gourds. Nigerian art traditionally served a social or religious purpose. Many wealthy Nigerians looking to recapture their roots, as well as Western tourists and collectors looking for an African art experience, are willing to spend money on Nigerian art. This has led to a slight revival of the art industry.

Nigeria has a long and incredibly rich literary history. Nigerians are traditionally storytellers. Much of precolonial history in Nigeria is the result of stories handed down from generation to generation. With colonization and the introduction of reading, writing, and the English language, Nigerian storytellers soon began sharing their talents with a worldwide audience.

Nigeria is famous for its sculpture. The bronzework of the ancient cities of Ife and Benin can be found in museums all over the world. These areas in southern Nigeria still produce large amounts of bronze castings. Woodcarvings and terra-cotta sculptures also are popular. They produce massive quantities of beautiful, rich, and colorful textiles.

However, the majority of these are sold primarily for everyday wear and not as examples of art. Dance and music are perhaps the two most vibrant forms of Nigerian art. Nigerian music is dependent on strong rhythms supplied by countless drums and percussion instruments. Highlife is a type of music heavily influenced by Western culture. It sounds like an Africanized version of American big band or ballroom music. Afro-beat combines African rhythms and melodies with jazz and soul. Palm wine music gets its name from the palm wine saloons where it is traditionally heard.

Its fast-paced, frenzied rhythms reflect the rambunctious nature of many palm wine bars. Perhaps Nigeria's most popular form of music is juju, which uses traditional drums and percussion instruments to back up vocals and complicated guitar work. While Nigeria's system of higher education is better than most in Africa, many of its best and brightest students go to universities in the United States or Europe in search of better facilities and academic support.

These students often stay abroad, where there are more opportunities to pursue their talents and to benefit economically. This loss of sharp and influential minds has left the physical and social sciences in a poorer state than they need be. The few sciences that are thriving in Nigeria, such as geology and petroleum sciences, are often headed by non-Nigerians, brought in by foreign companies that have contracts to exploit Nigeria's natural resources. Violence and Politics in Nigeria: The Tiv and Yoruba Experience, Studies in the History of Kano, A History of the Ogba People, Falola, Toyin, and Adebayo, Akanmu.

Culture, Politics, and Money Among the Yoruba, The Land and People of Nigeria, Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, The Fall of Nigeria: The British Conquest, Cultures of the World: This House Has Fallen: Midnight in Nigeria, Life Among the Ibo Women of Nigeria, An African Childhood, A Nation of Many Peoples, A History of Juju Music: African Tradition in Marriage: An Insider's Perspective, Reflections of the Nigerian Civil War, Illness and Well-being in a West African Culture, History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space With the influx of oil revenue and foreigners, Nigerian cities have grown to resemble many Western urban centers. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Social Welfare and Change Programs Severe poverty, human rights violations, and corruption are some of the major social ills that have plagued Nigeria for decades.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Etiquette Age is greatly respected in Nigeria. Medicine and Health Care Nigerians, like people in many developing countries, suffer from widespread disease and a poor health care system. Secular Celebrations Nigeria observes three secular national holidays and several officially recognized Muslim and Christian holidays when government, commerce, and banks are closed.

The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. The State of the Physical and Social Sciences While Nigeria's system of higher education is better than most in Africa, many of its best and brightest students go to universities in the United States or Europe in search of better facilities and academic support. Things Fall Apart, Nigeria, My Beloved Country, The History of Modern Nigeria, Kingdoms of the Yoruba, This has been quite an enlightening and interesting read. I was checking for social problems in nigeria in preparation for my coming 'nigerian people and society' exams and i found more than what i realy expected.

This is so wonderful to behold that there is a site like this providing basic informations of this kind about my country. I have now come to realise that it is possible to live in a place for 20 years and not even know much as you feel you know about the place. This site has cleared my ignorance about so many things and i'm sure of blasting any question concerning this in my exams. Thank you so much for this highly informative site. I was searching for more report on consequences of social change on education,religion, politics and economy of Nigeria. I was looking for information on Nigerian Architecture and stumble upon your article.

I must commend you for your work which is very accurate in its content. I got more than I expected. I must commend you, this is highly educative,please keep it up. Its very educative and its great to know that there are sites that provides accurate information about the Nigerian Culture Keep up the good work. It is a top priority that every individual knows about his home, his people and culture.

Most Nigerians including myself until now can not say much about our country. But this article has given me what I need to defend myself as a proper Nigerian not only by birth but also by the knowledge I've acquired through this article. Nasarawa State University, Keffi. This page is really use full for us,I had known about nigeria and their culturs and all.

This helped me out a lot on my research paper,a lot of interesting things that make me want to learn more. I read through this this site and find it quite interesting and useful keep it up. Well written, good work and a very extensive research. As much as I am proud to be Nigerian, I do feel ashamed when asked questions about Nigeria and I can't give an accurate answer. I use to blame my 'Boring History teacher' in boarding school Ibadan for not knowing so much as I should about the Nigerian History.

However it is nothing to do with him, and it is easier to blame others so I had therefore made it MY responsibity to learn more about Nigeria as I can, and I came accross your site. Thanks so much for these information. For days, I have been spending all day on the net, looking for information pertaining Nigerian Architecture. Your site gave alot that i need. It gives insight to Nigerian Architecture. This site is extremely informative, and will be a great source to use for my first history class in college. My Survey of African-American History class is so in depth and full of information, butI found this site extremely helpful.

I will say a big thank you for educating and enligthing me on these case study, now i can say something on the peoples and culture of my country. Being a forestry student at the Federal University of Technology, Akure in the south-west of the country,I was actually searching for an information on the responses of forest products to HIV in Nigeria when i came across this educating information.

I must say kudos to you and your works cos u make all nigerian remember their source. Pls, in ur next publication, do make it known to the whole wide world the issue of forestry about Nigeria. I am quite impressed that this kind of information is available on the web about Nigeria. The creators should keep it up, thumbs up. I found the site to be of great use especially for non-nigerians wishing to know about the country or people like myself-doing research on a topic related to nigeria.

Kindly update the information posted on the site so that it continues to help people in future. Thanks for the wonderful works and reserch you have done.. Please i want to know aboy Yoruba and Igbo Homestead layout God bless us and God bless Nigeria as a whole. Very educative and unbiassed writing about Nigeria. Until now, I did not know how the name 'Nigeria' came about. This is simply an elaborate profile of Nigeria. Objective analysis of the country is very good. I am really impressed. I needed info for an assignment in school and i got it here. Its about social ills in Nigeria.

This is a very informative and useful site. I was doing a history project on Nigeria and I found this. This is an amazing site!!! Thank you so much for making this!!! This site was very interesting, enlighten me more on the culture of the Nigeria as a whole. Thanks for the works done. It was very helpful for me since,am going to marry my finace'e in Nigeria and am beginning to explore what it would be to live in this country.

It is helpful and educative. I only wanted something about Nigerian culture and I ended up getting more than enough. Thank you for this site. You've done well for creating a site with comprehensive information on Nigeria. Please, keep on updating it. I have to thank the author or the person that compile this article, it is nice for every Nigerians to have one and read and know the origin and other things about this great country.

I am suggesting if more emphasis will be led on how the relationships on the three major group concerning marriage, dressing and others. I was looking up Niger and Nigerian people for a french project, and i found this article very useful. Also i got an excellent grade. This is a thorough information and educative one for that matter. Am really proud to be a Nigerian, Abia State in particular. Only that Corruption in our Leadership system don't want us to be proud of our history. This is so amazing. Thanks to this site. What I think should be done, there should be updates regularly.

What an enlightening site! This helped me out a lot on my research paper,a lot of interesting things that make me want to learn more thanks please kept it up. I am doing a paper on cultural diversity and I chose Nigeria because one, my husband is nigerian. And I found this article and I couldn't stop reading Thank u the writer of this article, thanks to all the brain behind this site, more griss to ur elbow Do post more pls thanks. Pls keep up the gud work. This was very helpful for my report. I learned a lot of information for my culture part of my Nigerian report.

I am very much interested about my heratage. My father is Nigerian and my mother is a Pilina. I grow up in the philippines. I never had a chance to ask my father about Nigeria because he left as when I was six years old and when back to Nigeria. I dont have any communacation with him. His name is Clement K. Now after tweenty years I came to know Nigeria after reading this page. Nice culture Nigeria have.

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Lam currently dating a Nigerian guy and this has really highlighted me on everything i wanted to know about Nigerians and their culture! At least lam now aware of other things in their culture! Good to know that there is valid information about Nigeria and all the other countries in Africa.

Its so amazing how much you learn even when you think you know alot about your country. But also keep in mind, some of the information is dated. I'm loving every bit of it though. I love it because it expose me to know more and to teach the American about my great country. There are some inaccuracies but they are minor and to be expected. The majority of the article is truthful and that is important to any people.

Our culture and society may not be perfect, but I appreciate it being portrayed honestly. Thank you so much.


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This is really good. It helped me in preparation for my presentation on Individual and Cultural differences. It is a good job. Reading this article really put smile on my face am proud to be nigrian. I have some questions Can a lagos africa man have more than one wife? He married one in indianapolis and she thinks he has some in africa. Not sure religion yet but hes been here a few months now going back to africa.

He says hes a doctor but nees to take tests in u. He had a round trip ticket when he came so he knew he was going bacvk but says he is coming back in 3 weeks. His brother-inlaw died 2 months ago and he says they hold you for up to 8 months there do they and what are funeral and burial procedures? Thank You For answering. I will be awaiting. Its really a great interesting site that gives more insight on what Nigerians had gone through and also gives the hope of making a life out of those mess around the corner today. I was carrying-out a research on my project topic when i stumble on this site, it is educative,enlightened,an eye-opener for any wanting to know much about the history of nigeria, its people, their cultures, beliefs.

I believe in your dream of projecting the image of nigeria for the world to know and have confidence in the system. I was writing a book on the culture of Nigeria. This web is prove well for me. Because it have all the solution which i desire , that i want to be done to publish for my book of my students. Thank you for this article. I found it as I was looking for information on Nigeria. I am about to conduct some interviews about family life. Families have moved to England and as a mature student very interested in how they view Western family life compared to their own homeland.

This article has given me a foundation and raised my confidence to do my tasks towards my dissertation. Honestly this is a very good one. It is quite enlightening, interesting and educative. Very Critical and concise. It should be recommended to Nigerians those of us in the country inclusive and I believe so many will realize how little they know about this our country - Nigeria. This has been alot of help: I am researching a topic that has to do with comparing cultures and I have been able to find all i am requiring on this website.

I still visits this website sometimes when i'm less busy and trying to know more about other national cultures. You guys have done a great job putting all these information together. More grease to your elbow. Great Nigeria, I am happy I came accorss this while seaching for an information on Nigeria culture and their health implications. I never know we have such an interesing cultures. Up Nigeria am proud to be a Nigerian. Great site Keep it up. I was looking for social life-style of different people on the basis of personal interest when the search led me to this site.

I am really amazed with what I found here. Thank you so much and keep it up. This is one of the best articles by far that I have ever read. It explains a lot and it also answers any questions that you may have while reading. I enjoy this informational website! Thanks for your wonderful work and for given us some tips about Nigeria. Actually , I am looking for 'what is the culture of Nigeria and what is metamorphic theory wen i discovered this Nigeria Nigeria.

I wanted to re-familairse myself with some of the cultural norms that I had forgotten. The site has some useful informaton about the origins of the name 'Nigeria', its people, and cultural dispositions. You have clearly researched your topic area. While researching using the internet,in preparation for my Nigerian peoples and culture examination when I came across this fantastic article.

I truly enjoyed reading this information about Nigeria's History, it is so highly informative, very highly educational. I've learned so much about the History of Nigeria and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to read this. I will definitely be able to forward this information to anyone who wants to know more about Nigeria.

I truly enjoy reading this Thank you so much for such a strong surface-base information about this country and how it has became to be known Keep up the good work for it is Phenomenal!!! I was looking for the Nigeria Culture, i was going to write a paper to compare and contrast or the similarities and the disimilarities of Nigeria and the American Culture and i got so much more. Well i really enjoyed thie website.. Im writing a paper on Nigeria and i realy did enjoy what i read i would like to say thank you forgiving out so much information that influenced me to look Nigeria so differnt!!

I was checking the internet while researching information on diversity for masters program when I came across this article. So much information in one place. I found it to be full of everything that I needed. Thank you for sharing about the culture of Nigeria. I couldnt take my eyes off of the article. It was very detailed. Am very delightful to got the opportunity to gain many things that i did not know before.

Please we need more details of each ethnic groups. Thank you for this information about our great country Nigeria. In the struggle of trying to find a lasting solution to our social problems and economic advancement, we all must first accept and believe in the word "i am a Nigerian" seeing ourselves as one people one Nation indivisible under God, as our brothers keeper will address most of our problems and enable us to jointly move the country forward.

Thank you, great peice of work. Please keep up the good work. You are really making we scholars to know more about our country. Thanks for the information. I has lots of information to prepare my lesson plan on Nigerian Tribes and People. This is really nice and deep things about Nigeria, I need some information about Nigeria for my research this site really open me up to a lot information, thanks so much.

I was searching on Culture and I understand that Nigeria culture is an originated culture. And I Like this site for it educating and it is good for student and citizens who want to know the culture in their country. Greats, i like so much, I come from indonesia can we change information about yaour culture? I am very happy about this article. I was looking for an article about my course Nigeria people and culture and I saw was very interesting please keep it up. My heart bleeds for the people. I pray God over sees the needs of the people. God helps those who help them selves. Keep the faith and God will help.

I was writing a term paper i found this write-up on liberal studies, focusing on nigeria political and social development as an undergraduate student at Ryerson University in Canada. It really assisted me a lot thx. I will like Nigeria as a whole to improve in their political participation, avoidance in corruption, Eradication of poverty, creation of jobs opportunities, educational stability, reduction in tribalism problems and good governance to the betterment of the country.

This piece is an eye opener to what our great country is. It was quite informative. Primary and secondary education were not mentioned. All the same, keep up the good work. Thanks alot about the greatful history of Nigeria which is realization life in Nigeria,so surely we are developing and also more achievement will arrevial. It gave me tons of info. I was researching the part of their culture of religion, so I came to this site.

Nigeria Guide

Thanks for providing this site PS. I like cultural things that why i what to know more about culture in Nigeria. Very clear and concise, perhaps a bit brief, but to-the-point and still interesting. Obviously not everything can be contained, however, I was hoping to gleen further insight into Nigeria's overwhelming and unmistakable culture of corruption. This article helped me to learn more about my parents home country.

It was very informative and a great read. I will have to come back to read this article over and over again. Quite educative,informative and inspiring. Never let's us down, make it more enriched in the course of time. I was preparing a term paper on Nigerian people and culture and found this article educative, interesting and enlightening, as it allows me to appreciate my culture and people. I am an American, who is deeply in love with a Nigerian man Igbo.

I have been married before widowed and I have adult children and grand children. Therefore, I am "single". Would it be uncustomary for this Nigerian man to marry a woman who is a foreigner, under such circumstances, or would it depend on the individual? Wonderful piece of information. Will certainly help me to blend with the culture as i plan to shift to nigeria soon for work. Wow, This is fantastic,you make my work easiear and interesting. Good job,and God Bless. There is nothing bad in a foreigner getting married to a Nigerian,infact it will strengthen the more good relationships between the two countries.

English language alongside the western education came as a visitor to Nigeria and it dose not provide any meaningful benefit to Nigeria society, and that of African. Good write-up overall but I could have sworn there is no caste system in Yorubaland, and definitely nothing like the Osu among the Igbos. Please suggest further reading to justify this article's claim of a caste system among the Yoruba, who have always beem much more of a class-based society.

However, not being royal, nobleman or wealthy does not make you a pariah in Yorubaland. Certainly, the poor are disadvantaged and underprivileged as they are anywhere else in the world but the Yoruba do not consider or treat the poor as outcasts or untouchables! Who are the Osu of Yorubaland? The caste system is morally indefensible. It defies all logic and I am yet to meet one person who defends it and is able to justify it.

So, I ask again, who are the outcast groups among my people, the Yoruba? I really would appreciate fact-based evidence to enlighten me further. Thanks, in advance, to everyone who can. I have a friend from nigeria and i have seen their clothing and they are wonderful now i have culture project and mine will be based on nigeria. Many Nigerians will definitely find it useful. I am working on my literary interpretation and I am happy i found this site. This will be of help to me because i chose Nigeria to be my subject. I hope to find also about their short stories.

Thank you and God bless. This page is truly way beyond what i asked for. The person S behind this great piece of work deserves to be celebrated and honored. What can i say, am already holding a party for them. I like it,just because is more educative to the fact that people without knowledge this hostry give kudos to this site. I think that comment that u said really made my weiner hard I say keep it up and may the Lord continually to Direct you and Strengthen you in your work which you have started.

I had a college assignment, Introducing Culture and Diversity of two countries to Pre-Schoolers in the form of a Disply. While reseaching, I came across this site and I must say that I found it to be very informative. The details are enlightening and the language is indeed simple enough for children. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English as the official language is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. Hausa is the most widely spoken of the three main languages spoken in Nigeria itself Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba but unlike the Yorubas and Igbos, the Hausas tend not to travel far outside Nigeria itself.

Some of the largest of these, notably Yoruba and Igbo, have derived standardized languages from a number of different dialects and are widely spoken by those ethnic groups. Nigeria is home to a variety of religions which tend to vary regionally. The Churches have spilled over into adjacent and southern areas of the middle belt. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Nigerian cuisine, like West African cuisine in general, is known for its richness and variety. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.

Despite its vast government revenue from the mining of petroleum, Nigeria is faced by a number of societal issues due primarily to a history of inefficiency in its governance. According to the U. Under a proposed law passed by the Senate 2 December , same-sex couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison.

Witnesses or anyone who helps gay couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. A newly added portion of the bill levels 10 years in prison for those found guilty of organizing, operating or supporting gay clubs, organizations and meetings. Because of its multitude of diverse, sometimes competing ethno-linguistic groups, Nigeria prior to independence has been faced with sectarian tensions and violence.

This is particularly a major issue in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, where both state and civilian forces employ varying methods of coercion in attempts gain control over regional petroleum resources. Since the end of the civil war in , some ethnic violence has persisted. There has subsequently been a period of relative harmony since the Federal Government introduced tough new measures against religious violence in all affected parts of the country.

A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost. Retaining these expensively trained professionals has been identified as one of the goals of the government. Nigeria provides free, government-supported education, but attendance is not compulsory at any level, and certain groups, such as nomads and the handicapped, are under-served.

As confraternities have extensive connections with political and military figures, they offer excellent alumni networking opportunities. According to official statistics, gang violence in Lagos resulted in civilians and 84 policemen killed in the period of August to May From 1 January to 29 October , twenty-six pirate attacks were recorded.

Nigerian Society and Culture

I just like the invaluable data you deliver on your article content. Decent luck to the subsequent! I just like the beneficial details you offer you inside of your content pieces. I will bookmark your web log and look at again the following regularly. Great luck for your next! I remember years ago writing an essay on the Nigerian culture. That year we went to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC to gather information for our class presentation. It was four of us all together in our group. Personally, I had a ball and it was interesting being as close to physically entering Nigeria and being a part of their custom as possible.

All I know is, I love it!! Thank you for sharing your culture. I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon. Hi scholar, thanks a lot, it is appreciative of you for providing such detail info on your country. I am a Liberian who live in Liberia. Currently, a senior student reading theology at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary.

I discovered this info on your country, because of my research on the subject: A Comparative study on the customs of Liberia and an other African Nation. How on Earth did you miss out the British in the list of Researchers or Educators who have better knowledge of our history. I suppose you are writing about the history of one the East EuropeanStates conquererd by the Soviets and not of our dear country Nigeria.

Think well,Brother Innocent Osuji. I stumbled upon this on Google.. I want to write something on Nigerian culture but with a different twist. These my first time of seeing these type of info based on my country I really love it amusing kudos to you. This is an amazing post, I cherish it,I love it , and I am grateful for the impactation. You really made efforts at the updates provided here. Pls permit me to use part of it for some academic work.

Hi Osuji, your is article is quite articulate. I would ask permission to use in my lesson notes for a culinary school. However, I would appreciate other articles you may have on the agronomy of Northern and Southern Nigeria. Keep up the good work. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Nigerian military juntas of — and — Federal Ministries of Nigeria.

Foreign relations of Nigeria. Environmental issues in the Niger Delta. List of cities in Nigeria. A clickable map of Nigeria exhibiting its 36 states and the federal capital territory. Human rights in Nigeria. Health care in Nigeria. I will be glad. Thanks for your lectures. Civil official weddings take place in a government registry office.

Nigeria - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Men are allowed only one wife under a civil wedding, regardless of religion. Most ethnic groups traditionally allow more than one wife. Depending on whom you ask, polygamy has both advantages and disadvantages in Nigerian society. Some Nigerians see polygamy as a divisive force in the family, often pitting one wife against another. Others see polygamy as a unifying factor, creating a built-in support system that allows wives to work as a team.

While Western ways of courtship and marriage are not unheard of, the power of traditional values and the strong influence of the family mean that traditional ways are usually followed, even in the cities and among the elite. According to old customs, women did not have much choice of whom they married, though the numbers of arranged marriages are declining. It is also not uncommon for women to marry in their teens, often to a much older man.

Many Nigerian ethnic groups follow the practice of offering a bride price for an intended wife. Unlike a dowry, in which the woman would bring something of material value to the marriage, a bride price is some form of compensation the husband must pay before he can marry a wife. Men might contribute money to the education of an intended wife or help to establish her in a small-scale business or agricultural endeavor.

This form of bride price is often incorporated as part of the wooing process. While women who leave their husbands will be welcomed back into their families, they often need a justification for breaking the marriage. If the husband is seen as having treated his wife well, he can expect to have the bride price repaid.

Though customs vary from group to group, traditional weddings are often full of dancing and lively music. There is also lots of excitement and cultural displays. For example, the Yoruba have a practice in which the bride and two or three other women come out covered from head to toe in a white shroud. Divorce is quite common in Nigeria. Marriage is more of a social contract made to ensure the continuation of family lines rather than a union based on love and emotional connections. It is not uncommon for a husband and wife to live in separate homes and to be extremely independent of one another.

In most ethnic groups, either the man or the woman can end the marriage. If the woman leaves her husband, she will often be taken as a second or third wife of another man. If this is the case, the new husband is responsible for repaying the bride price to the former husband. Children of a divorced woman are normally accepted into the new family as well, without any problems.

The majority of Nigerian families are very large by Western standards. Many Nigerian men take more than one wife. Family units of ten or more are not uncommon. In a polygamous family, each wife is responsible for feeding and caring for her own children, though the wives often help each other when needed. The wives also will take turns feeding their husband so that the cost of his food is spread equally between or among the wives. Husbands are the authority figures in the household, and many are not used to their ideas or wishes being challenged. In most Nigerian cultures, the father has his crops to tend to, while his wives will have their own jobs, whether they be tending the family garden, processing palm oil, or selling vegetables in the local market.

Children may attend school. When they return home, the older boys will help their father with his work, while the girls and younger boys will go to their mothers. While men dominate Igbo society, women play an important role in kinship. For the Hausa, however, there is not much of a sense of wide-ranging kinship. Hausa society is based on the nuclear family. There is a sense of a larger extended family, including married siblings and their families, but there is little kinship beyond that. However, the idea of blood being thicker than water is very strong in Hausa society.

For this reason, many Hausas will try to stretch familial relationships to the broader idea of clan or tribe to diffuse tensions between or among neighbors. Age is greatly respected in Nigeria. In an area where the average life expectancy is not very high, those who live into their senior years are seen as having earned special rights of respect and admiration. This is true of both men and women. Socially, greetings are of the utmost importance. This is often true even if you have seen that person a short time earlier.

Whether you are talking to a bank teller or visiting a friend, it is considered rude not to engage in a proper greeting before getting down to business. Shaking hands, eating, or passing things with the left hand are unacceptable.


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  6. The left hand is reserved for personal toiletries and is considered dirty. Severe poverty, human rights violations, and corruption are some of the major social ills that have plagued Nigeria for decades. Because Nigeria is in the midst of major political change, however, there is great hope for social reform in the country.

    Many foreign companies have been reluctant to invest in Nigeria for fear of political instability. Obasanjo also says that rooting out corruption in all levels of government is one of his top priorities. He signed the Anti-Corruption Act in June , creating a special commission for investigating charges of corruption brought by ordinary Nigerians against government officials. However, the detention of journalists critical of the military and reports of police brutality continue to be problems. Foreign governments and watchdog organizations continue to press the Nigerian government for further human rights reforms.

    Newborns in Nigerian societies are regarded with pride. Throughout Nigeria, the bond between mother and child is very strong. Nigerian women place great importance on breast-feeding and the bond that it creates between mother and child. Women will often carry their children on their backs while they perform their daily chores or work in the fields. Child Rearing and Education. When children reach the age of about four or five, they often are expected to start performing a share of the household duties. As the children get older, their responsibilities grow.


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    Young men are expected to help their fathers in the fields or tend the livestock. Young women help with the cooking, fetch water, or do laundry. These tasks help the children learn how to become productive members of their family and community. As children, many Nigerians learn that laziness is not acceptable; everyone is expected to contribute. While children in most Nigerian societies have responsibilities, they also are allowed enough leeway to be children. Youngsters playing with homemade wooden dolls and trucks, or groups of boys playing soccer are common sights in any Nigerian village.

    In many Nigerian ethnic groups, the education of children is a community responsibility. For example, in the Igbo culture the training of children is the work of both men and women, within the family and outside it. Neighbors often look after youngsters while parents may be busy with other chores. It is not strange to see a man disciplining a child who is not his own. All Nigerian children are supposed to have access to a local elementary school.