Nigeria Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022


  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays


Nigeria is a civilized country influenced in many areas by British culture and customs. A number of rich and influential businessmen studied in Great Britain and the USA and therefore have a high-quality demeanor, rich experience in world trade, use modern technology, and therefore it is good to approach it this way (Africans generally do not trade for colored slides anymore). However, African vices must be reckoned with, especially tardiness and watch out for the infamous “Nigerian scams”.

  • Baglib: Overview of Nigeria, including popular places to visit, UNESCO World Heritage List, climate, geography and travel advice.


The first step is to realize whether your product or service is applicable in the Nigerian market. The market here is 89% purely pro-import and most things are imported from abroad. It is important to remember that the market is very price sensitive. A lot of goods are imported from China, which you cannot compete with, but there are a lot of companies that are rich and prefer quality. The second step is the selection of suitable clients. Nigerians are a very proud nation and like to pretend they want everything and in a big way. But the reality is that behind this mask they hide the fact that they are not rich enough to buy your product. The choice of a partner is absolutely key here and can bring you either the expected profit or great difficulties. Here, the Foreign Office (FCO) Lagos fulfills a vital function, as it has knowledge of the local environment and knows who to turn to. The third step is to find a partner (client) with whom you can do business. There are no quality paid databases in Nigeria and most of the companies listed in various search engines are not working. 99% of business here is done through acquaintances. If the company writes to you “send an official letter or e-mail”, then you already know that they will not talk to you. Personal contact is completely irreplaceable here. PaulTrade in Lagos acts as your sales representative with its network of contacts and searches for, calls and visits all potential clients, finds references and checks the company. He will then recommend a company that is interested in doing business with you, but is also financially strong enough for you to do business with. Nigerians are a proud nation and therefore it is not good to acquiesce in everything when dealing with them. Price is important and always comes first. It is not a good idea to increase the price extremely and then negotiate. Because with a final price that is 25% or more lower, the client will feel, and rightly so, that you wanted to cheat him. It is also important to realize that most letters where someone claims to work for ECOWAS or is interested in your product, without further specification, is a scam. Don’t waste your time with these companies. ZK Lagos will help you either screen the applicant or assess the suitability of your product for the local market and then find a suitable partner. Secure your payment instruments very well. Most often, a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) is used with the simplest possible terms to avoid payment delays. Try to have most of your payments cleared and in your account before shipping. Most often, a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) is used with the simplest possible terms to avoid payment delays. Try to have most of your payments cleared and in your account before shipping. Most often, a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) is used with the simplest possible terms to avoid payment delays. Try to have most of your payments cleared and in your account before shipping.

Business meeting

English is sufficient for negotiations. Plan your trip outside of Christmas and Ramadan. Keep in mind the country’s ethnic, cultural and religious differences. A very common and frequent phenomenon in Nigeria is general indiscipline and punctuality. Perceive what is happening around you, be cautious, be careful with your property, take care of your safety and avoid risky situations. Find out who your business partner is with whom you work. You absolutely cannot do without a quality local partner who will open the door to customers. It is better to check the partner through the local embassy to avoid possible fraudulent activity. It is good to meet your Nigerian partner in person. Nigerians are very confident and assertive in business. Negotiations can be preceded by a long, informal prelude, during which the client gladly boasts about his achievements. Rich or influential Nigerians like to flamboyantly display their wealth (influence), including perfect clothes and cars. Be graciously confident and self-assured, especially about your product offering. Above all, present yourself well. The required clothing during the meeting is trousers and a jacket. You don’t have to wear a tie. Be careful with alcohol, at least it is good to check in advance whether the business partner is Muslim and proceed accordingly. Don’t be swayed by the initial impression that the client wants everything and in bulk. Nigerians are masters of manipulation and like to create the impression that a deal is already done during the first meeting. Be prepared for unexpected delays and changes in the entry of requirements from the Nigerian side. In the case of meetings being prepared at the offices for Friday, only the morning should be taken into account, the Muslim part of the population has been at prayers since noon, and in the afternoon the authorities tend to no longer function. Prayer is customary at public gatherings, conferences, and sometimes before an official lunch or dinner. General indiscipline and punctuality is a very common and frequent phenomenon in Nigeria. Rich or influential Nigerians like to show off their wealth (influence) flamboyantly (including perfect clothes and cars). They are very confident and assertive when dealing. Part of the meeting can be a very polite and long prelude, Nigerians suffer from proper titling (if they hold important positions), attention and flattery. They are fans of long speeches and are excellent and funny speakers themselves. It is worth considering that the backbone of society is still traditional structures (although it may not be apparent on the surface) and all major investments and business cases are pushed by influential groups with traditional structures. A potential business partner should have ties to these structures. A suit with a tie is required for meetings at central offices, a shirt with a tie is tolerated for business meetings.

  • PaulSourcing: Tips and recommendations for doing business with Nigeria. Also includes country basic data and information for entering the its market.

In the northern parts of Nigeria, where most of the population is Muslim, it is necessary to dress and behave more conservatively. The authorities are functional, but the decision-making processes are lengthy and are often stimulated by corruption or the interests of influential groups. The actions of officials can sometimes be considered arrogant, which is related to a false sense of national pride and a sense of the importance of the position held (as Nigerians themselves say, officials here sometimes feel the need “to exercise their power”). In these cases, it is recommended to react rather gently and not give vent to feelings. Small attention can change the behavior of the official.

Traffic chaos reigns on the roads and city streets of larger cities (a significant part of the approximately 177 million inhabitants live in overcrowded urban agglomerations) and pedestrian movement on Nigerian streets is not very safe. Compared to European standards, Nigeria (as well as other West African countries) has a very low average level of technical condition of vehicles. The exception is the capital, Abuja. Classic public transport buses (42 seats) have been introduced in Lagos and Abuja since 2007, and the public transport network is improving in these cities. It does not work in other cities yet. Public transport is very often replaced by small minibuses (public taxis), whose technical condition is catastrophic. In agglomerations outside the capital, “mass” passenger transport is also provided by motorcycles (so-called “okada”). Inadequate public transport network is one of the reasons for the rapidly increasing number of private cars, major Nigerian cities including Abuja suffer from traffic collapses on weekdays and it is necessary to keep time in reserve. Traffic accident is probably the biggest danger foreigners face in Nigeria. When driving vehicles, you need to prepare for everything – including, for example, an oncoming vehicle suddenly swerving in the opposite direction, overtaking on unclear sections, disregarding traffic lights and traffic signs. The drivers are very undisciplined and the traffic rules as we know them, for example in Europe, are not respected. Also, the average Nigerian driver is sometimes aggressive and completely uncollegiate. The traffic police often harass foreigners in order to collect “bribes”. We therefore always recommend a local driver. It is very strongly recommended to pay attention to the instructions of the police or soldiers at the so-called check-points and try to behave in a non-confrontational manner. The ideal negotiation team depends on the solvency of the Czech company – transport and costs of stay in Nigeria are quite high (air ticket + visa + accommodation for approx. 3-4 days approx. 30-40 thousand CZK/person). It is best if the director (commercial director) of the company arrives accompanied by 1-2 people (regardless of gender, it depends on who he wants to have on hand and at what level and what he wants to discuss with the Nigerian partner – it will be different for the initial tapping negotiations with the intermediary, different at the signing of the contract with the Nigerian counterpart, if they agree on a personal meeting). In the event that the Czech partner is invited to visit the home, this is a positive signal and negotiations on specific details of the contract can be assumed. A small gift – e.g. quality alcohol,


The official language throughout the territory of the Nigerian federation is English. Members of each nation use their own language among themselves, the most widespread being Hausa and Yoruba, followed by Igbo and Fulani; these languages ​​are taught in schools alongside English. You can communicate by email and by phone, Whatsapp and other modern communication technologies are very popular. Personal meetings are highly recommended for business relations. Communication taboos: religion, homosexuality, racial and ethnic issues. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Nigeria culture and traditions.


It must be emphasized that Nigeria today prefers investment in manufacturing over mere imports, which it is trying to curb (at least in some sectors). The basic condition for success in the market is the price of the product and a long-term active export strategy focused on this country and a permanent presence in the country. You cannot wait for a really good contract in the Czech Republic. Cooperation with a local representative or a company (importer) registered in Nigeria is a great advantage, but even these persons must be sought actively, preferably personally on the spot. A very common request (especially for machines) is the possibility to see a sample in operation in Nigeria – in this case, companies that have a presence in the country and can immediately offer the equipment have a competitive advantage. Thanks to its oil (and future gas) potential, Nigeria is a creditworthy country despite its economic problems and has clearly defined needs for the coming period. In many areas, these needs coincide with the traditional branches of Czech industry. We therefore see the main obstacles to even broader mutual economic and business cooperation in the lack of interest of Czech private companies in SUMMARY TERRITORIAL INFORMATION – NIGERIA 14 this country, ignorance of the territory and ways of doing business in it, fear and reluctance to long-term engage in unknown (and for many risky) territory. Larger deliveries and government contracts cannot be achieved in Nigeria without the long-term presence of Czech companies in the place. Czech manufacturers will encounter very strong and rapidly growing competition not only from Nigerian, but also from British, American, French, German, Indian, Chinese, and now also Turkish or South African companies, of which there are thousands operating on the local market, nevertheless have the advantage of the price-performance ratio. Due to the complexity of the local business environment, it is of the utmost importance to negotiate all aspects of the business agreement in detail (preferably with the help of local legal counsel). Before concluding the contract, the partner must be carefully checked by a specialized company (due diligence).

Public Holidays

  • January 1 (New Year),
  • May 1 (Labor Day),
  • May 29 (Democracy Day),
  • October 1 (Independence Day),
  • December 25 and 26 (1st and 2nd Christmas holiday)

In addition, the movable Christian holidays Good Friday, Easter Monday and the Muslim holidays Idel-Kabir, Id-el-Maulud, Id-el-Fitri are celebrated (note: the dates of the days off around the holidays are usually specified by presidential decree shortly before the actual holiday, if the holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is usually moved to Monday).

Working and sales hours: Days off: Saturdays, Sundays

The usual opening hours of shops (supermarkets) are every day from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (on Sundays from 11:00 a.m.), offices generally work from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – usually without a lunch break or with a break between 1 and 2 p.m.

Banking hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., or Saturday 8:00 – 11:00

Nigeria Culture of Business