Lagos is West Africa’s largest megacity and one of the thirty-six (36) states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What differentiates Lagos from other states is the level of restlessness the city imbibes in its residents. Is it the massive population of about 30 million people, the traffic congestion Lagosians have to encounter whenever they commute, or the hustle vibes the city creates in its inhabitants by default? Let us not hit hard on the need to be extremely careful with your valuables because of pick-pockets and thieves across Lagos.
As a student in Lagos, life might take a more rigid turn for you. The cost of living for students in Lagos ranges from ₦1000.00 to ₦8000.00 daily and depends on the area, what you choose to eat and whether you are cooking or ordering already-cooked food from a restaurant. We used the University of Lagos and Yaba College of Technology as our case study in this article, and discover students an average of ₦1500.00 for a balanced course meal whenever they order from a restaurant.
Balancing academics with secular life is another strenuous thing students might find difficult in Lagos. This is because Lagos consists majorly of people from the Yoruba tribe who are known to have a high taste for owambes (a local name for parties) such as birthday and burial occasions, club and housewarming celebrations etc. It is normal to see students juggle between their academics on weekdays and owambes on weekends in Lagos.
In this blog post, I would be giving you clues on how you can balance your life as a student in Lagos. I would also be informing you on some primary dos and don’ts you need to survive in the city of Lagos.
Let’s start right away!
1. Shine your Eyes!
Most people you would meet in Lagos are there to hustle. The legitimacy of their hustle, however, cannot be assured. While most Lagos big boys are Yahoo boys (internet fraudsters), there are scouts on the streets and in public places like the market whose job is to pick from people’s pockets and bags.
Lagos is not a friendly place and anyone who tries to be friendly to you is doing so likely to get some benefits one way or another. You should shine your eyes and raise your voice whenever necessary. You cannot be tush and organized all the time in Lagos. You gotta be crazy sometimes.
You cannot afford the risk of being careless with your gadgets and bags in Lagos. I remember apologizing about two years ago to someone who stole my phone at Ikeja [Computer Village] because I thought I had hit his hand with my pocket [my phones were inside] but it took only a few steps forward before I realized one of my phones had literarily absconded. I looked back but the nigga was gone! That was one experience that unleashed the Lagosian in me. I am now usually conscious of my environment and belongings.
Don’t make such a mistake. Learn from mine.
2. Be Smart
If you are serious about living in Lagos for the entire period of your studies, then you gotta be smart. Smartness in this sense does not relate to cunningness. It means having the hustler kind of vibe required to survive in Lagos.
Move when you ought to move, and be rugged when you should be as well. No danfo (commercial buses in yellow paint and black stripes) would reverse to pick you up in Lagos. Instead, you gotta start learning how to run after vehicles if you do not want to spend hours waiting for a bus. You could order a Uber or Bolt ride if you can afford them as that can minimize your crazy encounters in Lagos. If you are on a tight budget, you would have to compete with other crazy Lagosians every day, struggling to get on the commercial buses.
Sometimes you would be pushed and other times you gotta push people [not intentionally though], it comes with the spirit of Lagos. LOL. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Initiative by the Lagos State Government could help you minimize the craze you would encounter with commercial bus drivers and disorganized Lagosians but they are limited in service coverage and do not operate all over Lagos.
3. Get Foodstuffs from Home
Since the cost of living in Lagos is quite high, it would do you a lot of good if you can stock your luggage with some foodstuffs. It doesn’t have to be rice or beans. It could be flakes, Oats, Custard or other quick cereals like Goldern Morn.
Depending on your kind of person, garri (flaked cassava) might be a lifesaver if you are used to drinking it. I would advise you not to forget garri even if you forget the rest.
4. Never Hustle with your Body
Especially if you mean well to accomplish your academic goals in Lagos, do not hustle with your body. I mean hustling with your private parts. This is just a piece of candid advice and it is your choice to take or leave.
Recent news of students going missing on campus, dying mysteriously, exhibiting lunatics, seeing maggots in their private parts and being used for rituals are strong reasons why you should not hustle with your body. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are another reason you should not engage in hookups.
Ranging from female students having intimate intercourse with dogs to male students being abused by influential men just to make ends meet, the news in recent times has gotten agog with confessions and revelations from victims of hookups gone wrong. Do not get pressurized by peers. Live your life and face your studies.
5. Find a Second Source of Income
Instead of relying on daddy and mommy all the time, it would be a great relief to both you and your parents if you are able to come up with a second source of income. This does not have to be a job outside your schedule or field of study.
If your feeding and upkeep stipend comes regularly from your parents, you can use the income to sort out personal wants or even needs. You may change your wardrobe or rent a more conducive apartment instead of staying within the budget your parents can afford.
The second source of income could be writing notes for rich classmates, typing projects for students, writing assignments for students, holding tutorials etc. If you are lucky to be the class governor or course representative, you could make photocopies of handouts at wholesale cost and sell them to coursemates at retail price.
6. Always Speak Up
Never stay too silent in Lagos when you see something go a different way. Ask questions, seek advice, report situations and always raise an alarm where necessary. If you fail to speak up, thugs and area boys would indisputably, take advantage of you.
One of the reasons terrorism could not survive in Lagos is because of the vigilance and wokeness of Lagosians. You must learn to raise your voice when necessary as well. If someone snatches your phone in a busy area of Lagos, by shouting ole which is Yoruba interpretation for thief, you would draw the attention of passers-by who would help you recover your phone and serve justice to the thief.
Since Lagosians are more conversant with use of the yoruba language and slangs, it would be very appropriate if you could learn some basic applications of the language from your neighbours and friends if you are new in Lagos.
7. Walk in Groups when Privileged
The biblical principle of one chasing a thousand and two chasing ten thousand is so real in this situation. It is advisable you walk with friends when you need to go to some places and to avoid intimidation from touts or the opposite gender.
If you are a female, you might get booed whenever you pass through the male hostel and may feel a little better if you walk with friends. Also if you would be stepping out for a dinner, you would feel safer when you go with friends.
Do not ignore this advice if you stay in an environment full of touts.
8. Leave Home Earlier if You Got Appointments
It is true Lagos doesn’t sleep at night. The streets are always busy and people come in and go out of Lagos more at night. If you have an appointment with anyone or lectures in Lagos, try leaving as early as 4 am to avoid offering excuses such as going slow, holding up, bad roads, flooding and rainfalls.
If you leave home by 7 am, there are chances that your plans would be thwarted by traffic congestion which you would definitely come across. Business People in Lagos know this secret already but it is also useful and applicable to you as a student.
9. Don’t Trust Anyone
Trust no one in Lagos and ensure you always use your head. When sourcing for accommodation, buying stuff in the market and doing business with people, ask questions. This is to avoid you having a broken heart after relating with Lagosians.
While Lagosians are very welcoming, not everyone has a good heart. A cloth seller might address you as boss or fine boy to get you to buy some clothes from him. Ensure it does not get into your head and that the clothes are worth the price before making a financial commitment.
Like I said in an earlier section, ask questions and sign an agreement form whenever you engage in business or transactions with people as well.
10. Shun Cultism & Avoid Late Night Outings
A lot of students have been rewarded with expulsion from school as a result of their pro-cultism engagements. Others have been slaughtered and wounded from inter-cult clashes within school communities.
Either way, I believe it does not sound so well for your parents to reap your corpse or be called for an awareness of your expulsion after sowing into your academics. It would be so bad…
Late-night outings are also something you should avoid as a student in Lagos. Apart from clashes between communities, rituals, kidnapping and robbery cases etc, the Lagos State Taskforce picks up people they find roaming the streets of Lagos at night.
If you get picked up at night by the Lagos State Taskforce, you might not be able to meet up with lectures for the next day.
Following our advice as a student in Lagos would do you a great deal of good and help you stay out of trouble on campus and within the Lagos community. We wish you the best in your academic endeavours and hope you get the best the city of Lagos has to offer.