Warri, a city in South-South Nigeria, is the commercial capital hub of Delta State and one of the major pivots of petroleum activities in the region. The city offers business opportunities as well as wonderful sights such as the Delta Ports, Nana Living History Museum and Red Mangrove swamp, to visitors.
However, thanks to the myriad jokes about the city by Nigerian comedians and celebrities, some visitors are a bit reluctant to visit the city as they have the impression that Warri is an aggressive place and its inhabitants, belligerent. Although there is no city without drawbacks, these stereotypes are largely untrue. You can have a marvelous time in this metropolis if you steer certain mistakes and Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking portal shares a list of things to avoid doing while visiting Warri.
Every traveler and visitors to a city likes to leave with a souvenir and most times, the best souvenirs are gotten straight from the rural markets or local vendors. Warri certainly boast of various markets an d local vendors abound, however, it is important that you set a budget, have at least a vague idea of what you are looking to buy and you maintain proper decorum while making the purchase in the city’s markets. While the locals do not expect that you would buy their item or product without haggling, they strongly detest prolonged haggling and even worse customers who take too long to decide on a purchase. Most times, you hear vendors make comments like : “ if u wan buy, buy; an if you no wan buy, abeg, dey go” when they are utterly irritated by a tourist buyer.
Responding to pidgin with English
Warri is famed for its unique brand of Pidgin. While they are not very kind to people who try to mock the language or people who speak it wrongly, they are even much more irritated by visitors who respond to them in English (especially polished English or what Nigerian refer to as “Phonee English”) when they originally started the conversation pidgin. “who you dey follow speak spri spri” is a common retort the culprit would get. This mostly applies to visitors from around the country, they tend to make exceptions for foreigners. If you are visiting the city and you know your pidgin is not as fluent and quick as that of the locals, take time to rehearse what you want to say before you utter it, however, if you cannot, try to speak the normal Nigerian English at least, or at most, go with a local. Speaking ‘Queen’s English’ usually gives off a haughty vibe, which they mostly are averse to.
In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 20, 2015, a money changer counts Nigerian naira currency at a bureau de change, where a dollar buys 222 naira compared to the official rate of 198, in Lagos, Nigeria. The IMF is pressing Nigeria to further devalue its naira currency amid uncertainty over the political and economic outlook for Africa’s biggest oil producer and economy. Analysts said there’s disappointment that President Muhammadu Buhari’s long-awaited Cabinet list includes no economic stars. The naira has lost 25 percent of its value in the past year and the stock market has plummeted because of political uncertainty and halved prices for oil that provides most government revenue.(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Flashing money and expensive jewelry
This mistake actually should not be made anywhere in the world, no matter how safe you feel the location is. Unless you have able-bodied guards or you are moving in an armored car, flashing money and expensive jewelry makes you a target and is a sure way to attract petty thieves and robbers. In Warri, the pickpockets and marauders are very sharp and quick, and so you may not even know when your possessions are taken from you. If you must carry large sums of money, ensure you have a waist bag or very deep pockets. If you have in a handbag, stay alert and watch the movements around you. Again, if you are commuting by public transport, ensure you hold your wallet and other valuables in your hands where you can keep a good eye on them.
Joining in a conversation without facts
The people in Warri are generally jolly fellows and will welcome anyone’s opinion at any time, especially when its offered in a friendly manner, however, they are not very kind to strays who try to join in on a conversation without knowing the facts. They would usually turn on the person and possibly haul insults at them. If you would like to befriend the locals, especially while visiting a local pub, restrict yourself to asking questions which would require them educating you, this will endear you to them. In the case where you feel you must add your opinion, ensure you are sure of it and can defend it with facts.
Sometimes, you find yourself issuing threats out of exasperation and frustration; however, while visiting Warri, you may want to put a pin on your emotions. Weigh situations carefully before making any utterances, and also, ensure that you only utter words that you are ready to fulfill. While the Warri locals are not necessarily belligerent, they do not back down on a challenge, and so a simply altercation could turn into a dire situation at any moment. These people think very highly of themselves and would rather get physical than be put down for no just cause.
The normal reaction when you hear an alarm in a public space or see a group of people run is to join in on the race and flee. While most times, the adrenalin kicks in and you cannot help yourself, you may want to think twice before leaping into action while in Warri. Rather than just run blindly, pause, consider the environment, ask questions to find out what is going on, before setting off, that way you know if there is even need for you to run, and if you do, what direction to take. There have been cases where an innocent run has been mistaken for a thief and thoroughly beaten before the truth was revealed. Keep your ear to the ground in chaotic situation and only run when you are sure you have cause to. If there are gunshots or you see people with arms, it is better to lie on the floor and surrender than run, unless of course, you are as good as Usian Bolt.