Dos and Don’ts of Lagos

Thinking of coming to Lagos? Well here is a list of The Unwritten Laws

Be Respectful

It is not news that the major occupants of Lagos are Yoruba’s and the Yoruba culture is one that respect is highly valued. When communicating, its advised to address the person  as ’Baba’ in the case of an elderly man and ’Mama’ in the case of an elderly woman. However, Hello would be sufficient for the others. This also extends to greetings. In the Yoruba land, when greeting significantly older ones ladies knell down and the men prostrate or take a bow. I’m not saying you should do these things just be polite.


When driving in Lagos, you must have an international driving license and obey all the traffic rules such as traffic lights, NO U-turn signs, one way roads signs, NO parking signs etc. It is mandatory to wear your seatbelts. Eating, drinking of any substance and using a mobile phone while driving are traffic offences. Violation of a traffic law in Lagos attracts a fine or a Psychological evaluation in Psychiatric hospital.  There are traffic control officers known as Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) who ensure there is free flow of traffic and watch out for traffic offenders.


Don’t try to argue with them because it puts them off. Once you are accused of an offence, be remorseful and apologetic that way they wouldn’t keep you for long. Arguing with them and proving you are right would only prolong the issue and you can end up being taken to the police station.

When driving at night slowdown for police checkpoints and put on your vehicles in light. These checkpoints are to reduce criminal activities in the state.

It is very important to have in mind emergency toll free numbers 112 and 767

Bargaining Prices

Do bargain! Always bargain a little especially when you’re not in a fixed price outlet such as the big chain Stores. The good thing about Lagos is that the market system is designed in such a way that there is competition and this allows people to bargain when they visit the markets. You’d be surprised as to how much you’d be saving by bargaining because the sellers would give you a discount as much as 50% off. Be sure to check that you are given the right quality and quantity (Always count items).

When buying things from street hawkers, especially the ones encountered in traffic, there is an unspoken rule to collect your change before giving the seller the money especially in cases of higher denominations such as ₦500 and ₦1000.

Night Life

Night life in Lagos is one exceptional experience because Lagos comes alive at night,  that’s when the clubs, Lounges and Restaurants are open, the music is loud and makes you want to dance, the atmosphere is right, the roads are free and it puts ice on the hustle and bustle of the day. Live bands playing just the right music and you can’t stop moving your body. The frowns of the day unwind and turn to smiles and laughter, Like the popular saying “There Ain’t No Party like a Lagos Party” be sure to have a good time in the city that never sleeps. It is very important you plan your movement and only go to places on  ekocityguide. Also when driving at night do not pick up strangers or hikers look for rides.


When it comes to buying, Lagos has got you covered. My friends and I normally make a joke that there is nothing you are looking to buy that can’t be found in Lagos Markets. The markets are large and situated in all regions of the State. Therefore, there is always one major market close to your location. Moreover, some markets specialize in a group of products or a wide variety of products, this would subsequently be discussed in another post. We have put together a list of markets in Lagos namely Oyingbo Market, Sabo Market, Bariga Market, Yaba Market, Ketu Market, Mile 12 Market, Oshodi Market, Lagos Island Market , Alaba International Market, Trade Fair , Building materials Market Orile axis, Epe fish Market, Makoko market, and Lekki farmers market.


One of the best things about Lagos is the wide of variety of the modes of public transportation! Bikes (Okada) the fastest means which means you wouldn’t be stuck in traffic. , Tricycle (Keke Maruwa) which are quite rugged but a nice experience, Yellow buses (Danfo) which has the bus conductor calling out the several bus stops, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which has been subsidized by the Lagos State Government, quite comfortable some have Air conditioners, Yellow Taxis which the pricing isn’t regulated so it’s generally higher than the rest with less comfort, the privately owned taxi companies (Uber, Taxify, etc) where you get value for your money.

Moving Around

As mentioned earlier there are several ways of commuting in Lagos. However, there is this unwritten rule everyone knows and never breaks, which is never sleep in any form of public transportation. For obvious reasons firstly it’s not safe also, the vehicle may pass your bus stop.

When going out, it’s always best to go out in groups. It could be in as little as 2 or as much as 10. Especially outings that extend into the night trust me you’d have a nicer time when you’re not alone!


Greetings statements such as “Happy weekend Sir/Ma, Bless me Sir/Ma, Anything for the boys Sir/Ma, Your boys are loyal Sir/Ma’, it’s a suggestive statement asking for a tip. However, it’s not compulsory to do so. You’re at full liberty to decide to give or not.


It is advisable not to carry large amounts of cash around or if it is inevitable, it is advised to do so discretely. It is highly important you never tell anyone when going to make withdrawals at the bank.

Lagos runs a cashless economy as you can do most transactions with your foreign Visa, MasterCard, American express or PayPal cards. It is also very important to never pay for an item you have not seen from unfamiliar/unknown merchants.

Content writer: Gbemisola Oginni      Instagram @baymeginny

Editor: Adebule Oluwasegun