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10 things Nigerians shouldn’t expect when they japa to Canada – Part 1



Nearly half of Haiti's population in need of humanitarian help

By ‘Debo David

I think it is safe to say the japa frenzy has reached an all-time high, a lot of Nigerians see their future away from the country for obvious reasons. If you intend on choosing Canada, here are a few things you might want to know. In no particular order, here are 10 things that you might find different.

1. Changed Driving Experience – The entire driving culture would seem alien to but a few Nigerians. You must drive with your shoes during your driving test, no ordinary leg. You will need to learn all the signs, many of which we no send for Naija. Obtaining a driver’s license in Canada is excruciating work yet without your drivers licence, life can be frustrating especially when you don’t have PR or citizenship.

2. Instantaneous ATM Cards – So I went to the bank to open an account. Let me chip something in, one thing about Canada is that you have to book an appointment for most things including going to the bank. After opening the account, I was surprised that my ATM was not disbursed on the spot. For GTB, na instanta I collect card. Eventually waited 10 working days or so to have it sent.


3. Myriad transport options – Don’t expect the same kind of transportation modules as back home. What’s obtainable is buses and cabs. You see all those keke, okada and danfo that we used to insult and swear for the condor? you will appreciate them when you get here. If you don not have a car, you will have to use buses for cheap fares. There are bus stops around, you will have to look for the one closest to you. Their signs are usually hung on a pole.

4. Simplified Banking Notifications – love bank alerts for every transaction, well most Nigerians are used to SMS alert for the regular 2k. Not here in Canada. Their banking system get as e be. They have Chequing and Savings accounts both of which can confuse you at the start. Don’t expect SMS alerts unless you activate it.

5. Social Life – Please I beg you, go to all the owambe that is avialable to you before you leave Naija. Eat jollof rice, fried rice, fried meat, etc like say tomorrow no dey but more importantly, cherish all the trips to the gardens (Abuja peeps) joints, bars and lounges (all others). Not only is alcohol expensive in Canada, you can only find it at the liquor store. No garden or joints for here ooo! No Asun, isi-ewu and nkwobi. No catfish, talk less you wan dey complain say dem dey waste time.

6. Indiscriminate gambling – IDs and verifications are the order of the day. Betters are in for a surprise. Unlike in Naija where anyone can open an account and start betting immediately, in Canada verification checks are carried out. Most betting companies require your drivers licence. Plus, your betting name must match the bank details you intend to use. No be Naija wey I fit use anybody card deposit.

7. Easy Medical Access – Not many will believe this but medical is easier to access in Nigeria than in Canada. You must register with the government for a Medical Care Plan. This varies across Provinces. Then seeing a doctor could be a Herculean task, it takes many hours before you can see a doctor in some cases more than 12 hours unless you are undergoing an emergency.


8. Home Food – If you are not big on garri, amala, nkwobi and oha soup, then you are safe a little but if you like Naija local meals, sorry ooo. Better bring enough garri, ogbona, etc when you are coming. Not that they aren’t available, it’s just that they are expensive but can be bought at African market. Las las, you go learn to cook all the food you like from YouTube.

9. Cheap Internet – There is internet yes. Bell and Rogers are the two leading providers. It is usually unlimited for home use for your mobile, you will need a plan. Koodo starts at $25/per month and na just 500MB be the data. (25×420(CBN rate))

10. Open Cable TV – Not only is the coverage of live events a couple of seconds late in Canada, you might have to buy two different subscriptions as no one would probably carry all the channels you would be interested in. For example; Fubo and Dazn to watch Premier League and Champions League respectively. No La Liga and Bundesliga on both cable networks. This is where you will appreciate DStv for their services.

This one na jara. When you are looking for a job, you will most likely be required to do some certification or training of some sought unless you are in the more livelier provinces, so be prepared to still read small book, especially those of you that dread learning….Hahahaha


The tips above are not cast in stone. Different people will have different experiences but on the general most of the above apply to most.

Debo David writes from St John’s

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