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[Nigeria]Nigerian glossary



Filed under: rant,VSO — kevin @ 09:18

It’s part of life in Nigeria that electricity is either absent, or not where it should be.

I discovered at the weekend that the spare circuit breaker in my house’s fusebox isn’t just spare and not connected. It serves the very useful purpose of electrifying the taps in my bathroom.

This is not the first part of my house that has given me electric shocks, but a bathroom is a particularly bad place given the combination of electricity and water. I’m just lucky that the floor is tiled and a fairly good insulator.

The training of electricians in Nigeria is pitiful. Most of them seem to have briefly attended primary school and then at some later point been given a pair of pliers and a screwdriver that lights up, that’s it. They have no understanding of electricity at all. For example, the electrician at the zonal office in Bauchi last week did a very neat job of wiring up lots of sockets but didn’t see any problem in connecting them all to a single plug (in fact two wires pushed into the socket, he’d run out of plugs).

The same lack of understanding means that almost no electrical equipment here is earthed, one of the fundamentals of electrical safety. Why bother with that fiddly third wire when two will do?


Bandwidth thieves

Filed under: rant,site — kevin @ 09:04

A couple of years ago I went on a trip to Barcelona and posted some pictures, including a panorama of the Sagrada Familia church:
View of the towers of the Sagrada Familia

That picture ended up in Google image search among others and lots of non-technical bloggers seem to have chosen to use it if they want a picture from Barcelona. The only problem is that they don’t save it to their own website, they link to the copy on my site.


NTA strikes again

Filed under: rant,VSO — kevin @ 20:55

Watching TV in Nigeria requires a fair bit of determination. I get two different NTA channels, one usually showing national output and the other local. But I can’t predict which is going to be on which frequency.

Tonight national programmes were on the really weak frequency, so the picture’s terrible and occasionally fades out to nothing. The local channel was just showing adverts (the same three repeated) and ‘wise sayings’ (accompanied by distorted muzak) for half an hour.


New Naira notes and coins

Filed under: rant,VSO — kevin @ 10:46

ThisDay has an article (it will probably disappear soon) about the launch of the new Naira notes and coins.

On the whole this is a good idea, if the new notes are more robust then they should avoid ending up with the disgusting, shredded small Naira notes currently in circulation. I’m not sure that the central bank will manage to persuade people to stop ‘spraying’ money, throwing it at people at weddings and other festivities.

I’m not so sure about the coins. They’ve reintroduced the ₦1, ₦2 and 50 kobo coins, which in theory still existed but no-one ever used. Maybe the Central Bank of Nigeria could have spent a little while thinking about why nobody used the coins, perhaps because they’re worth too little to be useful?

What can you buy for ₦1? Not much, maybe a single boiled sweet. This is a coin that’s worth 1/250th of a pound or 1/130th of a dollar.

The governor of the CBN is reported in this day as advising:

commercial banks across the country to ensure that coins constitute 20 per cent of their currency transactions.

They seem to have some idea that the existence of Naira coins will immediately increase the value of the currency or decrease the cost of small transactions. In Kaduna the smallest bus fare is ₦10, even though ₦5 notes are in wide circulation, I don’t think the bus conductors will suddenly decide to accept ₦1 instead just because there are shiny new coins.

In fact quite often it’s not even possible to get change, businesses here don’t go to the bank to collect change to give to their customers so using the larger notes (₦1000 and ₦500) is very difficult. Even in large chains like Mr Biggs you’re likely to be told ‘change no dey’.

On a lighter note, I found this site (“Reporting FAKE NEWS Live From Nigeria”) with worryingly plausible spoof Nigeria news stories.

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