African Safari



A Trip to Nigeria


(From left): Minoo Panthaki, Locks Division, Peeyush Garg, NIPL, Nigeria, Fredrick Correa, Godrej, Kenya, and Sunder Sohanda, NIPL, Nigeria.

igeria is located in western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon. The country won its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October, 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in Nigeria in 1999 and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. Despite some irregularities, elections in April 2003 marked the first civilian transfer of power in Nigeria’s history. On 12 December, 1991 the capital was officially transferred from Lagos to Abuja, and most federal government offices have now made the move to Abuja. The Nigerian currency is called Naira ($1 = Naira 135; March 2005). The Nigerian flag has three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white and green. Since 1991, President Olusegun Obasanjo has been both the chief of state and the head of the government.

Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country (with a population estimated at 137,253,133 in July 2004), is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups of which the Hausa, the Fulani, the Yoruba, the Igbo (Ibo), the Ijaw, the Kanuri, the Ibibio and the Tiv are the most populous and politically influential. Religions here include Islam, Christianity and other indigenous beliefs. The languages spoken here are English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo) and Fulani. The legal system is based on English common law, Islamic Shariat law (in some northern states) and traditional law.

On 16 March, 2005, Minoo Panthaki accompanied me to Lagos to promote Godrej locks. M/s. Nagode International Products Limited, Lagos, had expressed an interest in promoting Godrej products. Along with their representatives, we went to scout for retailers to promote Godrej locks and also took the opportunity to study our competitors’ products.

Two-wheelers are very popular given the heavy traffic in Lagos, because they are faster and cheaper than four-wheelers. At one particular point on our journey, traffic had come to a standstill because the entire stretch of road was filled with water. To get past this roadblock, we had to use a two-wheeler as the water was ankle-deep. The two-wheelers charged about Naira 15 (approximately Rs. 5) to cover a distance of 5 to 6 metres!

Overall it was an exciting experience, completely different from the other African countries I have visited. A positive outcome of the tour was that M/s. Nagode International Products Limited is planning to place a substantial order from Godrej to test the market. Hopefully, we will have a good future for our locks in Nigeria.

Fredrick Correa
Godrej, Kenya