Nigeria is one of the most diversified nations, in terms of human resources and with well over 250 other local languages, No wonder it is often referred to as the giant of Africa. Nigeria is a fascinating country with lots of fascinating memories to offer to tourists and first-time visitors.

However, when visiting Nigeria, in order to have a thrilling experience, you should learn to win the hearts of the Nigerians by communicating in a language that they understand.

The Nigerian lingua franca is the English language, but almost everyone speaks pidgin because this language serves a local alternative and of course, it is an exceptional language of its own. Pidgin English is a combination of English words, slang and a few local dialects, used to aid communication among people from different parts of the country, as well as between locals and Europeans.

There are certain phrases you need to learn especially if you are visiting Nigeria for the first time, because they will help with your flow of communication with the locals.

Some of these phrases include:

How Far

This is a common greeting and probably, the most popular Pidgin English phrase you will hear in Nigeria. A combination of two simple English words comes with many meanings.

 How far means ‘How is everything?’

You do well

The good thing about pidgin is that it is easy to learn and memorize, however, you do well simply means “Thank you in English, often used when someone does something nice for you”.

Nothing do you

The phrase is used as an informal way for mostly younger people to hail someone they respect but share a good relationship with. For most of the cases, when the young people tell you this, they expect you to understand that they respect you and at least leave some tips for them.

Nawa oh!

This is a major expression of surprise and shows emphasis that you are really surprised by what you saw or heard.

No Wahala

This phrase is mostly used as a direct reply to “how far” because it means no problem or no troubles. When it’s not used to answer greetings, it is used to tell you to go on with whatever you are doing without fear of probable trouble.

E don do

When you are monitoring someone carrying out a particular activity, this phrase is use to tell such person to stop. You can also use it to tell a taxi that you’ve reached your destination. The phrase generally means, “it’s okay or stop”

I wan Chop/I dey H

These two phrases mean the same thing and it is used to show that you want to eat or you are extremely hungry.

Dis food go well

This phrase means ‘This meal is delicious’ often used after eating a well-prepared and delicious meal, it is used to show that you enjoyed the meal. You can also say Dis food sweet no be small, or dis food sweet wella wella.


This phrase shows that the situation or topic addressed is either suspicious or untrue. When someone says Dis matter get k-leg or “e get as the matter be”, it means, “This doesn’t seem true”.


This phrase is used to confirm something heard or seen. It means ‘Right?’ or ‘Isn’t it?’

Na so/Na so?

This could mean two different things, either a question or a confirmation. This means ‘It is so’ or ‘I concur/ is that so? In addition, ‘I no gree’ means ‘ I disagree.’

Notin Spoil

When you are carrying out a particular activity and you are asked how it is going, if there are no problems, your response should be ‘Notin spoil ‘which means ‘all is well.’


This is another phrase that refers to confirmation or concurringto the issue being addressed, it means ‘exactly or precisely.’


This is used in place of ‘Please.’ It could be used to invite a person or used to seek for favour from someone.

I no get

This Nigerian phrase means, “I have nothing”. You can go further to say, “I no get anything to tell you” which implies I don’t have anything to tell you.

Go Slow

This phrase does not necessarily refer to asking someone to move slowly, it means, ‘Traffic Jam’ in Nigeria. So when you are stuck in traffic, it is called “go slow”


This is like a command normally used with authority, it means, “get out, leave, or go”

E.g., Comot from dia means leave from there.

On the other hand, it can simply mean, “to go out” e.g. Make we comot (Let us go out)


This is a question phrase that means’What?’ and when someone asks” wetin dey happen?’  It simply means ‘What is going on?’

I Sabi

This is a confirmation that you know or understand a particular context properly, it means “’I know’, or ‘I understand.’


This is the opposite of “No wahala”, however Wahala means’Trouble’, and its meaning can change depending on situation.

Undoubtedly, Nigeria is an interesting place to visit and as long as you know these basic words and phrases, your stay will definitely be an interesting one.