Whether is your first time in Lagos or you constantly visit the center of excellence as it’s fondly called, you would notice that the city is filled with the blaring of car horns, rumbling of generators, music from stores littered around the streets and petty hawkers who sell almost anything in the traffic. You would also come across certain statues which serve as historical monuments and also city decorations. Here are fifteen common street slangs, you should know while touring the streets of Lagos.
- Chairman/Big Boss/Twaleee!!: This is a common word amongst the police officers, security men, street boys and even in certain stores. This is a form of salutation that means you are a respected person and the usual way to respond to this is to either a wave as a sign of greeting or drop a little amount of money ranging from 500 Naira to 1000 Naira as a form of acknowledgement.
- . Gobe/Gbege: If you ever hear this word, it means there is trouble or a problem. You would usually hear someone say “See me see Gbege or Gobe”, this is a rhetorical phrase meaning there is an issue or a problem based on a misunderstanding occurring that I would like everyone to bear me witness. The best thing to do in tense situations where this phrase is used is to call a local who understands the Lagos culture to serve as a mediator. It can also be used jokingly or as an exclamation.
Akata /Oyibo/Oyinbo/Ndi Bekee: If you are a white person in Lagos, depending on what part of Lagos you are in, you are bound to come across this slang. It is the Nigerian street term for a white person and no harm is intended when this slang is used. It just simply means that you either white or you speak like a white person.
- Abi/shey/ba/Shebi: This serves as a form of verbal punctuations. When the statement made is a question rather than just a statement. An example is “Shey you are feeling better”, this can also be “You are feeling better abi” or “You are feeling better ba” or “Shebi you are feeling better ”, No matter the form it takes this means “Are you feeling better?”
- Ajebutter: This usually means one born with a silver spoon or one who has money to spend. The opposite would be Ajepako which refers to someone who is streetwise or wasn’t born with much. Another form of this slang would be ”Boti” or ”Ajebo”
Agbero: This refers to a gang of street children and teenagers, usually males, who roam the streets of Lagos, controlling traffic, harassing people, charging individuals for parking space at the market. They usually mind their business except they feel you are intruding or you are easy prey for them to make money.
- Ehen!: This is one of the slangs that has a different interpretation based on pronunciation and the context in which it was used. It can be “Oh, I remember !” “Continue talking”, “As I was saying”, “I said it !” e.t.c
- Tear Rubber: This means whatever you are being shown is brand new.
- Ode/Olobe/Mugu/Mumu: This slangs mean “fool” and can be used in several forms. An Example is “See that Mugu wey just Pass”, this means see that fool or foolish person who just passed. “Ode ni e “this means you are a fool, although this is a common phrase among Lagos drivers in traffic most times they mean no harm. “I know say you no be mumu” this means the individual speaking knows that you are not a fool and does not intend to take advantage of you.
- Eja Nla: The literal meaning of this in Yoruba is “Big Fish” but it is a term used for a big personality or someone who is seen as the key to a good fortune. An Example of this word in a phrase would be “Eja Nla don show!” meaning that A person of good fortune or a big personality is physically present.