» Visitors' Guide to Ikot Abasi

 

Visitors' Guide to Ikot Abasi

Location: SW corner of Akwu Ibom State of NIGERIA (West Africa)

Latitude: 4° 32" to 4° 42'N; Longitude 7° 25' to 7° 45'E

 

Area:

approximately 451.73 square km (with Eastern Obolo)

 

Climate:

Humid Sub-Tropical Headquarters: Abasi Town People: Ibibio

 

Language:

English (official), Ibibio and Pigeon English (widely spoken)

 

Seasons: Dry (November to March) and Rainy (April to November)

 

Temperature: 26°-28°C (min. 23°C; max. 32°C)

 

Rainfall: 2,000-4,000 mm mean annual

 

Religion: Predominantly Christian; African spiritualism is popular - an officially estimated 20% adhere to traditional beliefs.

 

Currency: Naira (N) and Kobo (K): N 1 = 100 K Approximate value (August 1996) US$ 1 = N 80; DM 1 = N 53; £ 1 = N 125

 

Access Routes:

By road from Port Harcourt (70 km), Eket (45 km), Calabar (170 km). Aba via Uyo (180 km) and Uyo (80 km);

By air via Port Harcourt or Calabar airports; ADC airline bus service between Uyo and Calabar airport; private plane/helicopter pads at Mobil (Eket) and ALSCON (Ikot)

 

Transport: Minibuses and taxi cars (inter-town), lorry, pick-up vehicles and car rental services; motorcycles (in town) and motor boats on the river and creeks

 

Markets: Daily, weekly (8 day Ibibio week) and evening markets

 

Business Hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 a.m. to 15.30 p.m. (offices), to 13.00 p.m. (banks), to 18.00 p. m. (shops and markets)

 

Public Holidays: New Year Day - 1st January

Id-El Kabir

Id-El Fitri

Id-El Malud

Good Friday

National Day - 1st October

Easter Monday Christmas Day - 25th December

Workers' Day

Boxing Day - 26th December

 

Sanitation Days: Restricted movement from 7.00 a. m. to 10.00 a. m. on the last Saturday of every month

 

Clothing:

Layers of thin cotton clothes; hat/cap and sunglasses; long sleeves, socks and long trousers for countryside walks and insect bites at sunset; light weight plastic mac or umbrella for the rains Health Advice: Use purified (boiled and filtered) water and freshly cooked food Wash fresh fruit and vegetable carefully; mind the handling hygiene of food and drinks Enjoy fresh local food and check labels and expiry dates on food/drug packaging Don't swim or wash in slow moving or stagnant water

 

Entertainment:

Natural, historical and cultural attractions; night, social and sports clubs Ask permission for access to places of worship, private houses or establishments Pre-arrange visits at traditional festivals/ceremonies and use local guide or assistance

 

Contacts:

Introductions to family and business friends, church and professional associates are useful. Keep a contact address in case of emergency

 

Photography:

Ask for permission as there might be restrictions and copy right rules

 

Souvenirs and artwork:

Do not buy or deal in antiquities, this is against the law. Obtain an export permit for artwork (a 10 % charge of the item/s cost is paid) at any nearby National Museum office: Uyo, Oron, Calabar, Port Harcourt or Lagos)

 

Nature conservation:

Numerous birds, butterflies and marine life forms abound in the area. Endangered animal species (elephants, hippo, crocodiles, tortoise, monkeys, leopard, parrots, etc.) are placed under protection. Their killing or the use of objects made from their skin, teeth, tusks, horns, etc. is forbidden

 

Security:

Carry identity documents with you

Keep your money and documents secure

Report any loss immediately to the police and other authorities

Do not stray alone, in desolate places or after dark

Do not get agitated at check points or at long and complicated procedures - smile and discuss respectfully a solution, or ask to see the supervising officer

Immigration, Police and Customs checks at ports of entry and on highways require valid passport, entry visa, return ticket, current address and receipts of large purchases or electronic equipment

Report road accidents directly to the Police Station

 

Local traditions:

Respect local traditions; remember that local ideas of correct behaviour might be different from your own

Elders are shown respect and are addressed with their titles or as Ete/Mma

Shake hands with everyone around, even if you do not know them

Reciprocity of gifts is a norm; presents are valued for their usefulness and novelty; exchange of practical jobs/services is acceptable

Do not wear provocative clothing; African tradition requires that laps are covered

Do not enter restricted areas or touch ritual objects without permission. Mind the symbolic signs of warning and restriction like palm fronds, woven balls and branch signs

Regard for extended families is the rule; numerous relations, dependants or clansmen are treated as brothers/sisters

The feelings of family/village/clan/and ethnic unity are an important social factor

Bargaining is a customary and a social process Check prices before buying and make friends while doing so; local markets or street buying are cheaper than shops but check the quality of the items

Always negotiate price before using any service

It is customary to give a small dash for rendered assistance or service

Allow for African time and unplanned delays; make use of the opportunity to get to know people and things, which might not be there the next time around

Ignore unnecessary demands for money etc.; if necessary, deal directly with the boss

 

Ibibio Language:

A few simple words and phrases in Ibibio language can evoke a better response. This is a tonal language and the correct pitch and stress are vital in differentiating seemingly identical words.

 

Words of address are:

Ete - for Sir;

Mma - for Madam;

Afo - for a junior person;

Da - for a person of equal in age and status (among males)

 

Greetings:

Emedi - Welcome!

Mmokom - ooo (plural);

Mmokom -fi (singular) - I greet you!

Song idem - Be well!

Idemfo-o - How are you? (Response: Idiokke = Not bad); Ete?/Mma?/Annie?/Ndito? - How is/are Sir/Madam/he or she/the children? (Answer: mmoro/ mmodo = they are fine);

Mbok - Please;

So songo (eti-eti) - Thank you (very much)

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