4 Funny Words Nigerians Say To Get The Best Deals In Lagos Markets


 Agboju Market, Mile-2, Lagos

One of the major life hacks when it comes to living in Lagos is understanding what to say and when to say it.

People who have stayed here over a long period of time and have encountered deep trouble or even mild situations will emphasize on the power of words. Doesn’t mean it will work every time though, but a Lagosian should always try.

Living in Lagos, you’ll find out that most times you have to go shopping – and we mean shopping in local markets and the likes. For days like these, you have to channel your inner alter ego to be able to speak and communicate with a market woman to avoid being cheated, and generally get a good buy.

Here are four words you must update your market dictionary with to be able to get things easier and cheaper.


  • Lagos Market (Illustration)

1. Customer

In plain English, customer means someone who’s buying or paying for a good or service but in Nigerian terms, you are a customer and the seller is a customer too. It is normally used to denote that we are buying from each other kinda. So when you go to see a Lagos market woman, the first thing you do is say “customer customer” which is like hailing her for her to know that you come to her shop regularly even though in most cases, you don’t. If you can, indulge in a little small talk too asking how market and all. And again, bring up the customer thing when she calls the price. For instance,

“The cloth is 800 per yard”

“Customer customer. Ahn ahn, na so e take be”

If she’s really trying to sell, she may bring down the price. But some rude market women will just tell you to go away.

2. Jale

Now if after your supposed customer chases you away and you walk around the market to find out that hers is the cheapest, you can come back and ask “E lo ni jale” which is like “How much is the last price?”. That’s how they know the ones that have the money and the ones that don’t. People who have money hardly ask for “jale”. They just bring out money and pay. Alternatively, if the jale doesn’t meet your power, you can feign walking away and see if they’ll call you back. If they don’t, sorry

3. Fisi/Jara/Epo

This slang is very common for people who buy food stuff like rice, tomatoes, garri and the likes. After hailing your customer and you guys must have deliberated on the price, you ask for “jara/fisi/epo” which all mean the same thing – extra in the case. So she may put half a cup of rice or an extra tomato and you smile away with your buy happily. You cannot ask for jara on a cloth oh, or a phone or something like that.

4. E ba mi ta

“E ba mi ta” is the Yoruba word for help me and sell which is like a plea to the market woman for her to agree to sell the product to you. Normally, they (the market women) may say “E ba mi ra” which is them begging you to help them buy too. If your plea gets close to their heart, they may just give you a good price and all.


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