Nigerian Proverbs

By | December 18, 2013

Sayings of Nigerian origin

You know who you love, but you can’t know who loves you.

You can’t use your hand to force the sun to set.

You cannot compare the living with the dead.

When the right hand washes the left hand and the left hand washes the right hand, both hands become clean.

When the music changes, so does the dance.

When the mouse laughs at the cat there is a hole nearby.

What the child says, he has heard at home.

What is sensible today may be derangement at another time.

What an old man sees while lying down, a young man can never see even when he climbs up in a tree.

Water may cover the footprint on the ground but it does not cover the words of the mouth.

Until lions have their own historians, accounts of the hunt will always celebrate the hunter.

The only insurance against fire is to have two houses.

The one being carried does not realize how far away the town is.

The mouth that eats pepper is the one that the pepper influences.

The man that won’t marry a woman with other admirers won’t marry a woman at all.

The hunter does not rub himself in oil and lie by the fire to sleep.

The house roof fights the rain, but he who is sheltered ignores it.

The frog does not jump in the daytime without reason.

The disobedient fowl obeys in a pot of soup.

The death that will kill a man begins as an appetite.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria Flag and Map

Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. There are over 500 ethnic groups in Nigeria, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. English is The official language of Nigeria. (An excerpt from Wikipedia)

More Proverbs and Sayings of Nigerian origin

The day on which one starts out is not the time to start one’s preparations.

The child of an elephant will not be a dwarf.

That which brings misfortune is not big.

Success is 10% ability, and 90% sweat.

Someone else’s legs are no good to you when you’re travelling.

Some birds avoid the water, ducks look for it.

Seeing is better than hearing.

Rain does not make friends with anybody — it falls on any person it meets outside.

Profit is profit even in Mecca.

People in trouble remember God.

Overabundance is not far from want.

Only the thing for which you have struggled will last.

Only a mother would carry the child that bites.

One who has been bitten by a snake lives in fear of worms.

One pebble doesn’t make a floor.

One goat cannot carry another goat’s tail.

One cry of “Thief!” and the whole marketplace is on the lookout.

Now the marriage begins, says the woman who has been beaten with thorns.

Not to oversee workmen, is to leave your purse open.

Not to know is bad; not to want to know is worse.

No sane person sharpens his machete to cut a banana tree.

No matter how dark it is, the hand always knows the way to the mouth.

Mud houses don’t burn.

More than one mother can make tasty soup.

Money kills more than do weapons.

Midday sun is the remedy for a cold.

Meat does not eat meat.

Marriage is like a groundnut, you have to crack it to see what is inside.

Man is like pepper — you only know him when you’ve ground him.

Let’s fight, let’s fight, no one knows whom fighting would favor.

Lending is the firstborn of poverty.

It takes all sorts to make a world.

It takes a village to raise a child.

It is the woman whose child has been eaten by a witch who best knows the evils of witchcraft.

It is the first step that is difficult.

It is the fear of offence that makes men swallow poison.

It is more fun doing evil than putting it right.

If you want to give a sick man medicine, let him first be really ill — so that he can see how well the medicine works.

If you rise too early, the dew will wet you.

If you put a razor in your mouth, you will spit blood.

If you have run out of gunpowder, use your gun as a club.

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, if you teach him to fish; you feed him for a lifetime.

If you fill your mouth with a razor, you will spit blood.

If you fail to take away a strong man’s sword when he is on the ground, will you do it when he gets up?

If you can’t dance well, you’d better not get up.

If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness.

If the stomachache were in the foot, one would go lame.

If the owner of the goat is not afraid to travel by night, the owner of a hyena certainly will not be.

If the bull would throw you, lie down.

If death be terrible, the fault is not in death, but thee.

If crocodiles eat their own eggs, what would they do to the flesh of a frog?

If all seeds that fall were to grow, then no one could follow the path under the trees.

If a monkey is amongst dogs, why won’t it start barking?

If a blind man says, “Let’s throw stones,” be assured that he has stepped on one.

Hyenas are caught with stinking bait.

Hurrying and worrying are not the same as strength.

However poor the elephant, it will be worth more than ten frogs.

However hard a thing is thrown into the air, it always falls to the ground.

Horns do not grow before the head.

Hold a true friend with both your hands.

He, who wishes to barter, does not like his belongings.

He who runs from the white ant may stumble upon the stinging ant.

He who marries a beauty marries trouble.

He who lives in the attic knows where the roof leaks.

He who is sick will not refuse medicine.

He who does not mend his clothes will soon have none.

He who does not lose his way by night will not lose his way by day.

He who boasts much can do little.

Guilt is like the footprint of a hippopotamus.

Grass does not grow on the nose of a thief.

Give me a push from my back, does not mean give me a hunchback.

From the well of envy, only a fool drinks the water.

Fowls will not spare a cockroach that falls in their mist.

Fishing without a net is just bathing.

Fire has no brother.

Fine words do not produce food.

Familiarity breeds contempt; distance breeds respect.

Evil knows where evil sleeps.

Every kind of love is love, but self-love is supreme among them.

Every fault is laid at the door of the hyena, but it does not steal a bale of cloth.

Even in Mecca people make money.

Earth is the queen of beds.

Choose your neighbors before you buy your house.

Choose your fellow traveler before you start on your journey.

Children of the same mother do not always agree.

Black goats must be caught early, before it gets dark.

Birth is the only remedy against death.

Being happy is better than being king.

Being happy in one’s home is better than being a chief.

Before firing, you must take aim.

Ashes fly back into the face of him who throws them.

As long as you stay in a group, the lion will stay hungry.

An old man is there to talk.

Although the snake does not fly it has caught the bird whose home is in the sky.

Allah preserve us from “If only I’d known!” .

Allah made the silk-cotton tree beautiful, so let the fig tree cease being angry.

All is never said.

Accomplishment of purpose is better than making a profit.

Abundance will make cotton pull a stone.

A woman who has not been twice married cannot know what a perfect marriage is.

A wealthy man will always have followers.

A tree is known by its fruit.

A tree is best measured when it’s down.

A tree does not move unless there is wind.

A traveler to distant places should make no enemies.

A smiling face dispels unhappiness.

A rat is not born a rabbit.

A pig that is used to wallowing in the mud looks for a clean person to rub against.

A person is a guest for one or two days, but becomes an intruder on the third.

A person always breaking off from work never finishes anything.

A mother is gold, a father is a mirror.

A man does not wander far from where his corn is roasting.

A hunter who has only one arrow does not shoot with careless aim.

A friendly person is never a good-for-nothing.

A fowl does not forget where it lays its eggs.

The national anthem of Nigeria

Nigerian National Anthem ( English Lyrics):

Arise, O compatriots
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom
Peace and unity.

Oh God of creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.

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