Nigerias Calling Code - How to call Nigeria

Tommy Buckley

Nigeria, often known as "the giant of Africa". Nigeria is reknowned for its diverse cuisines, languages and culture as well as its vast natural landscapes and resources. Wether you're going to visit the beautiful Nigeria or trying to get in touch with someone calling abroad can be complex, especially when you’re trying to call somewhere far away with lots of remote regions. If you’re looking to place a call to Nigeria from abroad, here are some best practices you can follow to reach your contacts, friends, and family there.

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How do I call Nigeria?

Each country has a unique calling code that’s between 1-3 digits. You’ll dial it whenever you’re calling that country to signal that you’re dialing internationally. Phone numbers in Nigeria are managed by the Nigerian Communication Commission, which is in charge of regulating the supply of telecommunication services and facilities in the country.

If you’re trying to dial into Nigeria, the international country code is:

  • +234

Are there other codes in Nigeria I need to be aware of?

There are tens of different areas codes within the country of Nigeria. The length of a phone number in Nigeria can vary even within area codes. All area codes are either 1 or 2 digits long and should precede the local phone numbers, which are between 5 and 7 digits long.

In addition to local phone area codes, Nigeria implemented mobile number portability in 2013 for all cell phones. Due to this change, all cell phones in Nigeria begin with a three-digit prefix of 070, 080, 081 or 090. When placing a call to another country while in Nigeria, the international dialing prefix code is 009.

Most common dialing codes in Nigeria

Below are some of the more commonly used area codes for major cities and regions in Nigeria:

AreaLocal Area Code in Nigeria
Port Harcourt84
Benin City52

An example of a Nigerian phone number

As mentioned before, Nigerian phone numbers consist of 5 to 7 digits with 1 or 2-digit area codes before the phone number. For example, to call the US Embassy in Central Abuja, Nigeria, the number is 234-09-461-4000.

To call that embassy from the US, you’d dial:

  • 011 - the exit code used to dial out of the US
  • 234 - the Nigeria country code
  • 09 - Abuja’s city code, where the embassy is located, but you can drop the “0” when used in the context of an international dial
  • 461-4000 - the local US Embassy number

So if you see +23494614000, you’d dial 011-234-9-461-4000 on your phone. If you’re calling from within Nigeria to another Nigeria area code, you’d dial just use the area code and local phone number, so in this case, you’d just dial 09-461-4000.

Why did my call to Nigeria not work?

Nigeria is a large country with a diverse landscape. At certain points, there may not be a large cellular infrastructure to handle international calling capabilities. If your call doesn’t go through, you can look to the following reason as likely reasons:

  • The mobile phone you’re calling is out of service or can’t get signal
  • You have an incorrect exit code or forgot to dial it before entering the phone number
  • You’ve forgotten or gotten an incorrect area code
  • You’re using a VoIP or internet phone provider that expects you to drop the prefix

If you’re still having trouble, you might have better luck using an internet-enabled option like Skype, Whatsapp, or Viber. More traditional landlines will also have a higher chance of being reliable than mobile options.

Do phone numbers in Nigeria usually have voicemail boxes?

If the person you’re calling in Nigeria isn’t available, the phone might divert to voicemail to take a message. Although, you shouldn’t expect that the person you’re calling will automatically have a voicemail. Some Nigerians are resistant to it or may not be in the practice of using voicemail.

What does the ringing tone sound like when you call Nigeria?

Personalised ring tones are quite popular in Nigeria. Nigeria’s music industry has popularised the use of ‘ringback tones’, which are songs that begin to play once a caller dials a number. When the person they’re calling answers, the music stops and the conversation can begin. So don’t be surprised if in place of a normal dial tone, you’re treated to a song when making a call to Nigeria.

Some other common tones you might hear are:

  • A dial tone - signifying the phone line is available
  • A ringing tone - signifying the phone is ringing
  • A busy tone - signifying the phone you’re calling is engaged
  • A holding tone - signifying you’re on hold
  • An unobtainable tone - signifying the person you’re trying to reach is unavailable

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International communications can be challenging, whether you’re trying to transfer money, deal with logistics, or make telephone calls to and from two different countries. Refer back to this guide for pointers on making phone calls to Nigeria.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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