Trenches, Sapa and 5 Other Famous Street Slangs Nigerians Use to Express Their Sufferings

Trenches, Sapa and 5 Other Famous Street Slangs Nigerians Use to Express Their Sufferings

  • The impact of Nigerian pop culture is none more visible but in their creative ways of coining sleek street slangs to express some of their most baring pains
  • Nigerians are some of the happiest people on earth; even amidst tough times, they have found less aggressive ways to express their sufferings
  • Slangs like Sapa, Trenches and Otilo are a few popular slangs that have become synonymous with how Nigerians express their pains and struggles

Nigerians know how to make themselves happy no matter the situation. They've mastered the act of smiling and suffering.

Amidst the global economic whirlwind between 2019-2022, Nigeria has suffered double-digit inflation and fell into recession twice. However, Nigerians have soldiered on using creative slangs in that period to express their pains.

Photos of Davido and Portable makes a shortlist of the seven most popular street slangs Nigerians use. Photocredit:@davido/@portablebaeby
Source: Instagram

Gone are the days when catchy phrases like 'all guys are ballers' were prevalent.

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1. Sapa:

The word Sapa means a serious lack of purchasing power. Or it could also be defined as a state of being broke. It also means poverty. The origin of this word can't be specified, but it has now become a generally accepted way to express the state of being broke or financially bankrupt.

It can be used in sentences like this:

"Sapa they smell for my body."
"Sapa don dey carry me go where I no know."

2. Shege:

The term Shege is not particularly a new slang, but it has become prevalent much more lately.

The term has its origin in the Hausa language. It is usually used to express the state of a person going through tough times or challenging situations.

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You would hear people use it in conversations like this:

"My eyes don see Shege."

See another example

"That guy they go through Shege."

3. God Abeg o, who go help o:

The statement is a plea for help or forgiveness from God and loved ones. It is two separate statements put together.

The controversial singer Portable popularised this catchphrase after a skit video of him singing it went viral.

It is mostly used as a sentence of its own. See an example of its use below:

God abeg o I no wan see shege

4. Trenches:

The statement Trenches is used to refer to a ghetto or an environment below the basic human living standard. It is also used to describe a state of mind.

Trenches could be said to have metamorphosed from the word trench, which means a ditch dug as a fortification having a parapet of the excavated earth.

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However, it is believed that the origin of the term can be traced to the Hollywood movie Aquaman, to a place where no one love going to in the oceanic world.

See a sample of how Trenches can be used in a sentence:

"That guy an trenches he dey live."

5. Japa:

The slang Japa refers to when a person wants to travel out of Nigeria or has already left the country.

It is a Yoruba term with two syllables, Ja, which means run or break. At the same time, Pa is meant to intensify the Ja.

This slang is so popular on social media now that the US ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, during a recent outing, asked Nigerians present at the event what the term means.

See how it is used in a statement below:

"Omo I don japa o."

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Another example:

"My guy don japa comot for Naija o."

6. E Choke:

The phrase E Choke is a brainchild of the popular musician Davido. This slang is probably the only one on this list that cuts across the divide between success and hardship.

When the singer first popularised it, it was used to express that when a person's success is visible and loud, it feels like a form of oppression.

But now, it is used to express being in a very tight and bad situation.

7. I wanna be a mechanic; I don't wanna be a baller:

This slang started on TikTok, where random people have resorted to manifesting a baller's lifestyle and running away from the ways of a mechanic.

It's used just the way it is written.

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Meanwhile, recalls doing a comprehensive breakdown of the six new wives of the Ooni of Ife.

Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) is one of the first-class monarchs of the Yoruba nation and the Arole of the Oduduwa empire. He is one of the most talked about traditional rulers in Nigeria at the moment, owing mostly to his humanitarian works.

His marriage to Anako came nine months after he and his ex-wife Princess Naomi Silekunola had parted ways. However, they share a son, Prince Tadenikawo.


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