Prank Culture in Nigeria: a Balance between Entertainment and Social Menace

Before anyone asks, “Why this topic?”, here’s the answer. It was a quiet day when news surfaced that Abdullahi Maruf Adisa, also known as Trinity Guy, was in police custody. This news came shortly after CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force expressed his displeasure in the prankster’s immoral pranks. Typical of TwitterNG, different opinions trailed the news. And, while we leave the public to determine whose side they are on, the event served us the opportunity to talk about prank culture in Nigeria.

The people called for regulation in the comedy industry. One would wonder if there weren’t more severe problems that needed police attention than a young man trying to make people laugh. But, the severity of Trinity Guy’s alleged child exploitation prank couldn’t be overlooked.

Prank culture in Nigeria

Prank Culture in Nigeria

Though it might be impossible to ascertain the originator of pranks in Nigeria, the art is not new to us. Which is also referred to as ‘cruise’. It has to be why many of us grow up having trust issues, and April Fool’s Day is celebrated among Nigerians. You need thick skin living in Nigeria because everyone is here to get under your skin.

Unlike other forms of comedy, pranks thrive on the action of the prankster and the ignorance of the victim for effect. The popularity of this comedy owes to its simplicity and spontaneous impact. You don’t even require much to play pranks, just a sense of mischief, your victim, and people to react.

Thanks to social media today, the popularity of pranks in Nigeria has grown. Now we see pranksters with hidden cameras playing tricks on unsuspecting people. The man asking you for 100 Naira might be a prankster, so I advise you to give him all you have (lol).

On a serious note though, while pranks have been the bread and butter for content creators, the growth of this art also comes with concerns. And that brings us to the question: should pranks be encouraged? Whether or not it should be encouraged, consider these points before you choose a side:

●     Prank as a Social Experiment

The popular Yoruba saying: ‘We get to know the truth in times of leisure’ comes in handy when you consider the themes of some pranks. From the relationships test, to a survey of people’s integrity, compassion, and reactions to other salient issues in our society. Maybe we won’t get to see the pleasant nature of Nigerians without these prank videos.

 Pranks have played a pivotal role in understanding human behavior and depicting both the good and not-so-good aspects of the country.

●    Prank as Comic Relief

The thought of life in Nigeria is enough to give anyone a headache. While the government is ‘hitting the ground running’ with its sometimes atrocious policies, life is showing us one “shege” or the other. We need something to keep ourselves entertained.

Pranks are thus a branch of comedy that help people through the chaos. This is why the industry keeps growing and more creators are emerging. Some of these pranks even come with rewards that have put smiles on many faces. 

●    When Fun Stops Being Funny

The daring attitude of pranksters to provide us with content in the face of risks is commendable. But, the attitude sometimes pushes them to produce dangerous videos to keep their followers engaged. Some prank content are capable of enhancing stereotypes, health hazards, exploitation, and dehumanization of people. Especially women and children who are mostly victims of prank videos.

The insensitivity of some prank content leaves much to desire which is why internet users in the country are calling for its regulation. Social media platforms and viewers are also guilty of promoting content that defies the sanctity of society.

●    Is anything Real on this Obasanjo Street?

It’s hard to find anything original on social media. Comedians now make skits and pranksters are playing to a script, especially for their extreme videos. Don’t be surprised that the ignorance of the ‘victims’ only depends on how good they are as actors.

Acting became a problem because Trinity Guy didn’t consider the delicacy involved in featuring an underage in a movie scene. The problem is not to have child actors, but it comes with laws protecting them. I hope other pranksters will learn that the earlier you treat a prank like a movie and do your due diligence, the better.


My most memorable experience with pranks on media was with MTV Base Friday Show. It was interesting to see music artists act like ordinary people behind the ‘camera.’ Over the years, pranks have taken up a more serious role in entertaining people and showing different aspects of society. From days when Zfancy used to drink water in a bottle of Hypo in social gatherings. To now that you’ll lose count of social media pranksters, it’s been a long way coming for the industry. 

However, it is crucial to strike a balance between having fun and ensuring responsible conduct. By understanding societal perceptions, and promoting ethical guidelines, Nigerian pranksters can contribute to an entertaining and thought-provoking landscape. While ensuring a positive impact on society. Viewers also have the responsibility to report harmful content to the right authorities.

Taoheed Olayiwola

Hi, I'm Taoheed Olayiwola. Like Hilda Baci, I 'cook' for a living. Unlike the record breaker, the aroma of my meals can be seen -not perceived- in my captivating and educative content. Keep a close tab on my writing space to enjoy an immersive reading experience.