Cost of Living in Nigeria

Underestimating the high cost of living in Nigeria is one of the worst relocation mistakes an expat can make.

Expats with little knowledge of this West African country may be quick to assume life in Lagos or Abuja is provincial and therefore affordable. In actuality, Nigeria’s two largest urban centres are ranked as two of the most expensive expat destinations in the world.

Rural areas and smaller urban centres in Nigeria levy a far less expensive lease on life, but the majority of expats are concentrated in these two aforementioned locales, if not in one of the oil-rich and isolated southern Niger Delta states.

Many may wonder how an African country often reprimanded for its high levels of poverty, crime and corruption, can beat out global powerhouses like Berlin and Barcelona in cost of living calculations. The answers lie in the oil boom of the 1970s, which allowed economic expansion and population growth to explode and mushroom. As a result, private investment in luxuries and amenities catering for businesses and foreigners skyrocketed and prices followed.

Cost of housing in Nigeria

The cost of accommodation in Nigeria is indiscriminately high; but, in most cases, hiring companies will not only find and secure housing for their expatriate staff, but they will also foot the bill.

In fact, many foreign companies have purchased or sub-let large quantities of housing in areas that have become known as expat enclaves, and are thus easily prepared to make the necessary home arrangements.

Additionally, due to Nigeria’s peaking crime rates and devastatingly unreliable electricity supply, expats will also need to prepare to account for security costs and extra facility (generator) costs.  

Cost of transport in Nigeria

Much like accommodation, the cost of driving and getting around in Nigeria can also levy some unexpected fees. Most expats prefer to hire a driver to negotiate the treacherous traffic and legendary gridlock that besieges roadways that are far below standard.

Thus, this individual’s monthly salary must be tacked onto the normal costs associated with transport (car payments, petrol and car insurance). Nevertheless, employers often will subsidise these costs.

Taking public transport in Nigeria is not an option; the ramshackle buses and improvisational motorbike taxis (okadas) are often not roadworthy and are risky.

Cost of education in Nigeria

For those moving to Nigeria with children, the cost of sending them to a private international school (the local institutions will not be an option for expats) is also high; in some cases rivalling the cost of fees associated with universities. 

Cost of living in Nigeria chart 

Prices may vary across Nigeria, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Nigerian Naira for Lagos in December 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rent in expat area)

Furnished two-bedroom apartment

NGN 850,000

Furnished two-bedroom villa

NGN 1,500,000

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

NGN 700

Cheese (500g)

NGN 1,500

Eggs (12)

NGN 600

White bread 

NGN 340

Rice (1kg)

NGN 390

1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NGN 470

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

NGN 200

Taxi rate per kilometre

NGN 300

Petrol (per litre)

NGN 145

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NGN 2,000

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

NGN 140


NGN 900

Bottle of beer

NGN 600

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

NGN 10,000


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (one minute)

NGN 35

Internet (per month)

NGN 12,000

Basic utilities (gas, electricity etc., average per month for standard household)

NGN 35,000