Moving to Nigeria
In truth, very few foreigners relish the prospect of moving to Nigeria. Expats are normally posted to Nigeria under some form of career duress or strong financial enticement, with their family joining out of necessity.
The mining and oil sectors are the largest employers of expats in Nigeria, while many foreigners are also employed in the banking, telecommunications and construction industries. The most popular destinations are the capital, Abuja, and the major commercial centre of Lagos. Nigeria’s more isolated, oil-rich Niger Delta region also attracts many foreign workers.
There is no doubt that Nigeria has a dubious reputation when it comes to safety, with persistent reports of crime, corruption and kidnapping in the press, and endlessly inventive 419 advance fee scams.
Nevertheless, attempts are being made to give Africa’s most populous country, and one of its most significant economies, a face lift for the future, and expats moving to Nigeria may find themselves pleasantly surprised by a few of its positive realities. The Nigerian people, for one, are famously hospitable and friendly; and the diversity of cultures makes for consistently interesting discoveries begging to be stumbled upon by the more inquisitive expat. As such, those willing to break the expat bubble may find their relocation to Nigeria a richly rewarding cultural experience.
Another frequently reported positive to expat life in Nigeria is the camaraderie and sociability of the expat community. Presuming one is living in a city such as Lagos or Abuja, there are many sports, social activities, restaurants and bars to enjoy; and expat social circles are mostly receptive to new members. However, the typical expat lifestyle in Nigeria sees many foreigners living in somewhat isolated expat enclaves, far removed from the reality of Nigerian life.
These positives are compensations for what is certainly a challenging expat destination to live and work in. Crime, pollution, congestion and a crumbling infrastructure are realities for which expats moving to Nigeria should prepare, and for which they should make sure to be financially compensated for. Comprehensive health insurance is imperative, as are allowances for accommodation, schooling and transport.