Expats moving to Nigeria are often shocked when they find out how high the country's cost of living is. The most expensive city in Nigeria is Lagos, and Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living Survey ranks the city 55th out of 209 cities, which makes its cost of living comparable to Luxembourg and Sydney.

Fortunately, foreigners working in the city often insist on and are afforded an employment contract that finances accommodation, health insurance, a driver and car, and education. If these points aren’t covered, then an appropriately inflated salary should be negotiated.


Cost of accommodation in Lagos

Accommodation in Lagos has not kept up with the city’s rapid development. Demand is high and accommodation can be hard to come by and extremely expensive. There are only a handful of suburbs in Lagos that offer expats a reasonable quality of life in terms of accommodation, amenities and convenience. Most expats living in Lagos reside on Victoria Island, and in Ikoyi, Apapa and Ikeja.

The majority of rental contracts are only available on a two-year lease. It's also not uncommon for the landlord to require the total amount be paid upfront, rather than in monthly instalments. Luckily, housing is usually provided as part of most expat workers’ relocation packages.

Expats who have only been allocated an accommodation allowance should make sure the amount promised is enough to secure appropriate housing in Lagos.


Cost of transport in Lagos

Transport in Lagos is relatively affordable. The most common forms of public transport in Lagos include taxis, buses and motorbike taxis. Sadly, despite improvements over the years, most forms of public transport are still quite unsafe or unreliable due to poorly maintained vehicles and reckless drivers.

Most expats would rather opt to have their own car, often with a personal driver. This is usually also offered as part of their employment package.


Cost of schooling in Lagos

With public schooling not being up to the standards most foreigners are used to, expat children usually attend international schools in Lagos.

Expats should be fully aware that education at international schools is extremely pricey. Expats moving to Lagos with children should stipulate subsidies and allowances for education when negotiating their employment contract.


Cost of shopping in Lagos

As is the case in most developing countries, the cost for Western food and clothes is much more expensive in Lagos than one would be used to. Western groceries and clothing brands are often overpriced.

Expats will find that shopping locally is much cheaper than shopping in one of the modern malls that have emerged in recent years. Reasonable prices for local produce can be found at the markets in Lagos. Buying material and having clothes made by a local tailor will also make buying clothing more budget-friendly.


Cost of living in Lagos chart

Prices may vary across Nigeria, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Lagos in January 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NGN 2,300,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NGN 1,100,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NGN 700,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NGN 340,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

NGN 1,200

Milk (1 litre)

NGN 1,200

Rice (1kg)

NGN 1,260

Loaf of white bread

NGN 620

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NGN 4,400

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NGN 520

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

NGN 20,000

Big Mac meal

NGN 7,800

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NGN 182

Cappuccino

NGN 1,530

Bottle of beer (local)

NGN 840

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NGN 18

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NGN 12,000

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

NGN 41,000

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

NGN 1,000

City-centre public transport fare

NGN 400

Gasoline (per litre)

NGN 168