Friday, July 25, 2008

Can I survive in Nigeria?

Okay, I have to post this quick, before my Internet dies again! The next couple of posts are my responses to some questions that a reader asked. These are my own experiences, so please feel free to make your own contributions. Thanks!

Question: Can I survive on my own in Nigeria? I have my parents but basically I need to know what I am up against in case anything happens?

Reply: Yes, I believe you can survive on your own in Nigeria. The trick is to get acquainted with the system. Identify the challenges and take them on. For example, accommodation is a major challenge for most Nigerians. Here, landlords require one or two year’s payment upfront, so you should save up and plan where you will live before you arrive. If you prefer, you might want to start off by staying with folks, friends or family and then get your own place when you’re more comfortable with the terrain or have saved up enough money.

It might take a while to find a good place that is available and within your budget. We own a place in Lagos, but we had to look for one in Abuja and that took a couple of months. On the other hand, it took my colleague a week to find a place. Be wary of the agents (you kind of have to use them to find or rent out apartments). Even if the agent came highly referred, don’t give them cash in advance! Big no no. I know two friends who got swiped by agents who came referred. Only when you’re ready to sign the agreement should money change hands.

Plan for transportation because mobility can speed up or slow down your settling down process. If you’re going to do public transport, get familiar with the routes quickly. If you have a car you want to ship down, find out if the spare parts are available in Nigeria. Mechanics are keeping up with the times and they have diagnostic equipment to handle the newer car models.

It seems like cars are more expensive here in Nigeria than in the states, but by the time you add the cost of shipping a car down and customs clearance, the cost evens out. In the States, with technology like Carfax you can get the lowdown on a car’s history. With vehicles shipped into the country you just never know. Most people still buy cars cash down but Nigerian banks and automobile sellers now offer car loans to those who have good regular incomes.


  1. I only recently learned that you have to have the rent for a year or two upfront...I guess for those buying houses in North America it's sort of like having a downpayment ready before you can buy a place.

    This site is such a great resource!

    (I hope your internet gets fixed soon.)

  2. all the things u mentioned are important but how abt finding a good job? I know one probably wont get a job with same salary as in the US but at least one that will provide the necessities and maybe a few luxuries.

    I will like to at least have a job offer b4 I up and leave and I am definitely bringing my car.

  3. U do not know how useful u're blog is... or maybe u do , but thank u for all the info. I'm moving home in december, and as time is drawing closer , i'm having cold feet ...

  4. once again.. v u are doingit.. yay super excited mwah love ya its the younger one

  5. great advice!!!!!!!!
    transportation is so important!!!!!!

  6. -goodnaijagirl, yes for years, I've wondered where landlord's expect peeps to find that kind of money. Glad u find the blog useful:)
    -Iwalewa, the next post is going to be on finding a good job, when do you plan on leaving?
    -F&P-thanks hon:)
    -Nigerican, glad to be of help! why r u having cold feet? Pls feel free to leave questions and I'll do my best to find answers.
    -anon-love ya younger one ;)
    -ibiluv-I also found that transportation is a big chunk of one's budget!!

  7. I love reading ya blog and learnin stuffs about NAIJA. Great job by the way.

  8. very informative. transportation is key in naija. KEY

  9. good luck ...wish you the very best!!!

  10. It is kinda of difficult but no where in this world is a bed of roses, some of us that have the opportunity of living both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria will probably understand this better

    While the standard of living is better in developed countries like US and UK, they have other problems which we don't have here in Nigeria, all in all, I still think Nigeria still have a very long way to go, Oyibo will recognise a problem and try to fix it, Nigerian man will ignore it as if nothing is happening