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 2021 Cost of Living Survey ranks the city 19th out of 209 cities, which makes its cost of living comparable to London and Moscow.

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 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 May 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 250,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 80,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 45,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 30,000

Shopping and groceries

Milk (1 litre)

NGN 1,400

Chicken breast (1kg)

NGN 2,000

Dozen eggs

NGN 790

Loaf of white bread 

NGN 510

Rice (1kg)

NGN 1,140

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NGN 400


City-centre public transport

NGN 300

Taxi rate per km

NGN 725

Petrol (per litre)

NGN 165

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NGN 2,500

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

NGN 150


NGN 1,000

Local beer (500ml)

NGN 400

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

NGN 15,000


Mobile call rate (per minute)

NGN 20

Internet (per month)

NGN 20,000

Basic utilities (per month for standard household)

NGN 11,000