28 April 2008

Moving to Nigeria - What to know and do (Part 2)

In the last edition, I shared my experience on 'Moving to Nigeria - what to know and do'. The post is to give a factual view of my experience so far with respect to returning to settle in Nigeria. The strategy behind this post is to assist those who are planning to move to Nigeria and do not know where to start.

There are many stories around about the futility of trying to move and the impossibility of living in the country. Of course there are challenges; probably at every corner in Nigeria. The beauty however is that you do feel some sense of achievement for each hurdle you overcome.

Some have taken the view that moving to Nigeria is for those who have acquired a lot of money from abroad and can afford to splash out. Whilst this may be true for some people, I know and have met an increasing number of people who applied for and got a job in Nigeria from their bases in Europe and in North America. Some were headhunted and provided with the means to settle in Nigeria by their new employer

At a job fair organised by Jobs in Nigeria Exhibition (www. jinexpo.com) which I was invited to attend in England less than three weeks ago, nearly all the people present were under 23. Some of them have just graduated and a good number are graduating in June 2008. These are hardly people who have acquired wealth abroad. The gist here is that there are different experiences and routes to moving back home, this series is to assist with your settling experience whichever you take.

In this edition, I have identified some other things to know and do if you fancy moving to Nigeria. Please keep your comments coming and share your experiences too. Thank you.

8. Containing Malaria - The threat of malaria is a clear and present danger. This however can be contained by adopting some basic steps. Because malaria is transferred by mosquitoes, the challenge is to reduce your exposure.

  • The most important is to get mosquito nets. This will ensure no mosquito can feast on you at your most vulnerable state. Buy ‘impregnated nets’ which have been treated with insecticides and therefore serve a dual function of not only protecting you but also allegedly kills mosquitoes on impact. Travelpharm.com sells double nets for £29.99
  • Keep a bottle of insect repellant lotion or spray in hand especially when outdoors and apply to exposed part of your body every few hours. The non-sticky lotion in my opinion is better than the spray.
  • Fumigate your home at least once a quarter. Include the surroundings and drains. This is an effective means of containing mosquitoes and other 'stake-holding pretenders' such as mice and wall geckos (omo onile). From my personal experience, I have found that once this exercise is carried out; there is true relief from mosquitoes for a few months. Ensure that the house is thoroughly flushed and aerated before attempting to sleep in after fumigation.
  • Get your windows and the kitchen door netted.
  • Always shut the door.
  • In the likely event that you develop malaria; contact a doctor quickly, don’t rely on your past knowledge to self-medicate. Only combination drugs can effectively treat today’s new and improved version of malaria.

I have taken the time to write on preventing malaria because of the devastating effect of ignoring this scourge.

9. You need a generator – electricity supply is erratic. Apart from Aso Rock and the Governors’ mansions, practically everyone else needs a generator to augment the national grid. Until recently, I did not know that air conditioners are expressed in horse power and generators in KVA. Now I feel confident enough to give advice on this.

  • A simple 5 or 6 KVA petrol generator will carry your fridge, freezer, lights and a 1.5 horsepower air-conditioner. If you switch on any of the following - iron, water heater, electric cooker, microwave or kettle in addition, the generator will almost certainly rebel.
  • Petrol generators have a scattered annoying noise.
  • To be able to carry all your household appliances including up to 7 air conditioners, iron, microwave, water heater at the same time, you will need at least a 27KVA diesel generator.
  • 27KVA sound proof generators retail for between 1.5 to 2 million Naira. 'Cummins', 'CAT' and 'Perkins' brand are well regarded although you will need to check for fakes.
  • If you can, get a sound proof generator, your quality of life will be hugely improved.
  • The more appliances you have on, the faster the fuel consumption, so switch off any air conditioner or appliances not in use.

I am planning to buy an ‘Inverter’ which according to a friend can equally do the job without the noise and the fuel cost, howbeit, may not power air conditioners.

10. Internet Access – Most of the major telecoms operators also offer Internet services. Although most claim they offer broadband services, I have however not found any that gives anywhere near the speed of what obtains in Europe and North America.

Internet Service is horrendously expensive. A 24hour, 300kbs EVDO ‘broadband’ service averages 15,000 Naira (£65 / $130) per month. Visafone charges 15,000 Naira for their Gold Service whilst Starcomms EVDO card is 15,595 Naira.

11. Where to live - This is a matter of choice. Many returnees however prefer housing estates because of security reasons. The most popular on the Mainland are Ogudu GRA, Magodo GRA, Omole Phase 1 and 2 and Ikeja GRA.

On the Island, the desirable areas are Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki Phase 1, Femi Okunu, Northern Foreshore, Goshen Estate, and Victoria Garden City (VGC). Apart from Ikoyi and Victoria Island, the rest of these Island estates are on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

It appears that many returnees prefer to live on the Island because the shops, the good restaurants, and the cinemas are there. The Lekki axis is also geographically nearer to Victoria Island which has metamorphosed from a purely residential precinct to the Wall Street of Nigeria.
The downside to the Lekki axis is the very bad traffic. The reason being that the route is served by only one major road to which all of the estates along the route empty its people morning, noon and night. So whilst Lekki is nearer to the business district of VI, it often take hours to travel to and from work.

The minimum rent for a four bedroom house in Magodo GRA, Omole Phase 1 and 2, Ogudu GRA, Femi Okunu and Nothern Foreshore is 1.2 million Naira per year. Lekki Phase 1 and Goshen Estate are in the reange of 2.5 million per year. Ikeja GRA, Victoria Island will hover around the 4 million Naira mark. Ikoyi and VGC may well be around 5-6 million Naira per year. Standard deposit is 2 years plus 10% for other costs.

There are probably other good locations scattered around the city which may be better than those described, PostCardfromLagos will welcome your suggestions and comments.

12. Newspapers
The most popular dailies are ‘Guardian’, ‘Punch’, and ‘This Day.’ This Day’ is particularly popular on Sundays because of its colourful ‘Style magazine. Simon Kolawole’s articles on the back page of Sunday’s ‘This Day’ are passionate and relevant.

‘The Punch’ claims to be the most widely read Nigerian newspapers and at 100 Naira is cheaper than ‘This Day’ and ‘The Guardian’.

‘The Guardian’ has good editorials and is neatly laid out.

Watch out for Part 3 – coming soon PostcardfromLagos


Anonymous said...

play a game to send a net for free to struggle malaria:


P.S: Note that Funds will be released for nets up to $200,000

Anonymous said...

hey am planning a trip to visit friends in ikeja ...i just was lucky to find your blog .....have read parts 1 and 2 cant wait for the 3rd thanx heaps plenty of useful information and of course a bit more of how it all works kat

Anonymous said...

whats up dude

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog, lots of useful information. I find myself waiting eagarly for the next installment. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I made the move last year Feb and i have not regreted it one bit, i started off running a small business selling phone cards as a dealer from 6 outlets and employing 20 staff, the challenges were great initially particularly dealing with dishonesty among a small percentage of staff but gradually i have been able to set up effective controls and also reorientate my workers generally and coupled with my HR practises which places the total welfare of my staff at the top, they now see me as first among equals as opposed to a boss barking down orders.
My business is now runing effectively without me present on a daily basis, this has now freed me to pick up a job paying me in excess of $180,000 plus other benefits as Head of Strategic plannin and Corporate governance in a big company in Lagos. I start the Job In July when i get back from England and by the grace of God my family will join me summer next year.
I made the move at the age of 39 last year after 17 years in UK and the major ingredients you need as the good Rev. said is determination, doggedness and perseverance. You don't need tons of money to relocate far from it and i am a good example of that.

Anonymous said...

This is really helpful, thanks. I'll put a link on my blog.

Ishe Oluwa o le baje is my everyday rhema!

Anonymous said...

This is such a brillant idea. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Your narrative is clear and unbiased.


Babawilly said...

Hi, very good this. Put a link on Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum as many potential visitors to Nigeria go there. I put bits of my pidgin Dictionary there and have had quite a few views.

Anonymous said...

Wow this was very interesting. Ok now this may sound like a really silly question, but from what you've said the island sounds quite nice. My fiance's famliy lives in Abuja. I know NOTHING of Nigerian geography, so is this anywhere near the same area, or am I way off?

Also, do you really have to do through so much with protecting against malaria? I guess it makes sense. Normally when I am traveling in areas where malaria is prevelant I take precausions, but this is normally like a couple weeks to a month. I've never thought of constantly thinking of preventing malaria. Are there certain vaccinations that a person living there might take. I know normally when its for a visit we do larium tablets.

I'm really enjoying reading your blog. I know my comments are very old. lol. But I just found this today! I love it though. I was telling my mother about it. We've been reading so much about Nigeria, since I know that I soon will be living there. It sounds like such a facinating country, and I'm so excited. Thanks so much for your wealth of knowledge. It is very difficult to find info like this!

Postcard from Lagos said...

Hi Tiffany

Great to read from you.

1. Abuja is roughly 8 hours away from Victoria Island in Lagos. However it a purpose-built city so it is relatively well planned and beautiful. I'm sure you will like it.

2.I know of no vaccination against malaria. If you dont get bit, you cant get malaria, so what I advise is to take any precautions against getting mosquito bites. I still use a mosquito net each night to sleep.



Anonymous said...

Gbenga very good blog. I am now seriously thinking of relocating to Nigeria but I want to visit two more times this year before moving. I may appear cautious but its because once I make the move my attitude is there is no point of return meaning Nigeria is make or break for me. I plan to start looking for a job next year once i have finished a few things here in the UK. What is your advice regarding this fact finding approach and also what is the job market like considering the economic climate worldwide.

One of the posters above made a good comment its nver too late and you dont need tons of money. Good blog and i also find yoour articles on NVS very informative and interesting.