~Cash handling

It is worthwhile holding varying denominations of Naira for ease of giving or receiving change e.g. N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500, and N1000 notes. Refrain from carrying excess cash in hand. At the same time, do not flash/expose so much cash when you are out in public. You can attract the wrong kind of attention and become vulnerable to theft.

 

For the men, do not put your wallets in your back pockets – even if you wear tight jeans. For women, keep your handbags closed/zipped up at all times. Do not count large amounts of money in public view – that includes even when you are in the comfort of your car. Passers by (especially some street hawkers) are constantly watching and may serve as informants for thieves ahead.  

 

 

If you are not planning to live in Nigeria, and therefore do not want to open a local bank account to deposit large cash sums, you can get a Naira Cashcard in order to save your pocket money. Cashcards are like electronic wallets that do not require account opening. The cards are available from most banks and the cost of one can range from N100 and N500. There are usually no monthly fees attached to them and they can be used for making ATM withdrawals, POS (Point of Sale i.e. like in Eateries, Cinemas and reputable Supermarkets), and internet transactions. Cash loading limits and loading fees may vary across banks.

 

When buying from street hawkers whilst you are in a moving car (this is common activity with motorists during traffic jams or ‘go-slow’), always make sure you receive the item you want to purchase before you release the cash. Also try to hold the exact amount of cash for your purchase as most times the hawker may not have change to return. In doing so, you can prepare the hawker e.g. you want to buy something of N150 but you have a N200 note. You ask the hawker if he has N50. He/she has N50-change ready and then you collect the item and the change before handing over your N200 note – You wouldn’t want to hold up cars behind you because you’re waiting to collect change, nor would you want to jump out of your car chasing a hawker who ran off with your change!

 

..xTx..

Housing/Accommodation

Before you return to Nigeria it is important that you weigh all your housing options: ‘Do I have relatives I can lodge with for a while?’ ‘Do I have a friend who could accommodate me for at least 6months?’ These are cheaper options than finding a hotel or guest house. Ideally, you want to land a job and save enough to pay 2 years rent before you consider moving out.

 

With regards house rent in Nigeria most landlords or property agents ask for an upfront payment of 1-2years rent. In some cases you can pay down for a longer period if you so wish. The good thing is that for this length of time you do not have to worry about rent. Ensure that you get a stamped official receipt as proof of payment and/or a letter to that effect.

 

Do your research if you are unsure of what part of Nigeria to relocate to. Lagos is a commercial hotspot so the tendency is for people in neighboring states to apply for jobs there. If you think you want to work in Lagos then consider the travel distance between your (prospective) home and the office. If you work on the Island i.e. Victoria Island (V.I), Lekki, Ikoyi, etc and you live on the mainland i.e. Ikeja, Apapa, Ogba, Festac, etc then you have to travel through Third Mainland bridge or Carter bridge. There are varying levels of traffic depending on the time you venture unto these routes.

 

Generally properties are more expensive on the Island compared to the mainland. You also tend to get better value on the mainland. For instance, a 1-bed apartment in V.I could fetch a 3-bed apartment in Ikeja. Also consider living in residential estates so you can be part of a community. They are usually more secure and well-serviced (e.g. street lighting, security guards, etc.)

 

When choosing your new place, also make sure that you are close to key locations. For example, pharmacy, hospital, mini-mart/shop, supermarket, etc. This would mean you could make those emergency stops and save money on your transportation costs while you’re at it.

 

..xTx..

Freighting

This could be your biggest and most expensive house-move (unless of course you don’t want it to be). You don’t have to take everything you own back to Nigeria. You will find that a lot of is actually…how can I put this nicely…junk! Start a jumble sale or car-boot sale. Don’t see it as a way to make a profit. Your focus should be on being able to freight as little as possible to Nigeria. Having to pay for storage space in any country is like paying for rent…only, you don’t actually live there! For the professional ‘Netzines’ among us, you may want to try auctioning some of your goods on sites like ‘eBAY’. You could also list your items on social network sites/forums or even in the classifieds (Physical and Online newspapers, magazines, etc).You may end up doing some free giveaways – painful, but you’re off to a fresh start back home. You’ll have more than enough opportunities to acquire new junk over here. As a precaution, ensure that all confidential documents i.e. bank statements, utility bills, cheque books, etc. are either all destroyed or brought back with you.

..xTx..

Making your decision

It’s really important that the decision to relocate is wholly yours. As a suggestion, go there on holiday and get a good feel for the environment – that’s what I did. Can you adjust to the change of lifestyle in the long run? Public transport comes in the form of BRT buses (Government-owned, long buses), Public vans/’Danfo’, Public taxi, Car hire, Motorcycle/Okada and Hooded, 3-wheeled scooter/’Keke’. Electricity is not constant yet so alternative sources of power will be required e.g. Generators, Inverters, etc. These days a lot of goods seen abroad are usually available in big supermarkets at home. Lagos is very metropolitan, for those who are used to the busy city life. Abuja, on the other hand, is relatively quieter and has more of a countryside feel to it. Start getting used to the value of Naira and see how much you are likely to spend on average on a normal day. Other people’s decisions to return may influence you but still go with your gut instinct and pray for God’s guidance. 

..xTx..