Home World [ANALYSIS] How much cash you can carry legally in Nigeria

[ANALYSIS] How much cash you can carry legally in Nigeria

by Abbey
[ANALYSIS] How much cash you can carry legally in Nigeria

How much cash does the Nigerian Customs allow via the international airport? 

The maximum amount of cash permitted by the Nigerian Customs via international airports is contained in The Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011. A section in the Act states that any money above $10,000 (approx. N5.3million) must be declared to the Nigerian customs service. Any amount less than this would be allowed without any restrictions.

Also, note that failure to declare cash above this limit is punishable by law. Such a person may be required to either forfeit such sums or face imprisonment of not less than two years or both.

How much cash can you carry around once you are in the country?

As a Nigerian or foreigner living in the country, there is no limit to the amount of cash you can carry around with you. How much you choose to take with you while moving within any city should be at your discretion.

However, is it advisable to move around with very large amounts of cash? The answer is NO. Aside from the obvious security concerns that may arise from you carrying large sums of money on you as move around, you may get harassed by law enforcement agents. We will get to that in a minute.

Traveling with huge sums of money also leads to impulsive spending. This is especially true for persons making inter-state trips who may feel the urge to buy raw foodstuff in areas where they are considered cheap.

The truth is that while you think you are saving money, you may lose in the long term. You may not get to eat up those food items (See food items you can’t bring into USA from Nigeria) as quickly as possible which results in spoilage.

Why you shouldn’t carry cash around (Safety and extra costs for police excorts)

You might want to take into consideration the high state of insecurity in the country. Moving around with huge cash puts you at risk of being robbed especially on high ways. You should also consider the poor state of the country in terms of law enforcement. The same law enforcement agents that are meant to serve and protect sometimes harass and extort innocent citizens.

Even where they do not extort, you may become a target for unnecessary delays and incessant questioning. As a consequence, it is always best to travel light only on disposable cash. Now with ATMs and POS outlets at almost every corner, getting access to cash when you need it isn’t a modern-day concern.

How much cash a foreigner needs per day in Nigeria

A foreigner who has just moved into the country may find his or herself spending quite more than the average Nigerian citizen. This is because most times, the foreigner may have to use amenities and utilities above the very basic level.

These kinds of amenities/utilities would include lodging in decent hotels, eating in fancy restaurants, and shopping in departmental stores.

Also when it comes to transportation, a foreigner may not find it convenient to board mass transit transportation systems. That may lead to the need for ridesharing services like Uber or Bolt.

All of these are bound to incur more routine daily costs. Aside from lodging bills which should start from anywhere around N25,000 per night on average for a decent hotel, a foreigner may be spending anywhere between N5,000 to N10,000 on feeding, transportation, and other logistics each day.

Alternatives to carrying cash in Nigeria 

There are a ton of great alternatives to moving around with cash in Nigeria. Long gone are the days when you could only access cash over the counter at banks. Now with the explosion of ATMs and POS machines, you can access cash easily.

We also have more in terms of payment and withdrawal options. Aside from debit/credit cards, there are now have eWallets, cryptocurrencies, virtual cards like barter flutter wave; which are all means of electronic payment.

How to convert your electronic money to physical cash in Nigeria

If you wish to convert your electronic money to physical cash in Nigeria, there are many ways to go about it. You have the option of using an ATM machine to simply withdraw cash using your ATM debit card.

With the wave of POS outlets in almost every street corner in the country, you also have the option of using this channel as well.


  • Abbey

    Abbey Johnson has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

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