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Life in Lagos for Indians [A real life analysis]

by Abraham Zamani
Indian Expats in Nigeria

Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and the 7th largest in the world by population. This makes Nigeria attractive to many other countries because of the potential growth. The presence of Indians in Nigeria is no new thing. Indians presence has been in Nigeria since the British brought them to build the railroads, with some of them fleeing during the Nigeria civil war.

In recent decades, the presence of Indians has begun to increase. According to the High Commission of India located in Abuja, the estimated number of Indians in Nigeria is 35,000, and about $15 billion has been invested into the Nigerian economy by Indians. 

Types of Indian workers who come to Lagos 

In the beginning, Indians were primarily focused on the trading sector, textile sector and fishing. As time went on, while retaining those interests, they gradually ventured into steel, pharmaceutical and oil and gas. Most Indians that now work as Expats in Nigeria mainly work for a few main sectors. These sectors are oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, cement production, steel recycling and more recently, construction.

The place with the highest Indian working population in Nigeria is Lagos. Lagos is home to a lot of Indian Expats. If you are an Indian and are considering moving to Nigeria, you will likely be posted to Lagos, which has a high number of Indian communities. 

Where do most Indians live in Lagos

In terms of living, the best places/suburbs to live in Lagos are places like Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Ikeja and Maryland. There are a few more places you can still stay but these are the best in Lagos state. Ilupeju is one place in Lagos that most Indians call home, it has more Indian population than any other part of Lagos State. 

These places were chosen because there are safe and populated with many Expats. There are schools, Indian shops, and temples located in this area. One more thing to know is that Lagos is a highly populated state, so staying close to where you work is also important.

Where can you find buy food and foodstuffs in Lagos as an Indian

They several places Indians can shop for their food and groceries. Indian groceries are imported into Lagos, which makes the prices almost three times the original price. The good thing is that if a company is bringing you to Nigeria to work, they will most likely be in charge of your feeding.

The market available for Indians to shop are:

  • The Bazar Supermarket (Ilupeju)
  • Indian product (Modupeoluwa Ikeja)
  • Taj Mahal (Ilupeju)

Indian expat salary in Nigeria

The salary of an Indian Expat working in Lagos depends on a few things.

  • What skills do you have?
  • Which industry are you working for?
  • Where in Lagos do you want to stay or where is the location of the company you are working for in Lagos?

The salary of Expats in Nigeria is about 45% more than the basic pay. Please note that these high salaries are in line with the cost of living in Nigeria since this is where you will be living. According to Expat Arrivals, the salary of all Expats in Nigeria can range from $100,000 – $200,000 per year. Please note also that cost of living in the place we mentioned above can range from $5000 to $100,000 annually. For an Expat in Nigeria, the standard of living is very comfortable.

For this report however, we asked an Indian worker, Karthik (He wouldn’t give his full name) who works in steel recycling in the Ikorodu area of Lagos state how much he makes. Karthik said he makes an equivalent of $600 per month since he is not considered a high skilled worker. He also stays in a 3 bedroom apartment not too far from work where he pays around $2000 per year.

He also said the salary is similar for construction foremen who works in the $13B Dangote refinery in the Lekki Peninsula. However, he said that those who are able to establish businesses in Nigeria stands an even higher chance of making a lot more money as the country is quite friendly to businesses like nylon/plastic production.

Furthermore, he said that engineers at the Obajana Cement factory makes in excess of $1000 every month but the downside is that the area is a quite remote.

What are the disadvantages of living in Lagos as an Indian

Nigeria is a great country and there are a lot of advantages to working in the country. There are also a lot of disadvantages and it will be wise to know them before making your decision.

  • The cost of living in Lagos is pretty high, despite the fact most of its population are low-income earners. The cost of living is furthermore increased by the health care, and the high cost of education and transportation.
  • Problematic water and electricity supply. Power outage tends to occur in Lagos in all area of the state, which is something you will have to bear. Most residents in Lagos use Generators and solar power as a backup power supply until the general light comes back on.
  • Health care is another. Nigeria has great facilities in the health care sector, but there are still some cases a person will need to live the country. Please make sure before coming to Nigeria, your company provides health insurance. You should also have in mind that complicated health challenges that Nigerians face, are usually treated in India as India has a better healthcare sector compared to Nigeria.

Analyzing how safe Lagos is for ex-pats

Lagos is generally safe but there is a high number of petty crimes in Lagos. In an interview held by Expatarrivals.com, they interviewed an Indian who leaves in Lagos, this was her answer when asked about safety in Lagos, this what she said;

“Yes, Lagos is safe. I had a very different idea of Lagos before I moved here. Though we do hear gunshots occasionally, there is no real reason to panic; such incidences are common even in India, even in the capital city of Delhi, but we do not wish to acknowledge the same. That said, we do not move about much at night. My husband occasionally has gone out for official dinners, but we do not actively seek night entertainment. It is best to keep a relatively lower profile and not to flaunt money, especially in front of the house help. Nigerians are very loving towards children.”

See other great articles regarding Nigeria and India.

  1. [Factual] Is Nigeria richer than India?
  2. [Factual Analysis] Is Nigeria safe for Indians?
  3. Why Nigerians come to India [FACTS ONLY]


  • Abraham Zamani

    Hi, I'm Abraham, a software engineer and a writer. I have been a software engineer for 3 years and a Writer for 2 years. In the coming years, I hope to expand my knowledge in the IT sector by studying Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and being one of the best writers. Some other things I love so much are photography and watching movies, and trust me, I have watched many movies.

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