Travel News

Passengers stranded as BRT drivers down tools over pay - PUNCH

JANUARY 15, 2024

The Henley Passport Index, a global passport-ranking website, released its latest rankings on Thursday. According to the index, Nigeria is positioned 95th out of 104 countries with the most powerful passports.

Nigeria is surpassed by Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, Benin Republic, and Namibia, which are ranked at 76th, 83rd, 67th, 65th, 71st, 79th, and 65th, respectively. The index also notes that Nigerians currently enjoy visa-free access to approximately 45 countries.

Here are 45 visa-free countries for Nigeria passport holders

1. Barbados

2. Benin

3. Burkina Faso

4. Burundi

5. Cambodia

6. Cameroon

7. Cape Verde Islands

8. Chad

9. Comoro Islands

10. Cook Islands

11. Cote d’Ivoire

12. Djibouti

13. Dominican Republic

14. Fiji

15. Ghana

16. Guinea

17. Guinea-Bissau

18. Haiti

19. Iran

20. Kenya

21. Kiribati

22. Lebanon

23. Liberia

24. Madagascar

25. Maldives

26. Mali

27. Mauritiana

28. Mauritius

29. Micronesia

30. Montserrat

31. Mozambique

32. Niger

33. Niue

34. Palau Islands

35. Rwanda

36. Samoa

37. Senegal

38. Sierra Leone

39. Somalia

40. St. Kitts and Nevis

41. The Gambia

42. Timor-Leste

43. Togo

44. Tuvalu

45. Vanuatu

It’s crucial to recognize that the duration and purpose of Nigerian citizens’ stays in other countries are governed by the visa regulations of those nations.

Individuals holding Nigerian passports should verify whether a visa is required for extended stays or for purposes not covered by the destination country’s Visa Waiver Policy.

Also, the visa-free destinations mentioned for Nigerian passport holders are subject to change based on visa agreements, temporary travel restrictions, and entry requirements established by countries.

It is advisable to check for additional requirements or temporary restrictions imposed by your travel destination before your trip, as these conditions may vary.

British Motorists Pay £1,000 to Insure a Car as Costs Soar - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 16, 2024

Jamie NimmoBloomberg News

Heavy traffic makes it way along Park Lane during a national rail strikes in London, UK, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. Two rails unions planned walkouts on Oct. 5, when people will be making their way home from the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Birmingham. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Heavy traffic makes it way along Park Lane during a national rail strikes in London, UK, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. Two rails unions planned walkouts on Oct. 5, when people will be making their way home from the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Birmingham. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- UK drivers are paying almost £1,000 ($1,272) a year for their car insurance as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite. 

Quotes for annual cover jumped £366, or 58%, to a record £995 on average in 2023, according to data from comparison site Confused.com and insurance broker WTW. 

Eighteen-year-olds are now facing the highest costs, paying more than £3,000 annually for the first time, with average premiums leaping 84% to £3,162. Customers who renew their existing policy are likely to see quotes rise more than those switching, Confused.com said.

The soaring premiums come as Britons continue to grapple with rising prices for a range of goods and services, such as groceries, fuel and electricity. 

There are signs that car insurance price rises could also be easing. Prices in the fourth quarter of 2023 climbed 8%, the smallest percentage increase in nine months, hinting at some respite for motorists.

That said, premiums are likely to keep rising for some time, warned Confused.com’s Louise Thomas.

“Claiming is one of the biggest factors when it comes to insurers pricing up policies,” she said. “And with the cost of paying out for claims being considerably high, insurance prices are going to be too.”

Insurers have defended themselves over costs that have soared well above inflation, arguing that they are having to pass on the higher costs of repairs, parts and replacement cars. Aviva Plc Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc said in August that her company was not achieving excess profit despite higher premiums and said they needed to rise further to catch up with inflation that the industry was seeing.

The UK is not alone in having to stomach extra costs to run a car. Prices of motor vehicle insurance in the US rose 20% in December from a year earlier, the biggest rise since 1976. Car insurance tends to be even costlier in the US than in the UK.

Despite costs continuing to rise, inflationary pressures are set to ease again this week, with the Consumer Prices Index on Wednesday likely to show a slight drop to 3.8% through December from 3.9% the month before.

BYD’s Smart Car Features Include Drones and In-Car Video Games - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 17, 2024

Bloomberg) -- BYD Co., the world’s largest maker of electric vehicles, will invest 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) to develop smart-car features, its founder and chief executive officer said Tuesday.

Wang Chuanfu didn’t give a specific time frame for the investment or more details. The move comes as the Chinese carmaker tries to narrow the gap with rivals making vehicles with driver-assistance systems and other advanced technology.

BYD plans to introduce what it calls Navigation on Autopilot, which will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and feet off pedals in certain scenarios. The system requires drivers to touch the steering wheel every 15 seconds and will come installed in cars that cost more than 300,000 yuan. It also will be available as an upgrade option for vehicles priced at over 200,000 yuan. BYD didn’t say whether drivers will be responsible for crashes if they occur.

Advanced driver-assistance systems are increasingly a major selling point for consumers in China and beyond. Smart cars can be placed on autopilot on some highways and cities, as well as park themselves. Leading players in China including Xpeng Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. offer ADAS features to set their vehicles apart and command higher prices.

Connected cars and other smart-driving technologies are a major focus of the 15-year plan the Chinese government has outlined for the electrified-vehicle industry. Beijing is encouraging selected cities to set up 200 testing spots for smart cars, reserve parking spots for cars that can park themselves and test 200 driver-less cars, according to a statement published Wednesday. 

Xpeng has long been considered among the most advanced Chinese manufacturers when it comes to smart driving, with its navigation-guided pilot system, or XNGP, rolled out to 52 cities nationwide. The system can make cars automatically accelerate, brake, detect traffic lights and change lanes by crunching real-time data through Lidar sensors and cameras.

Xpeng’s models also can come with a memory parking feature, where a car can guide itself through multiple levels in a parking garage to a preselected spot.

BYD’s Navigation on Autopilot feature already comes installed in its Denza N7 EV. It will be added to the automaker’s Yangwang brand luxury models, BYD said, and likely to some of its more mainstream series of cars.

As part of its presentation at the glitzy event in Shenzhen, BYD also went over other non-driving features that it’s looking at adding to enhance drivers’ experiences.

The Yangwang U8, which retails for around 1 million yuan, will be available with a vehicle-mounted drone and its own housing case. Engineers redesigned the steering wheel so it can detach from the control column. Drivers can then use it and the car’s pedals to play video games, such as car racing.

Read more: How China’s BYD Beat Tesla at Its Own Game to Be King of the EVs

In some of its other higher-priced models, BYD is adding palm-print motion sensor technology to enable drivers to open car doors by waving at them.

BYD also gave more details on its overseas push, with a company spokesperson confirming its Denza brand, which is 10% owned by Mercedes-Benz Group AG, will launch in Europe in the fourth quarter. BYD is planning on exporting its Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao brands, as well.

Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao also luxury likely get name rebrands to better suit an international market, the spokesperson said. In December, exports accounted for around 11% of BYD’s sales.

BYD also formally unveiled the first of eight cargo ships the company will take delivery of over the next two years to help it export EVs around the world.

(Updates to add government’s smart-car promotion in fifth paragraph.)

Nigeria: Kidnappings in Abuja spark new fears - DW

JANUARY 20, 2024

BY  Isaac Kaledzi | Idris Uwaisu

3 hours agohttps://www.dw.com/en/nigeria-...

A recent spate of kidnappings in Nigeria's capital has residents worried. This week, the government promised a drastic solution but said it wants to see an end to crowdfunding for ransom.

Abuja, Nigeria, has been the scene of a fresh wave of kidnappings and residents of the city at the heart of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are nervous.

On January 5, a man and six of his daughters were kidnapped in a home invasion in the Bwari area of FCT. The kidnappers released the man and ordered him to pay 50 million naira (€50,400) for his children. One of the sisters, a 21-year-old university student, was killed by the kidnappers despite the payment of ransom.

Also this month, 30 people were abducted along the Abuja-Kaduna highway at Dogon Fili in northwestern Kaduna state. Mass abductions and kidnappings for ransom have been a countrywide problem for several years. 

"Every responsible resident of Abuja should be concerned because this [kidnapping] is a very big challenge," Danjuma Abdullahi, a resident of Abuja, told DW. "Security is key because security ensures welfare. If you and your family are not secure, there is definitely great cause for concern."

In the FCT, people are limiting their movements out of fear, he said.

Security forces 'working very hard'

President Bola Tinubu has been calling for calm and meeting with his ministers and security chiefs to discuss a strategy to deal with kidnappings. 

"Mr. President called us and all the service chiefs to discuss this issue, so a concerted effort is being undertaken by security agencies to really look into the situation and stop it immediately," Defense Minister Mohammed Badaru Abubakar told DW.

Government statistics for Abuja show 40 kidnapping cases involving 236 victims between January 2021 and June 2023. Hardly any kidnappings had been reported in Abuja in the 10 months before the man and his six daughters were forced from their home.

"Kidnappings happen around the suburbs of FCT, mostly around towns or locations bordering Kaduna and Niger," Abubakar said. "The bandits flee to nearby hideouts and the security agencies are working very hard to push them out and block the movement and finish this thing once and for all."

The defense minister told DW that the Nigerian public would see the results of a government intervention soon.

Abuja resident Danjuma Abdullahi is skeptical: "The call for residents not to panic is good. But we would love to see them [the authorities] master the challenge and solve the problem."

Abdullahi believes there should be a concrete plan. "We don't expect them to come out and tell us what strategies they have to combat kidnapping but there should at least be more explanation than just saying we shouldn't panic," he told DW. 

Amnesty International sees 'kidnapping epidemic'

In a statement this week, Amnesty International expressed concern over what it said was "an epidemic of kidnapping" and "the utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to effectively protect lives."

"People in Nigeria are now living on the razor's edge," Amnesty said. "Widespread insecurity, and the chaos it causes, have been exacerbated by routine kidnappings, as armed groups tighten their stranglehold on the country. Nigerian authorities must immediately stem the tide of kidnapping now."

Danjuma Abdullahi agrees with Amnesty's assessment and believes authorities have to do more to win the confidence of Abuja's residents. "Security has to do with intelligence, and I think intelligence has failed in this case. As an ordinary citizen, that is what I see. I don't know the strategies that the security apparatus has. I don't know what kind of synergy they have."

According Yahya Jarabu, a retired military officer and security expert, the fears of Abuja residents and the concerns being raised by some civil society groups are legitimate.

"The issue of insecurity is related to widespread corruption — which is everywhere. Sadly, people now do everything because of money. There is the failure of intelligence and people have their own role of providing information about the hideouts of these crimals," he told DW.

Crowdfunded ransom payments

The families and friends of people who are kidnapped in Nigeria often take matters into their own hands to ensure the release of their loved ones. The crowdfunding of ransom payments has become common practice. But authorities say paying ransom simply encourages kidnapping.

"On crowdfunding, we all know that there is an existing law that prevents the payment of ransom. So it is very sad to go on the internet or radio asking for donations to pay ransom," Defense Minister Mohammed Badaru Abubakar told DW.

"This will only worsen the situation, it will not help the situation... If we stop [paying ransom], over time, kidnapping won't be profitable and they will stop."

4 visa-free countries to visit under 1M - BUSINESSDAY

JANUARY 20, 2024

Embark on a journey to explore other countries and their rich cultures without breaking the bank. These destinations offer a perfect starting point for those keen on building their travel history.

Solo adventurers will find these places enticing, but travelling in pairs or groups can enhance the experience and contribute to cost savings. The key documents required for this budget-friendly exploration include a valid International or Ecowas passport and the essential Yellow card, ensuring a seamless and memorable journey through the regions of West Africa.

Here are 4 visa-free countries to visit under N1m

Benin Republic

Benin Republic, located between Nigeria and Togo, is waiting to be explored. With a budget ranging from N100,000 to N500,000, this destination promises an affordable and culturally immersive experience. The lively markets of Cotonou, the historic Royal Palaces of Abomey, and the serene beaches of Ouidah are just a few highlights awaiting your discovery.


Togo is a great location for travellers on a tight budget because of its many sceneries, including rolling hills and beaches surrounded by palm trees. Budgeting from N350,000 to N600,000, November through February, the dry season, offers comfortable weather for touring, and some of the city’s must-see sights are the dynamic Lomé Grand Market, the serene Togoville on Lake Togo, and the highly cultural Koutammakou, also referred to as the Land of the Batammariba.


Ghana, celebrated for its warm hospitality and rich historical significance, seamlessly merges culture and nature, Explore within a budget of N500,000 to N800,000. Travelers can immerse themselves in the markets of Accra, explore the profound history of Cape Coast Castle, visit galleries, and relax on the pristine beaches of Busua, with top picks including the iconic Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, the lush Kakum National Park, and the enlightening W.E.B. Du Bois Center in Accra.

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire, the enchanting Ivory Coast, seamlessly combines modernity and tradition. With a budget of 600k to 900k, enjoy the city life of Abidjan, experience the unique Senufo culture in Korhogo, and unwind on the pristine beaches of Grand-Bassam. Unmissable highlights include the grandeur of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the diverse wildlife of Comoe National Park, and the scenic beauty of Assinie Beach.

5000 Travel Agencies Threatened Over $812m Airlines’ Funds’ - DAILY TRUST

JANUARY 20, 2024

    By Abdullateef Aliyu, (Lagos) And Philip Shimnom Clement (Abuja)

There was more worry yesterday over the foreign airlines’ trapped funds now estimated at $812m with a stakeholder in the downstream sector of the aviation sector saying over 5000 travel agencies may be deeply affected.

Group Managing Director, Dees Travels and Tours Limited, Mr. Daisi Olotu in a chat with newsmen yesterday said the recent $61m released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) falls short of what is being owed.

Daily Trust reports that pressure has continued to mount over the unresolved issue of airlines’ trapped funds.

The foreign airlines are already threatening to exit Nigeria or downscale their operations as the trapped funds increase on a daily basis.

According to Olotu, “Immediate action is crucial to prevent further deterioration of the aviation industry and its alarming effect on the country’s economy.”

Quoting a data from Statistica released in October 2021, he pointed out that Nigeria has over 5,000 travel agencies, adding, “Imagine the number of Nigerians who will be out of jobs as a result adding to the already overpopulated labour market.

“Additionally, the government stands to lose substantial revenue from taxes paid by these agencies adding to the economic crises the country is facing.

“It is against this backdrop that we appeal to the Nigerian government to find ways to resolve this problem. The release of $61 million falls short of the $812 million trapped funds,” he said.

CBN to continue settlement of verified FX backlog

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said that in its bid to clear the backlog of outstanding foreign exchange liabilities, paid approximately $2.0 billion across various sectors, including manufacturing, aviation, and petroleum.

The apex Bank has also cleared up the entire liability of 14 banks and started settlements with foreign airlines. 

The CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, explained that the Bank had commissioned an independent forensic review by a reputable firm.

She noted that the review revealed grave infractions, gross abuse, and significant non-compliance with market regulations, adding that appropriate sanctions would be enforced in collaboration with relevant agencies.

She said the CBN will continue to settle the legitimate foreign exchange backlog as it has consistently been doing in the last three months.

Banks Leverage SDF Gains, Deposit N902.66bn with CBN as Lending to Real Sector Wilts - THISDAY

JANUARY 20, 2024

Kayode Tokede

It has emerged that Nigerian banks in the first eight days on 2024, deposited a whooping N902.66billion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), rather than lend to the real sector of the economy.

The banks, according to the CBN “financial data”, however, borrowed an estimated N615.47 billion in the first eight days of 2024 in a nid to meet their daily business obligations.

THIISDAY gathered that banks in the first eight days of 2023 had deposited and borrowed N182.8 billion and N359.88 billion from the CBN, respectively.

Banks deposit cash with the apex bank using the Standing Deposit Facility window (SDF), the banks also access funds from the apex bank using the Standing Lending Facility (SLF) window.

A SDF is an overnight deposit facility that allows banks to park excess liquidity (money) to CBN and earn interest.

The applicable interest rate on SDF moved to 15.75 per cent at an asymmetric corridor of +100/-300 basis points around the 18.75 per cent Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) in July 2023.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN unanimously narrowed the asymmetric corridor from +100/-700 to +100/-300 basis points around the MPR.

Banks deposit with CBN outshined borrowing in early 2024 on the backdrop of CBN removal of cap on the remunerable policy, among others.

With the removal of the limit, analysts expressed that, they expect liquidity in the money market to remain tight as banks leverage interest paid on SDF as well as the other liquidity mopping measures of the apex bank

Recently, the CBN governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso disclosed that the CBN removed the cap on the remunerable SDF to increase activity in the SDF window and manage liquidity.

The CBN, while announcing the guideline stated, “With reference to the circular to all banks and discount houses, Re: Guidelines on accessing the CBN Standing Deposit Facility, Ref: FMD/DIR/GEN/CIR/05/020 and dated November 6, 2014, after further review, the remunerable daily placements by banks at the SDF shall not exceed N2billion.

“The SDF deposit of N2billion shall be remunerated at the interest rate prescribed by the Monetary Policy Committee from time to time. Any deposit by a bank in excess of N2 billion shall not be remunerated. The provisions of this circular took effect on July 11, 2019.”

Following the rush to take advantage of the window, the banks in a single day, deposited N352.47billion.

THISDAY investigation revealed banks deposit through the SDF in 2023 witnessed significant patronage as banks deposit reached highest peak of about N2.41triillion in November 2023.

However, the CBN has over the years maintained that strong patronage at the SDF confirms healthier liquidity in the banking system.

CBN had maintained that the strong patronage at the SDF confirmed healthier liquidity in the banking system, stressing that banks were in search of better yields.

The CEO, Wyoming Capital & Partners, Mr. Tajudeen Olayinka, noted that the surge in banks deposit with CBN to uncurtaining in the business environment over rising insecurity, among others this year. 

He stated that, “The most significant factor is the increasing level of threat in the environment of business in Nigeria, arising from: insecurity, supply chain problems, rising inflation and poor purchasing power, low level of productivity, rising unemployment, liquidity overhang and paucity of risk-free financial instruments.”

He added that, “As a result, most banks prefer to be debited by CBN for running short of LDR limit, as against extending credit to businesses that are finding it difficult to survive. It is all about managing risk.”

However, banks are also borrowing from the central Bank. Unconfirmed reports said banks increase borrowing might be due to the CBN’s mopping up of excess cash circulation to rein in inflation.

Commenting on banks borrowing from CBN, a Financial Expert and Vice President Highcap Securities, Mr.  David Adnori, said, “The development points to lack of liquidity on the part of banks. Monetary policy has been tightening and this has led to low liquidity. It is cheaper for banks to borrow from the CBN. This development is not positive but negative. We cannot continue to tighten because it will reflect of economic growth.”

The Chief operating officer of InvestData Consulting Limited, Mr. Ambrose Omordion said, “The development points to a lack of liquidity on the part of banks. Monetary policy has been tightening, and this has led to low liquidity. It is cheaper for banks to borrow from CBN. This development is not positive but negative. We cannot continue to tighten because it will reflect economic growth.”

Train tickets from station machines twice as expensive as online bookings - YAHOO FINANCE

JANUARY 20, 2024

Travellers buying tickets at train station ticket machines are being charged up to double the price of a booking online, research shows.

A same-day, one-way ticket from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire to London cost £66 at the station’s ticket machine but online the same trip was £26, a 156% difference, according to consumer group Which?.

Someone buying a same day, one-way ticket from Northampton to Cardiff would have paid £107 for their ticket from the machine, 148% more than buying online, where the price was just £43.

Overall, fares purchased online were cheaper around three-quarters of the time, and on average, same day journeys cost 52% more from machines. In 2022, around 12% of tickets were purchased from a machine — some 150 million journeys.

Services offered by different ticket machines could vary significantly, with passengers often facing restricted choice and, as a result, higher prices.

Read more: UK house prices rise in the new year

One of the key reasons why tickets from machines are often more expensive is because most don’t offer "advance" fares — cheaper tariffs which are available to buy in advance of travel. Depending on the route, these can even be available up to 10 minutes before departure.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “The price differences we found between booking online and using station ticket machines were simply astounding. Millions of tickets are purchased using ticket machines every year, meaning that huge numbers of us are potentially paying significantly more than we need to when we commute to work or visit friends and family across the country.

“Wherever possible we’d recommend booking train tickets online for the cheapest options, but that won’t be possible for everyone. Significant numbers of elderly people don’t have internet access at all — leaving them with little choice but to run the gauntlet of ticket machines which either don’t offer the best prices, or make it difficult to find the appropriate fares.”

Currently, just one in six of the 1,766 train stations under the Department for Transport's control has a full time ticket office; 40% are staffed part time, and 43% don’t have a ticket office at all.

Which? also warned that train passengers could also be easily caught out by their ticket validity, with many machines often not making it clear what times and which services certain tickets are valid for.

Read more: 11 cosy cottages to hunker down in for winter

If there’s no one at the station available to ask for help, passengers risk a £50 penalty fare plus the price of a new ticket for their journey.

Using machines may also be problematic for those trying to book tickets weeks in advance. For example, Great Western machines at major stations, including Oxford and Paddington, only sold tickets for same day and next day journeys.

Which? sent mystery shoppers to 15 stations — each run by a different train operator — and checked the price of 75 journeys from a ticket machine against the price available from the UK’s biggest ticket site, Trainline.

Mark Plowright, director at Virgin Trains Ticketing, said the difference can actually be even higher.

“It's important to note that the Which? report only compared against Trainline and didn't look at the value offered by other online retailers through points, rewards and other perks, so the value gap is actually much greater," he said.

"Rail retail is a growing market, and competition between apps like Virgin Trains Ticketing is driving great value for customers who have a smartphone, but all rail passengers deserve to get the best value for their journey wherever they choose to buy their tickets," he added.

Lagos rents soar by 91% in five years - PUNCH

JANUARY 22, 2024

By Josephine Ogundeji

Rents in Lagos have surged by 91.32 percent over the past five years, posing a challenge to residents seeking affordable housing, The PUNCH’s findings have revealed.

It was according to data obtained from prices sourced from prop-tech, propertypro.ng and estate agents in different locations.

The weighted average of the percentage increase for each location was taken to calculate the percentage increase in Lagos rents. This was done by considering the initial rents in 2019 as weights, which reflect the proportional contribution of each location to the total rent in 2019. The result represents the average growth in rent prices across the specified locations from 2019 to 2024.

An evaluation of a 2-bedroom standard apartment across 12 different parts of Lagos- Ikeja, Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu, Surulere, Ilasa, Gbagada, Yaba, Lekki, Ajah, Epe, Magodo Phase 1, and Ikoyi showed that while a 2-bedroom apartment in the Epe area (one of the cheapest) of the state went as low as N350,000, rates went as high as N10m in the Ikoyi area of the state.

In 2019, Ikeja and Iyana-Ipaja rental rates doubled to N2,000,000 and N800,000, respectively between 2019 and  2024.

Similarly, Ikorodu witnessed a 60 percent rise from N250,000 in 2019 to N400,000 in 2024.

A developer, Femisi Balogun, told our correspondent, “Adding to this surge, the increasing costs of building materials coupled with inflation have played a significant role. Rapid urbanisation in Lagos has driven high demand for housing, and the rising costs of construction materials have contributed to the overall increase in rental prices.”

Economic growth and increased real estate investments have further fuelled this demand, creating a competitive market.

Gbagada and Magodo Phase 1 exemplify this trend, with rental prices jumping by 150 percent and 108 percent, respectively.

Oshodi-Isolo experienced a more modest increase of 37.5 percent, going from N400,000 in 2019 to N550,000 in 2024.

Yaba, Surulere, Ajah, and Lekki also saw 41 percent, 133 percent, 50 percent, and 50 percent rise to N1,200,000, N700,000, N1,800,000, and N1,800,000, respectively in 2024.

In explaining the reason behind the surge in rental rates across the state, experts blamed the current economic crunch, particularly the headline inflationary pressure, which shot up the costs of construction and maintenance.

A real estate expert, Odefadehan Christian, said the driving force behind the surge in rental prices could be attributed to inflation, particularly the significant spike in building material costs.

He said, “The substantial increase in prices for essential materials, such as cement, which has more than doubled from 2,400 in 2019 to 5,500 in 2024, necessitates a corresponding adjustment in rental rates, to compensate for these heightened expenditures.

“Additionally, the evolution of construction techniques and the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies in building infrastructure, encompassing advanced wiring, sophisticated lighting features, and state-of-the-art security systems, contribute to an augmented overall cost of property development.

“Consequently, these advancements in both materials and technology are pivotal factors contributing to the upward trajectory of rental expenses.”

A civil society group under the aegis of the Take-It-Back Movement recently decried the impacts of the high rents on households’ income across the country and called for government intervention.

At a peaceful protest against the high cost of housing in the state, the group lamented the rising cost of housing, particularly in Lagos Island and other areas.

A statement by the Lagos Island chapter of TIB said the protest was strongly against the unaffordable cost of housing.

It stated, “No doubt, this is a national call to enforce housing rights. Housing is a fundamental human right, and the government must ensure it is available to all citizens.”

Int’l travels: Why Nigerians are purchasing air tickets from other African countries – Olotu - VANGUARD

JANUARY 22, 2024

By Prince Okafor

The numbers of Nigerian travellers purchasing their international tickets from other African countries and even non-African countries seems to be on the rise.

This is coming against the backdrop delay by the federal government in releasing funds for the repatriation of the earnings of foreign airlines.

For instance, in Nigeria, foreign airlines collect Naira for their tickets to customers and exchange the same for foreign currencies for their operations.

But they have been lamenting their inability to get the exchange executed through the official foreign exchange market due to the scarcity of foreign exchange resources.

The development has already seen the UAE’s flag carrier, Emirates Airlines exited the country’s airspace.

However, in a chat with Saturday Vanguard, the Group Managing Director, Dees Travels and Tours Limited, Mr. Daisi Olotu, stated that the delay by the government in releasing funds for the repatriation of the earnings of foreign airlines is causing a degeneration in the aviation sector.

He said: “This development is evident in the skyrocketing fares, and the airlines’ threat to reduce or outrightly cease operations in Nigeria.

“It is as a result of these high fares, that Nigerians are purchasing their international tickets from other African countries and even non-African countries.

“The downstream sector, notably the travel agencies, and service and hospitality establishments bears the brunt of this issue and faces imminent closures as a result of the loss of businesses every day and if left unaddressed, this could result in a widespread economic fallout.

“The aviation sector is a crucial revenue generator for any country significantly contributing to its economic growth.

“The movement of persons to and from Nigeria aids in the expansion of local businesses, boosting tourism, and enhancing foreign direct investment.

“These result in the increase of government revenue through taxes, rates, and other avenues that improve our nation’s economic standing.”

He quoted a data publication from Statistica released in October 2021, stating that Nigeria has over 5,000 travel agencies.

“Imagine the number of Nigerians who will be out of jobs as a result adding to the already overpopulated labor market.

“Additionally, the government stands to lose substantial revenue from taxes paid by these agencies adding to the economic crises the country is facing.

“It is against this backdrop that we appeal to the Nigerian government, to find ways to resolve this problem. The release of $61 million falls short of the $812 million trapped funds. Immediate action is crucial to prevent further deterioration of the aviation industry and its alarming effect on the country’s economy,” he added.


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