I’ve always been fascinated by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the relationships between each level of the pyramid– how one must be completed before other.
According to his theory, physiological needs are the most important requirement for human survival. ‘Shelter’ is one of these needs. So, I decided to ask young Nigerians about their struggles with rent. I put a call out, and these are some of the responses I got.
My rent expired July last year in the middle of the pandemic. My landlord decided that he needed to increase the building’s rent from ₦300,000 to ₦550,000 to survive can survive. Unfortunately, I’d not worked in a while. I work as a virtual assistant, but because of Covid, people weren’t outsourcing work as much as they used to and it became struggle to earn up to the usual ₦100,000 to ₦300,000 I got monthly.
I tried to raise the money because the alternative was to move back to my aunt’s place. She is my guardian, but she is a pill. I moved out of her house as soon as I was able to. To make things worse, my sister got sick and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was paying for tests after tests.
I couldn’t get the money. Eventually, I had to do the one thing I didn’t want to do: move back to my aunt’s house.
I live with my parents, and they pay the rent. However, my mum’s business is not moving as much as it used to, and my dad doesn’t have a job. My grandma died last year and all the money available is going into her funeral arrangements.
The landlady has been patient because she understands the situation, but I don’t know how much longer her patience will run. The last tenants who didn’t pay their rent on time were given a quit notice, and I’m scared that we might be next.
I pay ₦300,000 every year in rent. It’s always been a struggle to raise the money, but it’s more difficult now. Until last year, I was earning ₦85,000 per month. But Covid happened and I lost the job. The next job I got — which I’m still at — is as a personal assistant toa woman and that’s only paying ₦40,000. I get up to ₦60,000 – ₦70,000 only when I get procurement gigs, where I get things for people and add my own cut to the price.
Now, I’m on survival mode. Before I think of rent, I think of short term expenses. My rent will expire in May and I have ₦0 saved up. I still wonder how I will make rent, but you know what? My faith in God is kinda lit. It would be great if I could get a better paying job now. That could change everything.
I moved to Abuja in 2018 for NYSC. One of the first things I realised was that real estate in Abuja is the ghetto. I was coming from a place where ₦200,000 can conveniently pay for a two-bedroom apartment. But in Abuja, the same amount could hardly pay for a self-contained apartment. I discovered every settlement in Abuja during my search and eventually had to settle for a shitty place in Jabi. I paid ₦170,000 for it but had to leave after 8 months because of septic tank issues.
After my service year ended, my PPA wanted to retain me, but they didn’t pay salaries on time and I didn’t like the job, so I turned down their offer. I was unemployed from October 2019 to July 2020 before I found a new job, which is currently paying me ₦60k. I’ve been staying at a family’s friend house, but I’m not very comfortable with that arrangement because it’s not my place. It’s been a race to raise enough money to get my own space, and I should have ₦200,000 in the next two months. I’ll need between ₦350,0000 to ₦600,000 to get the kind of apartment I want, but I can’t afford that right now unless a miracle happens. So, I guess I’ll stay in another shitty place for a year and hope to find a better paying job or a side hustle.