When Yemisi Adegoroye, a teacher and a mother of two received a letter from the lawyer that manages the property she rented an apartment, she felt a spurt of anger bubble up when she read that her landlord was raising her two bedroom apartment rent by 40percent to N700 annually.
Despite Yemisi and her husband, an accountant, making about N3.6 million yearly, they couldn’t handle the steep rise in their rented apartment – alongside paying for their children’s school fees, utility bills, paying for their professional programmes and all other costs that kept increasing daily for a family of four.
“With this recent increase in our rent and continuous rise in the prices of everything, things are really getting difficult for us,” she says.
For Agbeleye Adebisi, a 23-year old undergraduate – who is seeing himself through school, saw his anger rose when he realised just how much more he would now need to save to pay his tuition and renew his rent where his school is located.
“I deliberately skip meals to save more for my tuition fees that have increased by 30 percent,” Adebisi says.
“Before, I lived alone, and I can’t afford to do that now as my expenses keep rising, so I was forced to get a roommate to split the cost,” he adds.
Vincent Okeke, a 42year old fuel attendant who lives in a suburb of Ikorodu, had to change his children’s schools from private to public schools as he could no longer afford to pay their school fees which have risen by 50 percent.
“The school authority stated that they have to increase fees owing to the rise in the prices of everything today and I cannot afford any additional increase,” he says.
Chinedu Okafor, 37, was born and raised in Ikeja – Lagos and now lives in a self-contained apartment in a suburb in Ikorodu. In March, his rent went from N120, 000 to N200, 000, after he says, his landlord decides to raise their rent over accelerating inflation.
His rent is now 40 percent of his annual income as a school teacher. “It’s hard right now for me,” he says.
“The recent rent increase by my landlord is a big blow to me. After buying food, paying for electricity and other bills, I have nothing to save,” he further says. “I pray I don’t fall sick because I can’t even afford any healthcare,” he adds.
Benedicta Denedo, an accountant in an engineering firm in Ikeja has healthcare insurance through her employer. Denedo covers only herself and pays out of pocket for her mother who is battling diabetes and rheumatism.
“Prices of all the drugs my mum takes for her diabetes have almost doubled and the cost of transportation to the hospital has also doubled and my salary is still the same,” she says.
“It’s been difficult for us and I am the only one my mum has to depend on. The sad thing about it all is that the government is not even doing anything to help its citizens,” she says.
Like millions of Nigerians, Adegoroye, Adebisi, Okeke, Okafor and Denedo are feeling the pinch of the country’s accelerating inflation, a consequence of a weakening naira, fuel and diesel price surge and escalating insecurity which have put a strain on agriculture output.
Households and businesses across Nigeria are weighed down by stalled income growth and rising prices and amplifying cost of living in Africa’s biggest economy.
The situation is worse for most Nigerians living from hand to mouth, which means they spend virtually everything they earn to sustain themselves on a daily basis, there’s little or no spare cash to tuck away in a savings account.
What’s worse is that some Nigerians are facing their inflation struggles without jobs. There was a spike in unemployment to a record 33.3 percent in 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
That number may have grown worse on account of the forced closure of some companies who were driven out of business by rising costs of operation.
In July, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that inflation hit 24.08 percent in July 2023, accelerating at the fastest pace in recent years.
The World Bank, in its latest Nigeria Development Update report for June 2023, said the loss of purchasing power from high inflation has increased poverty in the short term, pushing an estimated four million Nigerians into poverty between January – May 2023.
The global bank estimates based on the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data show that 89.8 million Nigerians fell below the poverty line at the start of 2023, with an additional four million making it 93.8 million in May of 2023.
Despite this, Nigerian politicians are still in lavish spending, a sign that the Tinubu led-government is not willing to share in the pain of its bold economic reforms that have left Nigerians poorer.