This article about the safest cities to live or visit in Nigeria has been updated to reflect that Benin-City is no longer considered a ‘safe city’ in Nigeria.
You may wish to see why below and especially, see our personal notes.
We decided to publish the Top 10 safest cities to live in/visit in Nigeria for a good reason today.
Nigeria is largely portrayed as an unsafe country with Boko Haram bombing residents and citizens alike daily.
However, this is not the correct rendering of the situation in the country and as many of our team members have lived in the country for sometime, we decided to clear up the air.
The bombing and terrorist challenges that fill up a chunk of the news – especially Western media largely refer only to the North East of Nigeria – an insignificant part of the country.
Also, the occasional kidnapping/armed attacks are largely restricted to the oil rich Niger-Delta region.
The rest of Nigeria is thus completely peaceful and a joy to live and work in either as a foreigner or as a citizen.
However, for the tourist who has never visited Nigeria before or the citizen who has spent too much time abroad (or was even born outside Nigerian shores), a guide is very well in order.
To guide you thus, here are the top 10 most peaceful states in Nigeria worth your while if you decide to visit the Giant of Africa and home to the largest black population in the world.
However, before the list proper, a quick, smart note.
A Quick Note About Northern Nigeria
The whole of Northern Nigeria has been excluded from this list.
This is not because there are no peaceful or safe cities up North – far from it. States like Bauchi and Sokoko are relatively peaceful, by the way.
The reason however is quite simple: Northern Nigeria is always volatile (think religious crisis and Boko Haram), making the few states that largely maintain their calm take the position of an uneasy calm.
Further, assuming you visit a peaceful Northern state and religious crisis breaks up in a neighboring volatile state, your chances of safe escape are lean, especially if you plan on leaving your state of residence by land/car.
If your business is thus in the North of the country, sorry…we cannot help you further 🙂
However, if you’re interested in visiting anywhere else in Nigeria, let’s show you the top 10 most peaceful and serene states you need to consider.
Top 10 Most Peaceful States To Visit/Work In Nigeria
10. Enugu, Enugu State
The city of Enugu – which also shares a name with the state is the 10th most safe city in Nigeria according to our rankings.
Populated predominately by the Ibos and situated at the eastern part of the country, the city of Enugu bustles with businessmen and women who mostly mind their businesses.
For visitors and tourists who are interested in either visiting or staying at Enugu, the cool, sub-tropical weather of the city (thanks to the various hills that dot the landscape) will certainly make the visit worthwhile – and very interesting.
Further, there are a lot of things to see and activities to carry out – if you’re interested in using your camera during your visit or stay at Enugu.
There’s the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, the Polo Park Mall, Milken Hills, Udi Hills and a plethora of others.
If you’re looking for institutions of higher learning, there’s the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State University, Caritas University and Godfrey Okoye University.
Aside these awesome side attractions, the people are generally friendly and are always eager to help visitors and strangers – so far as they do not perceive them as threats/competition to their business.
Also, it is worth noting that, Enugu was the proposed (and operational capital of Biafra).
Accordingly thus, if you’re interested in history as a visitor – and would love a piece of the Biafran history, there is no better place to get it than the place where the real action actually took place.
9. Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State
The 9th safest city in Nigeria is Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, situated in South-West, Nigeria.
The city is populated majorly by Yoruba. However, because of the peaceful nature of the state, there are many other tribes either visiting the state, actually working there, doing business there or simply visiting.
Aside the fact that the city of Ado-Ekiti is very warm and friendly to visitors especially, it is also worth noting that, it also qualifies as a cheap city to live or visit, with food and accommodation being on the low side.
Further, crime is relatively low and the people enjoy nights that are completely devoid of fear of armed attacks or kidnappings.
If you ever land in this city, be certain to check on the Palace of The Ewi of Edo, right in Ado-Ekiti.
There, you’ll be treated to the rich history of the people, dating many centuries back.
From there, your love of the city is only going to grow – ensuring that you fall deeper in love and wish to visit again – sooner than later.
Let’s take a look at number 8.
8. Osogbo, Osun State
Right on the 8th spot is Osogbo – the capital city of Osun state.
Situated at the heartland of Yorubaland and in close proximity to the university city of Ilorin, the old city of Ibadan and the former capital and commercial nerve center of Nigeria, Lagos, Osun is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria to visit either as a citizen or tourist.
The residents of Osun, mostly Yorubas are warm, welcoming and accommodating of strangers – and it is one of the cities in Nigeria that it is next to impossible to hear of a bomb detonation – or even riffle shots.
Aside these clear ‘goodies’, Osun is one of the states in Nigeria that has near constant power supply.
This means, the epileptic power challenges that plaque Nigeria do not disturb it at all – which is a very good thing if you love to sleep with the air conditioner on in the tropics or simply love the assurance that there will always be power to tackle your ‘power lust’.
However, it must also be warned that the roads in that city are not in the best of states.
If you really want to enjoy them thus, you should be prepared to either rent a 4X4 SUV or drive your own right to your hotel.
That said, let’s take a look at the next city on our list, Ibadan, Oyo state.
7. Ibadan, Oyo State
Ibadan – one of the oldest cities in Nigeria also made the list of the most peaceful cities in Nigeria and one of the very best to visit or live in.
The entry point of this city is at point 7.
Despite the fact that Ibadan is known and rightly addressed as the ‘city of brown roofs’, there is no denial of the fact that the people of the state are warm, peace loving and importantly, uninterested in crime or the discomfort of their visitors.
Housing the University of Ibadan – one of the premier universities in Nigeria and a host of other institutions of higher learning such as Lead City University, Federal College of Forestry and a host of others, you will not be disappointed if higher education or academics is of interest to you.
Further, if you’re interested sight seeing, there are a plethora of options that will leave you excited: The National Museum of Unity, The Irefin Palace, The Army Pool Reserve, The Laomos Palace amongst others.
Finally, Ibadan is less than two hours drive to Lagos – the commercial capital of Nigeria.
However, if you’ve got a good car and know how to use it, you can hit the commercial nerve center in well under an hour!
6. Akure, Ondo State
Akure is the capital city of Ondo State – and is perfectly safe to both visit and or live in.
Right here on our little list, it occupies the 6th position – a position that cannot be taken lightly.
Prices of foodstuff and the overall cost of living in Akure is cheap – or for the working class, at least affordable.
This means that, living or visiting the city, you’ll have the privilege of saving the rest of the funds you earn for whatever you wish for or desire – instead of spending it on the necessaries of life or living.
Having visited this city ourselves, we find that there are simply no challenge at all – in terms of any negative indice that would amount to discomfort when visiting.
Further, the night life of the town, its social/tourist attractions and its overall structure is impressive enough to attract even the most sophisticated tourist, used to the most advanced of societies.
Further, the warmness of the people here is also impressive – and the hospitality is legendary, as is common in typical Yoruba settings.
Overall, Akure is a town to visit – or be!
5. Ilorin, Kwara State
Ilorin is home to the world acclaimed University of Ilorin – one of the country’s most respected institutions of higher learning.
The city is quite family friendly with a low crime and unemployment rate.
Situated right at the heat of Yoruba land, Ilorin is a city that many people who are visiting Nigeria or Nigerians themselves grossly and constantly underrate – for no good cause 🙂
However, we constantly wonder why anyone would fail to love a city that is perfect for the relaxed lifestyle and super ideal for family life!
Aside the obvious glories of Ilorin, the city also has some very important attractions that would be well worth the attention of any serious tourist or the amateur sight seer.
For the business minded visitor, the activities and quality of life in Ilorin is attractive enough to ensure a determination to expand to the state or at least, a desire to revisit.
If you ever get lucky and visit this city, be sure to check on Owu Falls and the Esie Museum – all impressive sights that are just some kilometers away from the capital city.
4. Benin, Edo State
Benin City is the 4th most peaceful city in Nigeria – according to our rankings.
Though, the city is known informally as the base for sourcing Nigerian prostitutes to Italy, that is completely business for another day.
What is important is that, the city is the 4th most peaceful and family friendly cities in Nigeria.
Visitors – both local and foreign are always pleased with the fact that the city is clean, violence free and importantly, cheap/affordable for the numerous people that throng to it, all day long, all year long.
It is also worth nothing that the world famous University of Benin is situated in this city.
Together with other privately held universities like the Benson Idahosa University, it satisfies the academic yearnings of those who are academically inclined.
Further, the sheer array of cuisines and cultural variants in Benin is enough to wow a visitor for a lifetime.
When the Reviews Mimi team had a stay in the city for a week, we were literally blown off our feet…
…and we still wonder how the good people of that city managed it – and the legendary hospitality coupled with the super awesome food 🙂
This is a city you must see once you land in Nigeria!
Benin-City is no longer considered a safe city, even by Nigerian standards.
Cult killings are rampant; it has become a hub for the infamous Nigeria’s variant of internet fraud (the ‘yahoo’ boys and girls) and importantly, of late, has seen an increase in house break-ins, carjackings, armed robbery, kidnapping and general criminality.
If you must live, sleep or work in the city, keeping to the GRA (Reservation, Central, Boundary, Ihama, First and Second Ugbor roads) will be a wise decision.
Also, Airport road is relatively safe – and rivals the GRA in terms of peace and general quiet.
However, by all means, avoid the Sakponba, Sapele road, Ekae, Bypass, Ekehuan, Ogbowo, Textile Mill road, Wire road, TV road and the Uselu area and environs. These are hubs for criminals and (violent) crimes occur there on a daily basis.
3. Calabar, Cross-River State
The city of Calabar is an awesome place – and the dream of many a tourist.
The city is ultra-clean and there are many things that one can do on a daily basis/many things that will certainly make one decide to visit again or better still, make it one’s permanent abode of residence 🙂
From whichever standpoint one looks at Calabar, there is little doubt as to the fact that the city is filled with greenery, nature is adored and traffic is almost non-existent.
If you’re thus the type of person who is better at home around nature, be rest assured that you’ll find in Calabar much more than you ever imagined.
Calabar has many sights that will certainly wow any tourist, aside the super clean environment and pollution free air.
There’s the National Museum, the Slave Museum, Kwa Waterfalls, the Mary Slessor House amongst many others.
If you happen to visit the city around the end of the year, there’s the Calabar Carnival – which has rightly been dubbed ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’.
Aside these awesome attractions, crime free environment and pollution/noise free air, there is also an important wonder to see – the Obudu Cattle Ranch which is just outside the city – a wonder of a settlement right on top of an impressive set of hills, boasting temperate weather and importantly, an impressive engineering feat amongst the rocks right to the top by means of a road.
If you land in Nigeria and have not been to Calabar, you certainly have not been to any place in Nigeria!
2. Abuja, Federal Capital
Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria – the giant of Africa.
As is it to be expected, you’ll find out that Nigeria is at its very best, in terms of all the goodies of life, luxury and comfort. The only challenge is that another city is right before it.
Just right 🙂
Unlike other parts of the country – or in some of the cities shared here where potholes, bad roads and some basic lack of amenities rule supreme, it is worthy of note that living in Abuja is comparable to living anywhere in either Europe or the US.
Further, as the capital of Nigeria, all serious companies, government ministries/parastatals and all that matter have offices or representations there.
If you have any need to transact at the head office of bank this or company that, your best place to land is the capital city.
Further, Abuja is a melting point – meaning that all the tribes in Nigeria meet and live there, in peace. Tribalism is thus at its very least in the city, at least, overtly.
Further, Abuja has the very best hotels in Nigeria – 5 star hotels that will give you comparable comfort to the best hotels in France or New York.
If safety is your utmost concern, your 2nd best bet is to land at the Murtala International Airport at Abuja and lodge at the Sheraton Hotels or any other awesome hotel that catches your fancy.
Let’s take a look at the number 1 safest city to live in or visit in Nigeria.
1. Makurdi, Benue State
Makurdi – Benue State.
Are you surprised that this relatively unknown city has made this list and not just made it, has made it at the very first point?
So we would also have been some years back before we had the opportunity of living and working for a considerable amount of time in the state.
The city, comprising primarily of the Tiv people – and a healthy array of other tribes, most prominently, the Idoma, Ibo and Itulo is so far, the most hospitable city in the whole of Nigeria – and very well, the safest to live in/work or visit.
The people of this city are very welcoming to the point that an unfortunate rumor emanated from the lips of some misguided visitors that they give visitors their wives as a sign of welcome.
While the above is not true, it is simply added to show you how really caring and hospitable the people are.
Further, during our stay here, we were made to understand clearly that refusing an invitation to eat free food from one’s host – or as a mere passerby was perceived as an act of hostility 🙂
Food in this city and general living cost are very low.
As a matter of fact, the prices are so low that one will be forgiven for thinking he/she is being offered the food or service for free.
…at least, that was our very first impression 🙂
Only a visit will ensure that you see our own side of the story and truly understand what it is we’re trying to project here.
Points To Note About Safety In Nigeria Generally
To ensure your overall safety in any Nigerian city (listed here or not), it is important to take close note of the following:
- Nigeria is largely a country made up of very wealthy and very poor people. Be thus careful where and how you flaunt your wealth/affluence.
- Nigerians are largely emotional, highly religious freaks. Be thus very careful of how you discuss religion. The smartest thing to do is to avoid religious discussions altogether.
- Finally, an average Nigerian would be rather praised than told the truth. While this may offend your sensibilities, it is smart to note that it may be a deal closer 9 out of 10 times 🙂
Additional Tips To Ensure That You’re Safe Always – Or Get Help ASAP When In A Challenge
- When you arrive at the borders of any city, be sure to get the emergency phone number of the nearest police station.
- Keeping largely to yourself means safety – to a large extent.
- Understand the local dialect as soon as possible. If this proves too difficult, master as least the largely used ‘pidgin English’. Nigerians always love a common ground 🙂
At just over 3,000 words, you have an idea now of the safest cities to either visit or live in when you come to Nigeria or are interested in visiting one part of Nigeria or the other as a citizen.
However, it is important to note that there is nothing as ‘absolute safety’ as far as cities go – once in a while, there will be a crime or a robbery…this does not however make these cities any less safe.
The key is to make certain that when such sad occurrences happen (as they happen everywhere else in the world), you’re not at the sad receiving end as a victim.
Enjoy Nigeria; enjoy its most peaceful and hospitable cities!
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