It is 8PM on a warm Friday night at Eko Hotel in Victoria Island in Nigeria and a $480,000, white Rolls-Royce screeches to a halt. A 2015 red Lamborghini Aventador, with a retail price of $548,800, follows it shortly, revving its engine before joining an array of black Mercedes G Classes, which elegantly litter the parking lot.
Victoria Island is the wealthiest district of Lagos and home to one of the biggest congregations of millionaires in the world. Theo Tiemessen, Manager at the plush Eko Signature hotel, says these millionaires are demanding customers.
“They have good taste and they are willing to pay for good meals and fresh products,” he says.
Around 80% of the guests at Eko Signature come from outside the hotel. The customers are predominantly top government and banking officials who use the hotel for their meetings. Specialist businesses have sprung up to cater for the particular needs of this affluent group.
“We had guests in the hotel once who asked for camel milk for their infant child, they would not take anything else,” says Tiemessen.
Ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) are classified by having liquid assets worth more than $5 million. The number of UHNWIs in Africa will increase by a staggering 59% over the next 10 years, according to the Wealth Report 2015 and Nigeria will have one of the highest growth rates in UHNWIs over the next decade.
Aderemi Ajidahun is the CEO of Hole19 Group, which specializes in providing luxury retail products to the rich. The group’s flagship brand is Zakaa, a retailer of luxury brands such as Brioni, Angelo Galasso and Maurice Lacroix.
“Our clients are mostly extravagant spenders with a unique taste. They only want the best and the most unique timepieces which cannot be found in any other shops,” says Ajidahun.
Last year, Ajidahun sold one of those timepieces for a staggering $250,000. His showroom in Maitama, an exclusive district in Abuja, caters to the wealthiest.
“Our female clients usually only want the pieces they have seen on the runway and it is our job to make sure that they have them,” says Ajidahun.
Kunle Bello runs Platinum Concierge, a company that provides specialty services for the affluent in Mayfair, one of London’s wealthiest areas. A lot of his clients are wealthy Nigerians.
“We provide services that cater to the needs of UHNWIs. Our services range from organizing exclusive parties, catering, booking holiday packages, property and whatever the client needs,” says Bello.
The number of Nigerians buying luxury properties in Britain has risen sharply since Bello started his business three years ago.
“Two months ago, I sold a property to an oil entrepreneur for just over $6 million,” he says.
The super-rich travel in style and have private jets waiting for them at airports. Nigeria is currently the largest market in Africa for Bombardier.
“Average flight time an hour costs about $8,000 for those who do not own their own jets but still want to travel in style,” says Bello.
Those who can afford their own planes will have to part with $25 million to $65 million for a new Gulfstream. Around 1,200 private jets land at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos every month.
“It costs upwards of $4 million a year to maintain a private jet with two fulltime captains and a flight attendant on standby, in addition to related airport handling services,” says Bello.
Despite tough economic times, it seems Nigeria’s rich are able to maintain their lavish lifestyles.