Now that we have a fair idea of sizes and types of wires/cables we are to select for our house wiring, it is now save to go to the market and select ORIGINAL cables otherwise called “Nigerian cables”.

To demonstrate how to determine the right wire/cable, we shall examine the reason why a roll of wire of single core 2.5mm2 “Nigerian cable” is sold for N14, 500 and another roll of wire of single core 2.5mm2, also called Nigerian cable is sold for N3, 800.



In the first part of this series, we gave the price of copper at the international market at $2.73 per pound (453.59 grams) or N1, 365 per 0.454Kg.


Now, a roll of wire is supposed to be 100meters standard and a typical roll with PVC covering after manufacturing is supposed to weight at least 4Kg.

Now let us do a simple calculation for the estimated price of the 2.5mm2 wire mentioned above.


If copper cost N1, 365 per 0.45Kg in the international market

Then 1Kg of copper would cost: N1, 365/0.454 = N3, 006.61


So, using the standard expected weight of 4Kg, for 100m of 2.5mm2 wire, the price at international price is N3,006.61 X 4= N12,026.44


If you now add the following costs, you will know why the true legendary and famous Nigerian Wire would cost N14, 500 today, while the imitation is N3, 800:

  1. Cost of PVC coating
  2. Cost of manufacturing
  3. Cost of Logistics
  4. Profit



The question then is: how are they able to sale 2.5mm2 single core wire for N3, 800, when the original Nigerian wire costs N14, 500?


Let me explain:


  1. They asked the manufacturers (mainly Chinese) to reduce the dimension: so a 1mm2 or 1.2mm2 wire is presented and labeled as 5mm2 Nigerian wire
  2. Reduce the length in the roll: for example, instead of 100m which is the standard for every roll, they simply asked them to produce 25m, 30m, 40m, 50m, 60m and so on and sell at prices relative to that
  3. They asked the manufacturer to use alloy of copper and other cheaper materials such as aluminum for example: with the result that the alloy would off course be cheaper, but lack all the good characteristics that make copper highly suitable for electrification, such as higher conductivity.
  4. In other bizarre case, they actually use another material that is extremely cheap, such as iron, then color the wire with copper color, to make it real, with the result that it is able to carry less current and can fail easily.


Picture: Different sizes of cables used in house wiring


Most of the so called Nigerian cables are actually made in China with Nigerian dealers who give the names they choose. That is why their prices vary significantly from one another, depending on their levels of fraudulent activities.




Here below is a simple table I compiled to serve as a GUIDE only; to help the reader have an idea of the estimated weight of some of the different types of wire/cables used in house wiring:


NO Wire Cross Section Area Length in a Roll Approx. Weight of Single  wire Approx weight of 3 core cable
1 1mm2 100m 2.3Kg 7.12Kg
2 1.5mm2 100m 3Kg 8.68Kg
3 2.5mm2 100m 4Kg 12.69Kg
4 4mm2 50m 4Kg 12Kg
5 6mm2 50m 4.5Kg 13.09Kg


If the weight is significantly less than what is in the above table, know that you are buying fake “Nigerian Wire/Cable”. All original Nigerian wire/cables are within the range provided above. Please note that the 4mm2 and 6mm2 are rapped as 50meter rolls.


So, when next you are told that a wire/cable is Nigerian, put them to test by checking the diameter of the wire core and the weight of the roll. Engineers and all electrical professionals reading this piece should equip themselves with DIGITAL MICROMETER SCREW GAUGE to easily measure at least the diameter. It is not so expensive anymore!



NEXT: We examine why Nigerian cables/wire are considered good standard for wiring and how to know the original NIGERIAN CABLE when we get to the market to make our purchases?


©Tunde Y. Salihu, 2017

234-803 324 6068

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