It’s that time of the year when you will have to fill in the four states you’d prefer to spend your NYSC service year. Without a doubt, I am sure security is the first criteria you would consider, after which, you’d consider factors such as distance to your home state, job opportunities, cost of living, and other relevant factors.
In this article, after carefully considering factors such as security, cost of living, which includes transportation and housing cost, salaries and standard of living, I have listed the ten best states to serve as a corper in Nigeria.
Although this list is subjective, you will find it well-researched and up to date.
10 Best States for NYSC
Looking for the best state to choose for NYSC, here are the best states in Nigeria for Corpers and how much they pay.
I’m sure some people reading this article are already angry that Abuja is the last on this list. Of all the states with a high cost of living, Abuja is the highest. Forget Lekki, forget Banana Island, Abuja is the main deal. But don’t get it twisted that Abuja has one of the cheapest food markets in the country. It is very likely that the yam you ate recently is from Abuja. Probably even the tomatoes you used to prepare stew last weekend.
Transportation cost in Abuja is high, housing in Abuja is high, but it doesn’t stop people from wanting to serve there. This is the reason. Everyone wants to get a taste of Nigeria’s money, and Abuja is where they share it. Don’t get me wrong; they don’t share it on the streets. If you have someone in the high places, you’re already employed even before you get your discharge certificate.
Abuja has a good standard of living and good security, so you should fit in easily if you’re from a middle-class family. Abuja doesn’t pay corp members, but you’re unlikely to work at a that won’t pay you.
9. Cross River
Cross River known as the paradise state of the country was once the capital of Nigeria and the most beautiful state in the country. Sumptuous food, rich culture, and a luxurious lifestyle – welcome to Calabar. Despite the high standard of living in the state, Calabar still has a reasonable cost of living. Affordable transportation fares, inexpensive food, good roads, and a fair accommodation cost, etc. The security in the state is relatively sound.
For those people who read marine-related courses in school, you’re very likely to get posted to a marine firm, and your chances of employment just got higher. The government of Cross River state pays ₦3,000 to corp members monthly.
8. Enugu State
Enugu state government pays copers serving in the urban area of the state ₦1,000 monthly and pays ₦4,000 to those serving in the rural areas. Funny right? I laughed too when I heard about it, but doesn’t stop it from being one of the hottest states in Nigeria that’s regarding job opportunities and lifestyle.
Enugu is a complete state. It doesn’t have any bad attribute, at least none that I’ve heard of. Food is cheap, transportation is fair, and security is good. However, one of the problems that those who live in Enugu face is water. Because of its mountainous terrain, it is usually tricky to drill a borehole which kind of makes water challenging to get. Mind you; this is not present in all areas of the state.
7. Niger state
Unlike other states in the North, Niger doesn’t strictly enforce sharia law. There are more Christians in Niger state than any other Northern state. Niger state can boast of electricity more than any other state in Nigeria probably because of the presence of the Kanji dam in the state.
Arguably, it’s the most “secure” state in the north. Generally, feeding and housing are cheap in the whole north and Niger isn’t an exception.
In addition to the fact that the state government pays, what makes Niger worthy to be on this list is that it an average place to serve; Niger is not exceptional, but it is not a bad place. If you’re looking for where to serve and get out without drama, head to Niger state. Niger state pays a lump total of ₦60,000 at the end of your service year, and you’re likely to be posted to a school.
6. Rivers State
When you hear Rivers state, the first place that comes to mind is Port Harcourt, but outside Port Harcourt, there are many other excellent local government where you could enjoy your service year. The heart of Port Harcourt is Obia-Okpor LGA. This is the wealthiest LGA in Nigeria and the one of the Richest in Africa (Google it). However, being rich brings class and class comes with an expense. So it is unsurprising that Port Harcourt is one of the cities with the highest cost of living in Nigeria.
In spite of the high cost of living in Port Harcourt, many corps members pick Port Harcourt as their desired service state. I fear this may either be as a result of ignorance or the attraction of the affluent lifestyle present in Port Harcourt. Whatever the reason is, my advice is if you know how to hustle Port Harcourt would be an enjoyable place to serve and meet several dignitaries otherwise choose another state.
Security in the state is dependent on the area. Just be careful of the places you go to and who you go with. Also, contrary to the widespread belief that food is expensive there, Port Harcourt is a place you could get the cheapest seafood in Nigeria. Especially, foods that thrive in rainy seasons such as pumpkin. In Port Harcourt, the cost of transportation depends on the area, to get to some places are cheap and to some other places might not be.
For several years now, the government of Rivers state stopped paying corp members for a reason best known to them.
5. Ogun State
First of all, Ogun state has the best NYSC camp is Nigeria (This is a fact). So, once you enter the state, you’ll start enjoying good stuff from the camp. Ogun state doesn’t pay corpers, but there are several companies and several job opportunities for corpers. (Note, if you go for service early in the year, you may get posted to companies rather than schools).
The capital city of Ogun State, Abeokuta, as well as most areas in Ogun state, has several beautiful houses at affordable rates, transport fare is well within reasonable prices, and security is decent.
Remember, Ogun state is home to the largest farm in Nigeria (Otta farm) and has several other large mechanized farms. I’m sure you’ve gotten the hint: Food is incredibly cheap. But as I mentioned earlier, Ogun state doesn’t pay corpers.
4. Akwa Ibom State (Akwa Ibom ayaya)
Personally, Akwa Ibom was the state I wanted to serve in, but I wasn’t posted there. Akwa Ibom state government is the only state that pays corps members after their orientation course. Immediately after camp, corpers get paid, and according to the government, it’s to help them go to their various PPAs before their service year officially begins.
Have you heard of any security problem in Akwa Ibom? Neither have I. Akwa Ibom is as safe as a safe house. Also, feeding is very cheap in all parts of Akwa Ibom. Recently, when I visited Akwa Ibom, I almost became a glutton because of how cheap food was (including dog meat…lol). Also, the transportation cost is dirt-cheap, housing cost is reasonable, and the lifestyle is great. Lest I forget, the state government pays corpers ₦5,000 monthly.
Clearly, they aren’t wrong when they claim to be the most developed state in Nigeria after Abuja and Lagos. So, if you’re considering to serve in “AK” as we sometimes call it, you won’t regret it.
3. Kano State
Kano is one of the major cities and a major commercial hub in Nigeria. At a time Kano state was the most populous state in Nigeria, although the Boko Haram crisis might have contributed to it losing that title to Lagos state.
I was born in Kano, and I grew up there, and I still visit Kano occasionally, so it was unsurprising when an ex-corp member was sharing his wonderful service year experience in Kano. He said, “If you serve in Dangote or Nepa office (Kedco) in Kano, you are of all men, most blessed.” Funny right? You may be wondering what he meant, but you won’t understand until you’re there. Kano state government is one of the states that pays corpers and presently, Kano is relatively peaceful. Kano is now as safe as it used to be years back and people are returning.
Regarding the cost of living, the cost of living in Kano is quite affordable, yet the standard is high, which makes it a major attraction to people from other regions. Kano has more industries than any other state in Northern Nigeria, which provides job opportunities for both corps members and those who choose to remain after their service year.
Okay, now I must say this. When I was still in secondary school, I remembered some corpers then who bought gold (did I mention that Kano has the largest gold dealers in Nigeria and it is very cheap in Kano?) with part of their allowance and sold them after their service year in the states they came from. I still know many of them still living there because of how they’ve exploited what kano has to offer.
Lastly, Kano state pays corps members ₦5,000 mothly, which makes it the best northern state for NYSC.
2. Anambra State
Anambra is ranked second on this list mainly because it is one of NYSC’s highest paying state. Anambra government pays corp members ₦9,000, which is higher than all states except Lagos state. Yes, you read that right. The state is home to arguably the largest market in West Africa, and some people say that there’s more money in Onitsha (though not the capital) than any other city in Nigeria.
Food is cheap; the accommodation is reasonable, transportation is affordable; virtually, everything is Anambra is cheap. Although, Anambra has one big issue (though I’m mainly referring to Onitsha), which is security. The security in Onitsha in nothing to write home about but that doesn’t mean that you can’t serve there. Other major towns in Anambra are relatively safe and very pleasant to live in: like Awka and Nnewi.
Regarding job opportunities, Awka has more professional job opportunities than any other town in Anambra. The reason is that Awka being the state capital has more government offices and other corporate offices. Don’t get it wrong, Onitsha and Nnewi have lots of industries, but you’re more likely to get posted to schools for your primary assignment.
1. Lagos state
Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria and thus, staying in Lagos isn’t cheap. A corps member posted to Lagos would have to deal with huge accommodation, transportation cost, and feeding cost. However, Lagos offers significantly higher job opportunities than most states in Nigeria, which makes it a major attraction for corps members.
Regarding security, Lagos is one of the safest places for a Corp member in Nigeria. Although petty crimes like pickpocketing are rampant in crowded areas in Lagos, Corp members posted to Lagos need not worry about kidnappings, bombings, or any major security concern.
Finally, the state government pays corps members in ministries the sum of N10,000/Month while Corp Members in Local Government Offices are paid N5,000 monthly. A Corp member in Lagos earns an average of N30,000 per month at their place of primary assignment.
For most corps members, Lagos state is the best state for NYSC in Nigeria, sadly, it is too competitive and getting posted to Lagos is more luck than choice.
Other states that pay corp members include:
Looking for a list of states that pay youth corpers in Nigeria? Aside from the above-listed states, the following states also pay corps members.
- Ekiti state = N60,000 at the end of your service year (5,000 monthly)
- Bayelsa state = ₦3,000 monthly
- Kebbi state = ₦24,000 at the end of your service year (₦2,000 monthly)
- Taraba state = ₦5,000 monthly
- Imo state = ₦2,000 monthly
- Zamfara state = ₦3,000 monthly
- Nasarawa state = ₦3,000 monthly
- Yobe state = ₦2,500 monthly
- Borno state = ₦1,000 monthly
- Oyo state = 3,800 monthly
- Niger state = ₦5,000 monthly
- Kaduna state = ₦5,000 monthly
- Bauchi state = ₦1,250 monthly
For clarity, when we mention the monthly salary states pay corpers, it is for corps members, whose primary place of assignment is a state government organization.
Also, some private organizations pay corpers while some don’t. It depends on the company’s policy, but it is always a good idea to negotiate your pay if you are working at a private firm – at least, let them pay you enough to cover transportation cost.
Regarding states that pay corpers during NYSC, you should confirm from corps members currently serving in the state, especially the most recent batch because some states without warning, have stopped or will stop paying corps members.
Lastly, if you know any state that is equally a good option or even better for corps members, kindly tell us the state, the security situation, cost of living and why it is excellent for corps members.