Before you return to Nigeria it is important that you weigh all your housing options: ‘Do I have relatives I can lodge with for a while?’ ‘Do I have a friend who could accommodate me for at least 6months?’ These are cheaper options than finding a hotel or guest house. Ideally, you want to land a job and save enough to pay 2 years rent before you consider moving out.
With regards house rent in Nigeria most landlords or property agents ask for an upfront payment of 1-2years rent. In some cases you can pay down for a longer period if you so wish. The good thing is that for this length of time you do not have to worry about rent. Ensure that you get a stamped official receipt as proof of payment and/or a letter to that effect.
Do your research if you are unsure of what part of Nigeria to relocate to. Lagos is a commercial hotspot so the tendency is for people in neighboring states to apply for jobs there. If you think you want to work in Lagos then consider the travel distance between your (prospective) home and the office. If you work on the Island i.e. Victoria Island (V.I), Lekki, Ikoyi, etc and you live on the mainland i.e. Ikeja, Apapa, Ogba, Festac, etc then you have to travel through Third Mainland bridge or Carter bridge. There are varying levels of traffic depending on the time you venture unto these routes.
Generally properties are more expensive on the Island compared to the mainland. You also tend to get better value on the mainland. For instance, a 1-bed apartment in V.I could fetch a 3-bed apartment in Ikeja. Also consider living in residential estates so you can be part of a community. They are usually more secure and well-serviced (e.g. street lighting, security guards, etc.)
When choosing your new place, also make sure that you are close to key locations. For example, pharmacy, hospital, mini-mart/shop, supermarket, etc. This would mean you could make those emergency stops and save money on your transportation costs while you’re at it.
If you are 30years old or above then you are exempt from NYSC completion.
However, if you are a graduate and under 30years of age then you will be required to complete your National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) before gaining full employment into any private or public company. The government came up with this scheme decades ago to ensure that every Nigerian renders service to the community.
The duration is for 1year and registration is done at Abuja. You will need to have your Nigerian passport, Degree certificate(s) and passport photographs in order to register. The state in which you serve depends primarily on where you are from. For example, if you say you are from Lagos state then you will be posted in any of the other 36 states. The idea is that you are not permitted to serve in the same state you are from.
You would need to get a head start by applying to companies that are recruiting Corpers. If you want to work in the banking sector, for example, then apply to a good number of banks so that you are can be supervised by them. In the event that you do not find a company to serve with, the NYSC officials may fix you in any job that is available and not necessarily linked to your degree discipline.
Whilst you work you will not be classed as permanent staff and your monthly salary would be very much lower than a graduate who already holds an NYSC certificate. For example, in the banking industry (as at Dec 2008) a graduate who completes his/her NYSC and gains employment at entry level may earn btw N90,000 and N120,000 monthly while a Corper would earn between N20,000 and N25,000 monthly.
Once you have completed your service you may wish to remain with the company with which you served. Once you are retained you stand to gain all the employee benefits available to permanent staff.
This could be your biggest and most expensive house-move (unless of course you don’t want it to be). You don’t have to take everything you own back to Nigeria. You will find that a lot of is actually…how can I put this nicely…junk! Start a jumble sale or car-boot sale. Don’t see it as a way to make a profit. Your focus should be on being able to freight as little as possible to Nigeria. Having to pay for storage space in any country is like paying for rent…only, you don’t actually live there! For the professional ‘Netzines’ among us, you may want to try auctioning some of your goods on sites like ‘eBAY’. You could also list your items on social network sites/forums or even in the classifieds (Physical and Online newspapers, magazines, etc).You may end up doing some free giveaways – painful, but you’re off to a fresh start back home. You’ll have more than enough opportunities to acquire new junk over here. As a precaution, ensure that all confidential documents i.e. bank statements, utility bills, cheque books, etc. are either all destroyed or brought back with you.
It’s really important that the decision to relocate is wholly yours. As a suggestion, go there on holiday and get a good feel for the environment – that’s what I did. Can you adjust to the change of lifestyle in the long run? Public transport comes in the form of BRT buses (Government-owned, long buses), Public vans/’Danfo’, Public taxi, Car hire, Motorcycle/Okada and Hooded, 3-wheeled scooter/’Keke’. Electricity is not constant yet so alternative sources of power will be required e.g. Generators, Inverters, etc. These days a lot of goods seen abroad are usually available in big supermarkets at home. Lagos is very metropolitan, for those who are used to the busy city life. Abuja, on the other hand, is relatively quieter and has more of a countryside feel to it. Start getting used to the value of Naira and see how much you are likely to spend on average on a normal day. Other people’s decisions to return may influence you but still go with your gut instinct and pray for God’s guidance.