Every year, thousands of young and old graduates leave their homes to serve the country in states like Kaduna through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The aim is to get Nigerians out of their comfort zone so that they can learn about various tribes, regions and religions.
That often is not the case because a lot of corpers redeploy immediately after orientation at the various camps. When it comes to Northern Nigeria, you find that a lot of people who have never been to the North are completely uninterested in staying there. At most, they redeploy to Abuja. It is vice versa with Lagos and Port Harcourt been one of the hot cake states so to say.
Well I seem to be digressing a bit. So if you were posted to Kaduna State, here are a few things you should know.
1. Kaduna is a Truly Lovely State
If this is going to be your first time in Kaduna or Northern Nigeria (Abuja does not count) then truly, there is really nothing to worry about. I’m not saying this because this is my city but because it is quite true. The people are very friendly and nice and are willing to help strangers.
2. Kaduna is Safe
News of religious crisis in the 90s, bomb blasts during the Boko Haram peak period, the Shiites at Zaria city and the Southern Kaduna crisis are true. It would make no sense to state otherwise. However, despite these period of unrest, the city is one that is safe. Steps are being taken by everyone to ensure a peaceful society. If you are a christian, there is no need to be afraid as you will not be killed for your religious affiliations. It is easy to move about without being harassed from one point to another whether early in the morning or at night.
However, you should exercise caution as you would in any other city.
3. Kaduna is Truly Cosmopolitan
Just like Abuja and Lagos, Kaduna has people from EVERY state in Nigeria living in it (I mean this). The Kaduna indigenes are a mix of various tribes and religions such as Kwoi, Hausas, Jaba and a whole lot. From the Idomas to Kalabari, Yorubas and Igbos, we have all of them well represented in the ciity, living and working together.
Fun Fact: Kaduna has more than 30 ethnic groups
4. Kaduna is NOT a Muslim State
Kaduna is one of the largest states in Nigeria and its location in the North is commonly misconstrued for it to mean that it is a Muslim state. This is not so. There are indigenes who are Christians as well as Muslims. A number of the Muslims are from the Northern part of the state whereas, the Christians are from the Southern part of the state. The state is a mix of various beliefs.
5. You can Survive without Knowledge of Hausa
Surprised? Don’t be. My former colleague at work who was born and bred in Kaduna even after her time at Ahmadu Bello University, speaks no Hausa and she is perfectly sound and doing fine. Knowing the language of a locale definitely makes interaction easier but, if you know no Hausa at all and you are worried about interacting, don’t worry we are quite conversant with the language of the English. 🙂 Still, I suggest you come along and learn one of the easiest languages in Nigeria, Hausa.
6. Low Cost of Living
Money may not be a problem for a few people but your service period allows you to be independent to a large extent. The ability to take care of yourself without the occasional call to parents or guardians for funds can boost your confidence and your parents’ respect for you.
The cost of living in Kaduna is very low. Transportation, accommodation, feeding and even shopping is very affordable. A 2-bedroom flat in a decent area can go for as low as N200,000 per year (even less). With a thriving agric sector N5000 can take you a long way in this town in terms of feeding (food ingredients not eating out). On movement, it is cheap and the road network is pretty decent so there is not much need for worry.
I wrote about the cost of living in Kaduna here.
I am not sure why Nigerians like to struggle. Everyone would rather rush to Lagos or Abuja and struggle for crumbs whereas the opportunities in the Northern areas are being left untapped.
If you’ve been having ideas to venture into something meaningful, do go ahead. The city is calm and there is little pressure which allows you to experiment and try out new ideas and take advantage of opportunities. You can take advantage of your service year to develop yourself and pick up new skills whether its in tech, manufacturing or agriculture.
With this, I say “Welcome to Kaduna State”.
Did you serve in Kaduna state are currently serving here? Please share your experience in the comments section.