10 Most indebted states in Nigeria (2023)

The Debt Management Office has provided information pertaining to the state of Nigeria’s debt stock as of the third quarter of 2022. As of September 2022, the country’s total domestic debt stocks for all states had increased to 5.36 trillion Naira, an increase of 128.44 billion Naira from the previous quarter’s 5.28 trillion Naira.

In addition, the states’ domestic debts increased by N1.16 trillion from N4.12 trillion in September 2021 to the same time last year. In the meantime, Nigeria’s total public debt stock reached a record high during the time under review, reaching $103.31 billion.

Domestic debts made up 61% (or $63.25 billion) of the total debt, while external debts made up 39% of the debt stock. Intriguingly, the stock of total debt rose by $16.74 billion from the previous year.

Lagos, Delta, and Ogun State saw the greatest year-over-year growth in terms of actual value, while Oyo, FCT, and Delta saw the greatest percentage growth.

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Nigerian states with the most debts

RankStateDebt (Naira)
1.Lagos 877,035,995,031.70
2.Delta272,612,510,528.95
3.Ogun241,782,021,304.96
4.Rivers225,505,011,356.00
5.Akwa Ibom219,617,660,991.63 
6Imo 207,520,959,471.52
7.Cross River175,198,799,155.96
8.Oyo160,071,143,937.27
9.Plateau151,903,415,543.09
10.Bayelsa151,158,248,963.07

1. Lagos

Debt: 877,035,995,031.70 Naira

With a debt of 877,035,995,031.70 Naira as of September 2022, the state of Lagos is the most indebted in the nation. The Lagos debt accounts for almost 20% of the total debt owed by the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Lagos is Nigeria’s largest economy and contributes over 15% to the country’s GDP. The state is home to over 21 million Nigerians, and with that much moth to feed, the state’s indebted situation is stable in economic reality. 

2. Delta State 

Debt: 272,612,510,528.95 Naira

Delta State is one of the major oil-producing states in the country with a population of over 5 million people. As of September 2022, the state had a domestic debt stock of 272,612,510,528.95 Naira, which accounts for 7.2% of the total state debt stock and puts it far behind the other states.

Delta’s debt management success was proven in the September 2022 debt profile for states and the FCT, the state’s debt dropped by over 20% from  378.88 billion Naira in June 2022 to 272, 612,510,528.95 Naira in September 2022. 

Also readNigerian Economy: Growth and key sectors

3. Ogun State

Debt: 241,782,021,304.96 Naira

Ogun state comes third as the most indebted state in Nigeria has a total debt of over two billion Naira accounting for over 6% of the total debt held by states and the FCT.

The state is argued to be home to most industries in Nigeria. The state since the past decade has undergone a tremendous infrastructural upgrade with concentrations on transportation, housing, health care and others. 

The state of Ogun has a population of over 3 million people and a GDP of over 10 billion dollars. The state is also one of the top ten internally generated revenue states in Nigeria. 

4. Rivers State 

Debt: 225,505,011,356.00 Naira

As of June 2022, Rivers State had a total domestic debt stock of N225.51 billion or 4.3% of all states’ domestic debts. From N213.17 billion as of June 2022, Rivers State’s debt stock increased by 5.8% year-over-year, but it remained unchanged for the past three months to finish at 225,505,011,356.00 Naira in September 2022.

The state of Rivers is argued to be the capital of Nigeria’s oil-rich concentration. Several oil companies dealing upstream, downstream and midstream operate from Rivers or have headquarters and branch offices in Rivers state. The state over the years has undertaken extensive infrastructure upgrades, levelling its facilities to that of standard cities across the world.

5. Akwa Ibom State

Debt: 219,617,660,991.63 Naira

The oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom is the 5th most indebted state in the country with a debt of over 219 billion Naira. The present debt saw a fall from the June 2022 debt of Ogun state to the tune of over 20 billion Naira. 

Just as most states on the list, the state of Akwa Ibom has undertaken extensive development in the last 10 years, with concentrations on infrastructure, education, and health care. 

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6. Imo State

Debt: 207,520,959,471.52 Naira

With a total domestic debt stock of over 207 billion Naira as of September 2022, Imo State ranked fifth on the list, accounting for 4% of the overall state debt profile. From N149.51 billion as of September 2021, Imo State’s domestic debt stock increased by 40.7% year over year.

On a quarter-on-quarter premise, the homegrown obligation load of Imo State expanded by 2.83% from N204.61 billion recorded as of June 2022. The state currently holds the title of the fastest-growing indebted state quarterly. Imo state is also the most indebted state in the southeastern region of the country and the only southeastern state indebted to the tune of over 200 billion Naira as of September 2022. 

7. Cross River State

Debt: 175,198,799,155.96 Naira

Cross River is a tourism and agriculture-centred economy in the south-south region of Nigeria. The state has battled unemployment and the growing number of people living in poverty in the state for a long. 

The debt of Cross Rivers state is more than 175 billion Naira as of September 2022.

8. Oyo State

Debt: 160,071,143,937.27 Naira

Oyo state is the third most indebted state in Nigeria with a debt of over 160 billion Naira. The state’s debt grew by over 40% from its previous debt in June 2022.

The state has undertaken rapid investments in its agriculture sector to grow throughout the state.

9. Plateau State

Debit: 151,903,415,543.09 Naira

Plateau state is a state located in the north-central region of Nigeria. The state is the most indebted northern state in the country with a debt of over 151 billion Naira as of September 2022. 

The state of Plateau has a population of over 3 million people and n economy of over 5 billion dollars.

10. Bayelsa State

Debt: 151,158,248,963.07 Naira

The state of Bayelsa is another oil-rich nation in the south-south region of Nigeria. The state is one of the least populated states in Nigeria with less than 2 million people but with a powerful economy of over 5 billion people. 

The debt of the state of Bayelsa as of September 2022 is over 151 billion Naira.

Also readNigerians in diaspora: Population and Economic contributions

Conclusion

As of September 2022, the total stock of external debt was over 50 billion dollars (16.61 trillion Naira), which is roughly the same as the level in June 2022, when it was 40 billion dollars (14.53 trillion Naira).

As of the end of September 2022, Lagos, Delta, and Ogun States topped the list of Nigerian states with the most domestic debt, accounting for over 35% of all domestic debts of the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which state is the second most indebted state in the southeast region?

Abia state is the second most indebted state in the southeast region with a debt of 93 billion Naira.

Which region is the most indebted in Nigeria?

The southwest region is Nigeria’s most indebted.

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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