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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abuja is located in Nigeria
Location of Abuja in Nigeria
Coordinates: 9°4′0″N 7°29′0″E / 9.066667°N 7.483333°E / 9.066667; 7.483333
Country  Nigeria
Territory Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria)
 - Minister Adamu Aliero
 - Total 713 km2 (275.3 sq mi)
 - Land 713 km2 (275.3 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 778,567
 Density 1,091.9/km2 (2,828/sq mi)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria. It is located in the center of Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Abuja is a planned city, which was built mainly in the 1980s and officially became Nigeria's capital on 12 December 1991, replacing the role of the previous capital Lagos. As of the 2006 census, the Federal Capital Territory has a population of 778,567.[1]

Abuja's geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-meter monolith left by water erosion. The Presidential Complex, National Assembly, Supreme Court and much of the town extend to the south of the rock. "Aso" means "victorious" in the language of the (now displaced) Asokoro ("the people of victory").

Abuja is known for being the best purpose-built city in Africa[citation needed] as well as being one of the wealthiest and most expensive; however, the population on the semi-developed edges of the city live in shanty towns such as Karu. Karu, originally planned to house the capital's civil servants and lower income families, still has an unstable electricity supply.[2]



Nigerian National Assembly, Abuja.

In light of the ethnic and religious divisions of Nigeria, plans had been devised since Nigeria's independence to have its capital in a location deemed neutral to all parties. The location was eventually designated in the centre of the country in the early 1970s as it signified neutrality and national unity. Another impetus for Abuja came because of Lagos' population boom that made that city overcrowded and conditions squalid. The logic used was similar to how Brazil planned its capital Brasília. Construction broke ground and was dedicated in the late 1970s, but due to economic and political instability, the initial stages of the city were not complete until the late 1980s.

The master plan for Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was developed by International Planning Associates (IPA), a consortium made up of three American firms: Planning Research Corporation; Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd; and Archisystems, a division of the Hughes Organization. The master plan for Abuja defined the general structure and major design elements of the city that are visible in the city's current form. More detailed design of the central areas of the capital, particularly its monumental core, was accomplished by Kenzo Tange, a renowned Japanese architect, along with his team of city planners at Kenzo Tange and Urtec company.

Most countries relocated their embassies to Abuja, and many maintain their former embassies as consulates in Lagos, still the commercial capital of Nigeria.

Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. It also has the regional headquarters of OPEC.

Abuja and the FCT have experienced huge population growth; it has been reported that some areas around Abuja have been growing at 20 to 30% per year.[3] Squatter settlements and towns have spread rapidly in and outside the city limits.[2][4] Tens of thousands of people have been evicted since former FCT Minister Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai started a demolition campaign in 2003.[5]

The Phase 1 area of the city is divided into five (5) districts. They are the Central, the Garki, Wuse, Maitama, and Asokoro. There are also five districts in Phase 2. They are Kado, Durumi, Gudu, Utako and Jabi. And the Phase 3 districts are Mabuchi, Katampe, Wuye and Gwarimpa. There are also five suburban districts, which are Nyanya, Karu, Gwagwalada, Kubwa, and Jukwoyi. Along the Airport Road are clusters of satellite settlements, namely Lugbe, Chika, Kuchigworo and Pyakassa. Other satellite settlements are Idu (the main industrial zone), Mpape, Karimu, Gwagwa, Dei-Dei (housing the International Livestock market and also International Building materials market).

Abuja International Airport

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is the main airport serving Abuja and the surrounding capital region. It was named after Nigeria's first President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. The airport has both international and domestic terminals.

The federal capital territory's ministers since the relocation of the federal capital to Abuja are as follows: John Jatau Kadiya, 1979 - 1982; Iro Abubakar Dan Musa 1982 - 1983; Haliru Dantoro 1983 - 1984; Mamman Jiya Vatsa 1984 - December 1985; Hamza Abdullahi 1986 - 1989; Gado Nasko 1989 - 1993; Jeremiah Timbut Useni 1993 – 1998; Mamman Kontagora 1998 - 1999; Ibrahim Bonu 1999 - 2001; Mohammed Abba Gana 2001 - 2003; Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai 2003 - May 2007; Aliyu Modibo 2007 - 2008; Adamu Aliero 2008 - the present

Central District Of Abuja

Skyline Of Abuja Central District

Abuja's Central District is located between the foot of Aso Rock and into the Three Arms Zone to the southern base of the ring road. It is like the city's spinal cord, dividing it into the northern sector with Maitama and Wuse, and the southern sector with Garki and Asokoro. While each district has its own clearly demarcated commercial and residential sectors, the Central District is the city's principal Business Zone, where practically all parastatals and multinational corporations have their offices located. An attractive area in the Central District is the region known as the Three Arms Zone, so called because it houses the administrative offices of the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the Federal Government. A few of the other sites worth seeing in the area are the Federal Secretariats alongside Shehu Shagari Way, Aso Hill, the Abuja Plant Nursery, Eagle Square (which has important historic significance,as it was in this grounds that the present democratic dispensation had its origin in May 29, 1999) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier across the road facing it. The National Mosque and National Church are located opposite each other on either side of Independence Avenue. A well known government office is the Ministry of Defence, popularly nicknamed "Ship House".[citation needed]

Garki District

Central Bank of Nigeria Headquarters in Abuja

The Garki District is the area in the southwest corner of the city, having the Central District to the north and the Asokoro District to the east. The District is subdivided into units called "Areas". Garki uses a distinctive naming convention of "Area" to refer to parts of Garki. These are designated as Areas 1 to 11. Garki II is used to differentiate the area from Garki Area 2. Visitors may at first find this system of names confusing. Garki is presently the principal business district of Abuja. Numerous buildings of interest are located in this area. Some of them include the General Post Office, Abuja International Conference Center located along the busy Herbert Maculay Way, Nicon Luxury Hotel (formally known as Abuja Sofitel Hotel and Le Meridian), Agura Hotel and Old Federal Secretariat Complex Buildings (Area 1). A new 5* hotel, Hawthorn Suites Abuja is also located in Garki II. Area 2 is mainly used for residential purposes, although a zoological garden as well as Garki Shopping Center are located in Area 2. Several banks and other commercial offices are located along Moshood Abiola Way in Area 7. The Headquarters of the Nigerian Armed Forces, namely Army Headquarters, Airforce Headquarters and Navy Headquarters are all located in the Garki District. The tallest building in this district is the Radio House, which houses the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Stations and Corporate Headquarters are also based in Garki. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) which oversees and runs the Administration of the Federal Capital Territory has its offices in Garki. The Office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is located in Area 10. Other places of note include the Arts and Culture Center and The Nigerian Police Mobile Force Headquarters in Area 10. The Abuja Municipal Area Council, which is the local Government administration has its headquarters in Area 10. The new United States Embassy is also located in the Garki district.

Wuse District

A typical house in Wuse District, a Suburban Area of Abuja

Wuse District is the northwestern part of the city, with the Maitama District to its north and the Central District to its south. The District is numbered Zones 1-8. The Wuse Market is Abuja's principal market (Zone 5). The second most important Post Office in the city is located here. This district also houses the Sheraton Hotel and Towers (Zone 4), Ibro International hotel, the Foreign Affairs Ministry Headquarters (Zone 1) and Nigerian Customs Services Headquarters, Corporate Affairs Commission (Zone 5), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), National Agency For Food And Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) (Zone 7), Wuse General Hospital, and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation. Just as Garki District has Garki II, Wuse has Wuse II. This is distinct from Wuse Zone 2.[citation needed]

Maitama District

National Communications Headquarters, Abuja.

Maitama District is to the north of the city, with the Wuse and Central Districts lying to its southwest and southeast respectively. This area is home to the top bracket sections of society and business, and has the reputation of being very exclusive and very expensive. Interesting buildings include the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, National Communications Commission Headquarters (NCC), National Universities Commission (NUC), Soil Conservation Complex, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The British High Commission is located along Aguiyi Ironsi Way, in Maitama. Also, the Maitama District Hospital is another notable building in Maitama. Maitama District is home to many of the European embassies in Nigeria.

Asokoro District

Abuja Residential Duplex in Asokoro District.

Asokoro District, the doyen of all the districts, houses all of the state's lodges/guest houses. The ECOWAS secretariat is a focal point of interest. Asokoro is located to the east of Garki district and south of Central district. It is one of the most exclusive districts of Abuja and houses virtually all of the federal cabinet ministers; in addition, the Presidential Palace (Aso Rock) is located in Asokoro district. By virtue of this fact, Asokoro is the most secured area of the city.

Gwarimpa District

One of Abuja's smaller shopping centers.

Gwarimpa is the last district located in the Abuja Municipal Area Council. It contains the largest single housing estate in Nigeria, called the Gwarimpa Housing Estate. The Estate was built by the Administration of General Sani Abacha and is the largest of its kind in Africa . It provides residence for the majority of the civil servants in Federal Ministries and government parastatals. The ECOWAS Court has an official quarters for the President and Members of the Court in Gwarimpa.

Weather and climate

The FCT experiences three weather conditions annually. This includes a warm, humid rainy season and a blistering dry season. In between the two seasons, there is a brief interlude of harmattan occasioned by the North East Trade Wind, with the main feature of dust haze, intensified coldness and dryness. The rainy season begins from April and ends in October, when daytime temperatures reach 28-30 degrees and nighttime lows hover around 22-23 degrees. In the dry season, daytime temperatures can soar as high as 40 degrees and nighttime temperatures can dip to 12 degrees, resulting in chilly evenings. Even the chilliest nights can be followed by daytime temperatures well above 30 degrees. The high altitudes and undulating terrain of the FCT act as moderating influence on the weather of the territory. Rainfall in the FCT reflects the territory's location on the windward side of the Jos Plateau and the zone of rising air masses. The annual total rainfall is in the range of 1100 mm to 1600 mm.

Abuja Millennium Park.


The area now designated the Federal Capital Territory falls within the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic zone of the West African sub-region. Patches of rain forest, however, occur in the Gwagwa plains, especially in the gullied train to the south and the rugged south-eastern parts of the territory. These areas of the FCT form one of the surviving occurrences of the mature forest vegetation in Nigeria.

2014 Commonwealth Games

Abuja was bidding head to head with Glasgow, Scotland to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014. If successful Abuja would have become the first African city to host the event. However, Glasgow was declared the winning city. Former Nigerian military ruler and now head of Nigeria's bid team, General Yakubu Gowon, called for all Nigerians to support the games for the "glory of Nigeria". He suggested Nigeria would be a prime location for the games because of its unity, serenity, topography and availability of standard sporting facilities. In 2003, Abuja hosted the All-Africa Games, the African regional version of the Olympics, for which it constructed an Olympic style stadium and games village. It was a more or less successful tournament with more than 7,000 athletes; however, many problems, especially logistical ones, demonstrated that Nigeria was not quite ready to host something as large as the Commonwealth Games.

Inside Abuja Stadium

The 2014 Commonwealth Games would have been an integral part of national celebration plans for Nigeria's centenary.

The Abuja bid received support from African commonwealth members as well as Australia.[citation needed]

Abuja airport was planned to be modernised to cater for the capacity of the influx due to the games. This was intended to further boost their bid to host the games. A light rail transit system was also to feature in the new Abuja getting ready for the 2014 Abuja Commonwealth games. The Abuja Masterplan, a city plan including high rise buildings, artificial lakes, and tourist resorts such as Heritage city, a huge roller coaster resort, will be featured in Abuja by 2014. Few of these plans were, in the end, deemed realistic.

Abuja Skyline

The Abuja skyline is made up of mostly mid-range and a few tall buildings. Only recently have tall buildings begun to appear on the skyline. Most of the buildings are modern in design, reflecting that it is a new and modern city. plans have been made to build skyscrapers such as the Millennium Tower which is currently under construction. When finished, this structure will loom above the city at 170 vertical meters.

Abuja Office Building  
Headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja  
Churchgate Tower  
The NNPC Towers  
Abuja City Gate  
Federal Secretariat Buildings  
Ship House, Defense Headquarters  
Abuja Space Center  
Transcorp Hilton Hotel  
Millennium Park  
Millennium Park  
Abuja National Mosque  

Abuja landmarks

Sister cities

Brazil Brasília, Brazil.

United States Detroit, United States.

Parks and open areas

Abuja is home to several parks and green areas with the largest one being Millennium Park. Millennium Park was designed by world renowned architect Manfredi Nicoletti and was officially opened by the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. Since most Nigerian government agencies are now headquartered in Abuja, and most other countries' embassies have been relocated from Lagos to Abuja, it is a surprisingly expensive city.


Abuja is a beautiful city. One of few purpose-built cities in the world planned and built from scratch. It has an excellent road network, a beautiful rolling terrain and modern Nigerian architecture. Power is often erratic.

Get in

By plane

International flights to the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport are offered by several airlines, notably, KLM, Luftansa and British Airways. If arriving from the US, Delta Air Lines has a direct flight from Atlanta starting in June of 2009. Many visitors fly through connecting flights from Lagos. Nigeria has had a series of unfortunate air accidents in recent history. While the industry is being overhauled and aviation safety is being upgraded, only a handful of local airlines are reliable: Virgin Nigeria, Bellview, AeroContractors. Arik Air has embarked on an ambitious programme that would see several brand new jetliners, including the new Boeing 787 dreamliner added to its fleet.

From the airport, you are best advised to take the official Green Cab (usually relatively new Peugeot 307 vehicles). You are advised to board the cab with only people you know.

By bus

You can travel to Abuja by bus from major cities like Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. Reliable services include: ABC Transport (with airconditioned luxurious bus rides), Ekene Dili Chukwu, Chisco Transport (CTN) and Young Shall Grow. The preferred bus service would be ABC transport. However, you are advised to take only day trip buses from Lagos or Kano. You must be conscious that bus trips are not the safest as in rare situations buses have been attacked by robbers. If you're unfamiliar with the country, do not take a bus without an escort. Buses allow you to appreciate the terrain, the towns and cities and the subtle changes in these and culture as you drive towards the capital either from the South or the North.

Get around

By car

Occasionally, traffic lights stop working during outages and road marshals are deployed to critical intersections. Abuja has a few strict driving laws that are enforced. Seat belts are required of both the driver and front seat passenger. Failure to obey this law leads to significant inconveniences as the vehicle is impounded and not released until the fine is paid. Drivers don't typically observe lanes within the city, and often attempt to squeeze in what might seem to be dangerously close to your vehicle.In some cases they may drive on the sidewalks. Traffic accidents are frequent, so drive defensively. Occasionally, drivers from other parts of the country that are unfamiliar with the driving culture in the city try to beat traffic lights. If you're driving, keep an eye out for other motorists, especially at intersections, who may try to beat the traffic light.


Abuja is a beautiful city. The tourist attractions would be:

  • The Abuja Millennium Park
  • The National Mosque
  • The Ecumenical Center
  • National Assembly Complex
  • Aso Rock

The Abuja Millennium Park is being expanded in an ambitious tourist project to include the Millennium Tower and a Cultural Center and Museum that would boast of some of the most expansive collections of African Art. The new scheme would open before 2010 (update -- as of February 2009, the Millenium tower isstill several years from completion).

Other upcoming projects include the Heritage City Theme Park that would be the largest theme park of African civilizations. The first phase would be open in 2008/2009.

  • Go shopping at Wuse Market, the main market in Abuja. Everything is available, from fresh food to clothes, music, and electronics. And as markets go, not expensive.

Art & Craft village (across the road from Sheraton Hotel)


There is some interesting artwork all over Abuja. Wood carvings, paintings and leatherwork. Everything is available in surrounding countries quite a bit cheaper, but if you are here you might as well buy it here.

  • Good Luck Food prices in Abuja are high, especially for Western food. There are, however, many good restaurants in Abuja that are arguably worth the money. Of course, whether you live in Abuja or are just visiting, there are times when you are willing to pay a little extra for the simple fact that there are few to no alternatives.
  • Schwarma Shop, adjacent to Amigos Supermarket, Wuse II. 600 Naira for Schwarmas and they offer pizzas for somewhere around 1000 Naira.
  • Southern Fried Chicken. A local knockoff of KFC, but ask them to go easy on the mayo.
  • Mr. Biggs. All over. Burgers.
  • Schwarma Shop, adjacent to 212 Supermarket, Usuma St., Maitama. These Schwarmas have cabbage on them. About same price as the one by Amigos
  • City View, Cape Town Street, Off IBB Way, Wuse Zone 4. Perhaps the best Lebanese food in Abuja, excellent prices, they also host large groups, indoor or outdoor sitting.
  • Ceddi Plaza has a fast food Chicken restaurant on Second Floor - and Ice Cream
  • Drumstix, Aminu Kano Crescent. Fast food, Nigerian dishes, Grill, Shawarma and Ice cream.
  • Tantalizers Burgers. All over.
  • Cafe at Grand Square, Mohammadu Buhari Way.
  • Cafe at Dunes, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, one on the main floor and one upstairs. Yeah!!
  • British Council Rooftop Cafe, IBB Way (at a big roundabout). Open air restaurant with good pizzas and italian meats
  •, Delivery service. Picks up your orders and brings to you for a small fee! +234 (0) 702 828 6771.
  • Ciao, Jitau Plaza, Plot 1173, Ademola Agetokunbo Crescent, After AP plaza, Wuse II. A good Italian restaurant with the usual Italian dishes. Expect to pay around 2000 Naira for a dinner with wine. Good Pizzas, but AJ's have more to them.
  • AJ's Pizza, adjacent to the Park and Shop in Wuse II, Aminu Kano Crescent, call your order in before you get there 0803 314 0469 or 0804 410 4567, if your order 5 pizzas, ask for free juice.
  • Thai Chi Royal Thai Cuisine, The Penthouse, Safire Plaza, Adetokumbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II (next to Verdict Plaza), tel. 09 523 6798 / 09 670 6470 (for deliveries). Very good, Amazing real Thai food, just like being in Bangkok! 500-1000 for Appetizers. 1000-2500 Naira for main dishes and 2500-3500 for Seafood. Also has cocktail bar.
  • Chopsticks, Plot 66 Mississippi St, Maitama. Good Chinese food, a couple can probably share one order of a main dish and either rice or noodles. 2000+ Naira for main dishes. Has cocktail bar.
  • Sitar, 46 Usuma St, Maitama. Indian food.
  • Wakkis, Like Sitar but more reasonable prices, this might be considered moderate instead of Splurge. Amino Kano Crescent, follow signs, Wuse II. 1500-2500 main dishes, good seafood. Amazing King Prawns!
  • Blakes, Fish bar, add unknown, Garki District.
  • Ubudu Grill Steakhouse at the Sheraton You won't spend less than $50 USD here, but the steaks are excellent.
  • Chez Victor Reasonably high quality French food and some francophone African dishes such as yassa poulet. Sandwiches with lunchtime specials. Nice house converted into comfortable restaurant. Nigerian owned. 2000+ Naira for main dishes. Ganges Street off Alvan Ikoku Way, Maitama. Next to NEPAD Nigeria offices.
  • Al Basha Lebanese food and Pizzas, Expensive, Sassandra Street, off Usuma St, Maitama
  • LaZeez Place Recently Opened, Usuma Street, Maitama.
  • Golf Course Has a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, would be a good place to have large group gathering, not called Golf Course, but that is where it is.


Drinks are available all over Abuja and are very overpriced. Average $20 US for some mixed drinks. 5-9 dollars for a local beer. Buy beer from the Market and you will save a lot of money. The major hotels have bars and restaurants - watch out for the prostitutes, if you ignore them, they get really offended. If you are not interested, just say so and have a short conversation, then they will leave you alone.

  • Ceddi Plaza Has a bar on the basement level.
  • Blakes Has live music or a DJ and drinks as well as the fish bar
  • British Village Requires a membership to enter and is popular during different sporting events, especially during soccer games and rugby.
  • Tucano's is in Asokoro - a night club
  • Orchard Garden. Local outdoor place near Millenium Park, set in a grove. Beer around 250N, small BBQ serving e.g. whole grilled fish for 2000N.  edit
  • Rockview A little dreary but decent. Has gym, tennis courts, pool. The pool bar menu has some better offerings than the bar or restaurant.

Bolingo Hotel Rakesh

  • King's Inn Hotel, Lobito Crescent Wuse 2, Abuja, Abuja Capital Territory, Nigeria (opposite from UK visa application centre).  edit


Decent hotels in Abuja tend to cost above 200 US dollars per night.

  • Sheraton
  • Transcorp-Hilton
  • Dunes
  • Protea Hotels All over the city.

Stay safe

Abuja tends to be a sharp contrast against the background of the rest of Nigeria. While car hijackings and armed robbery are high in Lagos, and kidnapping of foreign oil workers is prevalent in the Niger delta, Abuja in sharp contrast, is one of the safest metropolitan cities on the continent.

General security measures like elsewhere in the world should be observed. Like anywhere else in the world, it's always a good idea to have company when exploring unfamiliar places. If you're driving, observe simple measures like keeping your car door locked when parked to avoid opportunistic crime. Armed robbery at gun point is the most prevalent form of crime. A calm disposition and full cooperation with robbers is the best line of action in the unlikely event that you are the victim of a robbery. Robbers tend to become violent when victims try to pull tricks. Contact your embassy in Abuja and the police if you are robbed. Occasional pick pockets target mobile phones and wallets as well. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Usually, $250 cash (or N30,000) would more than suffice for impulsive purchases and other daily costs.

When moving in Abuja, as a foreign visitor, you are best advised to use the official Green Cabs. There's a remote chance that privately operated unofficial cabs could be traps. Cab fares would vary between N200 ($1.50) and N500 ($4) for trips within the city. Cab rides to the airport are significantly higher. Negotiate a fare once you enter a cab.

  • Australia, [1].  edit
  • Canada, 15 Bobo Street, Maitama Abuja, Nigeria, (011 234 9) 413-9910 (, fax: (011 234 9) 413-9911), [2]. Monday to Thursday: 08:00 – 16:30 Friday: 08:00 – 13:30.  edit
  • Ireland, +234 9 4620611 (fax: +234 9 4620613), [3]. Monday to Friday 8.30AM - 4: 30 PM.  edit
  • United Kingdom, [4].  edit
  • United States, [5].  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. The capital city of Nigeria


Simple English

[[File:|right|thumb|Abuja, the capital of Nigeria]]

Abuja is a city in Nigeria. It is the national capital of Nigeria. Around 2.5 million people live there. Abuja is in the middle of the country, in the center of the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria.

The capital of Nigeria used to be Lagos, but it was moved to Abuja in 1976.

Abuja is a planned city, which means that architects designed it specifically to be the capital city. Construction of the first parts of the city was finished in the late 1980s.


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