2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: African Geography

Abuja, Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria.
Abuja, Nigeria.
Map of Nigeria showing the location of Abuja in the center of Nigeria.
Map of Nigeria showing the location of Abuja in the centre of Nigeria.
Province Federal Capital Territory
Minister Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai
 - City 713km km²
 - Land 713km km²
 - City (2005) 1,320,000
 - Urban 1,400,000
 - Metro 1,814,000
Time zone CET ( UTC+1)
 - Summer ( DST) CEST ( UTC+1)
Website: http://www.fct.gov.ng/

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria, with an estimated population of 2.5 million. When it was decided to move the national capital from Lagos in 1976, a capital territory was chosen for its location near the centre of the country. The planned city is located in the centre of what is now the Federal Capital Territory.


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's population boom, that made that city overcrowded and conditions squalid. The logic used was similar to Brazil building its capital Brasília (which happened at around the same time).

Construction broke ground and was dedicated in the late 1970s, but due to economic and political instability, the city in its initial stages was not complete until the late 1980s.

Abuja officially became Nigeria's capital on 12 December 1991. The master plan for Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory was developed by IPA (International Planning Associates), a consortium made up of three American firms: PRC Corporation; Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd; and, Archisystems, which was a division of the Hughes Organization. The master plan for Abuja defined the general shape and major design elements of the city, however a refinement of this design was accomplished by Kenzo Tange, a renowned Japanese architect, along with his team of city planners at Kenzo Tange and Urtec company.

The crescent shape of the city reflects infrastructure considerations and the topography of the site, however some feel it reflects the will of the Muslim faithful, who sanctioned this design.

Most countries moved their embassies to Abuja and maintain their larger former embassies as consulates in the commercial capital, Lagos.

In addition to a major governmental centre, Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS, as well as its Military arm, ECOMOG. It also has the regional headquarters of OPEC.

Aso Rock
Aso Rock

Abuja's feature is Aso Rock, a 400-metre 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").

Other sights include the Nigerian National Mosque and the National Ecumenical Centre cathedral. The city is served by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, while Zuma Rock lies nearby. Much of the city has not yet been built as planned, and many buildings have not yet been completed.

Weather and climate

The FCT experiences three weather conditions annually. These are the rainy season (the equivalent of spring in the temperate region) and the dry season (the equivalent of summer in the temperate climate). 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. 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 1100mm to 1600mm.


The area now designated the Federal Capital Territory falls within the Savannah Zone vegetation 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. The dominant vegetation of the Territory is, however, classified into three savannah types.

The Park or Grassy Savannah
This is about 53 percent (i.e. 4,231 square km) of the total area of the FCT. Vegetation occurs annually and tree species found include; Albizia, Zygia, Butyrospernum paradoxum, Anniellia, Oliveri and Parkia Clappertoniana.
The Savannah Woodland
This region covers 12.8 percent of 1,026 square km of the territory. It occurs mostly on the Gurara, Robo and Rubochi plains and surrounding hills. Common trees found in this region include; afzelia, africana anogeissus, leiocarpus, butyroscarpus paradoxim, daniella oliveri, khaya senegalensis, prosopis africana, uapaca togoensis, albizia, zygia, vitex doniant, bombox costatum and ptrecarpus erinaceus.
The Shrub Savannah
This class of vegetation occurs extensively in rough terrain close to hills and ridges in all parts of the territory. It covers about 12.9 percent or 1,031 square km of the land area. Tree species found in it include: antiaris africana, anthocleista nobils, ceiba pentandra, cola gigantean, celtis spp, Chorophora excels (iroko), khaya grandifolia (Benin Mahogany) terminalia superb (afara), triplochiton scleroxylon and dracacna arborea. Certain tree species normally associated with other parts of the rain forest in the south of Nigeria are also found in some of the forest patches, e.g. piptadeniatrum africanum (agboin), lophira alata (ekki) and terminalia ivorensis (idigbo).

Apart from the rain forest elements, some dominant tree species of the savannah wood lands yield high quality timber, e.g. Anogeissus leiocarpus, daneilla oliveri, khaya senegalensis and pterocarpus arenaceous.

Abuja Districts

Abuja is divided into four districts.

Central District

The city has been well planned and the 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, Parade Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier across the road facing it. The Brigade of Guards organizes a twenty-four watch at the spot and they have a colourful ceremonial change of guard. The National Mosque and National Church are located opposite each other on either side of Independence Avenue.

Garki District

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. There are some interesting buildings, which include the General Post Office, Abuja International Conference Center, Abuja Sofitel Hotel, Agura Hotel, the Federal Secretariat Complex, Garki Shopping centre, several bank buildings and other commercial offices. At present it is the principal business district of Abuja.

Wuse District

Wuse District is the northwestern part of the city, with the Maitama District to its north and the Central District to its south. The Wuse Market is Abuja's principal market. The second most important Post Office in the city is located here. This district also houses the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ibru International hotel, and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.

Maitama District

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 also very expensive. Interesting buildings include the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, National Universities Commission, Soil Conservation Complex, and National Electoral Commission.

Maitama District is home to many European embassies in Nigeria.

Abuja is one of the cities bidding for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


Abuja International Airport

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