The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja serves as the capital of Nigeria. It is one of the wealthiest urban areas in Africa, playing home to some of the richest people on the continent.
The presence of numerous governmental institutions, foreign embassies and its strategic location in the heart of the nation has led to significant investment in the city. This has resulted in Abuja ranking among the fastest growing cities globally.
With a total population well over 2.5 million, Abuja currently has the 4th biggest metropolitan population in Nigeria after Lagos, Kano and Ibadan.
English is the official language of the city however other major Nigerian languages such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo are spoken. The city of Abuja is nicknamed “The Centre of Unity”.
Abuja is a beautifully planned cosmopolitan capital city with an extensive highway network, plenty of appealing green space, colourful nightlife and many restaurants. The culture of the city is formed by Nigeria’s many ethnic groups
Bush bars or gardens are a prominent feature of the capital, these are informal open spaces where people meet-up to eat, drink and relax.
The city’s numerous open markets, like Wuse Market, present opportunities for purchasing anything from local delicacies to art & textiles. For more formal shopping the city offers many malls, such as Jabi Lake Mall, that stock various international products.
Being both the political and administrative centre of Nigeria, Abuja has an extensive hospitality sector: playing host to many international events year round.
Cityscape and architecture
The Federal Capital Territory is surrounded by numerous grasslands and hills allowing for some truly stunning scenery in places. The Abuja skyline consists of mostly mid-sized buildings among a few high-rises.
The climate in Abuja can best be described as tropical. The weather is mostly warm with bright sunny days being normal.
Summer is known as “rainy season” as there is significant rainfall while winter is known as “dry season” as there is a shortage of rain. In winter it is common to go for weeks without as much as a drizzle.
The city is served by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, which has direct flights to numerous national and international destinations. Roads link the city to several other urban destinations in the country such as Kaduna, Minna, Jos and Keffi.
Both Uber and Taxify are in operation around the city. This has made it notably easier to get around the metropolis.
Abuja’s, recently commissioned, light rail transport system is the first in Nigeria and aims to ease the movement of people across the capital.
Abuja Master Plan
The Abuja Master plan has historically formed the basis of the development of the Federal Capital City (FCC) since its inception in the late 1970’s. The plan was designed to provide guidance for the development of the metropolis well into the future.
The Central Area was designed, by a well-known Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, to house important national institutions including the three arms of government specifically: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.
Other neighborhoods where designed to be clustered into mini cities connected to each other by a large road network inclusive of highways .Major features of this design are visible in the city’s structure today.
Although construction work on the building of Abuja began in the 1970’s, the initial city layout and foundations were not completed until well into the 1980’s due to instability: socially, politically and economically.
Abuja officially became Nigeria’s capital in December 1991. The inner core of the city has been completed, to a large extent, but outer areas are still under development.
Significant investment and the associated development have led to a boom in construction work across the FCC-Abuja in the last decade. Construction cranes have become a noticeable feature in some parts of the city. Key on-going real estate developments include the Centenary City & World Trade Center projects.
Abuja is growing at a rapid pace. There has been a huge influx of people into the city in recent years. People throughout Nigeria as well as from foreign countries have come looking for jobs and new opportunities. As a result the demand for infrastructure, services, adequate housing and commercial space is strong.
A consequence of this rapid development is the many squatter settlements on the edges of the FCT. These shanty towns sit in the shadows of the wealthier inner city parts of Abuja.
Places such as Nyanya, Sauka and Karu fit this squatter settlement description. Informal settlements closer to more central areas are often targeted for demolition, for either being sited on unapproved land or not conforming to the Abuja Master Plan.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), headed by a presidentially appointed minister, administers the FCT. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) manages the building and infrastructural development of the urban area. The current FCT minister is Malam Muhammad Bello.
The Federal Capital Territory consists of 6 different Area Councils namely: Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali. These 6 councils cover a total land area of approximately 7,290 km².
The FCC-Abuja sits within the wider Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). The FCC was originally being developed in four phases. However a fifth was later added, land for which was obtained from AMAC. These 5 phases cover a total distance of over 1,000 km².
Within each phase there are districts and within each district there are neighborhoods. Each district has land allocated for residential, commercial, educational and recreational uses.
Phases and districts
Phase 1 contains Abuja’s most sought after, inner districts. Most of these neighborhoods are established, with excellent infrastructure in place. The road network linking these areas to each other is extensive. The majority of official commercial and government related activities take place in these districts.
These neighborhoods offer the best mix of leisure and business opportunities in Nigeria.
Wuse is the area for recreational activities and shopping. Maitama and Asokoro for luxurious hotels and residential houses. Garki and the Central Business District for corporate and official governmental business.
The region houses the most exclusive neighborhoods in Nigeria as such real estate in this region attracts a premium. Houses in the area are some of the most beautiful and at the same time most expensive in Africa.
These districts share a few characteristics with phase 1 areas. Although not all these neighborhoods have been fully developed yet, there is currently a good level of infrastructure.
Here you can find business opportunities, leisure hotspots, green open spaces and beautiful real estate. Although mainly residential there are a number of more commercial districts including Jabi, Utako and Gudu. These more commercial places are shopping and leisure destinations for people from other areas of the FCT.
Houses and land in this region can be just as expensive as their counterparts in phase 1 given the proximity to Abuja’s Central Area. Property prices are dependent on each neighborhoods level of development as this can vary quite significantly in the area.
Phase 3 districts are still developing. However, basic infrastructure is available in a few parts. Governmental development plans are being put in place to rapidly transform the area in the next few years. Accordingly the area is a good candidate for real estate investment.
Commercial activities are also on the rise in the region. Some districts accommodate many of Abuja’s biggest private housing estates. A number of these neighborhoods have good road networks giving easy access to both Abuja’s airport as well as the Central Area.
Being a bit further out from the city centre, property in phase 3 is more affordable. Also, given the developing nature of the area, there is more land available for purchase.
- Industrial Area
- Life Camp
Not much development has taken place in the FCT-Abuja phase 4. Some land has been allocated for various uses but very little construction has taken place. The infrastructure in place is generally poor.
Given the nature of development in these areas the real estate in this part of Abuja is relatively cheap.
- Gidari Bahagwo
- Sabo Gida
These districts mainly consist of areas near Abuja’s airport road. Demand and the need for proper planning for development led to the transfer of these lands from AMAC to the FCC-Abuja.
Lugbe has attracted a lot of investment in the form of housing estates within the last few years.
These districts are not officially part of FCC-Abuja. However given their closeness to the city, a certain level of development has occurred. Kubwa and Dawaki are examples of relatively developed neighborhoods as a result of considerable investment.
Property and land here is generally cheaper than areas officially in the FCC.