Abuja

Abuja
Municipality
Federal Capital City (FCC)
Abuja Municipal Area
Abuja
Abuja
Abuja is located in Nigeria
Abuja
Abuja
Location of Abuja in Nigeria
Abuja is located in Africa
Abuja
Abuja
Abuja (Africa)
Coordinates: 9°4′N 7°29′E / 9°4′N 7°29′E / 9.067; 7.483(2011 estimate)[1]
 • Municipality1,235,880
 • Rank7th
 • Density700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
 • Urban
2,440,000[3]
 • Urban density3,423/km2 (8,870/sq mi)
 • Metro
6,000,000 (estimated)[2]
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)
Postal codes
900211–900288
Climatewww.fcta.gov.ng

Abuja (ə/)[4] is the capital city of Nigeria located in the centre of the country within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It is a planned city and was built mainly in the 1980s,[5] replacing the country's most populous city of Lagos as the capital on 12 December 1991.[6] Abuja's geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-metre (1,300 ft) monolith left by water erosion. The Presidential Complex, National Assembly, Supreme Court and much of the city extend to the south of the rock. Zuma Rock, a 792-metre (2,598 ft) monolith, lies just north of the city on the expressway to Kaduna.

At the 2006 census, the city of Abuja had a population of 776,298,[7] making it one of the ten most populous cities in Nigeria. According to the United Nations, Abuja grew by 139.7% between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city in the world.[8]As of 2015, the city is experiencing an annual growth of at least 35%, retaining its position as the fastest-growing city on the African continent and one of the fastest-growing in the world.[9] As at 2016, the metropolitan area of Abuja is estimated at eight million persons, placing it behind only Lagos, as the most populous metro area in Nigeria.[2]

Major religious sites include the Nigerian National Mosque and the Nigerian National Christian Centre. The city is served by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Abuja is known for being one of the few purpose-built capital cities in Africa, as well as being one of the wealthiest.[10]

History

"Abuja" was in the earlier 20th century the name of the nearby town now called Suleja.[11]

The indigenous inhabitants of Abuja are the Gbagyi (Gwari), with the Gbagyi language formerly the major of the region language, and others in the area being Bassa, Gwandara, Gade, Dibo, and Koro. In light of the ethnic and religious divisions of Nigeria, plans had been devised since Nigeria's independence to have its capital in a place deemed neutral to all major ethnic parties, and also in close proximity to all the regions of Nigeria. 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. As Lagos was already undergoing rapid economic development, the Nigerian regime felt the need to expand the economy towards the inner part of the country, and hence decided to move its capital to Abuja.[12] The logic used was similar to the way Brazil planned its capital, Brasília. The decision to move to Abuja was made by General Murtala Mohammed in 1976.[13][14] Construction started in the late 1970s but, due to economic and political instability, the initial stages of the city were not complete until 1991.[6]

The master plan for Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was developed by International Planning Associates (IPA), a consortium of three American firms: Planning Research Corporation; Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd;[15] 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 its current form. More detailed design of the central areas of the capital, particularly its monumental core, was accomplished by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, 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, the commercial capital of Nigeria. Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and 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.[16] Squatter settlements and towns have spread rapidly in and outside the city limits.[5][17] Tens of thousands of people have been evicted since former FCT minister Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai started a demolition campaign in 2003.[18]