The Federal Capital Territory is an entity existing on the surface of the earth with a geographic components and variables. Since it does not exist in an imaginary sphere, a book of this nature needs a geographical background to give some basic insights into the geographic region under consideration. As a chapter, it does not attempt to write a full geography of the FCT, but rather it has highlighted the major issues to give the readers a spatial perspective of the region. The major issues of concern to the chapter are location, relief, climate, vegetation, soil, drainage, population and human activities. A pictorial sampling of some interesting features is presented at the end of the chapter. All these are to give a picture of FCT at a glance.
Location and Size
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) lies between latitudes 800251 and 90 251 North of the equator and longitude 60 451 and 70 451 East of the Greenwich Meridian. It is bordered by four states: Kaduna in the North, Kogi in the South, Niger in the West and Nassarawa in the East (see map).
It covers a land mass of 8,000 square kilometers (Km 2). Its size is equivalent to 0.8% of Nigeria. FCT is more than twice the area of Lagos state (3,535 sq km) and larger than Akwa Ibom state (6,187 sq km), Anambra state (5,235 sq km), Imo state (5,438sq km) and Abia state (6,420sq km). It is located in the middle belt of Nigeria and almost at the centre of the country (Dawam, 2000).
Relief and Drainage
The relief of FCT broadly falls into two classes: the hilly and dissected terrains and the plains.
The hilly and dissected terrain: This region covers 48 percent of the FCT. It is found along the eastern boundary with
Nassarawa state and the Southern “pan handle” region of the territory. It is also found in the Northwest extending into the FCT from Niger state. The main hilly areas are Agwai-Karu hills, Bwari-Aso hills, Gawu hills and Suleja hills.
The plains: This is the other relief unit of the FCT. This region covers 52 percent of the territory. Some of the plains are naturally dissected type while others are undulating ones. Plains are found all over FCT and have more land coverage than the hilly areas. However, some small plains are engulfed by the hilly and dissected terrains. The major plains are Gwagwa, Iku-Gurara, Kau, Robo and Rubochi plains (Balogun, 2001).
Drainage: The major rivers in the FCT are Gurara, Usuma, Mangol, Yewu, Bobo, Afara-Bokwoi, Wuye, Wupa, Itsu, Iku, Tapa, Jabi and Wosika. These rivers give rise to drainage basins of Usuma, the largest and drains the Northern two-thirds of the FCT; Iku and Itsu , both to the North-west of Gwagwalada; Mangol, found West of Kwali and Robo and Afara-Bokwoi, South of Kwali. Most of the rivers are seasonal in flow and sw ift-flow ing w ith large amount of sed iments carried downstream. Due to low infiltration capacity following torrential rains and run-offs, all these rivers experience flash floods during the rainy season. Usuma and Gurara are the biggest rivers in the territory. The former is being utilized by the construction of Usuma Dam. Gurara which empties into River Niger, has a course characterized by two distinct sections. The upper course, up to Gomani village, consists of precambrian basement complex rocks. While the lower course flows through sedimentary rocks having some small run-offs. The rivers have potentials for irrigation as well as fishing and recreation, in addition to the usual municipal uses (Balogun, 2001).
The dry seasons record the highest temperature when there are few clouds in the FCT. The location of FCT in the middle belt region of Nigeria rids it of the extreme characteristics of climates of the North and Southern Nigeria. The region experiences two major seasons wet and dry season. Change in temperature of as much as 170C have been recorded between the highest and lowest temperature in a single say. During the rainy season the maximum temperature is lower due to dense cloud cover. Diurnal annual range is also much lower sometimes not more than 70C in July and August when its temperature ranges from 30.40C and 35.10C. During the dry season, relative humidity falls in the afternoon (Abuja Master Plan, 2000).
The undulating nature of the terrain also affects the temperature patterns in the FCT. The rainy season usually begins in March and ends in the middle of October in the North and early November in the South. Mean annual rainfall ranges between 3145mm to 1631.7mm (Abuja Master Plan, 2000). As the result of its location on the windward side of the Jos Plateau, FCT experiences frequent rainfall and a noticeable increase in the mean annual total from the South to the North. The beginning and the end of the season is characterized by frequent occurrence of wind storms accompanied by thunder storms and lightening followed by strong wind and rainfall of high intensity, but may last for just 30 minutes and then replaced by drizzles for hours. This condition is then replaced by a few days of bright clear skies (Abuja Master Plan, 2000).
Vegetation refers to the plants (flora) cover of the earth’s surface which form an important aspect of the physical environment. When discussing about vegetation, animals are implicitly discussed because it is within the vegetation that animals are accommodated. The vegetation of the FCT is predominantly a savannah environment. It is found between the rainforest and the poor savanna towards a desert environment. An important characteristic of the savanna is the alternation of a very wet season and a very dry season, which make plants to shed their leaves in the dry season. Adakayi (2000) distinguishes the vegetation into forest and savanna. The forest consists of predominantly woody plants and without grasses, while savanna is a vegetation type d ominated by perennial mesophytic grasses with flat basal and cauline leaves. Forests are rainforest and riparian vegetation complex. The savannah vegetation is made up of savannah woodland, park savannah and shrub savannah. The rainforest vegetation is found in many places except the Iku and Izom plains. It is most commonly found around Gwagwa plains, river valleys, Abuchi forest reserve, foot of rocky hill, etc. The forest is evergreen with some elements of deciduous trees, which shed and regrow their leaves within two weeks. Common species here are Antiaris Africana, Anthocleisa noblis, Ceiba pentandra, etc. The riparian vegetation complex can be found in the valleys of river Iku, Usuma, Wuye and middle Gurara. They have a mixture of riparian woodlands, gallery forests and dense thickets. Common species are Elaeis quineensis, Anoggeisssus leicarpus, Afzelia Africana.
The savannah woodland are fire resistant and most luxuriant. Although continuous canopy exist in the best developed areas, shrubs also exist. Grass is dominant but with some herbs. They are mostly found in the more rugged and less accessible parts of the territory around ridges and hill ranges. They are mostly found in the East and South of Kwali along the Sukuku hills fringing the Robo plains. They also occur around the upper basins of the Robo and Afara Bokwoi, the Agwai Karu hills to the South East and parts of the Iku plains, Izom plains and the Gurara valley. Common species here include Afzdia Africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus, Daniellia oliveri, Khaya senegalensis (Mahogany), etc.
The park savannah has a thicker and taller growth of grasses and less foliage compared to savannah woodlands. This makes the crown of park savannah look discontinuous when viewed from the top. The species found here are similar to those found at the woodland. But the dominant species are Albizia zygia, Butyrospermum paradoxium (sheabutter), Danillia oliveri and Parkia clappertoniana. This vegetation covers about 50 percent of the territory.
Shrub savanna vegetation looks similar to those of park savanna. The difference is that the former is dominated by shrubs foliage layer. Trees appear in very scattered locations. It is found on the Izom plains, middle Gurara valley region, along Usuma valley between Cibiri and Gwako, and between Gwagwalada and Tugan Aguma. They are also found around Robo and Afara Bakwoi, Angyana and Yawuti. The dominant species are Anona senegalensis, terminalia macroptera, Terminalia laxiflora, Piliostigma thonningii (Adakayi, 2000)
Geology and Soils
The Federal Capital Territory has two major geological belts, which in turn influence the local soil. These are the Precambrian basement complex and sedimentary rocks. The basement complex has a variety of rocks that can be classified into three:
- Rocks made up of granites and granitic gneiss.
- Rocks that consist of quartz and feldspathic quartzschists (which weathers to produce stony soils).
- Rocks comprising basic igneous and metamorphic rockssuch as diorite, hornblende schist, biolite schist and gneiss. These underlie low relief regions.
The sed imentary formations also know n as Nupe sandstones consist mostly of fine-grained sandstones, but with intrusion of grits and siltstone.
We also have alluvial deposits, found around Gurara flood plain where the river flows through the Nupe sandstone. These rock formations influence the nature of the soils. Apart from diorite and schists, the rest of the rock types give rise to sandy soils, which generally facilitate good drainage.
Based on the underlying geology, some soils have been identified in the FCT. These are:
Alluvial soils: These are found in valleys of main rivers and streams of the FCT. The soils are narrow in coverage within the basement complex but wider within the Nupe sandstone region. These soils are moist and poorly drained almost all year round. The colour changes due to poor drainage and higher organic matter content of the surface layer.
Luvisols: These are soils washed from hilly terrains to the foot of hills as foot-plains. Local soils known as luvisols develop on these foot plains. The character of these soils varies between upper, middle and lower slopes. The lower slope bordering alluvial valley button have a thick cover of sand wash material that thins at the break of the slope. The texture is loamy sand topsoil and sand clay B horizon. The middle slope is better drained, with a thin surface layer with loamy sand texture. The structure of the soil is stronger and more resistant to erosion. The soil of the upper slope occupies the highest point of the landscape. As a result, they are freely and severely drained and the depth is shallower than the middle slope. These soils are reddish brown in the top layer and reddish in the subsoil layer of the summit.
Entisols: These soils are products of inselbergs and wooded hills. They are not extensive, but they are very rocky and stony. Thus they are referred to as skeletal soils. The soil develops near foot of wooded hills, characterized by abundance of rock fragments, stone and boulders in the profiles. The depth of the soil is less than 100cm and dark in colour (Balogun, 2001).
The Indigenous Inhabitants of the FCT
The Federal Capital Territory has many ethnic groups, just as the whole country is highly diversified. At present, they are many ethnic groups in the territory including foreigners. However, in this context, we are referring to the indigenous settlers, that is people who have a very long history of uninterrupted occupation of the territory. These are Bassa, Ebira-Koto, Gade, Ganagana, Gwandara, Gbagyi and Koro. It is interesting to the note that these ethnic groups lived and intermingled with one another. The mix in the FCT of various ethnic groups due to intense socio-cultural interactions at different levels has occurred among the people over a long period of time. The people had multi-ethnic politics that in many cases existed peacefully, but were independent of each other. The people used to collaborate among themselves and were linked by rituals as in the case of Gbagyi polity of Karu and Gwandara state of Karshi. These were however destroyed in the 19th century.
The earliest traceable indigenous people are the Koro. They are said to be the descendants of the Kwararafa people of Jukun who successfully conquered Hausaland in the 17th century. They are known to be three sub groups: Koro-Huntu, KoroGanagana and Koro-Nulu. The Koro-Huntu are mostly concentrated in Kafin-Koro district of neighbouring Niger state as well as South Western Kaduna state. Koro-Ganagana were the earliest arrivals in the FCT and they widely intermarried with Ganagana. The Koro-Nulu inhabit the area around Bwari, within and outside FCT. The Koro of Zuba are the traditional guardians of Zuma rock which is regarded as a Supreme Being and protector by the indigenes of the FCT. Sacrifices are made annually to Zuma rock by a Koro priest. This religious role by the Koro makes them have an upper arm over the others administratively.
The Gbagyi people are said to have immigrated into the FCT after Bassa, Gade, and Koro had already settled in the territory. Although the Gbagyi oral tradition claims that they settled before the other seven tribes, which is more of a political issue. Their origin is not well known. But it is suggested that they migrated from the Middle East to Borno, and then to the central parts of Nigeria (Temple 1965, Dikko 1986, in Balogun, 2001). The Gbagyi have two sub-ethnic groups: the GbagyiGenge, who refers to themselves as Gbagyi, are numerically higher and more socially developed group than the second, Gbagyi-Yamma. The latter refer to themselves as Gbali, and are grouped into two. Those North of River Usuma in Gwagwalada area up to the border town of Izom in the North are called Zubakwa, while those living South of the river are called Sumakwa.
The Gade group has been traced to two Doma brothers,
Kafati, and Kwakwara and both were hunters. The latter according to an oral tradition, moved into the forests of river Usuma in the present day FCT. There, he killed a big, hairless buffalo and named the place “Kuzazaje”, later shortened to “Kuje”. Then Kwakwara subsequently founded a settlement there and named it Kuje and became its first chief (Balogun, 2001).
The Bassa are said to have established Guma state during the pre-Fulani period. This territory was located between the Zaria and Nupe spheres of influence. From there they migrated to the central and North Western parts of modern Nigeria. Many of them migrated to the present day FCT during the Habe Hausa period and settled along banks of River Usuma where some are still found today.
The Ganagana people are said to have small ethnic groups: Dibo, Gupa, Kakanda and kami. They are related to those in Agaie and Lapai emirates in Niger state, from where they crossed River Gurara to settle. The origin of Ganagana is not really known.
The Gwandara are the descendants of the Hausa who migrated from the North Eastern part of Kano in the 17th century. The group moved from Kano under the leadership of Mallam Karshi, following his refusal to embrace Islam. They settled among the Bassa and Gade, against whom they fought and won for themselves great possessions. Mallam Karshi founded a settlement and named it after his name.
The Ebira-Koto of the FCT are of two groups: those from Abaji and its environs and those of Toto-Umaisha origin in Southern Kuje area council. Both share a myth of common origin from an Igala prince, Ohimi who established the Panda Kingdom on the North bank of River Benue.
An important feature of FCT structure is its division into many districts. This makes the identification of the components units easier. Below are details of the districts:
- Central Cadastral Zone A00,
- the Garki I District Cadastral Zone A01,
- Wuse I District Cadastral Zone A02, Wuse II Districts
(Cadastral Zone A07& Cadastral Zone A08),
- Garki II District Cadastral Zone A03,
- Asokoro Cadastral Zone A04
- and Guzape District Cadastral Zone A09.
There are also sixteen districts in Phase 2. They are
- Kukwuaba Cadastral Zone B00,
- Gudu Cadastral Zone B01,
- Durumi Cadastral Zone B02,
- Wuye Cadastral Zone B03,
- Jabi Cadastral Zone B04,
- Utako Cadastral Zone B05,
- Mabuchi Cadastral Zone B06,
- Jahi Cadastral Zone B08,
- Kado Cadastral Zone B09,
- Dakibiyu Cadastral Zone B10,
- Kaura Cadastral Zone B11,
- Duboyi Cadastral Zone B12,
- Gaduwa Cadastral Zone B13,
- Dutse Cadastral Zone B14.
- Katampe Ext Cadastral Zone B19,
And the Phase 3 districts are
- Institution and Research Cadastral Zone C00,
- Karmo Cadastral Zone C01, Gwarimpa Cadastral Zone C02.
- Dape Cadastral Zone C04,
- Kafe Cadastral Zone C05
- Nbora Cadastral Zone C06,
- Galadimawa Cadastral Zone C07,
- Dakwo Cadastral Zone C08,
- Lokogoma Cadastral Zone C09,
- Wumba Cadastral Zone C10,
- Idu Industrial Cadastral Zone C16
There are five suburban d istricts: Nyanya, Karu, Gwagwalada, Kubwa, and Jukwoyi. Along the Airport Road are clusters of satellite settlements, namely Lugbe, Chika, Kuchigworo, Piwoyi, Karon Majiji and Pyakassa. Other satellite settlements are Idu (the main industrial zone), Mpape, Karimu, Gw agw a, Dei-Dei (housing the International Livestock market and also International Building materials market). Some of the districts are detailed below:
Abuja’s Central District is 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. 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 Secretariat 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 on May 29, 1999) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier across the road facing it. The National Mosque and National Church of Nigeria are opposite each other on either sid e of Independence Avenue. Beside the national church is the headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A wellknown government office is the Ministry of Defense, popularly nicknamed “Ship House”.
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, 2, 3,7, 8, 10 and 11. Garki II is used to differentiate the area from Garki Area 2.
Garki is presently the principal business district of Abuja. Numerous buildings of interest are in this area. Some of them includ e the General Post Office, Abuja International Conference Centre along the busy Herbert Maculay Way, Nicon Luxury Hotel (formerly known as Abuja Sofitel Hotel and Le Meridian), Agura Hotel, and Old Federal Secretariat Complex Buildings (Area 1). A new five-star hotel, Hawthorn Suites Abuja, is in Garki II.
Area 2 is mainly used for residential purposes, although a zoological garden as well as Garki Shopping Centre are 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 – Army, Air Force and Navy – are all in the Garki District.
The tallest building in this district is the Radio House, which houses the Fed eral Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) stations and corporate headquarters are 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 (Area 11).
The Office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja is in Area 10. Other places of note include the Arts and Culture Centre and The Nigerian Police Mobile Force headquarters in Area 10. The Abuja Municipal Area Council, w hich is the local government ad ministration has its headquarters in Area 10. The new United States Embassy is in the Garki district.
Wuse District is in 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 1–7. The Wuse Market is Abuja’s principal market (Zone 5). The second most important post office in the city is here. This district houses the Sheraton Hotel and Towers (Zone 4), Ibro International hotel, the Foreign Affairs Ministry Headquarters (Zone 3) and Nigerian Customs Services Headquarters, Federal Civil Service
Commission (Zone 3), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),
National Agency for Food and Drugs Ad ministration (NAFDAC), National Population Commission (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.
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 H ilton H otel, National Communications Commission Headquarters (NCC), National Universities Commission (NUC), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) headquarters, National Power Holding Company, Merit House, Soil Conservation Complex, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The British High Commission is located along Aguiyi Ironsi Way, in Maitama. Within the neighbourhood is Holy Trinity Church, Maitama and MTN regional office. Also, the Maitama District Hospital is another notable building in Maitama. Maitama District is home to many of the European embassies.
Asokoro District, the doyen of the districts, houses all of the states’ lodges/ guest houses. The ECOWAS secretariat is a focal point of interest. Asokoro is 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 (commonly referred to as the Aso Rock) is in Asokoro district. By virtue of this fact, Asokoro is the most secure area of the city.
Gw arimpa District
Gwarimpa is the last district in the Abuja Municipal Area Council. It is a 20-kilometer drive from the central district and contains the largest single housing estate in Nigeria, 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 official quarters for the President and Members of the Court in Gwarimpa.
Natural Resources and Development
Agriculture and forestry
The Federal Capital Territory falls within the transition zone between the southern forest zone and northern grassland zone. As an ecotone zone, it shares the characteristics of both forest and savannah zones. This makes it possible to grow forest root crops and savannah crops. Consequently, many crops are grown in the FCT, both root crops like yams and cassava, legumes (groundnuts and cowpea), grains(maize, sorghum and rice), seeds and nuts (melon seeds and beniseed), animals products (goat, cattle, sheep and poultry), fruits and vegetables.
Therefore agriculture is an important occupation in the FCT particularly among the indigenous inhabitants. The products serve as food as well as agro-based raw materials.
Forest products include sawn timber, paper, wood pulp and fuel wood. Since most of the FCT lies within the southern guinea savannah, there are trees, especially within areas of less development.
There are many of the mineral resources that can be harnessed for development of the territory and the country at large. Some of them include:
- Marble: it is a mineral that has been known to exist incommercial quantities in the FCT. It is found substantially around the village of Burum. There are also some deposits around the villages of Kusaki, Kanada, Taka Lafia and Ele.
- Tin deposits: some deposits are found around Kusakivillage, north east of Kuje district and north east FCT.
- Stones: these are found all over the territory. They aremainly granitic rocks suitable for use as building materials. These can commercially be mined for construction purposes.
- Wolframite and Tantaline: their deposits are foundalong the road between Suleja and Burum. Wolframite is a compound of iron and managanese. Tantaline is a black mineral.
- Lead: it is found mainly in Babban Tasha village of FCT.
- Clay: red clay suitable for brick making and housingconstruction are found around Izom, Dangara, Shenagu, Gwagwa, Kam and Kobo. Ceramic clay are also found in places like Ruboci, Yaba and Bwari. When bricks are moulded and burnt, they constitute high quality bricks for building.
- Mica: this mineral is found around villages of KabiMangoro and Kusaki. It is suitable for use as raw materials in the production of rubber, roofing materials, paint and paper production.
Population and Human Activities
Human population refers to the total number of people occupying a specific geographical area at a specific time. This implies that human population varies temporally and spatially. It is a very important segment of the environment and is the most desirable and potent resource of a nation, if properly planned, managed and developed. The Nigerian population has been increasing and FCT is not left out. Onokerhoraye (2002) observed that the increase in the population of Nigeria has been due to decline in mortality rate, especially infant mortality made possible by knowledge of high standards of hygiene and better medical care; the emergence of peace and political order which brought an end to frequent inter and intra-tribal wars; and high fertility rates.
But historically, FCT had been an area of sparse population. This was explained by two factors: firstly, the region was infested with tse-tsefly which drew people away from it and secondly, that it was a weak socio-political organisation and made defense against external aggression difficult, thereby making people to stay away from the region. Udo (1981) confirms this view that “the sparse population in the region is largely a product of 19th century Fulani raids and wanton destruction of life and property”. Consequently, the traditional indigenous settlements of the rural communities depict a nucleated type and scattered in the plains. A typical village is made up of hamlets, while a ward is made up of household which are close to each other basically for security and defence purposes. In the olden days, settlements were built on the hills until the colonial government forced them down to the plains in the second decade of the 20th century (Transparency for Nigeria, 2011). At this time, the illiteracy level was high with inadequate modern infrastructures.
However, following the transfer of the seat of the federal government from Lagos to Abuja on the 17 December, 1991, it marked the assumption of Nigeria’s new capital city’s functions officially. This made the population of the FCT to take a different dimension. Since the population of the city has been growing at a fast rate. Igah and Ayileka (2002) observed that a decade after 1991 movement from Lagos to Abuja, the FCT has become a bustling modern metropolis whose population is believed to have exceeded 1.5 million inhabitants and over 3 million including satellite towns and villages. The National Population and Housing Census (2006) gave the population figures of FCT as 776, 298 people. This figure seems to be an understatement of the population of the city based on what one observes. Or one better say that since the last census, there has been significant increase in the population of the territory.
The population of the FCT in particular, has been increasing, by natural increase and by migration with the latter exerting more influence as people migrate into the city on a daily basis. Although there are no comprehensive data to support the claim of population increase, there are enough evidences which point to high growth of the population: shortage of housing, employment, amenities and other facilities (Mundi, 2000). Today, almost every part of FCT has been experiencing population growth due to increased migration into the territory. However, areas with available social amenities and which offer opportunities for social, economic and political development seem to attract higher population into them. Such areas include: Garki, Wuse, Asokoro, Maitama, Bwari, Nyanya, Lugbe, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and other areas. But frankly speaking, almost all places in the FCT have a share of population increase. The population of the city is dominated by productive population of age i.e. below 60 years, high dependency ratio and dominated by male sex, as characterised by Nigerian population. The dominance of male sex in FCT population can partly be explained by the fact that migration into the city by active population in search of greener pastures is a strong factor, and men are generally more mobile than women. The implication of the structure of the population is that FCT authorities would make extra efforts to provide consumer rather than capital goods such as housing, medical facilities, education and food.
In terms of occupational structures, the indigenes are mainly subsistence farmers. The major crops cultivated are yams, cassava, maize, guinea corn, beans, beniseed , groundnuts, melon, millet, cocoyam, etc. Apart from farming, wood and craft work is also carried out by the indigenes, especially the Gbagyis, who are also good in pottery. Wood products include: mortars, pestles, tobacco pipes, masks, musical instruments, and other household utensils. The Bassa people carry out fishing activities along River Usuma, Jabi and Gurara. Iron works are carried out by the Ganagana such as knives, hoes, dane guns, arrows and ornaments. Women do some cloth weaving (Transparency for Nigeria, 2011). Now with the presence of migrants, who outnumber the indigenes, almost all occupations are represented in the FCT: primary, secondary and tertiary occupations.
The products produced by the indigenes especially food crops are marketed in the periodic markets within the territory and beyond. Most markets in the FCT have four days cycles. In urbanised areas daily markets are operated. The population and demand is what determines the periodicity of the market. For instance, in Gwagwalada, the market operates in four day cycles. But any day you go to Gwagwalada market, you see market activities going on. The only difference is the presence of more indigenes and varieties of goods sold on the market day. FCT, apart from the main city is poorly served with infrastructures like good roads, pipe borne water, electricity, adequate security and so on. Most people bear these expenses on their own. For example, it is common to see people in cues in filling stations to buy fuel and power their generators at home and places of business, and generators noise and smoke sensed everywhere. In terms of religion, FCT is represented by the major religions of Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Religion.
Some Landmarks in the FCT
Central Bank of Nigeria The National Mosque
Aso Rock ECOWAS Secretariat
Transcorp Hilton Hotel Sheraton Hotel and Towers
Jabi Lake International Conference Centre
National Assembly Complex Arts and Craft Centre
Former Abuja City Gate Millennium Park
National Church Ship House
Zuma Rock A Fountain at the Millennium Park
Road network at the Berger Junction
The Federal Capital Territory was created in 1976 to replace Lagos since the latter was no longer suitable for the nation’s capital. Lagos had many problems of inadequacy of land for expansion; acute shortage of housing; infrastructures and services; poor sanitary conditions; chronic transport and ports congestion; and its eccentricity. On the other hand, Abuja had good opportunities of central location; healthy climatic conditions; availability of land for future expansion; abundance of water supply; availability of local building materials; low population density; ethnic neutrality and physical planning convenience. Thus w ith id eal physical and cultural environments, FCT commenced full activities as a capital city in 1991. Since then it has been developing physically and in population. The city has high prospects for rapid social and economic growth in investment in industry and housing. Its centrality will be advantageous for assembling raw materials and distribution of finished products at minimal cost. It has mineral and agricultural resources and potential markets.
Therefore the prospects of FCT are bright and promising.
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Explore west African crafts or laze by the pool at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja hotel, located in the heart of Nigeria’s capital and 5 minutes’ drive from government ministries. Spend evenings at one of 7 restaurants and bars or Dom Casino. De-stress in the health club or do business in one of 24 meeting rooms.
Geographical and Environmental: Backgrounds of FCT, Abuja
STEPHEN CHIAHEMBA AONDOAKAA