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The History of Abuja, Nigeria

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The History of Abuja, Nigeria

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History of Abuja
History of Abuja

History of Abuja

Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, is often celebrated as one of the most well-planned cities in Africa. With its modern infrastructure, strategic location, and deliberate urban design, Abuja stands as a testament to Nigeria’s ambition and foresight. This article delves into the history of Abuja, tracing its transformation from a sparsely populated region to a bustling metropolis, and highlighting the planning and development processes that have shaped it into the city it is today.

Pre-Colonial and Colonial Era in Abuja

Who Are The Real Indigenes of Abuja (Early Inhabitants)

Before the establishment of Abuja as Nigeria’s capital, the region was home to various ethnic groups, including the Gwari (Gbagyi)Koro, and other smaller communities. These groups lived in small villages, practicing agriculture, hunting, and fishing. The area was characterized by its hilly terrain, lush vegetation, and the presence of the Gurara and Usuma rivers, which provided a reliable water source for the inhabitants.

Also See: Top 5 Abuja Hotels Perfect for a Weekend Getaway

British Colonial Rule

During the colonial era, the region that is now Abuja was relatively untouched by the British. The focus of British colonial administration was primarily on the coastal regions and the city of Lagos, which served as the capital. However, the strategic location of the Abuja region did not go unnoticed. The British recognized its potential due to its central location and relative safety from coastal attacks.

The Need for a New Capital

Challenges of Lagos

By the mid-20th century, Lagos, Nigeria’s capital at the time, was facing numerous challenges. The city was overcrowded, with a rapidly growing population that the infrastructure could not support. Traffic congestion, inadequate housing, and limited space for expansion were significant issues. Additionally, Lagos’s location on the southwestern coast made it vulnerable to potential military attacks and limited its accessibility to the rest of the country.

Decision to Relocate

In the early 1970s, the Nigerian government began to seriously consider relocating the capital. The decision was driven by a desire to promote national unity, ensure equitable development, and address the logistical and security challenges posed by Lagos. In 1976, under the leadership of General Murtala Mohammed, the government officially announced the decision to move the capital to a more central location.

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