Once recognised as the fastest growing city in the world, Abuja is Nigeria’s modern capital city with an estimated population of over 6 million, making it into the ten 10 most populated cities in Nigeria.
Abuja is located in the centre of the Nigeria within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It is a planned city and was built mainly in the 1980s, replacing the country’s most populous city of Lagos as the capital on 12 December 1991.
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.
It is Nigeria’s administrative and political centre. It is also a key capital on the African continent due to Nigeria’s geo-political influence in regional affairs. Abuja is also a conference centre and hosts various meetings annually, such as the 2003 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and the 2014 World Economic Forum (Africa) meetings.
Living in Abuja
Living in Abuja is fun, but a little bit laid back when compared to highly commercial cities like Lagos and Kano. It is well paved with good and expansive road networks, imposing buildings, real estate layouts and a lot of green areas – a typical capital city touch.
Abuja’s Best Places
There are a lot of great areas to live in Abuja, including areas in the suburbs, but this list is made based on certain standards like security, infrastructure, and easy access to city centre. Also worthy of note is that these areas are also among the most expensive areas to live in Abuja. These places are the playground of the rich and famous.
Asokoro is one of Abuja’s major districts and it is situated in Phase 1 development zone. It is also known as the haven for top government officials and recognised as the city’s most exclusive district. It is a high class and much secured area. Asokoro houses the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock.
Not only does it house the seat of power, it also houses the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat; National Intelligence Agency; World Health Organization (WHO) Office etc.
The clean environment, good roads, governmental and private buildings give an air of affluence once you step into this part of the city. The intimidating mansions, luxury service apartments and other residential buildings give the region a very attractive and appealing allure.
Almost every bank in the country has a branch in this district. Supermarkets, hotels, clinics, schools, bars, clubs, and relaxation spots are planned into the network of the town. Everything is within reach. Asokoro is undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Abuja.
To rent a place here, one’s pocket needs to be very deep. Annual rent for a standard apartment ranges from 2 million naira to 10 million, depending on the kind of accommodation one desires. Cost of houses also starts from 50 million naira to everything above. Asokoro is not only one of the most expensive places to live in Abuja, but also one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country.
It is common place to find empty mansions and properties in different parts of the region. Most of the owners are either looking for buyers, or they live in other parts of the country.
A plot of land here could run into billions of naira (the price of a plot of land in Asokoro is at least one hundred million naira). This could go as high as N2 billion depending on the size, location, and purpose.
Maitama is another high-end district in Abuja and it is also in the Phase 1 development plan of the Federal Capital Territory. Maitama competes only with Asokoro in terms of good road network, serene environment, luxury real estates, security, and other exclusive amenities. The area houses very influential people like politicians and billionaires.
It is also home to most embassies and high commissions. Maitama has a number of distinguishing places like The Dome, exquisite parks, INEC Headquarters, Nigerian Communications Commission, British Council, Transcorp Hilton and the famous Minister’s Hill.
Maitama is where you’ll find homes of crème de la crème of the society, diplomats, ministers, government functionaries, former or serving governors and their families, senators or big time contractors. You will also find the most expensive building in Abuja is also said to be located in Maitama District.
Living in Maitama gives one an edge socially, but this no doubt comes with a huge financial cost. Properties for sale and rent are expensive, and this makes it out of reach for middle income earners.
Wuse is also a district in the Phase 1 development plan of the Federal Capital Territory and it is also divided into zones. Wuse is so big that people mistake Wuse II for Wuse Zone 2. They are just two different parts of a big area. Wuse is one of the busiest places in Abuja where you find the city’s upscale restaurants and hotels.
Fun lovers will enjoy Wuse because of the number of entertainment hubs like clubs, gaming centres and recreational parks in the area. Its landmark is defined by places like the famous Wuse Market, AP Plaza, Banex Plazas, Emab Plaza, General Post office, FIRSC, NAFDAC, FERMA, Sheraton Hotel, Rockview Hotel, SilverBird Cinema, EFCC, AGIS and more.
Wuse is close to Maitama, so it also makes it an alternative to living in Maitama, but that is not to say that it comes any cheaper. It is more or less a more commercial and bubbly area compared to Maitama. Wuse is where Abuja’s night life peaks.
The Garki district is on the south-west of Abuja and it is one of the first places to experience development when the Nigerian government moved its capital to Abuja. It is a major business hub, subdivided into eleven parts named Area 1 to Area 11. Rent differs among these 11 areas depending on the level of development.
Garki is undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Abuja, and also one of the most expensive. Annual rent for a family apartment can be as low as N800, 000 and as high as 30 million naira per annum. Homes for sale start from as low as 50 million naira to as high as a 100 million naira.
Garki is a mix of different classes. There a lot of middle class people as well as the superrich living here. There are also lot of absentee owners of houses and buildings in the area.
The US embassy, the Abuja International Conference Centre, Radio House, Abuja Municipal Area Council secretariat, NTA headquarters, Nicon Luxury Hotel, are amongst the countless number of big buildings in Garki.
There is also a model market frequented by everyone living in different parts of the city. This means that foodstuff, electronic appliances, clothes, and several other services are never in short supply. Garki is nonetheless one of the most expensive places to live in Abuja.
Apo is another decent neighbourhood with functional infrastructure. It is most famous for housing the Legislative Quarters where members of the National Assembly and other government officials reside. It has a number of big plazas and malls like ShopRite. The famous Apo Mechanic Village can be found here too.
There are a lot of modern real estates in Apo with as much quality as those in the other districts, which means that the price is usually high. But there are also less expensive places in Apo.
Just like Wuse, there are a lot of beautiful gardens and parks in Apo, making it a quiet and peaceful place to live for those who can afford it.
Gwarinpa is a constellation of beautiful housing developments that are homes to people working mostly in the federal civil service. It is a choice place to live due to the good road network, which is divided into three distinct avenues, decent schools of various levels, financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, proficient security, and emerging businesses such as gyms, laundry shops, pharmacies, saloons, cyber cafes, open-bars, eateries, hotels and relaxation spots. Gwarimpa is like a city within a city.
While the estate remains one of the most expensive places to live in Abuja, the cost of accommodation is not as high as the earlier mentioned districts. An apartment for a small family can be as low as N500, 000 and as high as 5 million.
The communal spirit in the area makes it attractive for family-oriented people. There are some parts of the precinct that offers seclusion and optimum privacy. People who detest all forms of distracting noise will find these parts very accommodating.
Jabi is an easy-to-love neighbourhood in the capital city. It boasts of good road networks, beautiful but quite expensive residential developments. Jabi is close to the Utako market, where one could purchase affordable foodstuff and other things. There is the Jabi Gardens (for events, occasions, etc.); the Jabi Lake (for picnics, outings, parties, etc.); Jabi Lake Mall, and the Jabi Motor Park from where one can board transportation to any part of the country, day or night.
There are several decent schools for children, shopping plazas and malls, banks, restaurants, hotels, and relaxation hubs for fun lovers. Jabi is definitely one of the best places to live in the capital city if you can afford the comfort. For those who love a calm and peaceful environment, paying the price wouldn’t be given a second thought.