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Population influx and Abuja’s emerging districts

The Abuja federal capital city has been configured in phases. We have phases 1, 2, 3, and 4, and now we are even planning for…

The Abuja federal capital city has been configured in phases. We have phases 1, 2, 3, and 4, and now we are even planning for phase 5. Phase 1 consists of the following districts, Garki, Wuse, Asokoro, Maitama, Guzape, and the Central Area or Central Business District. 

These districts are currently saturated with physical development. They were based on a planned population but looking at the situation on ground it is more than what was initially planned. 

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But there is a phenomenon that is happening, which is part of the city’s development dynamic, where we have the principles of succession and invasion as regards to land uses. Meaning that some land uses are gradually giving way to others. E.g., Adetokunbo Ademola and Aminu Kano Crescents, where some residential properties are being proposed, planned, allocated and approved, but with time the residential components are giving way to commercial. So, we have daytime population and night-time population for the city. 

In Abuja Phase 2 we have other districts, and we have two sections here, Phase 2 Stage 1 and Phase 2 Stage 2. The Stage 1 are those bordering the Ring Road 1, called the Nnamdi Azikwe ring road, we have districts of Gudu, Durumi, Wuye, Jabi, Utako, Mabushi, and Katampe. 

Then districts in Stage 2 comprise those bordering Ring Road 2, here we have districts like Jahi, Kado, Daki Biyu, Kaura, Dutse, Duboyi, etc. 

Some of these districts are developed but not yet serviced, others like Wuye, Jabi, Utako, Mabushi are developed and served with infrastructure. 

Phase 3 are those districts bordering Ring Road 2, we have Bunkuru which people call Gwarinpa 1 and 2, we have Karmo, Mbora, Galadimawa, Lokogoma, Dako, Rumba, Okanje etc. 

In Pase 4 we have Karsana North and Karsana East, South and West, and we have Kodo, Kaba etc. 

Lugbe was initially not in the configuration of the city, it was just an extension of the satellite towns but then around 2007 or so the FCT Administration saw the need to include Lugbe as part of the city hence it is now in Phase 5, if you look at that axis and the role it is playing with the Airport Road located there. 

These latter phases don’t have infrastructure for now but definitely they’ll have, its an aspect of the city’s development also. 

The trend of physical development is multi-dimensional, the influx of people into Abuja, and therefore demand for space is a major challenge, for many the city centre is beyond their reach, so they opt for districts in the outskirts. 

But the requirement for physical development is still the same for all districts, but some have been stepped down in some satellite towns. 

Sometimes when people say Abuja’s Master Plan is being distorted, you still have to give kudos to the founding fathers and dreamers of Abuja, also to the planners and executioners of the plan. When you see how plans are being implemented in other climes, you’ll know that Abuja has gone beyond pass mark. Look at the road network, the quality and the configuration of the road network, you’ll agree that, with all sense of modesty, something good has been done. 

The problem however is sustenance, what will happen several years down the line? And in the implementation of the Abuja Master Plan there are bound to be challenges e.g., economy, which is different from what it was at the planning stage, and technology challenge too. These are shaping and reshaping the implementation, but the fundamental challenge is population explosion. 

The other threatening factor is the indiscipline on the part of Nigerians. If you have a scenario where you say don’t build here someone is insisting he must do so. We can only get out of that by enforcement, but we cannot enforce in a crude manner, we have to apply the rule of law. Thankfully the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law of 1992 as amended has made provision for an Urban and Reginal Planning Tribunal but even that needs to be reviewed because the penalties are very weak, and further empower the development control agency to adhere to rules. And even funding, if we can’t adhere to budgetary provisions, what options do we have? We may look at PPP where investors can come in, otherwise we cannot realise the dream of the founding fathers. 

A city is like a human being, you give birth to it; it grows and may even die. And a plan is nothing so long as it is not implemented. If we are not careful, in the next 20 years, because of these mentioned factors, we’ll miss the dream.  


Tpl. Mukhtar Galadima, Ag. Director, FCT Development Control Department


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