Abuja is located in the centre of Nigeria and has a land area of 8,000 square Kilometers. It is bounded on the north by Kaduna state, on the west by Niger state, on the east and south-east by Nasarawa state and on the south-west by Kogi state. It falls within latitude 7 45' and 7 39'.

One beautiful feature about Abuja which it derives from its central location is that it shares the savannah grass with the north. And the overall effect of this is that Abuja has rich soil for Agriculture and enjoys an equable climate that is neither too hot nor too cold all year round.

The FCT experiences two weather conditions in the year. These are the rainy season which begins around march and runs through October, the dry season (usually characterized by bright sunshine) which begins from October and ends in March.

Within these periods, there is a brief period of harmattan occasioned by the north east trade wind, with a resultant dusty haze and intense coldness and dryness. Nevertheless, the high altitude and undulating terrain of the FCT act as a modulating influence which makes the weather always clement.

In 1975 an official decision was taken by the then Federal Military Government of Nigeria to set up a committee under the leadership of Justice Akinola Aguda to examine the suitability of the dual role of Lagos as a state and Federal Capital. The government under General Murtala Mohammed accepted the recommendation in the committee’s report that the capital city of Nigeria be relocated to a new Federal Capital Territory in the geographic centre of the country, at Abuja.
The Akinola Aguda Panel - A roll call of the makers of the Abuja

The Justice Aguda Panel, also known as the seven wise men were given the task of searching and suggesting a suitable location that would serve as the Federal Capital Territory. It was headed by the Honourable Justice Aguda.
Hon. Justice T. Akinola Aguda

    Hon. Justice T. Akinola Aguda, Chairman
    Dr. Tai Solarin, Member
    Col. Monsignor Pedro Martins, Member
    Alhaji Muhammad Musa Isma, Member
    Chief Owen Feibai, Member
    Dr. Ajato Gandonu, Member
    Professor, O. K. Ogan, Member

Chairman The acceptance of the committee’s recommendation led to the enactment of Decree No. 6, of 1976 leading to the establishment of a new Federal Capital. And it was named Abuja after a nearby village, which was later renamed Suleija. The new capital which was to be a symbol of Nigeria's aspirations for unity and greatness was excised from Niger, Kwara (know Kogi) and Plateau (now Nasarawa) states. It has a total land area of 8,000 square kilometers, which is more than twice the land area of Lagos state. It was also ideally chosen with a view to avoiding the hot and humid lagoon in the south.

In order to realise its objective of developing Abuja, the new Capital City, into a masterpiece on the African continent, the Federal Government established the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as the sole agency vested with the responsibility of planning, designing and developing the city. This brief even extended to constructing and maintaining infrastructure such as “roads, railways, sidings, tramways, bridges, reservoirs, water courses, buildings, plants and machinery and other works as may be necessary for, or conducive to” the discharge of its functions in the light of Decree No. 6 of 1976.

In June 1977, the FCDA commissioned a team of international planning consultants, the US-based IPA Group, to prepare a draft Master Plan for the new Federal Capital of Nigeria. And a little more than 18 months later, the 286 page Master Plan was published. The Master plan envisaged Abuja being built in the Northern quadrant of the FCT, which functioned as a cordon sanitarium and as an agricultural hinterland.

The city was to be built in four (4) phases, the first scheduled to commence in 1979 and to provide space for 230,000 inhabitants across 4,000 hectares of land. The capital was scaled to have over a population of 1, 600, 000 and expandable at its sides to 3, 200, 000 with a “Central Area” as the city centre. The later was structured in terms of rectili-near super blocks that would have two wings at its sides that can enclose a total of eight essentially self-contained “ development sector”, as the Master Plan calls them, with between 120, 000 and 190, 000 inhabitants each.

At the inception of Abuja, the village was a sparsely populated area; which was one of th reasons for the choice of site. But nevertheless, the conception of the Federal Capital and subsequently the Master Plan was based on the promise that all the approximately 500, 000 inhabitants within the entire 8, 000 square kilometers would be resettled outside the territory.

Consequently, the University of Ibadan Consultancy Services was commissioned to undertake an ecological survey to ascertain the exact number of people to be settled outside the territory and also to determine the amount to be paid to the affected inhabitants as compensation by the Federal Government.

This policy of total evacuation however, changed in 1978 based on the argument that the funds required as compensation entitlement at over N1.8 billion was unaffordable. Therefore as at today, resettlement in the FCT is in two categories namely:

    Those who have opted to be moved out of the FCT
    Those that have remained but who will be resettled within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but outside the Federal Capital City (FCC) whenever their places of abode are affected by development projects.

The present Suleja was formally known as Abuja, a sparsely populated town with a population of about 500,000 people; it was completely rural with little or no infrastructure until the enactment of Decree No. 6 of 1976.

Before the 1976 Decree, a committee ('The Aguda Panel')was commissioned to go round the country in search of a suitable location for the New Federal Capital with two major points of reference; a region that is sparsely populated and that is centrally located. And the region now known as Abuja met these requirements and hence became the recommended location for the New Federal Capital.

The acceptance of the recommendation of the committee, led to the enactment of Decree No. 6, of 1976, the Federal Capital Territory Act, and this became the blueprint for the re-location of the new Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja.

The town originally known as Abuja was later renamed Suleja, while the name “Abuja” was reserved for the capital-to-be.

In order to realise the objective of developing Abuja, the new Capital City, into a masterpiece on the African continent, the Federal Government established the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as the sole agency vested with the responsibility of planning, designing and developing the city.

 To oversee the infrastructural and physical development (planning, design and construction) of the new Federal Capital. Ensuring that it conforms to/surpasses the standard of new Capital cities around the world.  Paying special attention to inclusivity, functionality, design and aesthetics.

The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) is a creation of Decree No.6 of February 5, 1976 cited as the Federal Capital Territory Act. The Decree which vested ownership and control of all land in the area to the Federal Government also gives the FCDA the onus of handling the design, planning and construction of the Federal Capital Territory with the following functions:

    To choose a site within the Capital Territory for the location of the Capital City
    To prepare a Master Plan for the use of land in the Capital City as well as the rest of the Capital Territory;
    To provide public/community services within the Capital Territory;
    To establish infrastructure such as roads, railways, bridges, reservoirs, water course buildings and other such works as may be necessary in the FCT
    To co-ordinate the activities of the Area Councils, Departments and other Agencies of the government of the Federation within the FCT.

The Administration of the Federal Capital Development Authority
The Executive Secretary of the Authority is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who directs and runs the day-to-day administration of the Authority. And he is supported by an Executive Management Committee (EMC). The EMC is made up of Directors of Departments and Heads of Units of the Authority; there is also a 10 member Board constituted by the President to formulate policies and supervise the activities of the Authority on a part time basis.
The FCDA Board is chaired by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. But with the reform agenda of the el-Rufai Administration in the FCT, the FCDA had its departments re-structured into nine (9) departments and four (4) Specialized Units as follows:


    Finance and Administration
    Urban and Regional Planning
    Engineering Services
    Resettlement and Compensation
    Public Building
    Surveying and Mapping Units
    Mass Housing
    Satellite Town Infrastructure


    Internal Audit
    Special Project/IT
    Legal Services
    Public Relations and Protocol

The (Defunct) Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory
When the FCDA was created in 1976 to oversee the development of the new Federal Capital City, it was administered by a Board that was first chaired by Dr. Ali Mazauri.
Later in 1979, it was given the status of a Ministry - the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (MFCT). This Ministry (now defunct) was then created via an official Gazette Extraordinary No.55, volume 66 of October 26,1979 and charged with the following responsibilities:

    Planning and development within the FCT;
    Control of development within the FCT;
    Arrangement for the provision of social services;
    Administration of the FCT;
    Allocation of urban and rural lands in the FCT; and
    Relations with the FCDA

Although the FCDA and the MFCT were literally merged to a point where both shared the same Departments of Administration and Finance, the FCDA still had its own management board. And this was the status quo up until the tenure of the 3rd FCDA Board (2002-2004) when an attempt at a de-merger was undertaken.

However, in 2004, the FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, obtained the President's approval to wind up the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (MFCT). And in line with that approval as contained in the Federal Capital Territory's (Establishment of functionaries and Departments) and the Federal Capital Territory's (Dissolution) order No. 1 of 2004, the MFCT ceased to exist on May 31st, 2004. The Ministry is now known and referred to as the Federal Capital Territory Administration-(FCTA).