Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city was created in 1976
from parts of the North Central states of old Kaduna
, and Plateau
states. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as it is known, is administered by the Federal Capital Territory Administration
(FCTA) headed by a Minister, who is appointed by the President
The Federal Capital Territory was created upon the promulgation of decree number 6 of 1976. It came into existence due to a need to find a replacement for the capital city of Lagos, which had become congested and had little space for expansion. The area chosen for the new capital was principally home to the indigenous tribes of Gbagyi, Ganagana, Igbiras, Gede, Bassa, Gwandara and Nupe tribes with a high concentration of Muslims and Christians and high degree of neutrality from other ethnic groups from other parts of the country. It is estimated that currently, the FCT has a population of nearly 2 million.
Lying between latitudes 8.25 and 9.20 north of the equator and longitudes 6.45 and 7.39 east of Greenwich Meridian, the Federal Capital Territory is geographically located at the center of the country, occupying a landmass of approximately 7,315 km.
Like some northern states in Nigeria, the weather in Federal Capital Territory is relatively mild but usually very hot between the months of January and April. The average daily maximum temperature of the city is above 30 °C or 86 °F, with the month of March being the hottest month. The rainy season in the Territory lasts between April and October of every year but the coolest month is December, which is characterized by windy and foggy
The Territory consists of 6 Area Councils, 62 wards and 17 graded chiefdoms. The Area Councils are:
Decree 6 of 1976, gave the federal government rights over land within the Territory
and produced a detailed plan referred to as the Abuja Master Plan in February 1979 to provide the guide for implementation of all developmental activities.
From the masterplan, out of an estimated land area of 800,000 hectares, 274,000ha is earmarked for Agricultural development, 270,000ha for forest reserves, while 60,000ha is set aside for natural resources (Rivers and Hills).
The masterplan made provisions for extensive farming both under rain fed and irrigation in consonance with the agro-ecological situation of the Territory. The abundant farmland is fertile and sustains production of major crops and livestock in which the FCT has comparative advantage.
SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
Historically, the FCT had been an area that is sparsely populated but following its proclamation as Nigeria’s Capital city and subsequent developmental activities and associated environmental challenges began to manifest. These challenges are associated with the following:
The environmental impact of rapid urbanization of the FCT includes:
- Astronomical increase in population
- Massive displacement of communities and destruction of over 40% of vegetation and tree covers for structural development.
2. Flooding & Erosion:
Distortions of the Abuja Masterplan and associated challenges of emergence of structures obstructing natural water flow paths resulting to flooding. The FCT is also experiencing different stages of erosion ranging from sheet erosion to gully erosion.
3. Land Degradation:Degradation of land due to illegal mining activities, bush burning and other harmful environmental practices (overgrazing, logging, bad farming methods).
4. Deforestation: Use of wood fuel and cultural practices of piling of wood, unguided agricultural practices are some factors that have accelerated the rate of deforestation in FCT with the resultant effect ofloss of habitat, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity and emerging effects of climate change.
5. Climate Change: The FCT like every other state of the Federation is facing the threat of Climate change as it affects temperature and precipitation patterns, resulting in altered growing seasons, increased frequency of extreme weather conditions (flooding), changes in pest and disease dynamics leading to reduced crop yields, decrease in the nutritional value of crops, and increase in the vulnerability of agricultural systems.
6. Water Scarcity: This is as a result of overpopulation and increased demand for limited water resources and limiting availability of water for irrigation and crop production.
7. Pollution: Pollution of land, water and air due to ignorance of proper methods of application ofchemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock waste due to lack of knowledge.