FCT Laws

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On August 1975 the then Federal Military Government under late General Murtala Muhammed convened a panel of experts to study, advise or recommend on the desirability of retaining Lagos as the Federal Capital of Nigeria. The outcome of that panel was the recommendation of several alternative places as capital of Nigeria including Abuja, Okene, Kafanchan, Markurdi, Ile, Auchi and Agege.


Out of the lot, Abuja was accepted and the Federal Government then promulgated Decree number 6 of 1976 which created the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. By design, the new FCT, Abuja was geographically located roughly in the centre of Nigeria’s territory. It is bordered to the north by Kaduna State, to the east by Nasarawa State, to the south-west by Kogi State and to the west by Niger State.


Built, for the larger part in the 1980s under military administration, Abuja officially replaced Lagos as the capital of the Nigerian Federation on 12 December, 1991 under the General Ibrahim Babangida dictatorship. Its population is now about 5 million person.


Abuja’s geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-metre monolith left by water erosion. ThePresidential Complex, National Assembly Complex, the Nigerian Supreme Court and much of the town extend to the south of the rock. Other landmarks in the FCT include the Zuma Rock, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and other edifices that go to reinforce Abuja’s claim to Africa’s purpose-built city. On the reigional front, Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as its Military arm (ECOMOG). It also plays host to the regional headquarters of OPEC.


Aside from the massive presence of officialdom, Abuja still has another face, within communities that still live within the suburbs of the area designated as the FCT.  For these communities, the agricultural production of food crops like yams, cassava, maize and plantains, sorghum, guinea corn and rice still go with undiminished fervour. The FCT also has proven deposits of a wide range of mineral resources including marble, tin, mica, clay, wolfromite, tantalite and talc.


Currently, the FCT owes its legal existence to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Under the Federal Capital Territory Act, 1984, a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate is deemed to have been delegated to exercise any function or power conferred on the Chairman of the Federal Capital Development Authority; any executive power of the Federal Government vested in the President in relation to and exercisable within the Federal Capital Territory and such other functions as the President may confer on the Minister from time to time. It also establish a compendium of laws governing the territory as well as the judicial structure applicable within the FCT


There is no local separate legislative body for the FCT as the Federal Legislature, the National Assembly of Nigeria, also domiciled in Abuja, has exclusive legislative powers over the territory as prescribed under Nigeria’s Constitution. However, the FCT is entitled to three elective slots at the National assembly: one Senator, and two Representatives for Abuja-South and AMAC/Bwari.


Principally, the legal system of the FCT is maintained to mobilize the powers of the Nigerian Federal Government as it concerns the FCT, the institutions and resources of  its arms and levels of government in order to secure a socio-economic environment necessary for persons resident in the FCT as well its other stakeholders to pursue legitimate goals in dignity within the FCT as a showpiece of the character of the entire Nigerian State.

The Abuja FCT legal system comprises;

1. The compendium of Constitution provisions applicable to the FCT as one of the 36 FCTs that constitute the Nigerian Federation;

  1. Laws made by the Federal Legislature applicable throughout the entire federation or specifically to Abuja FCT;
  2. Laws (Edicts) made by Area Councils within the FCT;
  3. Customary laws or other customs of the economic sphere applicable in the FCT
  4. Judicial precedents of the courts of the FCT and of appellate courts with jurisdictions over its tribunals like the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria;
  5. Judicial precedents of federation tribunals like the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investments and Securities Tribunal and so on, to the extent to which their mandates allow; and
  6. Law enforcement institutions, law enforcement officers, judges, legal practitioners, judiciary workers, other professionals and persons recognized at various levels as part of the justice administration complex of the State.


Sources of FCT’s Laws include:

  1. The Constitution of Nigeria (including its amendments and other laws it refers to expressly as having the same character as provisions contained within the formal Constitutional document;
  2. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria;
  3. Legislations of the National Assembly applicable to the FCT;
  4. Recognized customs of the peoples that make up the FCT;
  5. Judicial precedents of courts with judicial authority over Abuja;
  6. Edicts of the Area Councils of the FCT.



Abaji Bwari Kuje
Abuja Municipal Gwagwalada Kwali




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