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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Top 6 private Schools in Abuja

There are private schools and there are private schools in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. Besides class, these schools are reputed for having some of the finest teaching staff, conducive learning environment, professional management team and well organized school programs. For my money, I’ll rather send my kids to any of these schools - that is not to say that other schools in Abuja are not good but these ones easily stand out.

American International School (Durumi District)

You’ll find this school located in Durumi district of Abuja in a part of town that is far from noisy distractions. The school environment from the gate is simply organized. There is hardly any room for incompetence tolerated from any of its staff as everyone is up and doing. Your child seems to be everyone’s priority here and anything aside this is frowned at. All teaching staff is American trained and there is so much in terms of school programs going on that your child will be exposed to fine American Schooling in Abuja.

Regent British School (Maitama District)

This school has both primary and secondary arms which are both managed by British trained Educators. Their priority is to make sure their pupils don’t just love learning but also see school as another home. Maitama is a high brow district in Abuja and you can only imagine who this school is meant for, yes indeed quality Education comes at a price but regent British school will tell you that is what you have to sacrifice for your child.

Centagon School (Maitama District)

This is another top private school which I must say is more suited to expatriates and super rich Nigerians. On my visit to this school I couldn’t help but admire the learning environment but wasn’t particularly pleased by its seeming high costs but that is just where the other schools in this list fall into. Like regent School, Centagon is in Maitama but that part preserved for the Super rich – diplomats, top government officials and big time contractors.

Lead British School (Gwarinkpa)

This is a more Nigerian appealing top school but I dear say some middle class and not so super rich Nigerians can afford to send their wards here to learn. The school is relatively small but not too bad for learning. My main grudge with them is being located in a busy part of town where the daily hustle and bustle might be a distraction to learning.

Nigerian Turkish International School (Wuse 2)

Just like Lead British School, Nigerian Turkish International Schools in located in a busy part of town not very far from the popular Banex plaza and other adjoining businesses. The traffic in and around Aminu Kano crescent might be an occasional nuisance to learning but that is just a once in a blue moon experience. The environment is conducive, management is competent and the teachers are qualified but the school fees are very high. Be warned.

Loyola Jesuit College

This is perhaps the most discipline focused top notch private school in Abuja. This Catholic run institution is a no nonsense stickler for principles and character building. All pupils are boarders and the school is far away from town in a village location where there are no distractions. School activities are varied and geared towards all round child development. It’s a great place to send your kids to learn.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Travel to Lagos: Abuja to Lagos, Lagos to Abuja

Abuja to Lagos by road

To travel this route you will need a sound vehicle and knowledge of the road map, driving at 120km/hour tops you should be in Lagos in 10 hours all other things being equal. If there are no unusual delays such as armed robbery attacks, road accidents, bad roads, vehicle break down or police delays you should have a smooth journey all through else add some 1 or 2 hours to your journey time. Alternatively if you don’t have your own vehicle or don’t know the way or are scared of driving by yourself for that long, then the other option is to travel with one of the popular transport companies. There are the luxury bus companies such as Chisco, Ekene dili Chukwu, The Young Shall Grow and so on. The small companies are relatively unknown but you will usually find them at Utako or Jabi park if you are going from Abuja to Lagos or at Jibowu, Maza Maza/Mile 2 or Ojota park if heading from Lagos to Abuja.

The journey is usually very interesting for most parts as you get to see the country side of Nigeria real time while in transit, you also have the opportunity to be entertained with Nigerian Nollywood movies if you are in any of the luxury buses as they play Nigerian movies most of the journey. There are also mobile salesmen also who may want to sell one or two things to you in the bus, usually personal effects and consumer goods such as; hard to find toothpastes, soaps, honey, bitters, immune boosters and what have you. Some of these salesmen are really funny and could also thrill you will comic antics intended to drive sales.

When eventually you arrive at the park which is - whether in Lagos or at Abuja it is best if someone comes to pick you up like a family or friend but if you already know the way you can opt for a cab to take you straight to your last stop (home or hotel whatever the case).

Abuja to Lagos by air

The journey by air from Lagos to Abuja and back is pretty much straight forward, just roughly 45 minutes flight. From the airport in Abuja to the city center is about 15 to 20 minutes drive whereas in Lagos barring traffic jam, it should take you nothing less than 10 minutes from most parts of the main land other wise be prepared to spend a few hours in the maddening Lagos traffic. Overall though, you are good to go just budget a cool N30K for flight money for the trip whichever way you are going.

In terms of safety and convenience, traveling by air is best but affordability is one thing you will battle with if you are on a tight budget. As a precaution, don’t travel at night by road, it is far more risky as there are many armed robbery operations at night compared to day time plus the risk of poor visibility or accidents is also higher. In case of emergency, road accidents are less desirable because you might be at the mercy of other travelers in case of accidents or armed robbery, in short it is better to travel by air than by road only that it is far more expensive.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Abuja Ladies and Money Wahala!

Do you remember this line from one of Mode 9’s hit single “no cash no Abuja chick, plenty cash and they’ll be on your d**k”? Many Abuja men will tell you that those Abuja chicks are just as Mode 9 described them.

Here’s what one of them told me the other day. While he was invited to a party at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel one hustler babe just approached him and was like “sir what’s your room number?” She wasn’t joking and was ready to accompany him to - you know where. Unfortunately for her, this guy was mean he gave her a fake hotel room number and just left the hotel afterwards. ‘Poor’ chick she must have strolled the whole place in disappointment. But her case is not in isolation, many Abuja ladies are not nice to broke guys, they wouldn’t give him a second look or smile at him even when he is clearly a sweet, caring guy, if you have money then smile and flash some cash and see if not just her but her friends won’t smile at you.

Another guy sometime ago also spoke of how one chick was sizing him up when he approached her not for a date but for directions. She initially thought he was out to chike her, had he driven a flashy car and just said hi, her attitude would have been different. Big deal, Abuja ladies love money more than other naija babes, no apologies for speaking my mind because it’s true although I’m not generalizing there are still a few decent ones.

What are the reasons they even need money, guess what it would be to belong. They want fancy clothes, shoes, bags, black berry, Brazilian hair, cosmetics and having extra cash at hand to buy credit and other special needs. To all you Abuja ladies that act like men are you ATMs my piece of advise and I hope you will not turn it down will be to get yourselves jobs and be content with what you have otherwise turn to your father, it’s his duty to provide for your needs.

Accommodation in Abuja


One of the necessities of life is shelter and no human being can survive without one, but there is shelter and there is shelter. One good place to explain this is in Abuja where accommodation falls into classes and categories. There is accommodation for the poor, middle class, rich and super rich if you know what I mean.

Accommodation for the poor

For the poor in Abuja, they can’t afford to rent accommodation in the city center that would be like saying a bus driver should own a Lexus jeep and drive it with him wherever he likes. No offence intended but Abuja’s decent accommodation are not meant for the poor, if they need nice places to stay then they have to go into villages and towns on the outskirts, places like Suleja, Madalla and Masaka to mention a few. Typically the kind of houses they live in are unpainted, make shift simple cement built houses. Budget: from N80K per annum

Accommodation for Middle class

If you are a middle class folk in Abuja you are most likely to rent an apartment either in one of the satellite towns or a simple flat in Abuja city. Middle class folks usually go for 2 or 3 bedroom flats or could opt for buoys quarters in a duplex in one of the high brow areas of Abuja. With N700k in one of the satellite towns you can get a small flat or if you have N1 million then a flat in the city especially in Garki, Wuye or Wuse would suffice.

Accommodation for the Rich

The rich people in Abuja usually either own their own house or live in rented bungalows or duplexes in town. You will find them living in their own houses in places like Wuse, Wuye, Maitama, Garki, Asokoro, Jabi, Apo and so on. They might sometimes rent flats for themselves but typically they own their own house. Budget: N2 million and above for a rented apartment in the main part of the city or just buy your own house from N30 million.

Accommodation for the Super Rich

Now this class of Abuja residents is the kind can live in Transcorp Hilton for years without interruption if they so wish but you will most likely find them living in their mansions. Most of these mansions are in Maitama and Asokoro although you may find some in Jabi, Wuse 2, Garki 2 or even in Life Camp. For these people money is not a problem, just quote your rate and they’ll drop it for you. If you are super rich that means you will either rent a luxury apartment in one of the Luxury Apartment buildings in Wuse 2, Maitama or Asokoro in which case your annual rent might run into N15 million and above or alternatively you might opt to buy your own house in any of these places mentioned from N200 million and above.

If you need to rent or buy an apartment in Abuja and you size up your pocket and see the class you fall into, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You are armed now what next?


Where is Abuja located?

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria - at least everyone should know that. But beyond that where is it located? That’s the interesting part and we shall soon get to that. But first let’s get to know a few facts about Abuja city.

Global Co-ordinates, Time Zone and Land Mass

Abuja is located on Longitude 9° (degrees) 4 minutes and Latitude 7° (degrees) 29 minutes in the geographic center of Nigeria and occupies a land area of 713 sq km or 275 sq Miles. Abuja Time Zone is West African Time (GMT + 1).

Population of Abuja

Abuja has an estimated population of less than 2 million inhabitants as of 2011 with most of the working population living on the outskirts of the city in satellite towns and villages either within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or neighbouring states such as Kaduna, Niger or Nassarawa.

Brief History of Abuja

Abuja was chosen as the capital of Nigeria because it was seen to be religiously and ethnically neutral located in the middle belt region just between the Muslim dominated Northern Nigeria and Christian dominated south. This was believed would relieve Nigeria of tension due to fears of marginalization and to offer all Nigerians a sense of belonging. Officially Abuja became the capital city of Nigeria on December 12, 1991 but the decree setting it up was promulgated in 1976. Preparations for handing over the reigns of power from Lagos to Abuja started in the 1980s with the construction of infrastructure based on the Abuja Master Plan.  Ever since the handover date, Abuja has been Nigeria’s capital.

Landmarks in Abuja

The main Land Mark in Abuja is the Aso Rock which is in the northern part of the city. Very close to the rock is the Presidential Palace known as Aso Rock Villa, the seat of executive power in Nigeria. Within the same axis are the National Assembly complex and the Supreme Court, this axis is known as the 3 arms Zone. But besides these there is the central mosque located in the Central Business District/Area. Also the Ecumenical Christian Center, the famous Zuma Rock, Eagle Square, National Secretariat Headquarters and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and some other major attractions in the city.

 How to Locate Abuja on a Map

Abuja is located on the center most part of the Map of Nigeria. It is sand-witched with plaque shaped FCT – which is bounded to the south by Kogi State, to the West by Niger, to the east by Benue and to the North by Kaduna and Nassarawa. You can also view Abuja city Map for its exact location or if you happen to be in town and want to find your way around.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Welcome to Abuja City

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria and it divided into various segments called districts, zones or areas. Don’t mistake her to be FCT (federal capital territory) which consists of all the Area councils including Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) - the equivalent of local governments in other states of Nigeria – that oversees the Abuja area consisting Wuse, Garki, Maitama, Jabi, Wuye, Asokoro, Gwarimpa, Gudu, Durumi and other towns in the heart of the city. Places like Bwari, Kubwa, Nyanya are on the outskirts of the FCT otherwise called satellite towns. The other 5 area councils are not under Abuja but the FCT which is overseen by a ministry, unlike other states of the federation the FCT does not have a governor so expect to hear something like the Minister of the FCT and not the governor of FCT.

The City

Like I said Abuja consists of Wuse, Garki, Gudu, Durumi, Jabi, Wuye, Asokoro, Gwarimkpa, Maitama, Apo, Utako, Lugbe and other small towns still undergoing development. It is an expensive and beautiful city – well for now since she is fast becoming a shadow of her old self – with beautiful lush green gardens, parks, well tarred roads, beautiful neighbourhoods and well planned infrastructure. The cost of living is not something you wouldn’t like to hear if you live on a low budget but you can enjoy your stay if you have deep pockets otherwise look for one of the satellite towns in to reside in.

Weather

Tourists to Abuja might find the weather okay, it’s sunny and hot most days of the year and whenever the rains come they fall real hard but other than hot weather Abuja is okay to stay in.

Tourist attractions and Hotels

There are many rocks in Abuja, you will easily notice many of them when you drive around town, but besides the rocks you might be interested in knowing about the markets, shopping plazas, eateries and other social hangouts in town. Hotels in Abuja are very many with some being built to meet demands and you won’t be disappointed with the quality of some of them which are 5 star hotels in their own right but they don’t come cheap.

Accommodation and Living costs

The first thing you should know is that Abuja houses are very expensive. Whether you want to buy or rent - be prepared to spend a lot of money, the city is suited for money bags. For instance, a 3 bedroom flat in Wuse Area goes for N1 million a year or more depending on which area of Wuse it is located and what facilities are available. In Maitama a similar apartment could go for N2 million or more.

Social life

Life is generally peaceful in most parts of Abuja, some places are very busy with heavy human and vehicular traffic such as Wuse area especially around the Wuse market, Area 1 in Garki, Wuse 2 around Banex and Area 10. People generally behave themselves and you will likely not meet many area boys as you stroll around the city unlike Lagos or other major cities. Crime rate is low. Abuja is a civil servants town with mostly government workers around. There are businesses but most of them can be found in apartment buildings, plazas and designated markets. Street selling or hawking is officially prohibited although you will still find a few hawkers here and there doing their thing. Night clubs in Abuja are exclusive and expensive of course but there are a few of note such as crystal lounge.

Final Words

If you are in Abuja for business and have family or friends you can stay with then do just that, it will save you a lot of costs, otherwise ask your travel agent to show you a few cheap hotels you could stay in till you depart. For pleasure, let me warn you randy guys – stay away from w****s, they will not only hurt you but you could be arrested, prostitution is ‘officially’ prohibited in Abuja and a task force is looking out for offenders. Other than that just live and let live but always have your thinking cap on.

Welcome once again

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