Every time I travelled out of Abuja either for a program or just visitation and meet with some Deaf people, their first remark, (if they knew I am from Abuja) is that, they too want to come and live in Abuja because they believed that all the people living here are enjoying life more than those in other states. Sometimes I would jokingly say that Abuja is a big man land and you have to become a big man before you think of coming to live in Abuja.
As you already know, Abuja, a planned city, is the capital city of Nigeria located in the federal capital territory (FCT). It is the most expensive city in the country. About 50% of Nigeria generated revenue is spent here. The city center has an excellent road network and beautiful structures around. Abuja is highly populated; about 70% of the people who work in the city live in the satellite towns and settlements. There are lots of hotels, clubs, and gardens where you can chill out in the evening hours. But note that some are very expensive.
If you are planning to move to Abuja permanently or maybe for a few years, here’s a few things you need to put into consideration.
1. ACCOMMODATION: Where are you going to stay when you come to Abuja? Do you have friends, family relatives or have you gathered enough money to stay in a hotel or rent a house? There are many Deaf people who came to Abuja without proper planning of where to live, some just come with the expectation that miracle will happen and then end up suffering before someone gives them a helping hand.
Living in Abuja is so expensive, Abuja is a home to some of Nigeria’s top politicians who are notorious for corruption and stupendous wealth. There is a ton of money amongst a very small circle of people and this has made property really expensive. A decent 5-bedroom duplex in Asokoro / Maitama will set you back a million naira. A fully serviced two-bedroom apartment rental in Wuse is about one million naira or more including utilities such as a standby generator to supplement the erratic power supply.
Since your aim is to come and look for a job, you will never be able to afford that amount. Don’t worry, You can get a cheap single rental house outside the city like the Apo village, Nyanya, Lugbe, etc., or at the area councils like Kuje, Gwagwalada, Kwali, Abaji, and Bwari, of about 40-80 thousand naira annually. However, you will have to spend some money for transportation from the area mentioned above councils to the city which will cost you about 200 to 700 naira.
If you have a friend or relatives that are living in Abuja, its advisable to contact them and ask if they can let you stay with them for the time being. The mistake many Deaf people do is appearing in their friends or relatives house without prior notifying that they are coming.
2. GETTING A JOB: Many people come to Abuja to search for a greener pasture. Getting a job in Abuja is so competitive. Don’t believe what you heard from that person who told you it's easy to get a job in Abuja. There are many job advertisements and many opportunities, but still, its very competitive because the number of unemployed graduates has increased dramatically.
Some people will go home on Christmas’s or Sallah break and lied to their parents, friends, and neighbor that they work as an Accountant, Doctor, Politician, etc in Abuja, but what they actually do is cleaning a big man's house, hawking pure water or hustling at Wuse Market.
I meet these type of people a lot, early morning they'll dress fine and off, they go to their various working place. What some of them do is that, when they reach the area they work, they have some spare cloth which they change and start working. The funny thing about them is that, when you meet them, they always behave as if they are some kind of VIP. So don’t ever believe what you hear from people about Abuja and don’t expect to get a job right from the day you arrive. You'll be lucky to find a manual job though, however, you have to search and search before you get one.
A note of warning here, there will be some people whom you know or meet on social media and promised to give you job if you come to Abuja, be very careful with these people because you don’t know what kind of job they want to give you. I know many Deaf people who called some of their friends to come to Abuja because of the job, instead of the job, they send them to go and beg, indulging in prostitution and hawking illegal products.
3. COST OF TRANSPORTATION: Another thing to put into consideration about Abuja is the cost of transportation especially to fresher. Here, if you don’t know where you are going or your destination, be prepared to spend from #500 to #1000 for a distance of 3km ride or more. Transportation in Abuja is not too expensive, you can get a car from Central Business District to Maitama for just 100 naira.
I once heard a story of someone who came to Abuja, that dude wanted to visit his uncle at Asokoro, he took a pick and drop cab, sat alone and ask the driver to take him to Asokoro from Berger. The driver, after known that the guy is new in Abuja, demanded #5,000. After a lot of pleading, the guy succeeded in negotiating the price to #3,500 because he had heard from his friends who are living in Abuja that transportation here is too expensive. The driver gladly agreed and off they went. On reaching Asokoro, the driver dropped the guy at Asokoro bridge and asked him to take another cab to his uncle's house. The dude entered another taxi and paid 500 naira for the just 1km drive from the bridge to his uncle's house.
If you are thinking of coming to Abuja for whatever reason, always keep in mind to ask questions. If you don’t know where you are going, ask people close to you because many of them have been living in Abuja longer than you would ever imagine. There is no crime in asking for direction. Sometimes, where you are going is just some steps ahead of you, you can even trek than spending money taking a cab.
4. FEEDING: No one wants to stay hungry, not even you I guess. We have talked about accommodation, now let’s talk about feeding. Before you think of coming to Abuja ask yourself if you have enough money to feed yourself in a situation where you are going to live alone. You don’t really want to beg for food a month later, do you?
There are many restaurants in Abuja, some are expensive and others a bit affordable. Here, you don’t have to go into any restaurant you see, even if you have to go, make sure you ask how much is the price of what you want to eat before you order for any food.
Food is expensive because most businesses are tailored for the rich. So most restaurants, hotels, bars and salons are expensive. Unless you parley with a local and have him/her show you more affordable options. You can find cheap food at some fast food joints at Wuse Market, Jabi Market or any where around Abuja. If you are wise enough, it would be good to cook your own food at home.
5. NEATNESS AT ALL TIMES: Well, I don’t have much to say about being neat all the times. If you want to live in Abuja, make sure you dress nicely. Believe me, you will not like it if people see you as a begger or a mad man/woman and try to hand you food or money. I don’t have to tell you how these rich kids behave when they see someone in a rag. The clothes you wear in your state may be considered rag here.
If you are thinking of buying some nice clothes at an affordable price, you can visit some markets in the city, don’t always depend on an open boutique because they are always expensive.
6. DONT LIVE A FAKE LIFE IN ABUJA: I added this because I don’t want you to be bothered about the rich kids when you come to Abuja. All fingers are not equal, and you need to know your class. Like I said before in no.2 above, many people live a fake life in Abuja just to show others that they are doing well.
Many people including the Deaf who came to Abuja tried to imitate the living style of the rich. They will use the little money they bring from home to go watch a movie at Jabi Lake Mall or Silverbird Galleria, visiting the Amusement Park, bowling, a few clubs do karaoke, hitting the gym at bodyline, golfing at IBB golf course, playing polo/horse-riding at the Guard’s brigade ranch, visiting the Yar’adua Centre or visiting Gurara fall, etc.
As a fresher and someone who wants to come and look for a job in Abuja, the thought of going to the above mentioned places will make you feel like the son/daughter of a minister. Well, you are not a minister’s son/daughter, you are the son/daughter of a poor or middle class citizen. So you have to live according to your means. Don’t be tempted to do what the rich do, if you try it you will not last a month in Abuja.
It is important to note that most people in Abuja are not rich, and you can actually lead a pretty modest and affordable life but this will involve you living outside the city centre, and you will have to adapt to the slum environment with little or no social amenities like clean water, regular electricity, good roads etc.
My advice is that, before you think and decide to come to Abuja, you need to do research, ask questions, contact your friends and relatives who are living here. Also you need to have a budget that will take you for some months before you get a job. With proper planning, you will find that Abuja is the most funny and peaceful place to live in.
WELCOME TO ABUJA, THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF NIGERIA
NB: if you have additional information or advice about living in Abuja, feel free to add, it might help someone.