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Living in Abuja
A comprehensive guide about living well in Abuja
Known as one of the few purpose-built capital cities in Africa, Abuja is the center of politics and diplomacy in Nigeria. Its cultural resorts and historical buildings make Abuja a great place for sightseeing. Check out the InterNations GO! Guide for more information about living in Abuja.
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Life in Abuja
Transportation in Abuja
Commuters will face a shortage of public transportation means in Abuja, since the city was mostly planned for cars, with a loop highway circling it and broad avenues; some areas in the city center, moreover, are better to be explored by foot. Abuja does not have as big a problem with traffic jams as with the formal capital, Lagos, although congestion is far from uncommon, and the higher speeds that vehicles travel mean a greater risk of accidents, which are quite frequent. Traffic signals stop working during power outages, which are common, and drivers often ignore lanes and drive erratically. Although Abuja is not as dangerous as other Nigerian cities, doors should be locked and windows rolled up at all times.
Seatbelts should be worn by both the driver and front seat passenger, and a vehicle can be impounded until the fine is paid if this is not observed.
Another cheap option are taxis: mostly green colored taxis should cost less than 5 USD for a trip around town, but agree the fare in advance and have exact change to avoid any hassle from the driver. Indicating that you know the route and its estimated time is a good idea (search online first). Higher quality private taxi companies offer phone dispatch and better cars for a fare of around 10-20 USD.
Healthcare in Abuja
Private clinics and hospitals would be preferable for expats who live in Abuja, so low is the standard of Nigerian public healthcare. Even private facilities generally fall well short of general Western standards. Expats in need of complex treatment would likely have to travel to South Africa or Europe. For routine check-ups, private clinics in cities such as Abuja are satisfactory.
Payment for healthcare in Nigeria is usually expected up front in cash, which could run into thousands of dollars, with expenses claimed back on insurance. It is reasonable for expats to expect health insurance to come as part of their employment package and to take it up with their employer if it is lacking.
The Primus International Super Specialty Hospital is a prominent international hospital with a good website .
The number to call an ambulance is 911.
Education in Abuja
Expats living in Abuja have a wide choice of international schools to send their children to, and the facilities and teaching standards are of a high enough standard that the child’s education should not suffer as a result of a move to Abuja. However, the financial cost of such quality is considerable, with high fees in an already expensive city: they can range from 2,000 USD to 10,000 USD per term.
The Nigerian school year runs from January to December, but some international schools will match the calendar of the home country whose children they cater for. Prospective students will often have to complete entrance exams. Many organizations employing expats in Abuja have places at international schools reserved for employees’ children.
Universities include the African Institute of Science and Technology, Baze University, Nigerian Turkish Nile University, University of Abuja and Veritas University.
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