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Abuja remains Nigeria’s capital, federal government says

IN SHORT: There are no plans to replace Abuja with Lagos as Nigeria’s capital city. Social media claims that the president ordered the move are false.

The Nigerian government is set to make Lagos the country’s capital, according to a post on the Facebook page Igbo Times Magazine, which has 42,000 followers.

The 23 January 2024 post claimed that the change was an executive order from president Bola Tinubu and that the move would be completed within three months.

Abuja, within the Federal Capital Territory, is the capital of Nigeria. Due to its central location within the country, it replaced Lagos as the capital in 1991. Lagos is better known as the country’s economic hub.

“Breaking News: Tinubu ordered for immediate relocating of Nigeria's capital to Lagos before April. Tinubu has reportedly ordered the capital of Nigeria to be relocated back to Lagos within 3 months, the president lamented that Abuja is not hence, the relocating,reads the poorly written post

Tinubu was governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, which may lend credence to the claim.

In January 2024, the president announced that the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would be moved from Abuja to Lagos.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also moved some departments from Abuja to Lagos.

The claim to move the capital can also be found on Facebook here, here and here, and on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Such a claim could inflame tensions between northerners and southerners, as Abuja was built to create a capital that would be neutral and more accessible to all of Nigeria’s ethnic groups.

But is the claim true? We checked.


Clickbait posts

When we clicked on the link in the Facebook post – so you don't have to – the URL or web address took us to a website full of adverts. The link is simply clickbait to earn ad revenue. 

The federal government has also debunked the claim. 

“We consider it necessary to inform Nigerians that there is no iota of truth in the interpretations given to the directives in some quarters and the unfounded claims and rumours that President Bola Tinubu is planning to relocate the Federal Capital back to Lagos,” the government said

The government said Abuja’s status as the federal capital was “backed by law”.

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