STATE HOUSE: The Aso Rock Presidential Villa

04 Jul, 2024

Did you know that the Aso Rock villa is the most protected presidential State House in Africa, and that President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida GCFR became the first Head of State to occupy it on 12 December 1991?

Aso Villa, officially known as Aso Rock Presidential Villa, is the workplace and official residence of the President of Nigeria since 1991, when Nigeria moved its capital from Lagos to Abuja. It is located at Yakubu Gowon Crescent, The Three Arms Zone, Asokoro, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria.

In 1976, the Military Government of Murtala Mohammed took the decision to relocate the Federal Capital from Lagos and set up a committee under the leadership of Justice Akinola Aguda which recommended the creation of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the center of the country and a proclamation to this effect was issued on 3 February 1976. Here are some other facts to know about the State House:

1) Several names that are used for Aso Villa include: State House, The Rock and The Villa.

2) The Aso Rock villa is the most protected presidential state house in Africa.

3) Aso Villa encompasses the 400 meter monolith Aso Rock, located within the Three Arms Zone of Abuja metropolis.

4) Akinola Aguda House (formally named on 1 October 1983) was originally conceived as a Presidential Lodge & Guest House Complex and hosted the first ever formal Cabinet Meeting held outside Lagos, only days after Abuja hosted Nigeria's Independence Anniversary celebrations for the first time, in October 1982.

5) President Ibrahim Babangida, who took office in 1985, commenced construction of a new presidential residence in 1989 and in 1991 the Aso Rock Presidential Villa was completed. The same year the military junta of Babangida relocated the national capital from Lagos to Abuja, and President Babangida became the first Head of State to occupy it, on 12 December 1991.

6) Upon completion of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, the Aguda House became the Vice Presidential Complex, and has remained so till date apart from the period between 1999 and 2007 when the Vice President lived in a Residence that has since been transferred to the Judiciary as Official Quarters of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

7) In 2003, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Aguda House hosted Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

8) In 2010, construction of a new Vice Presidential Residence commenced. The Residence has yet to be completed and the Buhari administration has said it is not a priority.

9) Today the Presidential Complex, located in the Three Arms Zone of the FCT, consists of the Main Presidential Villa (Office and Residence of the President, and Offices of the Vice President and Wife of the President), the State House Conference Center, State House Annex, and the Akinola Aguda House. The old Presidential Lodge in Marina, Lagos, was handed over to the Lagos State Government in 2017.

10) The villa is currently under the protection of the Presidential Guard Brigade which perform ceremonial and protective duties for the president. The Presidential Guards Brigade is simply a specialized brigade of the Nigerian Army tasked with protecting the President of the country. Hence, the brigade consists of Nigerian Army officers. The brigade is divided into 4 which include the 3rd Battalion, 7th Battalion, 26th Battalion, Guards Brigade Band, and Pipe Section. The brigade performs public duties in a weekly changing of the guard ceremony outside the villa.

SOURCES: Wikipedia | State House

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