The Faculty of Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is the oldest and one of the leading Engineering Schools in Nigeria and in the West African Sub-region. It started in 1955 as a Faculty of Engineering of the University College, Ibadan and was based in the then Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (N.C.A.S.T.), Zaria.
The Faculty offered courses leading to the external degrees of Bachelor of Science of London University in Civil, Electrical and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following the recommendations of the Ashby Commission on higher education, a Provisional Council was created in 1961 and Ahmadu Bello University was opened in October, 1962. In that year, the University took over responsibility for engineering education from N.C.A.S.T. and the Faculty of Engineering of Ahmadu Bello University was born.
Consequently, new students admitted into the Faculty registered for ABU degree programmes while the continuing students retained their registration for the London University programmes. This special relationship with the London University came to an end in 1965. In response to societal demands, the range of professional activities in the Faculty steadily grew from three Departments in 1962 and then to eight Departments offering nine degree programmes till 2008. The additional Departments include the Departments of Surveying, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Water Resources and Environmental Engineering. Land and Quantity Surveying programmes started as sections in the Department of Civil Engineering. B. Sc. Land Surveying programme started during the 1970/71 session while the B.Sc. Quantity Surveying programme started during the 1971/72 session. However, a Department of Surveying consisting of both Land and Quantity Surveying was set up in 1975. As at 2011, Land (now Geometrics Engineering) and Quantity Surveying were moved to the faculty of Environmental Design.
Agricultural Engineering started as a section attached to the Institute for Agricultural Research (JAR) in the fifties. At that time the section was responsible for the improvement of simple farming tools of peasant or small farmers. With the establishment of Ahmadu Bello University in 1962 and subsequently the Faculty of Agriculture, the section offered service courses to B.Sc. Agriculture students in basic farm power and machinery, basic surveying and agricultural workshop practice. The section finally became a Department in the Faculty of Agriculture in the 1974/75 session. The research activities were under JAR while teaching was done through the Faculty. As a condition for accreditation by the Council of Registered Engineers, Nigeria (COREN), the Department was transferred from the Faculty of Agriculture to the Faculty of Engineering in 1976. It’s close association with the Faculty of Agriculture still exists, nonetheless. At present the Department is one of the departments in both the Faculties of Agriculture and of Engineering.
The Department of Chemical Engineering was initially established in 1972 as the Industrial Chemistry Section of the Department of Chemistry. It was established with the assistance of Twente University of Technology, Enscheda in the Netherlands, under a ‘ten-year’ (1972-1982) cooperation programme sponsored by the Dutch Government. However, the name was changed to Chemical Engineering in 1977. The Department of Metallurgical Engineering first started as a Division of Electrical and Computer Engineering in October, 1977 and it became autonomous in October, 1980. A Water Resource and Environmental Engineering Department was established within the Civil Engineering Department in 1979. The Division subsequently became a full- fledged Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering in October, 1980.