The Department as established in 1966 is one of the oldest Departments of Economics in Nigerian Universities. Until 1996, the Department was part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). When FASS was split into Faculties of Arts and, Social Sciences, the Department became a part of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Having approved the establishment of ABU Faculty-Based Business School by the Senate of the University, at its 484th regular meeting on 27th October, 2016, the Department became part of A.B.U Business school alongside, Accounting and Business Administration Departments with new programmes introduced in the school.
The Department has since 1966 run undergraduate courses leading to the award of Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. In 1966-1984, the Department produced a total of 665 under graduate students, ten of which made first class. The cumulative total was 563 in 1983, 1736 in 1993, 2803 in 2001 and 3516 at the end of 2005/2006 session. Of the 631 students that graduated in 2002/2003 – 2005/2006, one graduated with First Class Honours; 129 with Second Class Upper; 346 with Second Class Lower , 142 with Third Class and 13 with Pass Degree. Also, .
It is notable that the Department produced the best graduating students in the Faculty of Social Sciences up to when it exited to join the ABU Business School. This record was sustained even at the Business school where a student of the Department in the person of Sadiq Salisu Yahuza (R.I.P) with C.G.P.A of 4.74 became the best graduating student of the school in the University’s 41st convocation for the 2017/2018 academic session. The Department has received praise about the quality of its students from notable personalities as the Former Minister of Finance (Dr Mansur Muktar) among others. It is noteworthy that graduates of the Department include the former Chief Economic Adviser to the President (Professor Ode Ojowu) and currently a member of President Muhammdu Buhari’s recently constituted Economic Advisory Council (ECA), the former Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economic and Social Matters and Vice Chancellor, Veritas University (2012 to 2018), Abuja, (Professor Mike Kwanashie), the former minister of National Planning (Dr Shamsudeen Usman), the former Central Bank Governor (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) and so on. Many others are providing valuable services in Universities, Public Service and international organizations such as the African Development Bank.
Students’ enrolment has declined from the peak level of 1184 in 2004/2005 to 1029 in 2005/2006. The students’ strength further decreased from 2007 to date. This is because of the drastic reduction in students’ admission, in order to meet the national average of student/staff ratio.
The postgraduate programme of the Department began in 1976 with 6 students and by 2001; the Department had produced 117 Masters of Science and 130 Doctors of Philosophy graduates. Between 2007 and 2012, the Department graduated 64 Masters of Science and eighteen (18) Ph.D candidates. The eighteen Ph.D graduates are members of the academic staff of several Nigeria Universities, Bank and Ministries: ABU, University of Ilorin, University of Abuja, Bingham University Abuja, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), FIRS etc. and Currently, the Department is training the academic staff on a growing number of universities: ABU, Ilorin, Nigerian Defense Academy University Nasarawa State, Yola and Bayero University Kano. In addition, the Department is training member of Staff of several other tertiary institutions including Nuhu Bammali Polytechnic, Zaria; Kaduna Polytechnic; Federal College of Education, Zaria; Federal Polytechnic Minna, and so on.
• To produce professional economists with the capacity to investigate and analyze economic problems at local, national and global levels, whose thinking and capacity to find solutions to economic problems would drive Nigeria's development process.
• To provide high quality research and community services to Nigeria and the world.
• To facilitate learning informed by interdisciplinary scholarship and research.
• To extend the frontiers of economic science.
The Department aimed at being dynamic and competitive producing graduates with the best thinking and capacities for investigating and analyzing local, national and global socio-economic and policy issues through excellence in research and teaching.
The Department believes that its niche lies in providing a learning environment in which students acquire insights into competing economic theories, underlying values and methodology and to encourage students to study local and global economic issues in depth and with independence of mind by; developing strong analytical skills and acquiring the ability to critically assess economic arguments at local, national and global levels.