At approximately 4 p.m. local time, a bomb exploded at Emab Shopping Complex along Aminu Kano Crescent in Abuja's Wuse district.
In addition to the loss of life, 40 vehicles were destroyed.
Ibrahim Abdullahi, who witnessed the attack, told CNN "When I looked from my office, I saw thick, black some enveloped in the sky... I could see the raging fire from the blast."
Inspector General of Police Abubakar urged "member of the public to remain vigilant and to stay away from scenes of explosion so as not to fall victim in a likely case of a secondary blast."
An investigation is underway. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although Islamist militant group Boko Haram has undertaken recent attacks in the country.