Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Slum Housing Conditions and Eradication Practices in Some Selected Nigerian Cities

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Slum Housing Conditions and Eradication Practices in Some Selected Nigerian Cities

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper reviews the state of urban slums in Nigeria and attempts to explicate the issues that arise from the approach of slum eradication in some selected cities (Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Jos). A wide range of secondary source material was collected and analysed thematically. The analysis affirms that the slumming process in the four cities is significantly accounted for, by rising urbanisation. In Lagos and Port Harcourt cities the urbanisation appears to be linked to the industrialisation process but this is not the case in Abuja and Jos. However, some factors were found to be common in the slumming process of the four cities such as: One, the rising population which is increasing the demand for urban services. Two, there is acute shortage in the supply of adequate housing for the low-come and poor households. Lastly, there is inadequate arrangement for the effective management of urban growth and expansion. Other issues identified are: the absence of mechanisms for the prevention of slum formation; a preference for the demolition of slums by authorities as opposed to their improvement; a wide practice of implementing eviction on short notice; and in most instances, government authorities have failed to provide adequate alternative shelter to evicted households. These findings clearly indicate that the subsisting housing and urban development policies leave gaps for such flawed practices. Accordingly, policy recommendations and suggestions for empirical study are made.

Keywords: slums, housing, slums eradication, force eviction, slum demolition

1. Introduction

This paper reviews the state of urban slums in Nigeria as a whole, and the issues that arise from the approach to slum eradication in some selected cities - Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Jos. The study is especially concern with the attempts to eradicate slums by government authorities, the issues that arise and their policy implication. Slumming conditions have become a global concern and one key factor that is driving such development is rapid urbanisation. Rapid urbanisation is now a global concern and Davis (2004 5, 6) in his paper - Planet of Slums - captured the problem: one, that the earth has urbanised even faster than originally predicted by Thomas Malthus in 1972. For instance, there were 86 cities in the world in 1950 with a population over one million. Today, there are about 550 cities; two, cities are growing phenomenally and have now absorbed nearly two-thirds of the global population. And, indeed, the urban population (3.2 billion) as of 2006 was already larger than the total population of the world in 1960; three, the global country side was estimated at 3.2 billion in 2006. This has been shrinking and it is anticipated that this will continue in such a manner that cities would account for about 10 billion of the world's population in 2050; finally, by 2050, it is anticipated that 95 per cent of the world's population will reside in the urban areas of the developing countries.

Accordingly, the developing countries will face a crisis of urbanisation. Indeed, the crisis is already manifesting in the sub-Sahara African region where countries are faced with the shortage of good housing, urban infrastructure deficiency, urban poverty (Habitat International Coalition - HIC, 2006 p.13; 2009 p.14), growing urban populations, prevalence of informal housing practices and poor housing conditions (International Housing Coalition, 2009 p.11). The urban population is rising (see Table One) among the sub-Sahara African countries; already, between 75 and 99 percent of urban residents in many African cities live in squalid slums of ramshackle housing (IHC, 2006 p.13; 2007 p. 11). Further, the urbanisation experience in Africa is creating hardship for urban residents as it appears not to have a positive relationship with the economic growth. This is contrary to the experience of urbanisation in today's developed world over the nineteenth century. …

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