Nigeria: More Citizens Now Live in Slums
Nigeria: More Citizens Now Live in Slums – Experts
Lack of effective planning and programme in the housing sector have turned many Nigerian cities into slums, according to Inemesit Akpan
Most cities in Nigeria are fast developing into slums, according to experts at a recent conference on “Sustainable Cities” organised by the New Economic Partnership on African Development (NEPAD), held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
First to open the ‘pandora box,’ was the Country Representative of UN-Habitat, Professor Johnson Falade with his insightful paper entitled: ” Planned City as Foundation for Sustainable City Development.”
Prof. Falade, started with an explanation of what Sustainable Development is all about, which he defined, as “the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
He added that sustainable development encompasses key concepts, the issue of ‘needs’ and the idea of ‘limitations: His words; “It contains within it two key concepts: the concepts of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”
An expert on urban development, Prof. Falade also spoke on issues regarding approaches to city developemnt, free interplay of the economic forces of supply and demand to detect land use decisions with many consequences like pollution, congestion and externalities.
Commenting on urbanisation in Nigeria and growth of cities, he spoke about Nigeria’s population which he put at 140 million (2006), population growth rate (2.8% per annum), urban population growth rate (5.8% per annum), urban population by 2007 (70 million – 50%), pointing out that by 2025, “more than 60% will live in towns and cities, while national population will double every three decades.”
He highlighted development challenges of rapid urbanisation without adequate city planning, to include: Emergence of fast growth and ill equipped settlements characterised by: (a) Inefficient and uncoordinated urban governance, (b) Poor economic and resource base of cities, (c) Lack of community participation in urban development, (d) Poor urban land management, (e) Insecurity of tenure, (f) Juvenile delinquency and crime, and (g) unsustainable development.
Another paper that generated attention, came from Kabir M. Yari, Managing Director, Urban Development Bank of Nigeria (UDBN). He opened up with an introduction which confirmed the popular views that cities in Nigeria and other African countries are growing at a very fast rate.
“Cities and urban settlements in Nigeria, like many other parts of Africa and other developing countries are growing at a very fast rate as a result of rural-urban migration and high urban population growth rates,” he asserted.
He said that one visible feature of these settlements is dominance of slums and informal settlements in the provision of land and shelter to their populace.” According to him, “it is estimated that “about 30 – 70% of the urban population in Nigerian cities live in unplanned or informal settlements.”
He told the audience made up of stakeholders in housing and urban development that the situation is so because the demand for serviced land and housing is so much greater than supply. He also noted that most urban poor households cannot afford to join the formal housing market “and are therefore forced to gain shelter through the informal housing supply system according to Hague finding in 2006.