INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL PROGRAMS: A REMEDY TO LAGOS MEGACITY CHALLENGES
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The population of Lagos is at present in excess of 18 million. A megacity status is conferred by the United Nations on cities with a population of 10 million and above. Building and preserving a model mega city comes with great challenges. Providing a sufficient amount of infrastructure and other necessities that would accommodate the needs of over 18 million people could be daunting (Ayeni, 2008).
By 2025, officials and population analysts agreed that the number of people in the city and in the surrounding communities, especially, in Ogun State axis, would leap to 30 million. Prominent among the challenges are housing, infrastructure and transportation, particularly in more than 10 local government areas (LGAs) that made up of the state, excluding local council development areas (LCDAs). Besides, the notorious traffic jams, choking pollution, inadequate supply of potable water, insecurity and absence or inadequate social and economic needs of the people pose more challenges. Apart from series of efforts put in place by government through several urban renewal programs, the uncontrolled influx of people from virtually every states of Nigeria, including neighboring countries, such as Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and others, is heightening the fear that the next few years would provoke a daunting task for the authority (Tim, 2003).
It has been observed that in some houses in Lagos metropolis, septics are channeled directly into the drain. The government is, therefore, challenged to invest heavily in the protection of the environment through urban renewal programs in order to avert environmental abuse and its consequences. People migrate from villages to the city-centre, without adequate understanding of reality on ground. Here, culture comes into play, such as open defecation as being done in the village, spreading of clothes publicly and cooking exercise in any open place, among others which is frustrating the efforts of the state government at transforming the city through urban renewal programs. Official admitted that planned urban renewal is a major challenge in an emerging model city like Lagos (Batley, 2003). Prior to the current urban regeneration efforts by the government, Lagos used to be referred to as a jungle of various emerging slums. However, a systematic urban development and slum renewal programme, in partnership with several development agencies, has since been put in place to reverse the trend being a major remedy to combat the menace characterized by urbanization. Consequently, various model city plans that included Ikeja Model Plan, Victoria Island/Ikoyi Model City Plan, Lekki Comprehensive Land Use and Infrastructure Master Plan have been completed while Mainland Central Model City Plan Badagry Draft Master Plan and Alimosho Master Plan have been concluded, while others are at various stages of execution. However, in order to give the urban renewal programme a legal backing, the Lagos State Model City Development Law was enacted in 2009 while the State Urban and Regional Planning Law were signed on July 7, 2010.
According to Lindan (1993), certainly, a megacity requires a stronger financial base. The sheer size of funding required in sustaining a megacity is beyond what a government could provide on its own. To this end, Kadiri was of the view that both federal and Ogun state governments should support Lagos in her efforts to sustain the challenges involved as a result of its mega status through the urban renewal programmes. According to Ogunleye, for the fact that many of the old slum areas are not in hidden locations make it easier for government to incorporate them in its urban renewal programmes. The formation of new slums is prevented but people’s influx is however not controllable in Lagos State, knowing full well that no legislation that frown against migration to the city. But government will do well if it opens up new settlement with the necessary infrastructure put in place. Although, government has embarked on infrastructure renewal projects that include the execution of on-going projects such as the light rail scheme from Orile to Mile 2, the redevelopment of the Lagos-Badagry expressway into ten lanes incorporating BRT lanes and light rails, on-going reconstruction of the Mile 12-Ikorodu road incorporating BRT lanes, the recently commissioned Ejigbo- Ajao Estate link bridge, recovery and redevelopment of loops hitherto used by criminals as hide-outs among others could only become feasible with a sustained system of funding. Notwithstanding the profoundness of these projects, it appears that much still need to be done to meet the need of millions of commuters on daily basis.
The condition of the environment also constitutes a major challenge to the Lagos megacity city. Lagos, for instance, generates 10,000 tonnes of waste daily, almost three times higher than what the whole of Ghana generates daily. Also, the kind of industrial pollution experienced in Lagos is second to none in the country. Maintenance of law and order is another major challenge of the Lagos mega city. Though a mega city status is conferred on a city as a result of population growth, building and sustaining a model mega city is not a tea party as reflected in the Lagos experience. In the case of Lagos, a major challenge, however, is how to cope with the ever-increasing population of Lagos with its attendant consequences on infrastructure
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study considers the solution to the challenges of Lagos mega-cities characterized by urbanization as an effective urban renewal programme. This approach is aimed at providing housing, environmental policies and planning strategies appropriate for facing the challenges of the urban growth and development. A megacity is usually defined according to the United Nation as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people. Some definitions also set a minimum level for population density (at least 2,000 persons/square km). A megacity can be a single metropolitan area or more metropolitan, depending on the definitions and boundaries being used. However, the researcher will provide an overview about urban renewal programme as a remedy to Lagos Mega city challenges.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the challenges of the Lagos mega city.
- To identify the urban renewal programmes put in place by government of Lagos State in addressing Mega city challenges.
- To determine the effectiveness of urban renewal programmes in Lagos State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the challenges of the Lagos mega city?
- What are the urban renewal programmes put in place by government of Lagos State in addressing Mega city challenges?
- What is the effectiveness of urban renewal programmes in Lagos State?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- The outcome of this study will educate the general public on how an effective urban renewal programmes can curb mega city challenges. This will also sensitize the policy makers on the need to introduce an urban renewal programme in controlling issue related to megacity problems in their territory.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on infrastructure renewal programmes as a remedy to Lagos mega city challenges will cover all the programmes set up by the Lagos State government at tackling infrastructural challenges created as a result of the mega city. This study will also cover the issues leading to infrastructural decay in the State.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Ayeni, B. (2008), “Lagos: Problems and Planning in Third World Cities”, St. Martin’s Press, New York.
Batley, R. (2003), “Political Control of Urban Planning and Management”, Managing Fast Growing Cities: New Approaches to Urban Planning and Management. Longman, London, pp. 176-206.
Halla, F. (1994), “A Coordinating and Participatory Approach to Managing Cities”, Habitat International, Vol.18 No 3, pp. 19-31.
Linden, E. (1993), “Mega-cities”, Time Magazine, 11 January, pp. 141-2,
Tim, M. (2003), “Cairo Megacity“, Travel Guides Hotel Reviews; virtualtourist.com.
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