Olayinka Akanle, University of Ibada, Nigeria

Even though Lagos only has a small land mass, it is the most densely populated area in Nigeria, with more than 5 percent of the national estimates. Until 1991, Lagos was the capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is a destination for all ethnic groups, many foreign nationals and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and people in search of opportunities for better quality of life (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2004, Ogunkoya, 2008, Olokesusi, 2011, Akanle, 2013, Akanle 2012). Lagos has an official population of 9.013534 million according to 2006 Population and Housing Census (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2007) and The United Nations estimates that at its present growth rate, Lagos state will be third largest mega city in the world by 2015 after Tokyo and Bombay. Metropolitan Lagos makes up 37 percent of the land area, and is occupied by 85 percent of the total population, which has implications for security and risk exposures (Lagos state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, 2010). Like most other mega cities in developing countries, Lagos confronts a myriad of challenges that are daunting and the city was originally unprepared for. Attempts by the government have also led to new problems, especially relative to security as infrastructural solutions and economic opportunities continue to attract more migrants thereby further elongating the challenges list. Common problems faced by the city are: insecurity; conflict and crimes; growing slums; destitution; traffic congestion and resulting environmental pollution; power shortages; impacts of climate change and clean water problems (see also Makinde, 2012).

This chapter will focus of three major problems Lagos faces: security threat, violence and crime. These problems remain formidable to the extent that the state government has instituted a trust fund now popularly known as Lagos Security Trust Fund. This is against the realization of the huge enormity and dynamic nature of Lagos crime, violence and security challenge against meagre resources available. Increasing the challenge for the State Government to provide security, in the face of the increasing population of threatened in-migrants and the city’s existing residents. Currently, it is pragmatic to describe Lagos as security insecure. A National Crime and Safety Survey in 2012 empirically demonstrated the security threat, pattern and trends of crime in Lagos state (CLEEN Foundation, 2013). According to the survey, as many as 67% of Lagos residents said they fear becoming a victim of crime, as many as 23% experienced crime the previous year. Many of those surveyed were of the opinion that crime has increased from 12% to 21% in the state, while robbery and property theft top the list of common crimes with 28% and 17% respectively. Almost half (47%) of the Lagos residents who completed the survey reported feeling that violent crimes in the state are more likely to be committed by people born and living in Lagos, while 33% were of the opinion that such crimes are committed by people born outside but living in the state (CLEEN Foundation, 2013). Compared to other states in the same region, Lagos state had the highest rate of (38%) assault, that increased to 37% in 2012 from 11% in 2011. Against this background of increasing high insecurity in the mega city, it is important to conduct research to better appreciate the ramifications, contours, dynamics and trajectories of insecurity and risks in the Megacity. This is important to understand the (in)security domains, to then build more resilient Megacity(ies) in Lagos, and Africa, that can rank favourably with other megacities in the world and put Africa on the sustained path of growth, industrialization and development.

This chapter is situated within Cultural theory of Mary Douglas (1966, 1978, and 1988) and Douglas and Wildavsky (1982) which has been important and influential in explaining risk and security perception and interpretations. This chapter explains and analyses the security risk, security and management windows of governments, policy makers, individuals and generalized stakeholders in the state within cultural theory. According to the cultural theory of risk, perceived risk is linked to cultural adherence and social learning within cultural domains. Depending on whether an actor is socially participating and within which group and which cultural and socio-economic context and depending on which risk. Cultural theory is both explanatory and predictive. It is also recommendatory and policy driven just as it is very contextual and group focused which makes it useful for this study.


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Author Biography

Olayinka Akanle holds a PhD degree in Sociology from The University of Ibadan, Nigeria and is a lecturer in the Department. He has won scholarly awards including; World Social Science Fellow (WSSF) of The International Social Science Council (ISSC), Paris, France, Laureate. Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Council (CODESRIA) Child and Youth Institute and University of Ibadan Postgraduate School Prize for publication. His Post-Doctoral research interests include: Sociology of Development/Development Studies, Rural Sociology, Social Theory, Sociology of Religion, Migration and Diaspora Studies, Child, Youth, Gender and the Family in Post-Colonial Africa.

Contact Details:

Address: Department of Sociology, Faculty of The Social Sciences, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Emails: yakanle@yahoo.com or yk.akanle@mail.ui.edu.ng


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Dialogues of sustainable urbanisation: Social science research and transitions to urban contexts Copyright © 2015 by Olayinka Akanle, University of Ibada, Nigeria is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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