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UIC - Lagos Challenges

Key words
- Differences between poverty and wealth, as well as in peoples' wellbeing and access to things like jobs, housing and education. Inequalities may occur in housing provision, access to services, access to open land, safety and security.
Pollution - The presence of chemicals, noise, dirt or other substances which have harmful or poisonous effects on an environment.
Sanitation - Measures designed to protect public health, including the provision of clean water and the disposal of sewage and waste.
Traffic congestion - Occurs when there is too great a volume of traffic for roads to cope with, so traffic jams form and traffic slows to a crawl.

Lagos, like many cities in LICs and NEEs, is a city that faces many challenges and those challenges are large because of its immense size and rapid growth.  Physical Geography also plays a role, as Lagos has been limited in where it can grow because it originally grew next to a lagoon with rivers and lake which limits its growth to the East.

Squatter settlements or slums
The major problem in Lagos is the growth of squatter settlements also known as SLUMS. These slums come with many issues for people including the lack of planned access to clean water and sanitation systems, poor health, lack of education, unemployment and the prospect of crime. According to
• 65 percent of the people living in Lagos are urban poor who live in slums
• 8.5 percent of the near 21 million people living in Lagos, Nigeria live in poverty — about 1.7 million people.

Makoko Slum
We are a community with a great and bright future. Yes, people living on water, people that are great fishermen.
Noah Shemede, Community figure

Makoko is a slum neighbourhood located in Eastern Lagos. The neighbourhood is located between the 3rd Mainland Bridge and the coast of mainland Lagos.
Around a third of the community is built on stilts along the lagoon and the rest is on the land. The settlement was originally founded by fishermen but has grown massively alongside Lagos.  Its population is thought to be around 85,000 but could be much higher as it was not counted in the last official census.
In July 2012 dozens of homes were destroyed by Nigerian government officials after residents were given just 72 hours’ notice of eviction. The reason for the destruction of this community was to redevelop what is now seen as prime waterfront. Nearly 3,000 people had been rendered homeless by the action.
Makoko is also home to the Makoko Floating School. The school has received global recognition and on 20 April 2015, the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development announced that the school may be incorporated into a regeneration plan for the entire Makoko community. Makoko is sometimes referred to as the "Venice of Africa".
Makoko has a lot of residents who value the community in which they live and are protective of their homes and community.  There is local governance and is run more efficiently each year, as it becomes more established.

Makoko Slum
Makoko slum with the 3rd mainland bridge in the background - Source -
Challenging Conditions in the slums, such as Makoko
In the slum people have to live with many problems;
1. Lack of sanitation is the MAJOR ISSUE – there are communal toilets, but they need to be shared by around 15 households, and sewage, kitchen residues and all kinds of materials end up in the water below their homes.
2. The residents are very vulnerable to sea level change and flooding, many of the buildings are actually in the lagoon!
3. Lack of access to clean water – there are few water pipes in the slum and those that exist only have the supply switched on for 2 hours a day by the city authorities.  This means people have to queue for water and have LIMITED SUPPLY.
4. Lack of legal rights - The people have not planned this settlement and only 7% have legal rights to the land.  In addition, the slum houses have little in the way of security.
5.  POOR HEALTH – life expectancies in the squatter settlements are low because of these conditions, poor quality water, mosquitoes which thrive in nearby lagoons and dangerous jobs all serve to impact on people’s health. Currently, malaria, respiratory diseases and malnutrition are endemic problems in Makoko.
6. UNEMPLOYMENT and POOR QUALITY WORK - Many people have poor jobs, such as those who fishermen.  However, in 2014, 19% of people were unemployed.
The “Urban Spaces Innovation” developed a regeneration plan for Makoko that would bring the community together with academics, non-profit organisations, and international consultants.

Lagos has challenges to deal with protecting the natural environment and providing people with a clean environment to live in. 
1. Water pollution is a major problem in Lagos.  Uncontrolled disposal of raw sewage, sediment carrying runoff and effluents into the Lagoon system has created serious health concerns. Deadly waterborne diseases like cholera & diarrhoea are affecting people as a result. Access to formal clean water is abysmally low, with the majority of Lagos residents relying on the informal sector comprised of wells, boreholes, rivers and rain water. This costs them a lot of money.

2. Air pollution – Lagos has some very dirty air including dangerous levels of Nitrous Oxides, high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and small dust particles called particulate matter.  These are both hazardous to human health and can cause things like asthma. The causes of this pollution are industry, ever increasing numbers of cars and construction dust.

3. Waste – Lagos is the largest producer of solid waste in Nigeria. There is no comprehensive city based system of collection and this waste poses a hazard to human health.  It has been estimated that Lagos produces 13million kg of waste per day using infrastructure developed in the 1970’s when the city had only 3 million residents.  That leaves a lot of uncollected waste.

4. Traffic congestion – rising car ownership and wealth have meant that more people own cars in Lagos (there are over 5 million!).  These contribute to both noise and air pollution, as well as lots of lost hours as people sit in traffic jams.  There is a plan to solve this with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority in charge, with a rapid transit rail system planned and a rapid transit bus system already in place.


5. Electricity supply – the sheer size of Lagos has overwhelmed the grid, resulting in periods where the power cuts out. This makes it difficult for people to perform everyday chores and for businesses to run properly.  Many people have to rely on expensive diesel generators when the electricity goes off.

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