Informal security: it implications on urban safety

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Informal security: it implications on urban safety in Nigeria

Introduction

The  greatest  challenges  facing  the  world  in  the  21st  Century”  are  poverty,  inequality, insecurity  and  climate  change  (Beal  and  Fox,  2009).  With  more  than  half  of  the  world’s population living in  urban areas, the reality of  the 21st Century cities is  that  these issues will impact  strongly  on cities  and as  Yunusa (2010)  submitted,  the battle  against these  mutually reinforcing situations shall be won or. lost in cities.

Urban insecurity threatens the quality of life, human rights, social and economic stability and sustainable development in cities around the world (UN Habitat, 2005). This is especially true in developing countries that are doubly burdened with high poverty rates and many informal settlements. The poor  are the worst  affected by  urban crime and  violence, regardless  of their geographical location (Ki Moon, 2007). Literature further attested to the fact that usually, areas of  the city  that  are  most blighted  by violence  also  happen  to be  the  poorest  (Briceno-Leon Zubillaga 2002, Winton, 2004).

 

Security is a pre-condition for urban development (DFID, 2006). In fact, according to UNDP (2007), peace can only be achieved when cities have achieved victory on the security front where victory spells freedom from fear as well as on the economic and social front where victory means freedom  from  want.  Therefore,  understanding  the  relationships  among urban  poverty,  urban insecurity and urban development are important research focus, especially in Nigeria, where over 70% of  her population live below the poverty line in the over 400 slums scattered across her cities and are daily confronted with a deteriorating public security situation.

The security situation in Nigeria has exacerbated in recent times, and this has manifested in high crimes  rates as  well as  astonishing frequency  in  incidents of  kidnapping and  terrorism.

Between  January 20,  2012  and February  21,  2013,  the  News  Analysis Portal  of  the UnitedNations (IRIN, 2013) recorded 193 terror related incidents in  Northern  Nigeria,  mostly in  thecapital  cities  of  Abuja,  Damaturu,  Kaduna,  Kano  and  Maiduguri.  The  Africa  Insurance

Organization (2012) also reported that Nigeria was the 2012 ‘kidnap for ransom’ capital of the world, accounting for a quarter of globally reported cases. Furthermore, with a rapidly growing young population, the threat of violence continues to be a real challenge. A cursory analysis of news reports points to increasing cases of domestic violence, child abuse, proliferation of youth gangs, corruption and various forms of organized crime.

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The World Bank’s (2011) position is that if decisive action is not taken, the scale of urban violence can  eclipse that of  open warfare. For  millions of people  in cities of  the developing world, violence, or the fear of violence, is a daily reality (UN Habitat, 2007). Rising urban crime across  Africa  contributes  to  pervasive  fears  that  impede  commerce,  fray  social  capital,  and undermine  normal  urban  activity  (Baker  (2010).  The  Global  Report on  Human  Settlements ‘(2007) estimated that 60% of all urban residents have been victims of crime, with 70% of them in  Asia  and  Africa.  Alemika  and  Chukwuma  (2012)  from  a  2012  nationwide  criminal victimization survey discovered that while 75% of Nigerian urban residents lived in fear of being victims of crime, 31% were victims in the past year.

N3000     N8500

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