Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi and other prominent Nigerians on Thursday, at the ongoing Lagos Liveable City Conference, have suggested ways to ensure that Lagos, regarded as world’s third fastest growing mega city, becomes a more liveable city for citizens and immigrants from within and outside Nigeria.
Fayemi who spoke on “the Sociology of Crimes and Criminal Behaviour, with particular reference to Lagos as a mega city” stated that the challenge of re-inventing and making Lagos more liveable depends on the revival of those values that made the city a desired space and a sense of ownership by residents.
The Governor explained how crime and criminal behaviour evolved in Lagos with British rule, giving rise to the values conflict that came with social change, urbanization and the clash of formal education with traditional forms of control.
He added that between 1920 and the 1960s, the economic growth and development of Lagos led to the rapid Immigrations from the hinterland, resulting in housing shortages, the growth of slums, insanitary conditions and deepening poverty in the city.
In Lagos like many mega cities, Fayemi noted, urban crime is a significant challenge that evolves largely from economic, political and other social contexts, adding that there is a strong correlation between rapid urbanization, economic decline and increasing urban poverty and crime.
He asserted that the drop in the crime rate of Lagos appears to suggest a correlation between crime and politics as politics seemed to have produced jobs that served as alternatives to robbery.
Declaring the conference open, Governor Fashola stated that the conference was necessitated by the need to grapple with the challenges of managing the mega city that Lagos has become.
While stating that the Lagos mega city project is “for the people and about the people”, Fashola explained that the essence of the conference was partly how government can multiply opportunities in such a way that other people’s journeys ” to Lagos do not end in slavery, destitution, crime, drug abuse, mental illness or sudden and avoidable death”.
The Governor added that with the emergence of more street joggers and more bicycles by children, government has done a reassessment of road infrastructure designs and the “first dedicated bicycle lanes are on the way as a pilot scheme to support livability”.
Also speaking at the conference, the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr Fola Arthur- Worrey, noted that there is misconception about safety in Lagos as a city, compared to New York City and Johannesburg had no bank robbery record in 2011 while there were 44 bank robberies in New York and 39 in Johannesburg.
Arthur- Worrey added that the Lagos government is working towards the establishment of public order in the State.
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