Accepted paper:

Urban Growth, Crime Dynamics and the Criminal Justice System in Africa's Largest Democracy


Adegbola Ojo (University of Lincoln)

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims to showcase how rapid but highly disjointed growth affects power relations in the urban centres which in turn charts a new social and economic pathway and eventuates into activating crime and conflict for the residents of urban settlements in Nigeria.

Paper long abstract:

Urban population growth in Africa, in both absolute and relative terms has been supplemented by a range of opportunities and challenges for urban dwellers. Like some African cities, Nigerian cities have functioned as the engines of economic growth in the last decade. However, unprecedented physical growth, frequently unplanned, combined with tenure insecurity and the proliferation of urban poverty have given rise to complex linkages between spatial expansion and urban risk and crime. The paper is a bold attempt to illustrate the nexus among urbanisation, crime and the criminal justice system in a fast growing African democracy. The three-fold objectives of this paper starts by discussing the features of the transformative role of urbanisation together with its accompanying challenges. The trend and pace of urbanisation are linked to Nigeria's contemporary crime challenge. Nigeria presently lacks a comprehensive, coherent, and up-to-date infrastructure to monitor urban crime patterns and trends, and to relay the resulting insights to law enforcement stakeholders and the public. Using recently collected data, this paper further presents the geo-temporal structure of crime in urban Nigeria using a series of reliable crime metrics. This followed by a triangulation of the roles of key players in the criminal justice system and a robust explanation of the factors that continue to weaken law enforcement institutions in the country together with the implications of these challenges for public safety within urban centres.

panel Anth04
Urban policing and production of the city