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Gated Neighbourhoods and privatisation of urban security in Ibadan Metropolis

Oluseyi Fabiyi


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1One of the consequences of the failure of the State to protect life and property of its entire citizens especially in developing countries is the formation of private alternatives to crime prevention and control. The process of privatisation of security often involves closure of public access and privatisation of public space such as open lands. The neighbourhoods in Nigeria are increasingly introducing various measures for prevention and control of crime. The increasing concern for safety and the adopted measures for crime prevention and control in our cities considerably transform our urban townscape into a similitude of medieval settlements when accessibilities were highly controlled through city walls, trenches and gates. Today there are variants of CEPTD (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) in most Nigerian major urban centers. There is increasing preponderance of gates on neighbourhood access and urban secondary roads in most Nigerian Urban centers. This new technique of security measure emerged in the late seventies and has continued unabated. Therefore the nature, types and process of privatisation of public space in form of gates and barriers is of major research interest.

2The fear of different types of violent crimes has been on the increase since the late oil boom years of the 1970s. The approaches adopted by residents to control crimes vary markedly from one neighbourhood to another. These measures include restriction of access through erection of street gates, recruitment of night watchmen and corporate guards. These measures are in most cases private initiatives from the neighbourhood associations. The activities of the neighbourhood associations evolve a new dimensions to urban governance. The social cohesion and the informal primary affliation resulting from the activities of the NA to control crime in the neighbourhoods has resultant effects of both social exclusion and social inclusion.

3The study evaluates and examines different levels of restrictions and privatisation of streets in Ibadan metropolis and examines the ways urban residents organise themselves to protect their neighbourhood from crime. The study further investigates the evolution, nature, types and characteristics of street gates and relationship with neighbourhood characteristics in Ibadan metropolis. Chapter one presents the background to the study, the aim and the objectives with a brief description of Ibadan metropolis. Chapter two examines the theoretical underpinning around security and the gated communities. It also evaluates the crime landscape in Nigeria and in Ibadan metropolis.

4Chapter three discusses the methodology adopted during field investigation and the methods of data analysis. Chapter four examines the nature and types of privatisation of public access in Ibadan metropolis while chapter five examines the activities and characteristics of the neighbourhood association viz - a-vis the erection of barriers on public access as well as privatisation of security in the study area. Chapters six and seven summarise the observations and deductions and identify the policy implications of the findings with some recommendations.

© IFRA-Nigeria, 2004

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