Nigeria’s digital divide in urban administration

The urban administration in Nigeria is characterized by a fragmentation and sometimes duplication of functions.  As there is no agency playing an overall coordinating role in urban planning, and due to the federal organization of the country, huge resources committed to the generation of data do not translate into planning information.

Oluseyi Fabiyi thus argues in an article published by Urban Forum that Nigeria needs a devolution of power to local authorities for land administration, coupled with the “deployment of geospatial technologies under an urban administrator” (p:13).

He explains how different urban administration frameworks historically emerged since pre-colonial times, and how this contributed to the uncoordinated character of land administration in the country today.

Looking at the technologies of planning associated with these periods, Fabiyi explains that the paper-assisted administration introduced under the colonial period is not adapted to the current planning needs of the country, which now has more than a hundred cities with populations above 100,000. This “digital shortfall in the application of modern technologies to city administration in Nigeria” (p:1) hence requires a renewed approach to urban space administration.

Local governments are left with little technical and financial capacity to govern urban spaces in an integrated way.  Being the third tier of government, the funds allocated to them are often “hijacked by the state government” (p:2). State governors generally play the role of urban administrators but concentrate their efforts on large cities.

If large cities are now mobilizing geospatial technology as a key instrument for planning, Fabiyi argues that the country needs a “set of computer and network based technologies” (p:16) that would allow a wide range of professionals to share data resources for urban administration in the whole country, so that the use of computerized models, planning information systems and decision support system impacts the design and concepts adopted by planners.

Article available from Urban Forum, December 2016 (sub required)

Image: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (via flickr).


Publisher Urban Forum
Year 2016
Author(s) Oluseyi Fabiyi
DOI 10.1007/s12132-016-9299-3
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