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Rural-Urban Migration, Poverty and Sustainable Environment : The Case of Lagos, Nigeria.


The research approach to this study was in three main stages. Firstly, a review of available documents by national and international Institutions and organisations to obtain more data for this project and provide a foundation on which further investigations can be carried out. Secondly, the project is focussed on Lagos as the starting point of a scoping study of the distribution and living conditions of migrants in their places of destination. A stakeholders’ meeting was held involving among others relevant Ministries’ officials and local governments. From this starting point, places of origin of the respondents (migrants in Lagos) were selected as obtained from the respondents in the scoping phase. Socio-economic and environmental investigations were then carried out in the identified places/areas. Thirdly, development of a migration map of Nigeria indicated the flow of migrants to the selected places of destination. Then, a sample of three places of origin of migrants were selected, for the purpose of a more detailed data collection on the living standards, environmental situation, occupation, demography and infrastructures in these places of origin.

The Stakeholders’ meeting generated a lot of data on the basis of which some other data collection methodologies were fashioned. The meeting led to the choice of LGAs (Local Government Areas), the need for remote sensing and GIS on the chosen LGAs, etc. Government officials’ views were also harvested.

Six trained enumerators administered an interview guide to 360 respondents drawn from six purposively selected LGAs representing relatively high-income and low traffic, relatively middle-income and traffic and relatively low-income, high traffic sectors of the city. In each LGA, the street listings of the 1991 National Census were obtained from the headquarters of the LGAs and used to draw a random list of six streets. On each street, ten respondents were selected at the rate of one person per house from the ten houses randomly selected in each street. Only 350 interview guides were however analyzed given the dearth of relevant data from the outstanding ten interview guides. The interview guides were subjected to descriptive statistical analyses to draw out trends and patterns in the socio-economic, environmental and health variables determined in the study. Furthermore, the Chairmen of the six selected LGAs and Permanent Secretaries/Directors of relevant State Ministries and Departments were interviewed on the plans and activities of their organisations regarding the migrants and the needs of the increasing population. 180 respondents were covered from the three most prominent States of origin of the migrants. Samples of water and street foods were collected for analysis in both Lagos and migrants’ places of origin to determine any impact of environmental pollution on them.

Additional primary data were obtained through participatory methods such as observation, role-playing, ranking and mapping at the various places of origin, selected from the data obtained in Lagos, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with elders and chiefs in places of origin, etc.

The data collected were analysed in three main ways. Firstly, on-field participatory analyses were conducted with some migrants in Lagos. Further analyses were carried out in their places of origin. A more systematic analysis of available quantitative data was concluded for data obtained from the Lagos survey. For instance, tables, figures and charts were used to present the nature of poverty and the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the migrant and non-migrant families ; the environmental impact analysis protocol was used to explore the environmental impacts of migration in both the places of origin and destination. Biological and chemical assays were carried out on the samples of food and water obtained from the selected places in Lagos. Similar analyses were also carried out on data and samples obtained from the selected places of orientation to know the levels environmental damage done to the street foods which are commonly consumed. Inferential statistical tools were used to test the five null hypotheses originally proposed in the project.