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Accueil du site > Equipes de Recherche > Migration rural-urbain, pauvreté et environnement durable : le cas de Lagos, Nigeria. > Findings

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


The study revealed that socio-economic factors, such as better employment and educational opportunities, etc., were the main reasons for people to migrate to Lagos. In fact unemployment fell seven fold among the migrants while in Lagos as compared with before leaving their places of origin. The living conditions were not considered as too as an important factor for migrating to Lagos. The level of poverty in the rural areas is a major factor driving migration to Lagos. Moreover, it was found that once in Lagos, the diversity of occupational prospects becomes larger while none practised farming on getting to Lagos. This finding suggests that efforts at improving the practice of agriculture to make it more attractive can stem the direction of rural-urban migration in Nigeria. Similarly rural industrialization needs to be addressed to reduce the drudgery of agriculture and make the young ones to take up agriculture and remain in the rural areas. Hence the hypothesis that the decision of a person to migrate is not dependent on the existing living situation in the place of origin should subsist.

The study showed that migrants were better off economically in Lagos at least nominally, when compared with before migration. Even though inflation may not exactly permit one on one comparison of the Naira given the time value of money, migrants were better off than before going to Lagos. Hence the second hypothesis of there is no significant difference in the migrants’ levels of income before and after migration, could be rejected.

It was clear from the study that the migrants were better off in terms of socio-economic characteristics as their living conditions were better than in their places of origin. This further corroborates the rejection of the earlier hypothesis and the rejection as well the hypothesis that there is no significant difference in major socio-economic characteristics of migrants and their non-migrants counterparts.

Apart from the general observation, the perception of the respondents and particularly the remote sensing carried out mainly in Lagos, showed clearly that there had been substantial changes in the developmental phases of Lagos. In three of the four LGAs covered, there were 100% built up areas as against the low population and high income areas of Eti-Osa LGA where even though there had been some changes the built up areas were just about 50% when compared with 1960s and 1970s. In places of origin the development has not been as rapid in the last 20 years as that of Lagos where migrants focussed on.

Despite the emigration from the rural areas, the environmental situations did not improve but rather was worse than before as presented by the respondents. Some of the reasons that can be adduced for this phenomenon include the rate of growth in population and the usual neglect of the rural areas in many developing countries. It should be stated that the case of Lagos was also not better as far more people demand for the limited infrastructures than they can cope with. The analyses of the samples of food and domestic water revealed lots of contaminations of hazardous materials which are very deadly. These contaminations arose from the environmental pollution which partly arose from the high population density and traffic in Lagos. Even though there were some differences in the environmental problems between the two areas they would not be significant. The fact that over 27% of the respondents recognized and mentioned government as being responsible for evacuating waste dumps in their areas suggest that some public funds were committed to handling solid waste in Lagos. Some scholars have argued that these funds can be better used if the waste problems of cities are not aggravated by migration. Furthermore, appropriate environmental economic instruments should have been invoked to minimise the negative impacts as these would stimulate the government, industries and the usual polluters.

The study revealed that almost all the roasted plantain and water samples analysed had one form of contamination or the other. This may explain the increased morbidity of diseases such as cancer, respiratory tract diseases, gastro – intestinal diseases amongst others especially amongst the low income earners. However, improved packaging and storage is recommended for the roasted plantain to protect the product from environmental bacterial contaminants. Alternative processing techniques should also be worked upon to avoid or at least, reduce heavy metal pollution of the product and consequently, the associated hazards to health. It is suggested that the quality of water samples be enhanced by using carbon/sand filters with ultra-violet irradiation to improve on portability. Further studies on endemic diseases/health problems of respondents may likely elucidate more information on the implications of environmental pollution on health.