News Around Nigeria Today

The dilemma of living in an urban area


Urban areas have many joys and innumerable pains.

More than half of the world's population live in urban areas [nationalgeography]

In primary school or basic level education, we were taught the difference between urban and rural areas but we can always go on a refresher course.

National Geography defines these two concepts; “An urban area is a region surrounding a city. Most inhabitants of urban areas have non-agricultural jobs.”

There are many urban cities in the world [pexels]

“Urban areas are very developed, meaning there is a density of human structures such as houses, commercial buildings, roads, bridges, and railways.”

“Rural areas often called “the country,” have low population density and large amounts of undeveloped land.

The European Commission estimates that 84% of the world population live in Urban areas.

For most Nigerians, their state of origin is a rural area then they move to the urban area for more job opportunities or better avenues of employment.

They leave behind agriculture in search of white-collar, blue-collar and even menial jobs.

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This migration into cities like Lagos, Abuja and Kano causes urban congestion, with Lagos being the smallest yet populated and congested city in Nigeria.

Living in an urban environment has its own artificial joys. Concerts, shows, popular eateries, large structures, and event centres besides the obvious opportunities at a better job are reasons why one would venture into the city.

Congestion and overpopulation are common problems of living in urban cities [sventravels]

But one foregoes the smaller joys, fresh vegetables as they are harvested, space, trees, fresh air, and some peace and quiet.

Living in the city of Lagos, one has no choice but to get accustomed to the loud sounds of generators droning until infinity, horns honking, fights and loud conversations of people smoking weed on the streets, pockets of violence, an unending sea of cars and people and houses clustered together like fish in sardines.

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It is a common joke in Lagos that everyone is crazy but this is not far from the truth. Long hours in traffic affects one’s mental health.

A research work showed that traffic congestion in Arab cities leads “to the environmental pollution (air and noise), a slight negative impact on the economy…and an increase in death rates.”

With the government of Lagos State doing the laudable thing of road repairs, traffic congestion is at an all-time high. Lagosians have no other option but to spend hours on the road. Another ripple effect is that private cabs have doubled their fares.

A teeming frustration grows among the population. Fred, a private cab driver, says he wants to go back to Akwa Ibom. “When I went home, the food was so fresh, the air so clean.”

Many Lagosians dream of staying in Abuja and residents of Abuja do not understand how Lagosians cope but opportunities do not knock as loudly from that end.

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Shola, an Abuja based architect says; “I do not understand how I survived Lagos for five months. Glad to be back in Abuja.”

But Lagos is not the only city in the world with this problem; London, Los Angeles and New York also face housing crises, traffic congestion and insecurity because of their teeming population.

At the end of the day, the choice remains with the migrant to stay back in a calmer rural area or to explore an urban jungle.

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