RSA Global Webinar Series – Nigeria – Panel on Regional Planning, Integration and Security in Nigeria

By Lookman Oshodi, RSA Ambassador for Nigeria and Project Director “International Development and Urban Governance” and Oladayo Ramon Ibrahim, RSA Ambassador for Nigeria and Lagos State Polytechnic, Nigeria

The RSA Global African Event, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and the Lagos State Polytechnic, Nigeria, was convened on November 11, 2020, with focus on Regional Planning, Integration and Security in Nigeria. The event moderated by Prof Immaculata Nwokoro of the Department of Urban & Regional Planning, University of Lagos, had four speakers in attendance. Tpl. Toyin Ayinde, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners delivered the opening remarks and expressed optimism that the discussion will produce ideas that can strengthen the security system in Nigeria.

The opening remark was followed by the submission from Professor Timothy T. Gyuse of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria, who said the security situation was being wrongly diagnosed. He stated that the security crisis was about resource control and political power rather than inter-tribal crisis. The crisis has truncated regional integration and aggravated rural-urban migration. He suggested the re-organization of settlements and transportation at a regional scale to include self-supporting integrated protected communities.

In her presentation, Dr Taibat Lawanson of the Department of Urban & Regional Planning, University of Lagos, suggested that planning in Nigeria should go beyond physical and land use arrangement, and needs to include social and economic realities to be able to sustain an urban security system. She stressed that informalities need to be accorded priority in the Nigerian planning system.

During his part, Mr Oladayo Ramon Ibrahim, RSA Ambassador & Principal Lecturer at Lagos State Polytechnic, gave an overview of the historical trend of how Nigerian development has shifted from rural to urban, and illustrated how the country has become a mono-economy which affect the security and regional stability.

Valeria Lingua, RSA Ambassador in Italy and Associate Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florence, Department of Architecture, Regional Design Lab made a case for interactive governance as a measure of resolving societal challenges including security. She mentioned Amotekun and other local security structure in Nigeria as part of the interactive governance. She emphasized societal networking as a viable tool of the governance which can work very well in addressing the security issue.

A number of questions from the audience included the projections for the status of security in Nigeria in the next five years, in which panellists suggested improvement in social and economic indices, and expanding opportunities to many Nigerians as a measure to strengthening the security framework in the next five years.

In his closing remark, the Acting Rector of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos, Nigeria, Mr Olumide Olusola Metilelu said the panellists had been able to touch the core issues of security and regional planning in Nigeria, with hindsight on poverty eradication and tackling of unemployment in Nigeria. He expressed that he is looking forward to further collaborations among the three institutions in the area of common interest, especially in city development and regionalization.

Katharina Bürger, Conference and Events Officer at the Regional Studies Association expressed appreciation to all the speakers and drew the curtain on the event before the final session of the day.