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Urban Slums and Cultism in Port Harcourt

Maduawuchi Elem , Amadi-Oparaeli Oyoburuoma Onu
Journal of City and Development. 2021, 3(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.12691/jcd-3-1-1
Received December 05, 2020; Revised January 08, 2021; Accepted January 17, 2021

Abstract

The work is a survey research. It examines how the existence of slums in Port Harcourt has induced cultism in the city. In doing this, the work reviewed related literature to the topic. Clustered sample technique was used in the sample selection Thereafter, 388 sample were collected using Taro-Yamen technique. Both primary and secondary sources of data were employed. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis (simple percentage). At the end of the analysis, it was revealed amongst others that slums exist and that its existence created the needed impetus for cultism. Based on these, the study recommends a low-income urban base slum upgrade, empowerment of low-income families in the slums, and proper funding of all reformation centres amongst others.

1. Introduction

Modern cities are characterized by slums. The presence is more in developing countries. About thirty-three per cent of the urban population in the developing world lived in an urban slum 1. In this data, sub-Saharan Africa consists of about 62%. It is believed that the total number of urban slum dwellers globally is increasing and that in the next thirty years, the increase will reach two billion if concerted efforts are not put in place to halt it. This increase according to 2 is informed by migration, mostly rural migration which for him constitute about 60% of the urban population. With the growing unguarded increase in migration, shortage of accommodation become inevitable. Such deficit created the need for slum as the available houses cannot match the demand. This becomes more serious in the third world where public services especially house in the cities are never enough given the rise in the influx of people. Because of this, even the available houses will be overstretched, thus creating services problem and other social problems. Where the overstretched service is sustained, it becomes a haven for all manner of social vices.

Among such problems are, robbery, rape, and cultism. These vices are further encouraged as most who migrate generally in the third world are the younger generation. And most third world states are failed state, where the cities are megacities with a very high concentration of social infrastructure against the rural areas. Cities in third world countries are a true graphic opposite of rural areas. While the cities have become a centre of comfort the rural areas are neglected. So, with the increasing incidence of migration, the available job opportunities have been stretched over the years making employment a mirage for many youths. But life is about survival, especially economic survival. 3 observes that man is a worker. That he has to work because he must eat to live. Any time man stops eating, man will die. So, to live, he has to work. So, with the failure of government in providing the needed economic succour, man is constrained to look outside the conventional rule to survive. He does this when, if the environment is conducive. In this context, the slum environment acts as a stimulant for several vices including cultism.

1.1. The Problem

Over the years there has been a sustained cult activity in Port Harcourt. 4 October 17th, 2018 reported a cult war in Diobu.

In this report, it was revealed that four persons were killed. Of these four, two were killed at the mechanic garage, near St. Thomas Church, Ikoku Junction while the other two were killed in Lumumba/Emenike and Nanka Street. These people were members of the vigilant group. The police investigation of this report reveals that the perpetrators are cult group members who reside in Elechi Waterfront (Slum).

Similarly, 5, on its 9th March 2015 publication, reported the killing of at least four (4) persons along Eastern -by-Pass areas of the marine base in Port Harcourt. In this report, it was confirmed that the incident is related to Cult Clash. It was also gathered that the assailants invaded a nearby restaurant with a gun and as a result shot dead four persons while some persons sustained serious bullet wounds.

Besides this, 6 observed that the wife of one of the Chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the leading political party in Nigeria and Rivers State was abducted in Echue Street in Mile 2 area of Port Harcourt by unidentified gunmen suspected to be cult men. Report from 5 suggests that the suspects went through Echue waterfront (slum) and by the nature of this slum, it was difficult to abort their mission.

These cult activities most people believe had their impetus to the slums in Port Harcourt. That slums have become a breeding ground for all manner of criminalities. This appears to be true because slum dwellers are largely very low-income earners. And given the fact that Port Harcourt is a third world city, with a very high population, those who have a vague understanding of the city as a place of opportunities, get disappointed as the envisaged opportunity are just a mirage. As a result of this, they develop new sub-culture of survival. And with the increasing level of failure of government; criminality has increased. For instance, 7 observed that the pace of urbanization of Port Harcourt did not match the employment generation expected of it. These scholars also observed similar deficit in infrasructural needs of the burgeoning population of the population

The existence of slum is a direct manifestation of failure in governance which the low income suffers more. Describing slum 8 and 3 claim that slum dwellers are exposed to harsh conditions of life, violence and deprivation. Security in the slum is almost unimaginable as it is difficult for security forces to operate in overcrowded slums, forcing residents to provide their security.

Of importance is the relationship between cultism and homicide as most cult members are linked to other unlawful behaviours such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, arson and illegal arms trade 9. Given the prevalence of cultism, Kpae 10 observed that security agencies appear overwhelmed. Oruwari and 11 observed that cult groups have become a security threat to oil workers as they involve in oil bunkering, extortion, the kidnapping of expatriates, oil workers and rivalry wars along with viciousness with which such acts are occurring. In these, 11 observed that innocent and politically associated killings are a daily reality. Re-emphasizing this, 12 in their work in waterfronts redevelopments in Port Harcourt metropolis: issues and socio-economic implications for urban environment management linked cult and violence to the government demolition of all slum in Port Harcourt which house about 50,000 and 100,000 persons. Of the impetus for this waterfront demolition is the perineal violence perpetuated by cult groups among others like illegal drugs, armed robbery, kidnapping etc. As part of ways to ensure security, the government have sent security personnel over time and this approach has resulted in a gun battle between slum gangs and state security operation. According to 12 dozens die and many persons wounded, most of these were innocent persons.

The implications of cult activities in Port Harcourt is enormous. A market survey carried out by 13 in Port Harcourt in 2019 revealed that the activities of this group occasioned mass movement of oil firms outside the state. As a result of this movement, the unemployment rate has risen and that property business and other small-scale businesses are not speared. Besides these, the deaths so recorded which often are youths, are total minus to the state as they constitute the state manpower stock.

Given the negative consequences of cult groups which had their impetus from an urban slum, in Port Harcourt, the government have had numerous security programmes to stop the problem yet the menace is still a reoccurring phenomenon. It is based on this and other reasons that this work intends to identify the nature and dynamics of cult groups in slums in Diobu that the problem persists and to find solutions to the problem.

1.2. Study Area

Port Harcourt is occupied by Iwhuruohna people, also called Ikwerre. Port Harcourt like any other Niger Delta city is located near the coastal creeks, forest and streams. The soil, therefore, is alluvial and favourable for the cultivation of yam, maize and cassava. By this, the primary economic activities revolve around farming and fishing. Port Harcourt was formally called Obumotu but the name changed to Port Harcourt in 1913 by the then colonial administration of Sir Lord Luguard. The landmass is approximately 25square mile. Port Harcourt is situated within latitudes 04°43’ and 04°57’. North of the equator and between longitudes 06°53’ and 07°58’ East of the Greenwich Meridian.

The city has two local governments, namely Port Harcourt local government and Obio/Akpor local government. In the north, the city is bounded by Oyigbo and Etche local government area. In the south by Okrika local government area, the east by Eleme and Okrika local government while in the west, the city is surrounded by Emohua local government area. The city started from 5,000 persons to about 1,017,461 in 2006 Nigeria population census. Currently, the city is home to most companies and government institutions in Rivers State. Given its urban status, several swamps have been dredged and sand-filled. As neglect of the same urban status, the city has experienced a high level of migration which has resulted in housing deficit, thus resulting in the emergence of slums.

2. Methodology

The work is survey research. Data were selected through primary and secondary sources. The respondents were residents of some of the existing slums in Diobu, namely Elechi, Obidianso, Egede, Abba, Anozie, Urualla. Cluster sampling method was used to get a sample. The sampling size was gotten through Taro-Yamen formula. The sample size is 388. A qualitative survey was also carried out and 14 key informants were selected. The informants include five members of the Diobu vigilante groups, five members of the Diobu neighbourhood watch and two public officers from Mile one police station. The study employed descriptive statistics like simple percentage, frequency and graph. Out of the 388-questionnaire given, 209 of them were returned.

3. Literature

A slum is not a recent origin; it has been in existence but became a phenomenon since the emergence of modern cities. It is a concept used to describe people living under substandard conditions and squalor. But this is a neglected part of cities where housing and living condition are appallingly poor. 14 in 15, Sees it as informal settlements. It is this nature of slum that slum has been a consistent part of urban development in pre-and post-industrial Europe and American in particular 8. According to these scholars, it is these two continents that the phenomenon came to third world countries. On this background, it was first used in London at the beginning of the 19th century to describe a room of low repute “or” low unfrequented parts of the town 9. Since its emergence, the concept has had diverse meaning and application 1 in 9. Among such many iterations in meaning and application includes that it was dwelling combined physical, spatial, social and even behavioural aspects of urban poverty 1. In this sense, the United Nations Programme on Human Settlement as indicated in Nolan 9 sees it as "a contiguous settlement where the inhabitants are characterized as having inadequate housing and basic services. In the same vein, UN-habitat urban secretariat & shelter branch 10 claim that slum is often not recognized and addressed by the public authorities as an integral or equal part of the city". The meaning is quite much, however, United Nation updated (2006/7) has provided an operationalized definition. According to the United Nations, a slum is one or a group of individuals living under the same roof in an urban area, lacking in one or more of the following five amenities. 1. Durable housing (a permanent structure protecting extreme climatic condition). 2. Sufficient living area (no more than three people sharing in a room). 3. Access to improved water (water that is sufficient, affordable and can be obtained without extreme effect). 4. Access to improved sanitation facilities (a private toilet or a public one shared with a reasonable number of people; and 5. Secure tenure (defacto no dejure secure tenure) status and protection against forced eviction. In sum, a slum is a deprived place lacking social amenities with an overcrowded population resulting in overstretched facilities. By this, a slum is an area occupied by low-income persons and often new immigrants. 16 claim that location factor especially, cost of commodities, community neighbourhood composition, social ties relating to a common culture, language and similar income-generating activities contribute to the emergence of a slum. Others are rural-to-urban migration. Of important here is the relative perception of better economic opportunities, the desire to run away from restrictive social or cultural norms often found in rural areas, rural poverty, poor urban government and ill-designed policies. Because slum is home for the poor, the prevalence of slum is more in developing countries like Nigeria with a significant percentage of the population living below the poverty line. The cities are replete with slums of different types due to extremely rural poor and urban bias development programme pursued by the government over time. Such extreme and rural poverty is the pull factor for unguided rural-urban migration of the youth.

The effect of this emergence of slum on criminality according to 17 in his study of trend analysis of poverty and urban crime in Nigeria since 1999 is that slum provides an impetus for criminality. 18 in his work in Internal Housing, Gender, Crime & Violence: the role of design in urban South Africa claimed that informal settlements are not neutral spaces, but rather foster particular sets of political and legal practices, which shape how crime unfolds and is negotiated and how security is affected. Putting it more precisely, he claims that informal settlements are often criminalized by association. 19 and 20 claimed that slum symbolically constitutes space of crime, spaces of anomalous, polluting, and dangerous qualities. Establishing strong affinity between the two, 17 says internal settlements are in and of themselves criminalized, and crime and violence as often a function of residence frustration and grievance over their poor living conditions.

4. Results and Findings

4.1. Gender of Respondents

Findings from the study indicate that 58.85% of respondents were male while 41.15% of respondents were female. This shows that there was no gender bias in the study as seen in the table above.

4.2. Age Bracket of Respondents

The survey targeted respondents aged 16 and above. Respondents between age 16-19 years were represented at 18.7%, respondents between 20-24years were 24.9%, while respondents between 25-29years were 22%. Majority of respondents in the study aged between 16-29 years made up 65.6% of the total respondent.

Respondents between age 30-39years were 25.8% while respondent between ages 40years and above were 8.6%. This goes to say that majority of slum dwellers are very young and are below 30years as shown in the above table.

4.3. Marital Status of Respondents

Findings from the study show that 71.3% of the respondents were single, 24% of the respondents were married while 4.7% of the respondents were separated. This goes to say that an overwhelming majority of slum dwellers are single as represented in the figure above.

4.4. Highest Level of Education Attained by Respondents

The study shows that majority of the respondent had attained a secondary school level of education representing 40.2%, whereas, 12% of the respondent has attained up to polytechnics level, 16.8% of respondents have attained university level, 24.8% of the respondent has attained primary school level of education while 6.2% of the respondent has not attended school before. The above data shows that 69% of respondents who reside in the slum have a minimum level of secondary education.

4.5. Occupation of Respondents

The study delved into finding the occupations of the respondents and discovered that 24.8% and 32% of respondents were casual workers and business persons respectively. 14.8% of the respondents were unemployed, 6.2% of the respondents were civil servants, 17.2% of the respondents were students, 3% of the respondents were housewife while 2% of the respondents were professionals.

4.6. Groups Operating in the Slums

From the research findings, 65% of respondents indicated Dey-Gbam as the group operating in the area while 3.2% and 1.8% of respondents identified Dey-Well and Iceland respectively as the group operating in their area. 30% of the respondent did not know the group operating in their area. The information above shows that the dey-gbam cult group dominates in the area.

4.7. Cult Related Activities Witnessed by Respondents

When asked of the cult-related activities witnessed, majority of the respondents indicated that they have witnessed Drug Use, Robbery and Theft, jointly constituting 70.3% of the respondents. 5.7% of the respondents indicated assault, 9.1% of the respondent indicated Rape, 3.9% of the respondent indicated kidnapping while 5.3% of the respondent indicated that they have witnessed a murder.

4.8. What can be done to Reduce Cultism?

The study sought to discover possible ways to reduce cultism in Port Harcourt and majority of the respondents indicated that creating jobs for the youth and introducing youth development programs in the area will reduce cultism, this jointly constituted 74.1% of the respondents. 14.4% respondents indicated that sensitizing youths against cultism will reduce the menace, 6.2% of respondents believed that arresting and prosecuting cultist will reduce cultism while 5.7% of respondents do not know what can be done to reduce cultism in their area.

5. Conclusion and Recommendation

No doubt there is a significant relationship between informal settlement and cultism in port Harcourt. As long as there is urban bias development in favour of cities, so long the cities remain attractive. And as long as near no case of a development programme to accommodate the low income, so long will urban slums continue to exist and so long the low-income earners use informal housing as a residence for the absence of sound development which opens the door for an unconventional economic source of making money. Based on this, it is pertinent for the government to embark on urban slum upgrade that is pro-low-income earners. Secondly, the government should float empowerment programmes for slum dwellers especially the youth. This is necessary as most youths are neglected. Finally, the reformation centres should be funded to function effectively so that those in the centres will be properly reformed.

References

[1]  United Nations Habitat (2003). Slum of the world: the face of urban poverty in the new millennium
In article      
 
[2]  Todero M (2009) Assessing The Definitions Of Economic Politics Essay
In article      
 
[3]  Ake C (1981) A political economy of Africa. Publishers Longman
In article      
 
[4]  National Ambassador. October 17th 2018. Cultism kills four in Diobu. http://national-ambassador-company.
In article      
 
[5]  P.M newspaper 2015.
In article      
 
[6]  Amadi-Oparaeli OO (2019). Urban slums and the rising case of cultism in Port Harcourt. Implications for youth development programme in Rivers State. A PhD seminar paper at the Ignatius Ajuru University ofEducation
In article      
 
[7]  Nimenibo A. Samuel WA and Kaine AS (2020). The problems of rapid urbanization in Port Harcourt. Global journal of human social sciences research 20(8).
In article      
 
[8]  Chege, D. (2015). Slum security is almost only imaginable. Kenya security on our rader.
In article      
 
[9]  htpp://www.onourader.org/Kenya/2015/09/09/slum-security-is-almost-only-imaginable.
In article      
 
[10]  Kpae, G. (2016). Cultism & violence: An appraisal of the security challenges in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. International Resource Journal of Social Sciences 5(12).
In article      
 
[11]  Oruwari, Y. and Owei, O. (2006). Youth and urban violence in Nigeria: a case study of urban gangs from Port Harcourt. Niger Delta economics of violence working papers No 14.
In article      
 
[12]  Obafemi, A. and Odubo, T.V. (2013). Waterfront redevelopment in Port Harcourt metropolis: issues and socio-economic implication for urban environmental management. International journal of engineering and science 2(12).
In article      
 
[13]  https://(www.sbmintel.com). Retrieved on October 15th 2020.
In article      
 
[14]  UN-Habitat. Urban slum secretariate and shelter branch. Report group meeting on urban indicators: secure tenure, slums and a global sample of cities. Nairobi, Kenya 2002.
In article      
 
[15]  Mahabir, R., Crooks, A., Croitoru, A. & Agooris, P. (2010). The study of Slums & Social Physical constructs: challenges & Emerging Research opportunity construct. All journals regional studies, Regional Science list of issue 3(1).
In article      View Article
 
[16]  Abubakar A, Romile O and Salamy (2019). Slums & prosperity: A complex dynamics pathways of intervention. International Journal of Architectural Research 13(2).
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Katsina, A.M. (2015). Trend-analysis of poverty and urban crime in Nigeria. www.researchgate.net.
In article      
 
[18]  Nolani, LB (2015). Slum definitions in urban India: implications for the measurement of health inequalities. Population Development Review 4(1).
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[19]  Rivers of blood: Gang violence in Nigeria’s garden city. www.sbmintel.com.2020/06 pdf.
In article      
 
[20]  www.sbmintel.com.2020/06 pdf. http://go.worldbank.org/ignazig9ko.
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Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2021 Maduawuchi Elem and Amadi-Oparaeli Oyoburuoma Onu

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Normal Style
Maduawuchi Elem, Amadi-Oparaeli Oyoburuoma Onu. Urban Slums and Cultism in Port Harcourt. Journal of City and Development. Vol. 3, No. 1, 2021, pp 1-5. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jcd/3/1/1
MLA Style
Elem, Maduawuchi, and Amadi-Oparaeli Oyoburuoma Onu. "Urban Slums and Cultism in Port Harcourt." Journal of City and Development 3.1 (2021): 1-5.
APA Style
Elem, M. , & Onu, A. O. (2021). Urban Slums and Cultism in Port Harcourt. Journal of City and Development, 3(1), 1-5.
Chicago Style
Elem, Maduawuchi, and Amadi-Oparaeli Oyoburuoma Onu. "Urban Slums and Cultism in Port Harcourt." Journal of City and Development 3, no. 1 (2021): 1-5.
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[1]  United Nations Habitat (2003). Slum of the world: the face of urban poverty in the new millennium
In article      
 
[2]  Todero M (2009) Assessing The Definitions Of Economic Politics Essay
In article      
 
[3]  Ake C (1981) A political economy of Africa. Publishers Longman
In article      
 
[4]  National Ambassador. October 17th 2018. Cultism kills four in Diobu. http://national-ambassador-company.
In article      
 
[5]  P.M newspaper 2015.
In article      
 
[6]  Amadi-Oparaeli OO (2019). Urban slums and the rising case of cultism in Port Harcourt. Implications for youth development programme in Rivers State. A PhD seminar paper at the Ignatius Ajuru University ofEducation
In article      
 
[7]  Nimenibo A. Samuel WA and Kaine AS (2020). The problems of rapid urbanization in Port Harcourt. Global journal of human social sciences research 20(8).
In article      
 
[8]  Chege, D. (2015). Slum security is almost only imaginable. Kenya security on our rader.
In article      
 
[9]  htpp://www.onourader.org/Kenya/2015/09/09/slum-security-is-almost-only-imaginable.
In article      
 
[10]  Kpae, G. (2016). Cultism & violence: An appraisal of the security challenges in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. International Resource Journal of Social Sciences 5(12).
In article      
 
[11]  Oruwari, Y. and Owei, O. (2006). Youth and urban violence in Nigeria: a case study of urban gangs from Port Harcourt. Niger Delta economics of violence working papers No 14.
In article      
 
[12]  Obafemi, A. and Odubo, T.V. (2013). Waterfront redevelopment in Port Harcourt metropolis: issues and socio-economic implication for urban environmental management. International journal of engineering and science 2(12).
In article      
 
[13]  https://(www.sbmintel.com). Retrieved on October 15th 2020.
In article      
 
[14]  UN-Habitat. Urban slum secretariate and shelter branch. Report group meeting on urban indicators: secure tenure, slums and a global sample of cities. Nairobi, Kenya 2002.
In article      
 
[15]  Mahabir, R., Crooks, A., Croitoru, A. & Agooris, P. (2010). The study of Slums & Social Physical constructs: challenges & Emerging Research opportunity construct. All journals regional studies, Regional Science list of issue 3(1).
In article      View Article
 
[16]  Abubakar A, Romile O and Salamy (2019). Slums & prosperity: A complex dynamics pathways of intervention. International Journal of Architectural Research 13(2).
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Katsina, A.M. (2015). Trend-analysis of poverty and urban crime in Nigeria. www.researchgate.net.
In article      
 
[18]  Nolani, LB (2015). Slum definitions in urban India: implications for the measurement of health inequalities. Population Development Review 4(1).
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[19]  Rivers of blood: Gang violence in Nigeria’s garden city. www.sbmintel.com.2020/06 pdf.
In article      
 
[20]  www.sbmintel.com.2020/06 pdf. http://go.worldbank.org/ignazig9ko.
In article