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Research Report

The case of Aba and its region, southeastern Nigeria

David Okali
Enoch Okpara
Janice Olawoye
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2001
Pages: 63
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 2-6)

    This report presents the findings of a study of the interactions and linkages between the urban centre of Aba in Abia State (south-eastern Nigeria) and five peri-urban and rural towns and villages in the same state. The basic proposition underlying this study is that rural and urban areas are interdependent localities characterised by exchanges of people, ideas, goods and services, to support livelihoods, rather than two separate and isolated socio-economic entities.

    While rural-urban interactions are not a new phenomenon, researchers and policy makers have often treated rural and urban areas, and their residents, as distinct from each other with unique...

  2. (pp. 6-12)

    In order to ensure that the linkages between different aspects of rural-urban interactions are clearly identified, a conceptual framework was developed (Figure 2.1). The framework is informed by the proposition that rural and urban areas are interdependent localities, characterised by activities that link different areas, as well as exchanges of people, ideas, goods, services and money, all aimed at meeting similar human needs.

    The interactions between rural and urban localities are reflected by flows of people, goods, money, information and other factors, and by sectoral activities like farming, manufacturing or trading that straddle the two localities. However, livelihoods are usually...

  3. (pp. 12-20)

    South-eastern Nigeria is an area covering about 76,358km² east of the lower Niger and south of the Benue valley. The region is located between latitudes 4 and 7 degrees north of the Equator and between longitudes 7 and 9 degrees east. In geo-political terms, it contains nine out of the 36 states of the nation, namely Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers States.

    The area is one of the most populous regions in the country. Its population stood at 13,467,328 in the 1963 census, but by the 1991 census, it had grown to around...

  4. (pp. 20-32)

    Participants in the focus group discussions, as well as key informants, were of the general view that there is a clear distinction between rural and urban. In both rural and urban areas, there was little gender or generational difference in the way that the two localities were described, but the characterisation of rural and urban was usually made through comparison, relating the two localities with each other. The major aspects of differentiation between the two were in terms of job opportunities and level of infrastructural development.

    From both rural and urban respondents, urban centres were seen as places for more...

  5. (pp. 32-47)

    This chapter describes several forms of linkages including income-generating activities that are conducted in both localities, residential and occupational patterns that involve both areas, and groups and associations that help people retain their relationships with friends and relations elsewhere.

    In addition to the movement of people considered in the previous chapter, movements of goods or commodities usually overlap with and somehow determine migration patterns. Even social visits increasingly overlap with business-related travel. What goods, what services are most common as reasons for people’s movements to and from specific areas? In what directions do such products flow? These questions are explored...

  6. (pp. 47-54)

    In this section we briefly review some of the more important policy initiatives and programmes that help to explain the disparity between rural and urban sites in the study area. Consistent with the conceptual framework outlined in Chapter 2, attempt is made to highlight the policies that most affect rural-urban interactions, as a step towards formulating appropriate recommendations for interventions to enhance positive, and reduce negative, interactions, all aimed at contributing towards poverty eradication. For the two purposes, the agricultural and rural development policies are perhaps the most central.

    Since colonial times there have been agricultural and rural development programmes,...

  7. (pp. 54-59)

    There was a clear distinction between rural and urban places from the perspective of residents of each area. The distinguishing characteristics were more concerned with the higher level of infrastructural development and economic opportunities available in ‘urban’ areas than with population characteristics. Although there were some perceived advantages to living in the rural areas and dangers in the city, most people felt that to progress in life it is necessary to move out of the village and into the city.

    The main economic activity in the urban centre, Aba, is commerce in all its forms, including small-scale manufacturing of textiles,...