Unilag Housing Centre


Urban Security Governance in Residential Neighbourhood

Femi Adekunle Balogun

Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development

ARUA Centre of Excellence in Urbanization and Habitable Cities

University of Lagos, Nigeria

A recipient of fellowship award (African Research Universities Alliance – Early Career Researcher (ARUA -ECR), 2023)

Email: balogunfemi225@gmail.com


One of the social problems facing the globe, most especially African nations, is insecurity which varies from kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, killings, bombing attacks, killer herdsmen, insurgency, militancy, Bokoharam, and jihadism. This is due to the prevalence of politics of exclusion, weakness of civil society, and failure of the State in providing adequate protection for its citizen resulting from bad leadership. The frequent cases of kidnapping, insurgency and banditry in urban and rural areas of Nigeria in the last few months has considerably altered human understanding of residential neighbourhood safety. These issues have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of individuals and disrupt the social fabric of residential neighbourhoods.  Kidnapping is a crime that involves taking someone by force out of their homes or public places in order to extract ransom or carry out other nefarious intentions. It lowers people’ sense of safety and overall quality of life by instilling anxiety, uncertainty, and distress. Residential communities are especially susceptible to this type of crime because of the close proximity of people and the relative ease with which possible victims can be identified by criminals. This act of kidnapping is virtually predominant in the six Geo-political regions of Nigeria with extreme cases of loss of lives. On the other hand, armed uprisings or rebellions against established governing powers are referred to as insurgencies. Insurgencies in residential areas can result in violent altercations, property damage, and resident displacement. These confrontations, which are a major cause of the insecurity in residential areas, frequently result from complaints pertaining to political, social, or economic causes. Insurgency is well linked to some areas in the Northern part of Nigeria like Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano (Bokoharam), and Jos Plateau (Jihadism).  Criminal activity committed by bandits or organized robbery organizations is referred to as banditry. It is frequently connected to stealing, violence, and other criminal activity. Typically, bandits operate in isolated or distant locations with little to no law enforcement presence. There is a lengthy history of banditry in many different nations and cultures around the world. Bandits frequently prey on tourists, business people, and other weaker people or organizations. They might take items, cash, or other assets by using force or threats of violence. There are numerous different types of banditry, ranging from small-scale robberies to massive criminal operations. While some bandit groups function more freely and autonomously, others could have a hierarchical structure with leaders and followers. Although there are many different reasons why people become bandits, economic issues like deprivation, joblessness, or a lack of chances are frequently cited. While some bandits might be motivated by a desire for power, retaliation, or other selfish motives, others might see it as a means of surviving or making quick money. A good example of banditry is cited in case of South-south and Eastern parts of Nigeria, Niger Delta (Bakasi boys) and Enugu (Biafra by Igbos).

To address these issues, effective urban security governance is crucial. It requires a multi-faceted approach that involves collaboration between government authorities, law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and residents. According to Liao (2011), urban security governance is emerging as an alternative framework to address the inability of the State institutions to provide adequate security in towns and cities from the global to the regional and individual levels, and from traditional military security to the newly rising non-military security management. Liao (2011) identified urban security governance as the means to enhance neighbourhood safety when he claimed that urban security governance is the application of urban governance theory to security issues in communities in order to foster safety. According to Sedra (2010), urban security governance consists of formal and informal community safety mechanisms (i.e., landlords, police, neighbourhoods’ vigilante, private security organizations, Close Circuit Television (CCTV), gated neighbourhoods, streetlights, low and high wall fences, Cul-de-sacs, etc) that are used to ensure that security and justice are provided in a fair, responsive and effective way to all citizens. Such a broad approach to the rule of law includes community-level partnerships and so-called governance nodes between citizens and law enforcement institutions. These partnerships serve to elaborate joint strategies to address the community’s key safety and security concerns.

For further reading on how to ensure residential neighbourhood safety with consideration to effective urban security governance see the article link: https://unisapressjournals.co.za › sajs › article › view.