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UNILAG centre gets £1.9m grant for urbanisation studies

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
27 September 2021   |   4:10 am
The Centre for Housing and sustainable Development (CHSD), University of Lagos has won a grant worth £1.9 million for research on Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa (MUCA).

Participants at the national inception workshop organised by the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Developmenrt, University of Lagos

The Centre for Housing and sustainable Development (CHSD), University of Lagos has won a grant worth £1.9 million for research on Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa (MUCA).

The three-year project funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) comes under the UKRI- Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)research excellence programme.

The MUCA project, which is a collaboration with ARUA centres at Addis Ababa and Makerere universities and University of Sheffield also supports building research capacities of young African universities such as University of Jos in Nigeria, Gulu University in Uganda and Hawasa University in Ethiopia.

Speaking at a National Inception workshop for the project, held at the Arthur Mbanefo Resource Centre of the University of Lagos, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the ARUA Centre of Excellence for Urbanisation and Habitat Cities has a mandate to scale up applied urban research and practice in Africa towards achieving the SDGs.

Ogundipe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, described the research project as part of intellectual efforts aimed at unraveling the complexities surrounding migration and urbanisation in Africa, its attendant conflicts and developing a full proof plan for peaceful urban futures.

“The future of African cities cannot be determined outside science policy engagement. Effective development strategies cannot be developed without the contributions of knowledge institutions,” he added.

In his remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development; Dr. Idris Salako, commended the efforts of the University of Lagos and other collaborators in mobilising expertise towards ensuring a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges associated with rural/urban migration.

In his remarks, the Director, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, Prof.Timothy Nubi, who said that there had been migration due to conflicts in the country, emphasised the need for research to tackle myriads of social problems and regeneration of urban and rural communities.

He said the ARUA Centre is coordinating multidisciplinary research activities and capacity building across various urbanisation and built environment thematic areas. “In partnership with 13 ARUA member univeersities, CHSD provides opportunities for in-depth engagement and solution finding to Africa’s most crucial urban issues,” Nubi said.

Essentially, the case study cities in Nigeria would be Lagos, Lokoja-Obajana and Jos. The Country Lead of MUCA Research Project, Prof. Taibat Lawanson, explained that the research will investigate the main causes and drivers of urban conflict within African cities of differing sizes, demographic and socio economic profiles and experiences of migration.

It will also explore how conflicts over control of key sectors of the informal economy manifest in these cities and how these conflicts are affected by rural-urban migration.

The project will also explore how factors such as land rights, informal economies and governance, resource availability and access influence resilience and vulnerability to conflict.

In a keynote address, by the pioneer Dean, Faculty of Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof. Olawale Albert, who advocated a multidisciplinary cum blended approach among state actors, academic researchers and industry players in developing roadmaps to address conflicts associated with migration and urbanization.

Speaking on the theme; Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict: Research and Development options, the professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies solicited a new academic research culture which promotes a multidisciplinary research design and multisectoral approach in identifying challenges and proffering solutions.

The workshop had delegates from Jos, Lokoja and the Federal Capital Territory as well as representatives of relevant government agencies in Lagos State, and Principal Investigator for the Migration Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa (MUCA) Research Project, Dr. Fana Gebresenbet from the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.