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Dr. Jamaine Abidogun

Education Transformations and the Role of Traditional Medicine: A Case Study in Nsukka, Nigeria

This paper analyzes cultural transformations in Nsukka Igbo education due to transition away from Traditional or indigenous education to Western education models. One transformation was a demonstrated preference for a Western medical model over an indigenous Igbo medical model by participants. The research was initially gathered during the 2004-2005 academic year from Nsukka Local Government Area (LGA) Nigeria. Secondary students and their parents or guardians were interviewed to assess perceptions of cultural change based on information provided regarding their knowledge and experience with dibias and/or traditional herbalists in the Nsukka Igbo community. These interviews were compared to work conducted on research of Nsukka Traditional medicines by a Nsukka bio-chemist. Two origins of influence surfaced from the collective interviews: Christianity and Western Science Curriculum as introduced through a Western education model. Neo-colonial theory, critical pedagogy, and transformational learning theory informed research methods and analysis. This framework situated the participants’ voices as primary informants in interpretation of this post-colonial context. It also allowed for an analysis that took into consideration historical and present inequities in power relations based on political, economic and social realities within the society that contributed to transformations in what constituted valid knowledge. The interview data was contrasted against an Nsukka bio-chemist’s efforts to challenge Western medicinal knowledge formalizes Traditional medicinal knowledge. The theoretical framework contextualized the present education practices in Nsukka and how knowledge was considered within the continued influence of Western capital (material, knowledge, religion) on Nsukka society.

Arinpe Adejumo

Yoruba Artists’ Commitment to Environment Sustainability and Development

Globalization and civilization have enhanced the commitment of most countries to the principle of sustainable development. The achievement of this millennium goal depends so much on the cooperation of everyone in the society. Hence Yoruba artists, whose day- to-day through their creative works address issues relating to the people take it upon themselves to educate their audience on the ways to achieve a sustainable development through ensuring of a sustained environment. Using the magical realist approach, the classical novels of D.O Fagunwa, and Ogundele Langbodoko are examined on the novelists perception of the simplistic methods of attaining a sustainable environment Additional data are also drawn from the works of some contemporary poets whose focus are on environment and how to reduce poverty in the nation. The paper highlights various ways in which the average Yoruba and typical Nigerian should have an attitudinal change in order for the Nigerian nation to experience a sustained environment that will finally lead to sustained development in the nation.

T.O. Adejumo

Potential of microbial strains for reclamation and clean-up of polluted Nigerian soils

Fungi and bacteria are capable of breaking down hydrocarbon and organic contaminants in oil-polluted soils and are effective means of disposing hazardous wastes. This involves transformation of simple/complex chemical compounds into non hazardous, water-soluble products. The lignin-degrading white-rot fungi (Pleurotus ostreatus, P. tuber-regium, P. pulmonarius, Lentinus subnudus),Rhizopus nigricans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and P. fluorescence have been found to degrade diverse toxic, recalcitrant and persistent environmental pollutants in Nigeria. Studies show high potency of these microorganisms and the possibility of using them in bioremediation of petroleum refinery and petrochemical waste waters. The advantages of bioremediation include its scale ability, cost effectiveness and simplicity. The need to employ locally and indigenous isolates in crude oil degradation were highlighted.

I. A. Ademiluyi and R. A. Asiyanbola

The role of Folklore and Folklife in Environmental Education and Sanitation in Yorubaland

The paper examined the role of folklore and folklife in environmental education and sanitation in Yorubaland. It was argued in the paper that the indigenous methods of educating and creating awareness on environmental issues in the Yorubaland before the advent and widespread of the western education was through folklore; and that the means adopted most of the time was that of taboos embedded in the folklore. The advent of the modern science with its perception of the environment has rendered many of these taboos irrelevant in environmental considerations. However, the indigenous ways of knowing are capable of raising awareness about environmental sanitation which is a part of the general environmental education process. A closer examination of the curriculum development goals for environmental education shows that no one learning system – formal, non-formal, and informal – can effectively cover the range of necessary awareness raising. Thus it is suggested that the methods of indigenous environmental learning – folklore, folksong, folkdrama, etc. – be integrated into the national education curriculum to supplement formal environmental education system.

Niyi Afolabi

Codifying Environmental Cosmologies and Epistemologies: Miriam Alves’ Aro Boboi and Niyi Osundare's Eye of the Earth

Separated by the Atlantic, yet unified in their concerns for environmental sanity and sensitivity, both Miriam Alves of Brazil and Niyi Osundare of Nigeria, evoke in their poetry, the need to humanize Mother-Nature and Mother-Earth respectively. This paper explores the elements of nature and cosmos, their symbolisms and implications for humanizing development and technology as engaged by both poets. On the one hand, Alves invites the reader to a performative dialogue and communion with the deities of Water, Wind, Fire, and the Earth as the abode for all the ‘children of the earth’ while on the other hand, Osundare tackles poetic echoes from the forest, the abode and ‘eye” of the earth, where these elements congregate and commingle in an harmonious tango. With modernity and its attending discontents, the environment is threatened by technological advancement that often mechanizes humanity than humanizes it. This study will endeavor to find alternative approaches to taking advantage of technology without necessarily disrupting the essential cosmic harmony of nature.

Olayemi Akinwumi and Mailafia Aruwa Filaba

Biological Warfare in Central Nigerian Region: An Aspect of Pre-colonial Military Science and Technology

Perhaps, the dominant literature on pre-colonial warfare did not focus on the industry and efficacy of the biological weapons. Instead, earlier literature merely regurgitated the nature, substance and socio-political implications of the warfare. This paper therefore analyses and describes the biological weapons; their industries and professionals; their chemical contents; their socio-political and economic implications and relevance. The methods that were employed in this survey were purposive sampling of the communities known for biological weapons for eliciting information through group discussions and in-depth interviews; collection of the ingredients for the biological weapons; laboratory analysis of their chemicals and trailing the industries. The findings were revealing. . Various autochtnous communities embarked on biological weapon industries as informed by the rampant slave raids and inter-community violent conflicts. The weapons were also employed in hunting big games and for killing predators. Those communities that had biological weapons survived slave raids and the 19th century jihads. They used the weapons for state formation and for exports. Thus, a professional class of armament evolved, and the weapons also informed the nature of inter-group relations in central Nigeria

Akombo D. O. Akombo
Pearl S. Gray
Baruti I. Katembo

Msonge (The Circular Hut): Symbolic of Africa’s Genius and Europe’s Idea of Primitivism

The msonge not only symbolizes Africa’s architecture, but all that is African from the mind’s eye (particularly as a metaphoric depiction in movies, art, pictures, literature, and children’s stories). Its image embeds concepts about African music, dress and community organization – all of which will be discussed from that relational standpoint. Though Africa’s thousand-plus languages each have words for such structures, the Kiswahili word for a round dwelling (msonge) was chosen for this work because of the language’s Pan-African flavor/appeal as a lingua franca within and across many African countries. European writings and beliefs surrounding the primitivism of the round hut in comparison to Western styles and ideologies is not merely an attack on Africa’s architecture, but on African culture itself. The aim has been largely to equate the terms ‘European and rectilinear’ with advanced (thus, innately intelligent and civilized) and ‘African and circular’ with primitive (thus, innately unintelligent and uncivilized). The goal of European colonialism in Africa (1880s – 1960s) was mainly to expropriate and/or exploit natural resources (gold, diamonds, human labor, timber, etc.) for Europe’s economic and industrial benefit through a system of mind control and physical subjugation of indigenous inhabitants. The colonial educational systems, with heavy reliance on racially-biased literature and misuse of Biblical scripture, encouraged Africans to see themselves as inferior. The process and experience of colonialism, in essence, retarded African energy toward use of indigenous resources and concepts to modernize its nations in the post-independence era such that modernization is only associated with Westernization. This work will explore the ‘msonge’ in terms of geometry and image to address the need for Africa’s peoples to use indigenous, historical, and cultural constructs (architecture, art, music, food, dress, language, etc.) as incorporations into the evolution of their societal modernity and indigenous, technological advancement.

Philip Akpen

Colonial Infrastructures and Environmental Changes in Makurdi, C1927-1960

The effects of colonial infrastructure in changing both the pre-colonial and colonial urban environment in Nigeria and indeed Africa is always been neglected by scholars. All along, attention is always focused on the impact colonial infrastructures had on the politics, social class formation, and commercial ventures with less attention on how it changed the environment of these cities. Colonialism by its nature changed the phase of most pre-colonial and colonial cities. Most of them served as administrative headquarters of the colonial state. The factors that were responsible for these changes were massive construction networks of colonial urban infrastructures that began changing the out look of their environment. It became a matter of administrative convenience to construct these urban infrastructures such as roads, railway feeder points, housing, drainage, health facilities, marine infrastructures (as in the case with cities situated along the coasts and those beside major rivers: Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Lokoja and Makurdi), water and electricity supply among others. In the case of Makurdi, by 1927 it became the headquarters of the then Benue province and the construction of urban infrastructures commenced the indiscriminate distortion of the natural environment. This paper will examine the environmental changes that accompanied the construction of colonial infrastructure in Makurdi town from 1927-1960.

 Philip Akpen

Water Treatment and Preservation in Pre-colonial Tiv Society of Central Nigeria

Water constitutes one of the most crucial needs of man’s life and is highly essential for a successful living. Without water, life can hardly exist and human activities generally will be grossly undermined. During the pre-colonial era, water supply determined the establishment and development of human settlements in Nigeria and Africa in general. In pre-colonial African societies, there were two types of water resources i.e. fresh water and marine water. Water supply from either of these sources depended not only on its availability but also on ow it is treated and preserved for consumption to avoid cases of intestinal infections resulting from water born diseases. In Tiv society like other Nigerian communities in the pre-colonial era, water sources for domestic usage belonged to all the members of the community. As such, the traditional methods of treatment and preservation were used in order to keep all sources clean for human consumption. According to Tiv tradition, water is highly relevant in all ramifications. This paper will examine the belief systems among the Tiv over water, sustainability and spirituality which informed the treatment and preservation methods.

Idowu Mojeed Alade

Glocalisation of Ovid: The Anguish of an Exile

Publius Ovidius Naso (43BC-AD18) was born in Sulmo, about ninety miles from Rome. He was one of the most important personalities in Augustan Rome - at least, among the writers. At 51, Ovid as he was popularly called was banished by Emperor Augustus on allegation of disloyalty. The precise reason behind the banishment remains obscure. However the circumstances in which he composed his Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto are abundantly clear: he was suffering physical hardship, mental anguish and craved pardon and the right to return to Rome, or at least, permission to move to a more agreeable location.

It is important to note that Emperor Augustus’ proclamation constitute a historiographical problem. This is because relegatio,thelegal order that was used in exiling Ovid allowed him to retain civic rights which exiles were traditionally ripped off. Exsilium,another genre of legislative order stripped him of fundamental human rights. Despite this, exsilium would have allowed him to move any where outside Rome whereas relegatio restricted him to a particular place (Tomis).

From the foregoing, this paper is aimed at rekindling our collective consciousness of what is takes to be an exile. Attempts will be made to answer these seemingly intractable questions about the connection between exiles, cultural identity and honor: why do people prefer death to exile; how does exile affect peoples’ nationalist sentiments, civic responsibilities and loyalty to a nation state; and what are the prevailing conditions associated with the re-integration of exiles into their home land?

Ann Albuyeh

Linguistic Globalization and Europhone Higher Education: The Bearing They Have on Science, Technology and the Environment in Africa

Explaining “Arabic Science,” Egyptian scholar Abdelhamid Sabra (1975) states:

This immense and long-lasting enterprise has been called ‘Arabic,’ firstly, because it owed its inception to Arab initiative and Arab patronage and, secondly and more importantly, because the Arab language was the medium in which it developed.

From its beginnings in the mid-eighth century, Arabic science involved scholars from many ethnolinguistic backgrounds throughout lands which ranged from what is now southern Spain to northern Afghanistan. For the educated elite living there, as Sabra states “the Arabic language rapidly became an international language of science in a stronger sense than had been true of any other language.”

In the twenty-first century, there is no question which of the languages planted worldwide during Europe’s empire building currently enjoys the accolade: international language of science. That not everyone is happy about this turn of events is illustrated by the 2008 publication of Linguistic Inequality in Scientific Communication Today: What Can Future Applied Linguistics Do to Mitigate Disadvantages for Non-Anglophones?

This paper will contribute to this debate by focusing on countries in Africa, whose special circumstances include a greater degree of multilingualism and the fact that programs of study in higher education, and scientific and technological resources are predominantly Europhone. Discussing Arabic science, Dennis Overbye (2001) called communication and financial support “two of the main pillars of science.” The globalization of both in the twenty-first century has arguably greater repercussions for the continent of Africa and its serious environmental challenges than anywhere else.

Dele Ashiru

The Illiberal State, Oil Expropiation and Environment Degregadation in Nigeria's Niger Delta Region

Environmental remains one of the ten major threats to humanity as identified by the United Nations high level threat panel. It results from the gradual but consistent deterioration of the environment through the depletion of earths resources such as air, water, destruction of the ecosystem including the extinction of wildlife.In a historical and exploratory manner, the paper investigates the role(s) which the Nigerian state plays in the continued reckless expropriation and exploitation of oil which has remained its major source of revenue over the years. The paper observes that oil exploration and expropriation leading to environmental degradation has become so pervasive in the Niger Delta region that its consequences portends danger not just for Nigeria but Africa and indeed the world at large.

It argues that the illiberal and dependent nature of the state occasioned by its colonial origin, its lack of autonomy combined with the ever recurring crisis of legitimacy have combined to encourage the unbridled expropriation of oil by foreign Multi-national Corporations in active connivance with their local collaborators.The paper however submits that unless the state is transformed through constructive civil society engagements with the sole aim of enthroning democracy through popular participation which will empower the people and give autonomy to the state, the “criminal” expropriation of oil would go on unabated in the region with its dare consequences on the environment and the people.

R. A. Asiyanbola; B. A. Raji and A G. Shaibu

Urban liveability in Nigeria – a pilot study of Ago-Iwoye and Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State

Observation from the literature shows that our towns and cities in Nigeria are not healthy, not safe, not equitable and not sustainable. Most studies have concentrated on big towns and cities. The present pilot study’s intention is to examine the state of liveability in the small urban centers, using Ago-Iwoye and Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State as case studies. Some of the research questions, which the study addresses, include:

  • What is the state of basic facilities and amenities in the urban centers?
  • What is the urban resident’s perception of urban liveability?
  • Are urban residents satisfied with the state of urban liveability?
  • What are the activities of the urban residents and government towards improving the liveability of the urban center?
  • Does the community contribute to the planning and management of urban facilities?
  • To what extent does the government respond to the complaints of the community? This is in terms of rehabilitation, resuscitation and provision of new public facilities they are lacking?

The null hypotheses tested in the paper are that (i) there is no variation in the level of satisfaction with the neighbourhood condition; (ii) there is no variation in the level of urban residents’ activities towards improving urban liveability; and (iii) there is no variation in the level of satisfaction with government activities towards improving urban liveability. The source of data that was used in the study was from both primary and secondary data sources. Policy implications of the findings are discussed in the paper.

Abimbola O. Asojo

Sustainable Strategies for Housing the Urban Poor: A Case Study of Lagos, Nigeria

The environment in Africa is a product of the Triple heritage: the indigenous culture, western influence and Islamic legacies (Elleh, 1997). These factors combine to form cities different from any other part of the world. This uniqueness does not exclude African cities from problems facing developing countries. Squatting is a major problem in most African urban areas, where the rate of migration far exceeds states resources for public housing construction. This paper focuses on slums and squatter settlements in Lagos, Nigeria, and proposes strategies for developing affordable prototype housing using indigenous materials and skills, community based planning processes and culture-based design aesthetics.

Field research was conducted in two settlements in Lagos: Makoko and Agege. The survey addressed characteristics of slums and squatter settlements such as availability of drainage systems, infrastructure, electricity, water, and basic amenities. Using the results of the survey, pedagogical models were developed which incorporated sustainable strategies such as:

  • Cross ventilation to increase ventilation and promote airflow;
  • Use of locally available materials;
  • Exploration of alternative energy systems with the possibility of utilizing photovoltaic systems or wind to generate electricity;
  • Efficient lighting systems with dimming, controllability and daylighting integrated;
  • Wood and Adobe construction were explored for their regional abundance and thermal properties;
  • Interior finishes with low volatile organic compounds (vocs) and local availability were explored; and;
Water efficiency was proposed through water reduction and water efficient landscaping. For example recycling graywater for landscaping, irrigation and flushing toilets.

T.T. Asojo and S.O. Ijaola

Religion in the Development of Environmental Ethics in Nigeria: Niger Delta in Perspective

The development of environmental ethics is inevitably significant to the human, economic, social and environmental survival in Nigeria. The ongoing environmental crisis in Nigeria is on the increase, the crisis which has been precipitated by flood, depletion of the Ozone layer, desertification and others is induced by the neglect of environmental ethics development.

Religion has been realized as an unequivocal tool in the development of environmental ethics in Africa and in the world at large. The roles to be played by religion include dialogue, but most importantly is the establishment of a theological frame work. Therefore the use of contextual theology stands at the centre of achieving this aim I order for religion to contribute its part to the development of environmental ethics in Nigeria in a more meaningful way.

T.T. Asojo and S.O. Ijaola

Religion Science Conflict, an Inhibitor to Sustainable Environment for Human and Economic Development

The age long conflict between religion and science had unquantifiably inhibited the sustainable environment for human and economy development particularly in Africa, and in the world as a whole. Religion has been found to contribute to the set backs in the development of intelligent minds in the area of science and technology in the developing world. Unfortunately, the imported science and technology in Africa overtook their indigenous scientific genus. The scientific ingenuity of Africans would have played a vital role in the rapid development of their society and also have contributed to the global development; by the virtue of the uniqueness of an homegrown technology. However, all these were eroded by religion and science conflict.

There is therefore a need for harmonious relationship between religion and science in Africa. This harmony is obtainable by a cursory effort to contextualize the foreign religions in Africa in other to create a single model conflict between religion and science. This would hasten, the harmonization of the two fields, and facilitate the development of both Human and Economic development in Africa.

Tokunbo A. Ayoola

The Price of Modernity: Nigerian Railway and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

In the aftermath of European powers’ conquest of Africa they started building socio-economic and administrative infrastructure: railroads, ports, telephones, telegraphy, roads, and waterways. The most important of these were railroads, which were crucial in the transportation of raw materials and minerals, the cornerstones of colonial economy.

The apt image that vividly conveyed the ubiquitous nature of railroad transportation in Africa up until the 1950s was the “steam-powered iron horse”: the locomotive engine. The introduction of steam locomotion in Africa brought about a truly transport and technological revolution. Thus, the existing animate-powered modes of transport: human porterage, paddled-canoes, and pack-animal (donkeys, camels, horses, and mules) appear to have lost out under the new colonial political economy.

Railroads in Africa right from the beginning were represented to Africans by European merchants, missionaries, and colonial officials as “engines of change” - harbingers of modernization, civilization, economic development, social improvement, progress, and culture – just as they were in Europe, and to Europeans.

In truth railroads in Nigeria brought about dramatic economic, social, political, and cultural changes. Among other things, they made possible the formation of modern Nigerian nation-state, the development and growth of national markets, creation of urban centers, employment of many thousands of people, development of international trade, establishment of social communication, and so on.

African railroads were not however, without their negative consequences. For instance, they facilitated the spread of epidemics and diseases – malaria, yellow fever, syphilis, tuberculosis, and influenza. They caused accidents in which many people were killed. And during their construction, many workers died of exhaustion, starvation, stress, and unsanitary conditions of railroad camps and towns.

It is in the context of this negative impact that this paper seeks to examine the position of the Nigerian Railway in the diffusion and control of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Nigeria. Furthermore, it will examine both the short and long term consequences of the pandemic on the Nigerian Railway itself.

Oluyemisi Bamgbose

Technological Advancement and Crime Control: A Plus or Minus

From time immemorial, the aim of the criminal justice authorities has been to have a society free of crime. Different methods have therefore been adopted to curb crime. In pre-colonial times, there were various local methods adopted to prevent stealing of properties, intrusion into property, and protection of the body against violation.

In contemporary times, in most cities, modern technology has taken over the traditional methods hitherto used. The use of surveillance gadget and electronic monitoring devises are very much in use

There are advantages associated with the use of these modern technologies. At the same time there are legal, practical and ethical issues to be addressed.

The question then is: is this technological advancement a plus or a minus?

This paper addresses the issue of crime control in Nigeria from the pre-colonial era to the present with the introduction of modern technologies in crime control. The advantages and disadvantages are discussed and ways of effectively controlling crime in Nigeria will be suggested

Matthew Bender

Becoming Chagga: Land, Water, and Identity on Kilimanjaro, 1880-1960

This paper examines changing notions of identity among the Chagga-speaking peoples of Kilimanjaro. The first Europeans to visit the mountain in the late 19 th century referred to the peoples they encountered as “Chagga,” a word used by Swahili traders. The term resonated little with the people themselves, who identified not as a collective whole, but rather by the chiefdoms and clans to which they belonged. By the 1950s, however, this had changed dramatically. The people of the mountain not only readily identified themselves as Chagga, but also had adopted a Chagga flag and celebrated the 10 th of November as “Chagga Day.”

The rise of “Chagga” identity on Kilimanjaro has been linked to several factors, including political centralization and missionary work. Little attention, however, has been given to the role played by environmental factors.

This paper focuses on how disputes over the environment, in particular the control of land and water, shaped changing notions of identity on Kilimanjaro. Drawing on interviews and archival data, I first examine how these resources were crucial to pre-colonial notions of belonging. I then examine how fear of scarcity and conflict over access to land and water involving local farmers, chiefs, settlers, and the government, facilitated the creation of this new form of identity, one that stretched across the mountain’s numerous chiefdoms. My work thus argues that the physical environment of Kilimanjaro served as a powerful, dynamic factor that influenced the manner in which people came to define themselves.

Virginia Claire Breedlove

A History of Hydropolitics in the Lake Chad Basin: Climate Change, High-Output Well Construction and the Remaking of Pastoral Economies in Eastern Niger, 1954-1992

As the effects of global warming and climate change have become apparent over the past forty years, the Lake Chad Basin, perched precariously on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, has been among the most harshly affected places in the world. Lake Chad has shrunk by over 95% since the 1968-1973 Sahelian drought, and scholars and development organizations have raised serious concerns about the viability of pastoral communities in the southern Sahara and Sahel in the face of such rapid desertification. However, contrary to these doomsday predictions about the sustainability of pastoral livelihoods, the highly transhumant trade in camels between eastern Niger and Libya is larger and more lucrative today than it was before Lake Chad receded, largely replacing the less transhumant cattle trade south to Nigeria.

This paper will explore the role of high-output well technology in the transition from cattle to camel herding. First introduced to eastern Niger in 1954 as part of the colonial government’s plan to increase cattle exports from Niger, high-output wells and boreholes have exponentially increased the amount of groundwater available for human and animal consumption in spite of frequent, severe droughts during the same period. In contrast to the goals of policymakers, the simultaneous increase in groundwater and decrease in pasture due to drought made eastern Niger much better suited to camels, who can consume large amounts of water sporadically and then travel over large distances in search of pasture in arid environments, than cattle, who need to be fed and watered more regularly. This paper will trace attempts of colonial and post-colonial governments to regulate pastoral production and movement through water policy and discuss how conflicts over access to high-output water points during the 1970s and 1980s contributed to the beginning of a civil war in eastern Niger in 1992. Drawing on the conference themes, the paper will address questions of how resource conflicts impact the environment and also how environmental change affects resource management practices and conflicts.

Adam Carpinelli

“Modern Slavery”: Securing Land Rights for the Saramaka People of Suriname

The international human rights lawsuit charging the Surinamese government for violating Saramaka land rights, recently won, will be contextualized historically from the era of enslavement to their present day victory. The Saramaka are people of African decent that live in the interior of the Amazon rainforest. Their ancestors, enslaved Africans, settled in the forest after fleeing from plantation slavery and formed their own autonomous communities. After over two hundred years of a fairly harmonious existence, they were again threatened by a new colonialism of the twentieth century. My research addresses how socio-economic and political changes impact human memory among the Saramaka since the era of the slave trade, with an emphasis on cultural links between Africa and the Americas. I blend narrative and historical data, to tell the story of a displaced people’s transformation in the Americas. The way that neoliberal globalization is affecting the Saramaka will be discussed.

Akinwale Coker and Mynepalli Sridhar

Increase in Health Care Facilities and Rapid Environmental Degradation: A Technological Paradox in Nigeria's Urban Centres

During the pre-colonial era, traditional health care systems was the vogue in Nigeria’s cities. The arrival of the colonial powers saw the advent of modern health care facilities (HCFs) initially near abodes of the colonialists albeit, to take care of their families and those of other Nigerian top government functionaries. Overtime, the number of modern HCFs began to grow to take care of more nationals. By Nigeria’s independence at 1960, the country could boast of her first University Teaching Hospital, the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. UCH was a referral medical institution in the whole of West Africa until the nineties when the military men were in power. The military era witnessed a serious lull in Nigeria’s health-care sector when even teaching hospitals were referred to as “mere consulting clinics”. The records as at December 2006 (civilian regime) provided by Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics indicates that the number of teaching hospitals in Nigeria had risen to 48 and other kinds of hospitals to 17020 bringing it to a staggering total of 17068 HCFs. Interestingly, overall life expectancy in Nigeria has been put by the World Health Organization as 45 years for male and 46 for females as at 2002. This represents a decline from the average of 53years for both sexes in the nineties. It is a well-known fact that the country’s population has surged to an all-record high of about 140 million as at 2006. The increased number of HCFs notwithstanding, there has been an increasing episode of up to thirty sanitation – related diseases, principally of which are malaria, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, typhoid, Hepatits B and C, HIV/AIDS infection. The recent decade also coincided with the era when the government shifted from Primary Health Care (PHC) to Secondary Health Care (SHC). The shift has obviously led to increase in generation of healthcare wastes as the latter mode of health care entailed hospitalization, especially of in-patients. Unfortunately, hazardous solid health care wastes generated are mixed with municipal refuse while the liquid components are discharged wantonly into open drains, wash basins and septic tanks. The haphazard management of medical wastes exhibits itself in burial of placenta in shallow pits, dumping of needles and syringes in pit latrines and open burning of dried components. These led to a myriad of environmental problems such as contamination of groundwater and surface water, reduction in air quality etc. To make matter worse, there has been neither a specific policy nor a definite regulation for management of medical waste. As a way forward, we recommend that a waste management unit should always be part and parcel of HCF infrastructural development from inception. Unless adequate medical waste management strategy is integrated with HCF development, the paradox of promoting the spread of communicable diseases with increase in number of HCFs will continue unabatedly.

Ademola Omobewaji Dasylva

African Writers on Environmental Degradation and the National Psyche

Democracy thrives on people-driven structures. Any infringement on this fundamental principle predictably engenders insurgence, insurrection, civil disobedience, general revolt or rebellion. These markers of dissention translate as conflict. Conflict is a growth industry and, is inevitable in daily interactions. Conflict is not necessarily a dysfunctional experience, although, known to have produced negative results in many parts of the world, leading to loss of human lives and property, displacement of people, destruction of cultural values, dispersal and, or complete loss of cultural artifacts, etc., sometimes across international borders. Conflict exists in different shades and is of varying degrees in all areas of life endeavor. Managing conflicts begins with taking a proactive approach that enables government officials and community leaders to respond to such a crisis in a constructive, efficient and cost-effective manner. Regrettably, some of the community leaders, especially in Nigeria, have been remotely or directly linked with fomenting, religious or ethnic clashes, or employed ethnic militia against the government. At times, they have diverted huge sums of money meant to check environmental degradation or for compensating victims of affected areas, or to repair or improve damaged infrastructures, or strengthen the economic base of affected communities, to personal use. Often, they choose to resign themselves to becoming reactive to resolving such crisis instead of being proactive. For example, Nigeria’s experience, so far, has become an extremely costly mistake.

Using a semiotic interpretative approach, this paper sets out to, among other things, examine the re-presentation, through selected literary works, of African writers like Wole Soyinka, Ayi Kwei Armah, Tanure Ojaide, Aminata Sow Fall, Alex La Guma, and Naguib Mahfouz, of the changing phases of environmental degradation and the implications on the people’s psyche, the rulers and the ruled. This is foregrounded by the writers’ ideological perceptions and interpretations of the phenomenon.

Oluwaseun Stephen Dawodu

Economic Melt-down, Environmental Degradation and Infant Mortality in Lagos, Nigeria

This paper examines the nexus between environmental degradation and the prevalence of infant mortality in Lagos, a Nigerian city. The study finds a correlation between two variables: demography and economic development. As posits in the study, the denser the population of any city becomes, the more adversely affected is the quality of life in such a city. Nigeria, navigating between high fertility rate, growing population and economic melt-down; the demographic indicators show that decreasing government budget on health, education and other social priority areas inexorably lead to reduced quality of life.

In spite of its high-rise buildings, burstling socio-economic and political activities, Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub, is a mosaic of wealth and squalor. Infant mortality has grown exponentially in Lagos between 1990 and 2005. Using oral interviews among health workers, written and archival documents, this paper argues that increasing infant mortality is a direct result of environmental degradation, government inattention and increasing vulnerability of women and children to environmental hazards.

Eesuola, Olukayode Segun and Ariwayo, Mobolaji Johnson

Science and Technological Inventions among the Yoruba People of West Africa before Colonialism

Science and technology evolve due to human curiosity and desire to resolve their environmental demands, problems and challenges, and they continue to develop as more challenges and problems occur, just as it is said that necessity is the mother of inventions. This is what obtains in all human societies, and so it was in Africa before the incident of colonialism.

This paper posits that the Yoruba people of West Africa had developed, and were still developing the level of science and technology that was relevant for their environmental survival and challenges before the intrusion of colonialism. This is evident in their social structures, tools, medicine, pharmacy, communication and equipments. It was colonialism that suppressed, altered and rendered everything irrelevant. It created foreign environments, raised foreign challenges, raised foreign classes and even brought foreign mode of production which the indigenous science and technology were not designed to address. Foreign science and technology were then super imposed on the indigenous ones, giving the pseudo impression that the latter is backward and inferior. But after a careful examination of sociological, anthropological and archeological facts and artifacts, the paper argues that a significant part of African technology and science has been buried by colonialism, and that if the dream of globalization and technological transfer must be a complete, and indeed balanced reality, and if Africans must have cogent things to globalize along with their European, American and Asian counterparts, the interrupted and buried science and technology must be exhumed for further exploration and development.

Ayo Fadahunsi

ChallengingAfrica's Environmental Crisis: the Ethical Imperative

The present environmental conditions the world over, have led to various concerns (such as water quality, air quality, land degradation, economic resources, waste management, public health and safety, environmental planning, protection of sensitive ecosystem, population impact, Greenhouse effect, climatic change, etc.). The case of Africa is more pathetic because of the presence and absence of some peculiar factors. This paper closely examined these factors together with the African commitments towards managing the environment. The paper observes that the environmental crisis in Africa have mainly been addressed through science and environmental policies and heavy dependence on foreign aids. While each of these approaches potentially has significant contributions towards revamping the environmental crisis in Africa, the reality on ground today shows that these approaches are for the most part, insufficient and inadequate toward saving and protecting Africa’s environment from further deterioration. And as the rest of the world intensifies efforts in challenging the environmental crisis, Africa must not be an exception. On this basis, the paper argues that it is vitally necessary for African states to seek alternative sources of addressing its environmental problems. The position of the paper is that the environmental problem is primarily a consequence of human actions, and as value systems inform our actions, we need to search for a viable environmental ethics to complement the earlier lethargic approaches. In order to correct the degradation of the African environment that has been a consequent of the rise of science, technology and industrial advancement in Africa, the paper argues that a different attitude to environmental policies and foreign aids is required. This is the moral attitude and the ethical imperative. However, the diversity and the peculiarity of the African environmental crisis raise the fundamental question of which ethics is most appropriate and should/ought to be embraced in effectively challenging the African condition. The answer to this question is the central concern of the paper. Upon critical examination of the various existing ethics in relation to the environment (Anthropocentricism, Animal liberation/rights theory, Biocentrism and Ecocentrism), the paper makes a strong case for holistic environmental ethics in challenging the Africa environmental condition. Holistic environmental ethics, the paper establishes, is promising in challenging Africa’s environmental crisis because it synergistically adapts, integrates and encompasses the positive aspects of the existing environmental ethical theories.

Nelson O. Fashina

Yoruba Numeral System, Epistemic Root in Ifa Oracular Divination Corpus and the Challenges of Modern Science/Technology

The mission of this paper is first to find out the Ifa oracular source of Yoruba counting system; to verify if Yoruba language has actual numeral figures or symbols other than words expressing figures; to find out if the Yoruba words expressing figures are in any way wordier than the English, Roman and Arabic alternatives.  This paper discovers as it conceptualizes the (i) formulaic alternation of additive and subtractive counting system, which invariably underscores early Yoruba knowledge and existence of a proto-arithmetic and mathematical science, (ii) the sequential use of two types of numeric counting codes, namely the five digit count numeric node and the ten digit count numeric node,  and this manifests in two ways, namely the Yoruba cosmic symbols/ signs of the Odu Ifa, and the proto numeric bonded pairs as seen in Oyeku Meji verse of Ifa divination corpus. The paper sets to present the picture, nature, properties and characteristic features of Yoruba counting system and its origin in Ifa Divination wisdom, and how these ‘numeric’ resources provide template of structure for frameworks of science and technology in Yoruba language.

Doudou D. Faye

The State of neem (Azadirachta indica, Juss) in Africa with specific reference to Senegal in meeting the UN Millennium Goals. Scientific and Technological Assessment and recommendations for harnessing African natural resources.

Just prior to the 2002 World Neem Conference (WNC) in Mumbai, India, representatives of Africa Bound Corporation (ABC) traveled to Senegal to run a nationwide neem outreach campaign under the slogan—"We are sitting on a green gold mine. It is time to stand up and start digging"—to promote the WNC and to invite scientists, local authorities and NGOs to join in creating solutions to a variety of global issues through rational exploitation of the neem tree. The three-day nationwide TV program led a number of individuals to take empowering entrepreneurial actions with promising sustainable results.

The use of neem as a means of economic development as well as the creation and production of a range of beneficial products is compatible with most of the Eight Millennium Development Goals outlined by the United Nations of 2015 (eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, empowerment of women, combating a variety of diseases, and developing a global partnership for development).

ABC is developing a multidisciplinary initiative in Senegal via pilot rural communities as centers for a holistic economic and product development using the neem. ABC has made an official land acquisition of 500 ha to use as a center of operations in Senegal. With the 2003 census by DynaEnterprise reporting country neem population between 18-30 million, there is ample room for a rational neem industry. ABC neem exploitation model, if successful will be replicated throughout Senegal and other neem-growing countries in Africa.

In the latest WNC in Coimbatore, India, ABC has proposed Africa ( Senegal) as the host country of the 6 th Conference, with 30-40 countries expected to participate. With the collaboration of the Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal, and the India Neem Foundation, Africa Bound Corporation/ Senegal Neem Foundation is organizing the 2010 Conference to provide opportunity for awareness and opportunity for health, economic and environmental innovative approaches leading to leadership, empowerment and sustainability.

his paper provides an overview of the neem movement in Africa, scientific investigation and collaboration, with essential insights of ABC approach, information for consideration by those in the international community having an interest in the African neem potential, with a specific reference to Senegal.

Tyler Fleming

Like Pea-Soup²: The Struggle for Swimming Pools on the Witwatersrand During the 1950s

During the 1950s, swimming pools (locally referred to as ³baths²) were common throughout the city of Johannesburg and its surrounding suburbs. Aside the thousands of pools in private homes and clubs, each white neighborhood or suburb regularly featured a public pool. In African, Coloured and Asian communities, such as Sophiatown and Soweto, however, swimming pools remained rare. Despite their low numbers, black populations widely encouraged their building and made good use of those constructed. This essay examines the impetus for the building of swimming pools in non-European locations. Moreover it analyzes why blacks strove for pools during an era where poverty, crime and apartheid legislation often dominated everyday life. Lastly, the paper also explores how swimming pools serviced the community in a variety of ways aside from being places to swim and cool off.

Niles French

Water has become one of the most important strategic resources in the twenty-first century and as a result has contributed to a multitude of conflict around the globe. “Hydropolitics” and “water wars” have become loosely used terms when examining disputes involving water. Mass consumption, misuse, overpopulation, decreasing supplies, and water pollution are some of the many factors that have made water a scarce and valuable commodity.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is South Africa’s main scientific development and research organization which has conducted many studies surrounding South African resources since its inception in 1945. In November of 2008, the council suspended one its most respected water politics specialist Anthony Turton for insubordination citing that a presentation he was scheduled to give as the keynote speaker was inflammatory and stated false claims. Turton’s paper stated that South Africa’s water scarcity was a result of poor water policy as well as a historical trend of not addressing human rights issues. He also concludes that riots and violence occur when essential resources like water are not provided.

his essay focuses on several significant aspects surrounding the water dilemma in South Africa. It first addresses various opposing arguments about “water wars” and how much of a contributing factor it is to conflict. Second, it investigates the policies of water in South Africa involving infrastructure, allocation, and environmental concerns. Third, this paper argues that Anthony Turton’s conclusions are correct in that South African leadership has failed in certain areas regarding the water problem. However it disagrees with Mr. Turton’s assumption that water deprivation is the sole factor to riots and violence.

S. U. Fwatshak

Environmental Impact of Post-Colonial Mining Activities on the Jos Plateau

his paper examines post-colonial mining activities on the Jos Plateau by focusing on the technology employed in post-British times and the environmental impact thereby created. It identifies for discussion, two solid minerals namely tin (in former Jos Division) and Garnet (in former Pankshin Division). It argues that though small in scale, and based on the use of low indigenous technology, compared to the large-scale, high technology-driven colonial tin mining, post-colonial tin and garnet mining impacted on the environment of affected areas, but did not elicit uniform patterns of reactions. However, violent reactions in the scale of the Niger-Delta struggles in Nigeria’s South-South are lacking. From these issues a number of questions agitate the mind, for example, what accounts for the use of low technology and small of operation scale? What are the environmental effects of post-colonial mining activities? Why are affected communities not violent always? The paper uses broadly two main sources, namely, primary and secondary data. Primary sources are largely based on oral interviews (field survey), conducted among participants, and archival materials. Secondary sources include a wide variety of published and unpublished Books, journals, thesis and dissertations, conference, workshop and seminar papers, as well as the Internet. The paper uses the historical and phenomenological methods; it is descriptive and analytical being qualitative in nature.

Mark Gardiner

Ways of knowing the Namib: changing modes of knowledge production in an environmental research organization

This paper analyses the knowledge production practices of a prominent Namibian research institute and NGO, tracing its shift over the past four decades from an institution focused on understanding the Namibian environment to one with the broader mission of managing the environment. Critics of development practice have elaborated the tendency for environmental science and sustainable development initiatives to serve the needs of global capital; this paper examines the transformation of one particular institution in light of both these global trends and in light of Namibia's own particular relationship with the environment (as South African colony, as tourist destination, as site of mineral and agricultural production, and as scientific curiosity).

Using data collected from academic and institutional archives, extended interviews, and participant-observation, I show how over an NGO that began as a "pure research" institute focused on the ecology of remote areas of the Namib desert grew into a national organization concerned with environmental management and education of the entire country. These changes took place in response to particular political and institutional requirements: loss of South African funding and the appearance of a new field of international donor agencies beginning with the UN-led transition to independence in 1990 forced the NGO to expand its research focus. It was longer sufficient to explore and explicate the Namib: it became necessary to manage it. This entailed changes in the organization's activities and in its institutional form, with implications for the future of environmental science and sustainable development in Namibia.

Ann Genova

Patience and Protest: Petroleum Consumption in Nigeria, 1960-2000

This paper examines the impact of petroleum price instability and shortages on Nigerian citizens between 1960 and 2000. Despite being one of the world’s largest oil producers, Nigeria’s state-owned oil company has struggled to meet domestic demand at suitable prices by citizens and industry alike. Nigerians have complained of waiting in long lines for automobile petrol and kerosene that cost nearly all of their weekly wages. This problem affected not only the price of petrol at the pump, but also the price of essential foodstuffs and cooking gas. A variety of reasons for the fuel shortages exist, including poor government planning, smuggling, hoarding, and damaging petroleum facilities through acts of political protest. This paper argues that Nigeria’s petroleum troubles have altered consumption patterns, which, in turn, has shaped social activities and mobility.

Erik Green

Dreams of agrarian transformation and the hidden costs of labour:
The failed support of ‘ progressive ’ farmers in colonial Malawi

This paper critically analyses the outcome of the Master Farmers ’ Scheme in colonial Malawi. The aim of the scheme was to create a new class of ‘ yeoman ’ farmers that would increase agricultural production by applying, what the agricultural staff recognised as proper methods. A few farmers were selected and supported in terms of credit and subsidised inputs and it was hoped that they would act as ‘ role models ’ for the majority of farmers. By utilising oral and archival sources, the paper shows that the scheme was a failure in regard of both diffusion and in creating opportunities for profitable agriculture for the selected Master Farmers. By examining its outcomes in populous Thyolo district and land abundant Mzimba district it is shown that the failure is explained by factors related to labour supply and mobilisation. The colonial administration never realised the importance labour regimes played in setting limits to agrarian change. In particular, they failed to recognise that farmers faced both indirect and direct costs of labour. The findings highlight how the technological packages developed and delivered by the colonial administration depended upon an static conception of African farmers as family farmers with abundance of labour accessible at a low or even no cost.


















Africa Conference 2009: Science, Technology and Environment

Convened by Dr. Toyin Falola and Coordinated by Emily Brownell for the Center for African and African American Studies

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