Lagos Historical Review

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Ordering Urban Space and Migrants’ Protests in Sabongari, Kano, 1911 – 1960

R Olaniyi


Urban segregation policy represents one of the dramatic changes fosteredby colonialism with far reaching impact on politics of protests and identityconsciousness among immigrants. It is argued that despite the considerablebody of interdisciplinary studies that the theme of urban segregationgenerated, urban historiography in Nigeria has been influenced by theparadigms of Universalist ethic of public health and political development tothe exclusion of power structures. The paper theorises on politics of protests,search for identity and resistance of the subalterns and migrants inSabongari Kano against colonial policies to control over-urbanisationprocesses between 1911 and 1960. Plot Holders’ Association, Sabongariresisted attempts by the colonial officials to demolish over-built and overpopulatedplots without due regards to livelihoods, taxation, family values,and indeed, the Building Ordinance that came into existence almost twodecades after such buildings were constructed. In British Africa, urbansegregation policies such as Sabongari system were predicated on publichealth, religious and cultural differences but there were political andeconomic interests as well. The paper further explores how colonialsegregation policy in Sabongari fostered over-urbanisation illustrated byovercrowding, poor sanitation, infectious diseases, unemployment,prostitution, overstressed social infrastructure and crime unequalled in theKano urban complex.
AJOL African Journals Online