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‘ENVIRONMENTAL AKALISM’ AND THE WAR ON FILTH: THE PERSONIFICATION OF SANITATION IN URBAN NIGERIA

  • John Manton

Abstract

In Nigerian cities, as across much of Africa, sanitation practices at zone, ward and street levels inscribe – in patterns of circulation and interaction around waste – not only the hopes and fears of urban residents and managers, but also the aspirations and failures encoded in colonial and post-colonial national and regional histories. Adjusting to numerous challenges – the interplay of racist colonial zoning strategies, rapid post-colonial urban expansion, the withdrawal of public services amid the liberalization programmes of the 1980s, the increasingly abject character of the social contract, and the ongoing tenuousness of economic life and activity – urban environmental sanitation in Nigeria has long struggled to keep pace with the historical dynamics of the country's emergent metropolises. Following the activities of a cohort of inspectors and volunteers at the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Oyo State, this article examines the politics of performance and coercion surrounding the monthly observance of Environmental Sanitation Day in Ibadan amid the heightened political tensions of the electoral season in 2011.

Dans les villes du Nigeria comme dans une grande partie de l'Afrique, les pratiques d'assainissement au niveau des zones, des quartiers et des rues inscrivent, dans des schémas de circulation et d'interaction autour des déchets, non seulement les espoirs et les craintes des résidents urbains et des gestionnaires, mais aussi les aspirations et les échecs encodés dans les histoires nationales et régionales post-coloniales. Confronté à de nombreuses difficultés comme l'interaction des stratégies de zonage coloniales racistes, la rapidité de l'expansion urbaine post-coloniale, le retrait des services publics qui a accompagné la vague de programmes de libéralisation des années 1980, le caractère de plus en plus abject du contrat social et la précarité persistante de la vie et de l'activité économiques, l'assainissement de l'environnement urbain au Nigeria peine depuis longtemps à suivre le rythme de la dynamique historique des métropoles émergentes du pays. En suivant les activités d'une cohorte d'inspecteurs et de bénévoles du ministère de l'Environnement et des ressources en eau de l’État d'Oyo, cet article examine la politique de la performance et de la coercition qui entoure la Journée de l'assainissement de l'environnement organisée tous les mois à Ibadan, sur fonds d'intensification des tensions politiques lors de la saison électorale en 2011.

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The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution licence .

References

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Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
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