A new study on Analysis of equity and social inclusiveness of national urban development policies and strategies through the lenses of health and nutrition has highlighted the need to review Nigeria’s policies on urban development to ensure that different classes of urban dwellers have equal access to health and nutrition resources.
The review of the policies is considered important because of the widening inequities that have become inevitable in Nigerian cities which have continued to increase in size and complexity.
Chukwuedozie Ajaero, a senior research fellow in EfD Nigeria co-authored the study with Obinna Onwujekwe, Chinyere Mbachu, Benjamin Uzochukwu, Prince Agwu, Juliana Onuah, Charles Orjiakor, Ben Uzochukwu, Aloysius Odii and Tolib Mirzoeb.
The study, published on April 16, 2021 observed that there was insufficient consideration for access to health and nutrition resources in urban development policies in Nigeria despite the country’s large urban population.
The gap exists notwithstanding Nigeria’s policies and laws that provide directions for sustainable urban development and planning.
One of the policies, the National Urban Development Policy, developed in 2012, is due for a review. The government had in 2019 initiated plans for the review.
Thus, “we felt that this study would provide evidence to ensure that a revised urban development policy in Nigeria makes provisions for social inclusion and equitable access to public resources for urban dwellers”, Chukwuedozie Ajaero said.
Out of 22 policy documents, strategies and plans of urban development in Nigeria reviewed by the study, a few clearly defined the considerations for health and nutrition in the country, while the concerns were implicit or absent in the majority of the documents.
The policy gap has fueled socio-economic inequalities among the urban dwellers as the poor urban dwellers have remained at the bottom of the inequities ladder especially in access to healthcare facilities and nutrition resources.
The study argued that social inclusion in urban development through efficient policies is critical for Nigeria’s attainment of the SDGs as the country is ranked 160 of 166 on the SDGs dashboard, with a score of 49.28.