New Atlas Sheds Light on Inequality In Nigeria

Nigerians anywhere in the world can now interactively visualize geodemographic information about every Local Government Area (LGA) in the country from any computer system with access to the internet.
By: Dr Adegbola Ojo
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* Sheffield - Sheffield - England

Oct. 6, 2010 - PRLog -- This is an entirely new way of understanding, explaining, mapping and charting the spatial dimensions of local level inequality in the country which can be particularly useful for the tracking and tackling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other important policy programmes.

NIGECS stands for NIgerian LGA GEodemographic Classification System and Profiler ( and is accessible via the internet. It is a new way of distilling socioeconomic and demographic information about the 774 LGAs in Nigeria by classifying them into area types. The Nigerian system is a product of advanced research and analytical techniques within the field Geographic Information Science (GIS) and statistical geography.

Compiled by Dr Adegbola Ojo, who recently completed a PhD at the Department of Geography, the atlas will be launched today (1 October 2010) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from British Colonial rule. Since the country emerged as a sovereign state in 1960, the task of providing the public with timely and relevant socio-demographic, economic and environmental information about their residential areas at the Local Government Area (LGA) level has been very challenging. This lack of local spatial information reinforces the perpetuation of longstanding inequalities and uneven development in the country.

NIGECS has been used to profile and map more than 100 different indicators at the LGA level. The indicators are aligned along themes like Agriculture, Community Safety, Demographics, Education, Employment, Health, Household Infrastructure, Housing, Poverty and Wealth, Socio-economics, and Women and Children. Some of the indicators are related to or can serve as useful proxies for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Dr Adegbola Ojo said: “Information is both power and a public good. However, in many of the world’s developing countries, members of the public often do not have access to basic geographical and statistical information about their local residential areas. Sometimes key stake holders and policy makers also find themselves making important decisions in the ‘dark’ without an adequate evidence base.”

“The aim of the NIGECS project is to make this sort of information as widely accessible as possible, to help inform the work and activities of local policy makers, international partner agencies, academics, students and other stakeholders within the public, private and third sector. One of the strengths of this research is that it considers the dynamics of people and places using a spatial multi-criteria approach. This can be particularly helpful for strategic and intelligent decision making especially at local level, the scale at which most needs are felt in Nigeria.”

For the first time, members of the public can now go on to a website ( and find out for instance to what extent students in their area are likely to be dissatisfied with the quality of teaching at school; in which areas private, public or even religious hospitals are more or less likely to be used; the extent to which people fear crime in different areas and lots more. In addition, users can unlock greater insight from their own data by coding their own user or client database with the corresponding geodemographic typologies (like Conventional Green Towns, Labouring Diluted Societies or Affluent Urban Nodes) of the residential LGAs of their clients and service users.

As part of his doctoral research, Dr Ojo also addressed small area inequalities on some topical issues in the Philippines by developing a similar system for over 40, 000 Barangays (the smallest administrative unit in the country). If the Nigerian system is judged to be successful he hopes to deploy these analytical techniques to administrative areas of finer geographic scales within the country and possibly roll out such systems and techniques to tackle spatial inequalities in other countries within the developing world.

Notes for Editors:
More information about NIGECS is available at NIGECS is one of the many outputs of a doctoral research project completed between 2006 and 2010 by Dr Adegbola Ojo at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. His research work was supervised by Dr Dimitris Ballas and Dr Dan Vickers. The team is part of the Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group (SASI) of the Geography Department at Sheffield.
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Page Updated Last on: Oct 07, 2010

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