PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT

Posted by on 2/10/2003 12:08:12 PM
Post Comment PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT Nigeria

Ethnic Composition, Language, Culture and the Arts: By virtue of its origin, the state comprises mostly Hausa and

Sokoto Energy Research Centre, Sokoto
Sokoto Energy Research Centre, Sokoto

Hausa/Fulani people. Other groups include the Yorubas, lbos, Efiks, Tivs, domas and Ebiras as well as the Buzus from the neighbouring Niger Republic. Festivals performed a are mostly religious and the most important are the two Eid festivals. The first is the Eidfitr celebrated to mark the end of the fasting period. The second 10th month of the Islamic Calendar. A spectacular a minidurbar is usually staged in front of the Sultan's palace during each of these Eds..

Population Sturcture and Distribution: The population of Sokoto State in 1999, based on the 1991 census, was about 2.8 million people . The demographic features of the population show that over 55 per cent of the population is under 15 years of age while the economically active labour force (15 64 years) is nearly 40 per cent of the population. This shows a high youth dependency ratio.

Given this situation, and the low literacy level in western education not only of the dependent population but also the adult population, there is the urgent need to provide higher public investment in the educational sector in the state. Three critical factors are important in the distribution pattern of population in Sokoto State.

These are the history of the state particularly that of the former Sokoto Caliphate, the availability of water and fertile soils as well as the development of urban areas arising from state and local government creations. One of the most striking characteristics of population distribution in the state, like other states, is its unevenness and variable density. For example, while the Tureta and Gundumi forest reserve areas are sparsely populated, high densities of over 300 per sq.km can be found within the Sokoto closesettled zone and even higher densities within the Sokoto home districts.

Usmanu Danfodyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
Usmanu Danfodyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto

In the past, migrant labourers moved into parts of the cocoa belt in southern Nigeria and even as far as Ghana as a response to the long dry season, but today, changes are taking place in the pattern of spatial and temporal mobility. This change has been occa sioned by the oil boom of the 1970s and the atten dant construction boom that emerged, given the expansion of public works, private residential development, as well as road and office construction.

In addition, there were the series of Local Government creations in the 1980s and 1990s. Thus, the limited intervening opportunities were radically changed by the discovery of 'hidden opportunities' not only with in the state, but also in other northern Nigerian towns which offered migrants dry season employment. This must have led to a decline in the long distance movement for characteristic of the state during the 1950s and 1960s.

Given the long dry season in the state, accessibility to perennial water supply is of vital importance for both human and animal population. Thus, the river valleys have been important areas for the concentration of settlement. Equally important is the impact of the defunct Sokoto Caliphate on the relocation of population, not only within the Rima valley, but also other areas within the state.

Giginya Hotel, Sokoto
Giginya Hotel, Sokoto

This is more so with the development of ribats (fortified settlements) around which other settlements developed. Settlements such as Kware, Wurno, Gandi, Isa, Binji, Silame, Tambuwal, to mention but a few, all developed from their formation as ribat settlements in the past into present day urban and rural centres, particularly with the creation of states and the choice of some of these ribat settlements as local government headquarters.

Rural and Urban Settlements: Going by the 20,000 people mark used to define an area as urban, all the twentynine local government areas of the state could be said to display some form of urban status. However, Sokoto town is the major urban centre, performing higher order central place functions for the surrounding settlements which per form lower order central place functions.

The problem of urban primacy: Sokoto town is the capital city of the state and the seat of gov ernment. The major industrial and social infrastruc ture and facilities are located here. Over thirty min istries and parastatals of the state government have their headquarters in Sokoto town. These are in addition to numerous industrial firms and financial houses located throughout the length and breadth of the city. The city displays a classic example of urban primacy. It contains nearly 95 per cent of the modem business and commercial ventures in the state. In essence, most higher order functions are performed by the city.




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