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Dealing with ‘strangers’: Allocating urban space to migrants in Nigeria and french west Africa, end of the nineteenth century to 1960

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the way British and French public policies have considered some African groups as strangers and how specific urban space was allotted. In Nigeria, the British developed areas exclusively for African strangers whereas allocation of compulsory residence to a specific African group did not exist in French West Africa (FWA). Some groups of merchants in the regionthe Hausa and the Dioulacontributed to the development of cities along the trade routes in between the Sahel and the Atlantic Coast. Since there was no official policy to distinguish migrants from indigenous in FWA cities, access to land ownership was contested in many places. In FWA, reformists started to refuse to follow their traditional Islamic leaders. The 1953 Kano riot was a case of ethnic politics degenerating into communal clash. Colonial and postcolonial Nigeria shows a strong continuity in the division between autochthonous and strangers under various categories.

Keywords: 1953 Kano riot; British; Dioula; French; Hausa; Nigeria; strangers; urban Space; West Africa



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