1.1 Background to the Study
It has been discovered that no matter how well conceived public efforts might be to restore and maintain Nigeria cities and communities as good places in which to live and find work, the ultimate outcome of city growth and its pattern of development depends on private decisions and private investments (Agar, 2017). Furthermore, Agar, (2017) posit that, as both the traditional and new towns and cities grew in response to Nigeria’s socio-economic and political requirements some of these cities grew according to prescribed laws but majority developed amorphously. He added that, present Nigerian cities are plagued with decay and congestion, speculation and ugliness and they suffer disorder as though born of anarchy.
As pointed out by Aloba (2015), in most cities of the developing countries, investment in infrastructure including housing has failed to keep pace with the growing population. According to Jiboye (2016), Nigeria cities also share this similar experience at available data reveals that their population has been growing at an alarming rate, thus ranking them among the fastest in the world. The urbanization rate has resulted in a total urban population of 60-66 million (United Nations, 2015). Thus, this phenomenal rise in population, spontaneous increase in the number and size of most Nigeria cities have in the past few decades led to acute shortage of decent and affordable dwelling units (Oduwoye, 2016). The outcomes of this developmental process are diverse urban problems ranging from overcrowding, deplorable environment, poor living conditions, inadequate and poor infrastructural services, homelessness and other related problems (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2014).
Jiboye (2016) noted that Nigerian population has gathered momentum. It will continue to increase for some time even if there is a change favourable towards family planning and birth control. Increasing population at the expense of socio-economic development is inimical to people’s well being and development. An increasing population has consequences and implications most especially for a country like Nigeria especially on family income. Jiboye (2016) posit that, overall population growth and increasing urbanization have led, especially to the rapid growth of large cities, which have been overwhelmed by the sudden jump in travel demand. He furthered that the supply of transport infrastructure lagged far behind. He therefore concluded that public sector finances in general are so limited that funding for transport improvement is woefully inadequate.
In recent years, Warri Metropolis has experienced rapid population growth as a result of increasing population. According to Davis (2017), the main reason for this rapid increase in population is not far from uncontrolled migration and rapid urbanization. Rapid population growth has no doubt affected transport facilities in Warri Metropolis. The people of Warri place premium on transportation and infrastructural development.
According to Onyeka (2017), town unions, private individuals, and associations, being part of voluntary agencies, have played active roles in the development of transport system through the provision of transport, environmental, and infrastructural and community facilities at transportation companies and major roads in Delta State and Warri in particular which have in turn boast transportation and socio-economic development in Warri and Delta State at large.
The major developmental challenge facing the developing world today as pointed out by Jiboye (2016) is how to cope with urbanization that is currently on the environment and living standards. It is doubt that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and also the most populous among the black nations of the world. Globally, Nigeria is among the ten top countries with the largest population, in fact, the seventh among the countries with the largest population in the world (United Nations, 2016).
As pointed out by Arthur (2017), transport systems provide a key to the understanding and operation of many other systems at any different scales. (Barke and Hare (2014) further added that at one extreme, inter-continental transport provides essential communication between the advanced and developing worlds, while local transport to rural markets in many parts of the third world is a vital component in changing dynamic socio-economic structures.
Atubi and Onokala (2004b) have clearly pointed out that “in human geography, one of the most fundamental themes is spatial interaction”. They argued that spatial interaction involves the movement of goods and services and people between various centres in space. According to Atubi and Onokala (2004b), when constructing or improving a road network where economical solution for one road link may not necessarily be the best solution for the network as a whole. They furthered that the cost of implementing one project to high standards may consume resources that would be better spent over the whole network, or in filling other gaps in the network with lower standard roads. Furthermore, for any meaningful division of labour and specialization in production process to take place in any society (such as Warri Metropolis) there must be an efficient and effective means of transport (Atubi and Onokala 2004a). The various Feeder roads and paths are constructed to connect the interior parts of the region and this gives room or serve as an advantage to motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke napep) transport system in Warri Metropolis.
Muhammad (2016) said that, the ultimate consequences of increasing population growth on transportation facilities are shrunken resources. He further said that this usually leads to movement of people away from such an area to other less populated regions where resources are more abundant. In that way migration becomes a means of achieving a balance between rural population and available resources. In all of these cases, Agar (2017) opined that rural migration may be seen in principle as a spontaneous response of rural people to the scarcity of resources under the impact of population growth.
Several works (such as Jiboye, 2016; Agar 2017; Arthur, 2017; Muhammad; 2017) have been carried out on rapid population growth and transportation facilities in both urban and rural areas. Studies conducted have clearly pointed out that rapid population growth has a direct effect on transport facilities in most Nigerian cities. It is against this background that this study is carried out to examine the effects of population growth on transportation facilities in Warri Metropolis.