New Religious Movements and Space Contestation: A Study of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria
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Falako, F. O.
Global as ecological and environmental cases are, local contexts make the matter peculiar and so a source of concern for every responsible individual. Apart from problems like drought, flood, depletion and climatic changes; land occupation for industrial and other purposes on a hazardous scale is threatening and alarming. It is high time we considered the implications of the way in which religious spaces are found in every nook and cranny in the country. This paper examines a new wave in church planting in Nigeria which is the idea of religious camps and communities along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The expressway links the commercial nerve centre of Lagos to the rest of the country. It is without doubt the busiest highway in Nigeria. One of the major peculiarities of the popular expressway is the concentration of religious camp grounds. There are about twenty of them. Hence, the highway has earned the name "Church Highway" or “Heavens Gateway”. This work appraised the issue of space contestation by various Christian religious organisations and the attendant implications. Data for this study were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data was collected through personal observation, in-depth interviews and discussions with respondents selected through purposive sampling technique. The secondary data was gathered through documents, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and books. Data were analyzed by simple percentages. The following findings were made space contest leads to the emergence of affluent settlers, tension due to the disappearance of arable land, encroachment, mistrust, litigations, and rivalry. Recommendations made included balancing the teachings on dominionship with that of stewardship; dialogue and relocation. Findings of the study significantly revealed a drift towards competition and ecological crises. The paper concludes on the note that activities of religious groups on the highway need to be monitored and censored in order to maintain a clean environment and sustainable development.
Falako, F. O. (2020). ‘New Religious Movements and Space Contestation: A Study of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.’ In Religion, Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa. D. O. Ogungbile & O. Olademo (Eds.). Ibadan: Bookminds/AASR. Pp. 113-122. ISBN: 978-978-56220-6-5.