Resolving conflicts in tenement homes
With a population of over 21 million people, Lagos metropolis – the largest city in Nigeria, has the highest number of tenement buildings popularly called ‘face-me-I-face-you’ apartment units in the country.
Hence, the case of conflict amongst occupants of a typical tenement building is worse in Lagos State because, it is a socially heterogeneous city with tribes and nationals from within and outside Nigeria aggregating in Lagos metropolis as the city represents the melting-pot of various races, and of economic activities with high net-worth manufacturing, commercial entities.
Also the city can boast of high grade residential precincts, highly productive industrial concerns that have congregated to take advantage of the nearness to the sea, international airports, rail systems and has a good network of roads.
This makes demand for residential properties increase on daily basis as migration of all classes of people into the state increases.
Despite the increasing number of tenement buildings in Lagos, how individuals choose to engage in or manage conflict depends on their personal view of conflict and on the source of conflict.
It is an inherent ingredient in human society that sprang from observations of raw animal nature in which rules or order were determined by length of tooth and strength of claws and as long as physical conflict was considered to be inherent in man’s makeup, it was assumed that it would usually be employed in his dealings with others.
Reasons conflicts occur
The most common causes of conflicts amongst residents of the face-me-I-face-you type of low-income residential properties in Lagos metropolis is due inadequate infrastructure, followed by non-settlement of electricity and neighbourhood levies, which the occupiers share equally.
Inadequate infrastructure contributes greatly as a source of conflicts. Many tenants scrabble for kitchen, bathroom, central passage, balconies, electricity and water supply, and other facilities that are available for common use.
Feelings of unfairness and injustice, suspicion, anger, emotion, and mistrust often lead to these avoidable conflicts and when the conflicts occurs, each party attempts to destroy, injure, thwart, influence or control the other.
Types of conflicts
The prevalent type of conflicts involves multi-parties (two families – parents and their children). Conflicts probably arise from little disagreement between two members of the families extending to other members of the conflicting parties.
Multi-party conflicts involving two or more families are complex situations, and require careful intervention by neighbours and estate surveyors.
There are many ways to resolving conflicts, these include surrendering, running away, overpowering the opponent with violence, filing a lawsuit, et cetera.
In general, common forms of conflict resolutions are negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and hybrid of mediation-arbitration. Others are early neutral evaluation, community conferencing, negotiated rulemaking, and peer mediation.
Tools to deploy in conflict resolution
A number of techniques can be developed in resolving conflict in a society, these include: inaction, negotiation, facilitation, mediation, arbitration, court action.
Planning regulation may be adopted to give advantage to approval of buildings with adequate infrastructure over those with few and inadequate. Co-tenants have important role to play in resolving conflicts amongst residents of low-income housing.
The involvement of co-tenants in conflict resolution will go a long way at peace-making and prevent conflicts with using the Police except when life is threatened or there is potential breach of public peace and tranquility.
Finally, mediation. When all fails, mediation can be deployed. This is a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator helps people discuss difficult issues and negotiate an agreement. This has gone a long way in settling most tenement buildings conflicts.