Housing ‘Lunatics’ in Nigeria: A Study in the History of Eco-Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

  • Olukayode A. Faleye University of Ilorin
Keywords: Housing, Lunatics, Mental Healthcare, Prison-Asylum, Nigeria


Housing people with mental disorders has been a long-standing problem in Nigeria since the colonial era. Whereas biomedical and social analysis of psychiatric administration in Nigeria exists, these studies are lacking in historical, ecological and epidemiological perspectives. Thus, this paper discusses the trend of accommodating the mentally ill in Nigeria in the context of eco-psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. Underpinned by the historical analysis of colonial administrative and medical records, personal observations, interviews, newspaper reports and the literature, this work concludes that the contemporary challenges to mental health management in Nigeria are rooted in the colonial transformation and intervention that focuses solely on confinement as a tool of psychiatric epidemic control. Hence, the provision of social security schemes and the establishment of appropriate up-to-date psychiatric facilities in Nigeria are important in the face of the socioeconomic pressure of modern life.