Worried by poor adoption of physical planning laws, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called on the federal and state governments to rise above the lethargy towards ordered settlements and faithfully commit to preparation and implementation of physical development plans.
President of the institute, Olutoyin Ayinde stated that the governments must be willing to provide strong leadership, which can only happen when the system produces competent people to run the affairs regarding design of plans and their implementation.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, Ayinde noted that the government must take responsibility for the chaotic and unsafe human settlements. He alluded that between the early seventies to the mid-eighties, there were awareness on the need for planning in the country with the governments of the day embarking on preparation of master plans and other levels of physical plans for settlements.
The NITP boss, however, stressed that as good as that step was, lack of political will and funding made the plans to end up in the shelves government offices with little implementation.
According to him, the poor attitude of the government to implementation of plans has greatly contributed to the poor state of human settlements in Nigeria, stressing that less than 30 per cent of Nigerian states have adopted physical planning laws deriving from the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law (NURP), CAP 138, LFN 2004.
This attitude, Ayinde said, amounts to governments either not believing and/or abusing the law and structures that they created.
“We are most familiar with the consequences of lack of planning which manifest in the chaos in our environment, congestion on our roads, dysfunctional infrastructure, building collapse, unconnected settlements, avoidable flooding and other disasters, leading to stressful living and a reduction in life expectancy,” he said,
The former Lagos State commissioner stressed that the roadmap for Ordered Human Settlements in Nigeria must include the implementation of the supranational and trans-boundary level/multinational regional strategies, the national level/national plans, the city-region and metropolitan level/subnational regional plans, the city and municipal level, city development strategies and integrated development plans and the neighbourhood level, street development and public space plans and layouts to improve urban quality, social cohesion and inclusion, and the protection of local resources
He observed that the overwhelming ignorance about the profession is preponderant even amongst the elites, which is why it is not surprising that those at the helm of affairs politically also mistake physical planning for a revenue generation tool.
Also, a former president of NITP, Remi Makinde, said physical development plans must be prioritised in government’s agenda for sustainable urbanisation in Nigeria.
He advised government at all levels to redirect the growth of cities, and stop those who build without planning. The Guardian