The Abia State Government and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the preparation of Structure Plans for Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia. Both parties endorsed the agreement on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.
A type of spatial planning, Structure Plan is a long term (10 to 15 years) statutory framework used to guide the development or redevelopment of land.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had dispatched a delegation from the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Development to Kenya to sign the agreement on behalf of the state government. The delegation was led by the Commissioner in the Ministry, Suleman Ukandu; Permanent Secretary, Mrs Joy Ezinwanyi Nwakanma; Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development and President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Lekwa Ezuta; and Director of Town Planning in the Ministry, Dr. Lawson Ananaba.
The signing of the MOU was done at the official residence of the Nigerian High Commission to Kenya and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN-Habitat, Ambassador Sheidu Omeiza Momoh, who witnessed the signing of the agreement in the company of the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry signed on behalf of the state government while the UN-Habitat Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, signed for the UN body.
The last of the meetings prior to this final stage was hosted by Governor Ikpeazu at the Abia State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja two months ago.
By the signing of the agreement, the UN-Habitat will collaborate with the Abia State Government in preparing and implementing Structure Plans that will guide the sustainable growth of Aba, Umuahia, Ohafia and other urban centres in the state.
The UN organisation will also support the state with technical advisory services to enable the state to plan ahead of development in order to manage rapid urban growth and capacity building of institutions, agencies and officials involved to enable them to discharge their duties more effectively. In particular, the UN-Habitat will aid directly in the urban renewal of Aba, the commercial hub of the state.
The project will formally take off in 2020.
According to state officials, this is the first time the Abia State Government will enter into a comprehensive agreement with any agency of the United Nations for the development of a sustainable plan for regeneration of its major cities.
Dr. Ikpeazu stated: “One of my key priorities as governor is to a lay solid foundation that will make for the sustainable growth of our state, way beyond my tenure.
“One notable factor that has slowed down our pace of development has been the near absence of long-term sustainable development plans. Leaders at all levels must look beyond their limited terms of office, see into the future and put in place plans and strategies that successive administrations can build on. We must shift emphasis from temporary applauses and become futuristic in our thinking as a people.”