President Muhammadu Buhari has said that, in order to grow the sector and harness its potential for sustainable national development, his administration remains committed to sustaining key lands, housing and urban development policies. He listed these to include the Housing Policy, National Urban Development Policy, National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, Vision 20:2020, National Building Code, and the ongoing Medium Term Successor Plan (2016-2020).
In a keynote address he delivered last week at the 46th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) held in Ilorin, Kwara State, the President stated that, to complement these efforts, government has activated the Roadmap for Nigeria’s Housing and Urban Development Sector while producing a National Land Policy to induce far-reaching reforms in land administration and management in the country.
The conference had “Making cities in Nigeria functional” as its theme.
“I am delighted to be informed that, in preparing these strategic documents, members of your esteemed Institute served creditably as the core consultants and resource persons,” said Buhari, adding that effective design, provision, maintenance and improvement of public spaces on a continuous basis in all facets of physical planning and development activities.
Buhari, who was represented by the Parmanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Developmet, Mr George Ossi, added: “In addition to the human management skills, we need the technology and sustainable flow of finance to fully exploit the city’s transformative potential to spur the informal sector, infrastructure, productivity, mobility, and gainful employment for our citizens. Here, the issues of urban governance, urban transportation, planning for the socially disadvantaged, parking facilities and open spaces become critical.
“Human settlements can only facilitate the growth and development of the various aspect of our national life if it is inclusive and properly managed. In Nigeria, the emergence of cities that will serve as engine of growth and development will depend to a large extent on the collaboration and partnership between the public and the private sectors of the economy, as well as broad-based consultation, such professional town planners. It is only then that we will truly be able to achieve Goal 11 of the SDGs of ‘making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’.”
President of the NITP, Dr Femi Olomola, solicited the cooperation of the National Assembly to ensure the success of the Landuse Planning and Analysis Report (LUPAR) project. The LUPAR document contains templates that would provide realistic, comprehensive and relevant data on all facets of physical development.
Initiated by the present administration, LUPAR’s production took off early in the year and has been completed, disclosed Dr Olomola, adding that the Institute would interface with the National Assembly, Corporate Affairs Commission (for registration of business names), Central Bank and other financial institutions (for opening of accounts to checkmate fraud), and security institutions (for security check).
“It is envisaged that LUPAR would equally generate more than 5,000 units of jobs for planners, and even others in the allied professions.”
Besides seeking the cooperation of the National Assembly to ensure the success of the LUPAR project, Dr Olomola appealed to Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to ensure that Urban and Regional Planning is included in the Concurrent List of the Constitution – a matter in respect of which the NITP made a submission to the National Assembly in the last dispensation.
“No meaningful economic planning/development can be achieved without good physical planning/development which is the main thrust of Urban and Regional Planning,” submitted the NITP president, even as he solicited the support of the Kwara State Government to:
- Ensure the preparation of Physical Development Master Plans for major urban centres like Ilorin, Offa, Lafiagi and Omu-Aran; as well as preparation of Regional Plans for socio-economic and physical development of the state.
- To see to the implementation of the URP Law in Kwara State.
Chairman, Kwara State Chapter of the NITP, Deacon Atoyebi Mike Tunde, stated that, besides producing vibrant leaders in the past, the state chapter had contributed immensely to the growth and practice of the profession.
“It is on record that the state has produced a past president in the person of late Chief C O. Aimola. It is also germane to mention that the planning instrument for the processing of titles and other documents, called Site Analysis Reports (SAR), originated from Kwara State Chapter of NITP. The instrument is in use all over the country presently. The instrumently has recently been improved upon by the national body,” declared Deacon Tunde.
Besides the induction of 237 new members by the NITP, an AGM that led to the re-election of Dr Olomola and the entire National Executive Council for a second one-year term, and the 2015 conference of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) (that had “Planning for tourism in the West African sub-region” as its theme), the week-long gathering likewise featured the main conference that entailed the presentation of five papers, and listed to include:
- Urban planning and community resilience: Towards building functional cities in Nigeria (by Dr Kingsley Ogboi, David Osiyi and Gladys Chukwura);
- Planning for physical and social infrastructure and services for cities in Nigeria in the context of resilient cities (by Prof Joy Ogbazi);
- Planning for parking facilities and complementary services for cities in Nigeria (by Ayo Adediran);
- Planning for the informal economy: The spatial dimension (by Lekwa Ezutah); and,
- Planning for the socially disadvantaged (by Mohammed-Bello Yunusa).
Papers presented at the CAP conference were:
- Need to plan and develop ecotourism potentials of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria for sustainable development: Ecological inputs into regional master plans in focus (by Dr Edem Eniang);
- Sustainable tourism development in the Niger Delta Region: Prospects and challenges (by Faith Ekang); and,
- Prospects and challenges of revenue mobilisation from tourism by local government authorities in Africa: Lessons from the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly in Ghana (by Dr. Ronald Adamtey).
By Michael Simire