NITP seeks commitment to urban planning laws implementation
To check the spread of Corona Virus (COVID-19), the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called on government to demonstrate commitment to the implementation of town planning laws, regulations and space standards especially in relation to housing and provision of utilities.
President of the institute, Lekwa Ezutah in a statement, said the move will check the pandemic as there are indications that the numbers may rise in the coming days.
While supporting all measures taken so far by the Federal and State governments to curtail the spread such as travel ban, closing down schools, placing restrictions on Public gathering, NITP advised the public to comply with these directives in the interest of public health and safety.
It, however, noted that in situations of this nature, the most vulnerable group to be hit hardest are the urban poor living in informal settlements and slums in cities with high population density due to absence of basic amenities such as water and sanitation, hence these areas should be given adequate attention.
According to the institute, the rural areas that hold a considerable number of the country’s population (about 45 per cent) should not be neglected in the various plans put in place to combat this pandemic.
It therefore called on government at all levels to provide timely support and services that will prevent the spread of corona virus in Nigeria.
“Moving forward, government on its part should as a matter of urgency demonstrate commitment to the implementation of Town Planning Laws, regulations and space standards especially in relation to housing and provision of utilities and amenities, as a means of preventing the spread of diseases,” it added.
NITP reiterated it’s commitment to partner with government at all levels to ensure adherence to urban planning laws and management of human settlements that will ensure public health as well as safety, which “is a cardinal objective of our profession.”
Meanwhile, the institute has charged governments and other bodies to as a matter of urgency to demonstrate commitment to standards and specifications, especially in relation to utility rights-of-way and building development in the country.
NITP also stated the need to engage planners in urban development processes across the country, stressing that there has been shortfall in engagement of the experts.
Ezutah who was reacting to the recent pipeline explosion in the Abule Ado area of Lagos State, advise the Federal and State Government to employ and equip planners to design live-able human settlements and monitor it’s development especially enforcement.
Reports say the unfortunate incident led to the loss of no less than 23 lives, with several others injured and about 500 persons displaced. Also about 50 buildings were badly destroyed and the entire environment was polluted after the fire outbreak that followed.
The institute noted that the tragic incident is a wake up call on government at all levels, players in the downstream sector, corporate organisations, developers and indeed citizens to join hands in promoting urban planning and development of our human settlements.
He appreciated the quick response and attention given to the incident by the Lagos State Government, First Responders, Security Agencies, Corporate organizations and well-meaning individuals to bring the situation to normalcy and providing succour to the affected.
However, NITP advised that the immediate and remote causes of the explosion be ascertained through a thorough investigation/inquiry.
“Government at all levels to ensure adherence to principles of urban planning and development of our neighborhoods, settlements and cities in order to enhance national development.”
Ezutah assured that planners in the country, will continue to look forward to the enthronement of order on the development of human settlements in the nation and hopes that ultimately settlements where citizens can live, work and play without fear of personal or property safety are achieved.