Planners lament abuse of master plans, list contributions to national development
Face with low patronage, non-recognition of physical planning by the citizens and government, members of the town planning profession have advocated the implementation of master plans in cities as a means of achieving sustainable human settlements in the country.
They say, development of many cities or towns are less than satisfactory, and the country will have an improved economy with better opportunities for wealth creation, if physical planning matters are aligned properly with urban growth and given attention by government at all levels.
The planners under the umbrella of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), made the submission at an interactive session with the media to mark NITP’s 50th anniversary. Former presidents of the Institute, Remi Makinde and Dr Bunmi Ajayi called for the education of politicians and government officials on the need for planning and developmental control.
According to them, the institute has in the past 50 years made impressive strides in the current issues plaguing the nation. For instance, they noted that Lagos conference, held towards the end of the Nigeria civil war in January 1969 with the theme, ‘Town planning in National Reconstruction”, paved way towards the rebuilding process. The November 1976 conference on “Planning and Development of Capital Cities in Ibadan was bought by the then military government leading to the construction of towns like Festac, Satellite and Abuja capital city.
Other achievements by NITP, include laying the foundation for town planning law in Nigeria, the creation of town planning registration council of Nigeria, education and capacity building for members and government as well as the inclusion of citizens’ participation in planning, an opportunity for stakeholders to get feedback from the public on new programmes.
Also contributing, the chairman of the Lagos chapter and the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Anifowoshe Abiola, said that the Lagos chapter has continuously been offering advice and interfacing with the public sector towards shaping policies, laws and regulations.
“As professionals, we cooperate or collaborate with governments toward the attainment of better living and working environment in towns and cities.”The most recent of such effort, he said, is the submission of a 32-page Advisory Document to Governor Akinwumni Ambode.
The document addressed many issues cutting across land use management, planning administration, transportation, tourism development, wetlands management and recreational space development.
He expressed hope that the governor will find the document very useful in his efforts at improving the status of Lagos, not only as the economic hub of West Africa, but that of Africa at large.
“We are of the opinion that Lagos state has a lot of potentials which are yet to be fully tapped for its growth. NITP supports any initiative aimed at promoting this”, he added.
Abiola, also noted that the members of the institute have for many years been emphasising the benefits and values of orderliness, well planned communities, not only for the health of the citizenry, but also for their economic well-being.
He stressed that NITP believes that this would be better achieved if and when economic planning at state and federal government levels are treated as mutually exclusive.
The commissioner, however, expressed hope that the country will have an improved economy with better opportunities for wealth creation aligned properly with attention to physical planning matters.
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