Stakeholders seek road map for better shelter in Abia
Towards managing urbanization to nurture activities that could generate higher returns in economic growth and job creation, stakeholders have initiated actions to chart a course, which will ensure new policies, better cities and upgrading of slums in Abia State.
They met in Umuahia, Abia state capital under the platform of “ Abia Urban Thinkers Campus “ (UTC) in collaboration of Vicar Hope Foundation, a non governmental organization founded and facilitated by the Abia state governor’s wife Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu.
Chairman of the Planning Committee and Permanent Secretary State’s Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr. Nnenna Chikezie said that the UTC is an initiative of the United Nations housed by UN-Habitat with the aim being to provide better shelter and build resilience and prosperous cities for better livelihood of the people.
She said that the event was an outcome of participation of the delegates led by the state governor’s wife to the 26th Governing Council Meeting of the United Nations – Habitat in Kenya in May 2017, which had the theme “ Implementing The New Urban Agenda”.
She said that the stakeholders were at the meeting to initiate action towards upgrading slums and building better cities that will drive the economic growth, adding “It is expected that two-third of world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2030”.
While declaring the meeting open at Hotel Royal Damgrete , Abia state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu decried the neglect of the environment wondering how past administrations of the state handled physical infrastructure development of the cities. He said that 26 years after the state came into being, there has been no masterplan for the three major cities of Aba, Ohafia and Umuahia, the state capital.
The governor charged the participants to come up with pragmatic measures that could help to upgrade the slums and transform the urban towns into better and prosperous cities, think about the environment and how to achieve a better place for human habitation.
“UTC challenges us to think more seriously about our environment. We need to preserve our environment for our present and future generations. If you do not take care of your environment, your environment will kill you,” he said.
Mrs. Ikpeazu who is the founder of Vicar Hope Foundation, expressed optimism that the UTC “ will instigate congruent actions that result in the cities of our dreams and called on the participants to dedicate to bringing out the best ideas and realizable action plans that would help turn around conditions of cities and make them cleaner, safer, functional and more profitable to dwellers and visitors.”
UN-HABITAT Programme Manager in Nigeria, Mr. Kabir Yari, who was represented by a member of the UN Steering Committee on Making Cities Resilient, Dr Steve Onu, said that the meeting was targeted at managing urbanization, adding that it/meeting would come out with the roadmap on how to tackle the challenges posed by rapid population growth in the urban centres.
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