From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), has expressed worry over the non adherence to national and regional planning laws, noting that the total negligence defaces the country, leading to congestion and flooding.
NITP National President, Olutoyin Ayinde who spoke yesterday in Abuja, during a retreat for states, regional chairmen, secretaries and public relations personnel, noted that less that 30 per cent of state governments had enacted the National and Regional Planning Laws which was Degreed in 1992 and later became an Act in 2004.
According to Ayinde, there should be a proper documentation of lands earmarked for housing, recreational centres, agriculture, and industrial areas in which successive governments must work on to give the country a face lift like Dubai.
He attributed some of the problems to lack of awareness and sensitisation among citizenry, adding that even those who should know the importance deliberately ignore it because of political affiliation to those in government.
He said: “The first thing is to have an awareness. The truth is people do not know what town planning is all about. What many people associate with planning is just about building plans.
“Now, urban planning goes beyond building plans. Before you start putting up buildings there should be a plan for the city system itself. There is a plan where residential area is located, industrial area is located, recreational ground is located and commercial area is located. It comes out of a deliberate vision.
“When you see a place like Dubai it becomes centre of attraction. it is because the first thing they established are those city plans. And what has happened over the years is that those at the helm of affairs implement them.
“It lies in the hands of our politicians; president, governors to be able to direct that there should plans and after that you can now begin to put up buildings.
“So, people have not complied because they do not understand the implication of not complying which is the chaos we have all around us.”
He added: “What we intend to do is to take the sensitisation to every government houses and also with an opportunity to Aso Rock to meet with the President to explain to him.
“We are making arrangements to meet with local governments to talk to the chairmen so that they will begin to understand the importance of planning.
“When you talk of statistics you need to know that all of Nigeria is under planned. But we have a National Urban and Regional Planning law which was enacted as a degree in 1992.
“It became an Act in 2004. We have less than 30 per cent of state that have domesticated it. And if we go at that rate it will never be planned.
“You know what? We will end up in chaos. It is either we organise or agonise. When you see congestion it is as a result of poor planning.
“So, in terms of being under planned, the whole of Nigeria is under planned. Until we are able to account for all square millimetres of land in this nation that is when you will know that we are planned.
“For example, we must know how many per cent of the land in Nigeria is committed to agriculture, housing and commercial use. Until we arrive at that we will remain under planned.”