FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has appealed to the National Assembly for improved budgetary provisions to implement physical plans for satellite towns and urban management in the FCT.
Mr Austine Elemue, the Special Assistant on Media to the minister, in a statement on Friday said that Aliyu made the appeal when she received the management of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners in Abuja.
The minister noted that recent floodings in some parts of the territory could have been avoided if town planners were actively engaged in the physical planning of satellite towns and settlements.
Aliyu frowned at the conflicts of roles between physical planners and engineers and other allied professionals.
“This is an era to redefine the essence of town planning in Nigeria. How can town planning not be given prominence and engineering takes precedence?
“This is what we faced as a professional body. The flooding which is unexpected is as a result of neglecting town planners.
“Perhaps, it is an opportunity for town planners to also sit together and see how they can salvage the situation.
“However, in the FCT and with the approval of the FCT Minister, we set up an ad hoc committee of town planners to go round the city to see what has been done and what is left undone.
“This is because if we continue to do the same thing again and again, we should not expect different result.
“I can tell you proudly that in the past, powers were usurped and realities are now telling on us. This is an era to redefine the essence of town planning in Nigeria,’’ Aliyu said.
Earlier, Mr Lekwa Ezutah, the leader of delegation and National President of the institute, commended the minister for her passion and commitment to the course of physical planning in the FCT.
Ezutah suggested that the FCT Directorate of Physical Planning should be given full latitude to exercise its functions and not subsumed under the Directorate of Engineering Services of the Satellite Towns Development Department.
According to him, such step will promote effective delivery of services by the directorate.
“We have observed that the FCT is in dire need for planners at all levels to facilitate organised development and achievement of the intents of the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the provisions of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law.
“We recommend an aggressive manpower hunt for professional planners into the services of FCTA, provide adequate equipment for enforcement and improve the capacity of planners through training and retraining programmes locally or internationally.’’
Ezutah pledged the institute readiness in the efforts to provide affordable housing for rural dwellers in the FCT. (NAN)