To enhance quality of practice for effective national development and physical planning and ensure sustainable environment, town planners have been urged to discharge their duties to the public in accordance with the ethics of their profession.
The charge was given at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners’ 48th Annual Conference/General Meeting held last week in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, with Physical Planning for Environment, Equity, Security and Economic Enhancement, as the theme. The conference was meant to look into security and the challenges of environment facing Nigerians especially in the Niger-Delta region. The AGM which witnessed attendance by the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, who was represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribi John Jonah (Rtd) declared the conference open.
The president of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planning, NITP, Luka Achi while speaking, said cities in Africa, including Nigeria, are faced with challenges of rapid urbanization such as increasing poverty, lack of access to basic services, inadequate infrastructure and deteriorating environment.
He added that Nigerian cities are facing this form of urban growth without robust institutional framework to manage it, coupled with inability of cities and their public institutions to provide adequate employment, urban services, land infrastructure, non-inclusiveness and divides in human settlement.
The NITP boss noted that “Institutional framework for physical planning at all levels of governance is inadequate and unstructured. Many states of the federation are yet to domesticate the Nigerian urban and regional law of 1992 as amended and develop instruments such as masterplan and accompanying lower order development plans for their towns and cities in which adequate attention is not accorded sustainable physical development planning and urban generation by governments in their annual budgets.”
Achi called on governments and professionals in the built industry to be actively involved in the formulation of development agenda towards addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation, increasing poverty and environmental deterioration in human settlement.
According to him, they should undertake this in conjunction with all stakeholders in which true democratic culture, value and implementation mechanism are adequately entrenched in Nigeria’s physical planning and urban development policies while resources should be made available and prudently utilised to raise the quality of life of the people.
Also speaking at the event, the 1st National president, Lekwa Ezutah, recommended that government should identify with the planners in creating better physical environment in their communities. He pointed out that town planners are ready to use their position and instrument to facilitate and co-ordinate community access to government for community development and planning.