The Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners has called on the state government to establish an urban planning board in line with the Urban and Regional Planning Act 138, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
The Chairman of the state chapter of the NITP, Mr Daniel Ukene, said this in Calabar recently while addressing journalists on the activities of the Development Control Task Force inaugurated in January 2018 by the state government.
He said although the institute recognised the responsibility of the state government in ensuring the orderly development of the urban and rural areas, it must do so within the ambits of the law.
Ukene stated, “Government shall exercise its physical planning responsibilities within the framework of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act. Cap 138, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, from where it derives its mandate.
“Therefore, it is our considered view that it is also the responsibility of the state government to comply with the relevant provisions of the Act or domesticate same in the state, including the establishment of the state Urban Planning Board.”
The chairman said town planners in the state had made futile efforts to draw the attention of the state government to the illegality of setting up of such a task force on town planning and development.
According to him, in as much as town planners in the state appreciate the concern of the government to enforce the orderly development of the state, such should be handled by competent and registered professionals.
He described the activities of the task force as unprofessional, adding that this would have negative consequences on the state in the long run.
“Currently, the task force has begun massive posting of ‘stop work’ and demolition notices, which are statutory functions of town planners as spelt out in the Urban and Regional Planning Act and the Cross River Building Regulation Law,” he said.
He added that the bill establishing the task force had yet to be passed into law by the state House of Assembly.
Ukene said the institute was willing to discuss with the state government on the professional way of handling issue bothering on the orderly development of Calabar and the entire state in general.
“As town planners, we are open to dialogue on the way forward for the proper and orderly development of Calabar and our state in general,” he stated.
Also, the state representative on the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria, Mr. Archibong Omon, said members of the institute decided to inform the public in order to clear both the NITP and TOPREC of any complacency in the activities of the task force.
“Many concerned citizens have continued to ask questions about what is going on, so we have to let Cross Riverians know that we are not part of the activities of the task force,” he added.