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State governments should obey the urban planning law— NITP

Over 90 per cent of the cities in Nigeria lack a proper master plan and most of them were developed without any such plan, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners has said.

According to the institute, state governments do not abide by the provisions of the Urban Regional Planning Law, a development that resulted in unplanned state capitals.

The NITP Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Chapter, Garba Jibril, described this as a challenge to town planners across the country and encouraged state governments to obey the urban planning law.

Jibril, who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja after he was sworn in as the new chairman of the institute, said, “The challenge we have is that in other cities outside Abuja, in fact, in the whole of Nigeria, we have less than 10 per cent of Nigerian cities that have master plan. They lack proper guidance for the implementation of physical planning development.

“We have less than 10 per cent of them that have a master plan and that is a major challenge for us. Most of the state capitals don’t abide by the provisions of the Urban Regional Planning Law. They give no regard to this law and this is unfortunate.”

He added, “Most of the politicians in these states have no regard for that law. They don’t involve planners in the development of their states. So also the followers; people just buy land and start developing it without following due process and this is why we have challenges such as flooding.”

When asked whether the situation could be corrected, Jibril replied, “Yes it can, but there has to be a strong political will to make this happen. We are making effort and that is why the national body of the NITP organises three national workshops in three geopolitical zones.

“We visit state governors, enlighten them on why they have to plan and invite them to our programmes, as well as look at contemporary issues within the region and see how to address them for better development.”

Jibril described the institute as a training ground and research centre for all professionals who practise town planning in Nigeria.

He further noted that the improper construction of houses in cities across the country had been an issue of concern to town planners.

“This is because town planning is all about ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in people’s ways of life in relation to their places of living, places of work, educational, health and other activities. This is a major concern to town planners,” he said.

Jibril noted that the institute was working hard to address the issues, adding that the NITP was liaising with all the directors in charge of town planning, particularly in the FCT, to check the improper construction of buildings.

He, however, stated that the institute could not force people to stop the improper erection of structures, rather it would continue to educate citizens on how to properly plan their cities.

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