The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners has knocked state governments over the poor and non-implementation of a proper master plan in the planning of cities across the country.
According to the institute, aside from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, no other city in Nigeria has been able to adequately implement a proper master plan in the construction of buildings and other infrastructures.
The institute noted that state governments were only making “piecemeal efforts” in terms of the implementation of a proper master plan in their domains.
The National President, NITP, Lekwa Ezutah, told our correspondent that although Owerri and Awka, the state capitals of Imo and Anambra, respectively, had some sort of comprehensive master plans, the plans had not been reviewed several years after they were introduced.
When asked to mention the number of states or state capitals in Nigeria that had proper master plans, Ezutah replied, “Apart from Abuja actually, I would rather say there have been piecemeal efforts in the others.
“Owerri has a comprehensive master plan. But a master plan that is supposed to be reviewed after about five years and you are still having it after 30 years without any review, is that ideal?”
He added, “So, you have master plans for some cities which need to be reviewed but are not being reviewed. Owerri has a master plan, but most of our cities don’t have such kind of document.
“It is either the master plan was started and not concluded or it was produced and not followed. Awka and Nnewi in Anambra State prepared a plan but the plans have been on the shelf. Nothing on the ground reflects those plans. These are issues.”
Ezutah said since about 1863, the planning of cities was formalised as a government activity, but despite the over 150 years that planning was introduced, “we don’t still seem to appreciate its usefulness.”
The NITP president observed that town planning in Nigeria was all about the approval of building plans, demolition of illegal structures and so on.
He noted that the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law was passed in 1992 and up till today the government had not set up a body in line with that law.
He said, “You can imagine how many years after this is. The law provides that the Federal Government should have a planning commission, the states should have planning boards and the local governments should have planning authorities.”