Every city or town is built on an established plan that must be strictly adhered to in order to ensure that the city or town runs smoothly without being affected by illegal developments that can alter its structure and order.
A master plan serves as a blueprint for the future expansion of any city or town and must be directly tied to the core developmental goals and planning. It will identify economic and other factors such as utility infrastructure development, planning, acquisition and sustainability.
When a city or town’s master plan is altered, it can lead to catastrophic scenarios like flooding, congestion, building collapse, fire outbreak, poor drainage, accidents and many more man-inflicted disasters.
Many Nigerian cities and towns have increasingly deteriorated because of the failure to comply with set down master plans and structural maps. Major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Port-Harcourt have increasingly become prone to constant flooding, building collapse and congestion because of the violation of master plans and especially because those who violate these plans are not appropriately sanctioned.
In Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, the violation of master plans by some real estate developers in connivance with some corrupt FCT officials have had a very negative impact in some parts of the city.
In Lokogoma area of the city for example, city authorities have commenced demolition of illegally approved structures which are adjudged to be built on waterways and drainages. The resultant effect of this has been incessant flooding over the years that have led to at least 10 deaths and loss of valuable properties.
In Lagos, innumerable number of buildings have collapsed because of multiple violation of the city master plans. In many cases, more storeys are built on buildings that had also reached their maximum storey levels. This usually have a negative toll on the foundation which cannot carry beyond its capacity. Hundreds of lives have been lost in Lagos as a result of this illegal and dangerous practice.
In a recent statement, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) decried the ‘monumental’ distortion of the Abuja Masterplan, resulting in seemingly endless chaotic traffic, building mishaps and flooding situations bedevilling the city.
While this is true and obviously realisable for many, what is expected now is an era that brings an end to such impunity.
Speaking to Housing News, a seasoned housing sector expert, Francis Obidi mentioned the need for culprits to be brought to book in order to deter the preponderance of such practises that has left everyone the worst for it.
‘’Estate developers that disregard a city master plan whether in collusion with some officials or not should be prosecuted. This is the only way to show commitment to the development of a city,’’ he said.