House developers complain lack of master plan in cities, set agenda for development

Toward the emergence of an orderly development, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Lagos Chapter has urged the new administration in Lagos to key into its ‘change the city’ project and consider implementation of Lagos state regional master plan as well as preparation of the Kosofe Model City Plan among other initiatives for growth.

The institute advised the government to enforce the physical planning regulation and allied law passed by the Lagos House of Assembly, which involves private practitioners in the monitoring of development and the need to recruit town planners into the management of physical planning and urban development of Lagos state.

Pushing these agenda during a courtesy visit to the redeployed Permanent Secretary of the State’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of NITP, who led the executive members, Bisi Adedire said the ‘change the city project’, is envisaged to assist the government by providing policy supportive intervention mechanism into the governance process in Lagos state.

He disclosed that the initiative which is a holistic study, would cover urban development, service and infrastructure and would be engaged in all local government areas and LCDAs to identify areas of urgent attention and gradual governmental actions.

Mr. Adebisi observed that Kosofe local government is the only local area in the state that does not have a model city plan and there are uncertainties as to whether efforts are on, to develop a plan for the area.

“We believe that all local government areas in the state should have a functional model plan. When we consider the fact that a part of Ifako-Ijaiye local government area is linked to Ikeja local government area, the model city plan is needed for proper coordination of development within the area”.

He said it has been discovered that monitoring of development is ineffective as a result of the paucity of manpower in the ministry. He, therefore, proposed the involvement of private practitioners for monitoring and ensuring that developers comply with the planning permit granted while constructing.

“We would desire that the Land Use Plan Analysis Report (LUPAR) should be passed for commencement without delay. Furthermore, we would desire that as soon as the regulation is released, the ministry in conjunction with NITP should organize a retreat that would enlighten as well as train personnel on the implementation procedure of the regulation. The ministry should start making plans to deploy senior-level officers to MDAs relating to physical planning for effectiveness and efficiency and there should be enabling an environment for staff and ease of doing business”, he said.

Contributing, a member of the team, Kunle Osude charged the ministry to deploy technology and software apparatus like drones as well as concentrate on primary data gathering for it to achieve a lot. Specifically, Osude said there should be budget preparation in this regard while planners should be involved in the waterway transport system development.

On his part, Mr. Ayo Adediran stressed that the ministry should address the slow paste of getting building approval especially as it relates to the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) and look to the reactivation of the local planning authority rather than concentrating every process of planning at the city centre.

Responding, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr. Folusho Dipe, an architect, who led other officials of the ministry to welcome the team, explained that issue of physical planning and urban development is paramount to the present administration assuring that the government would work closely with the practitioners and ensure that the concerns raised are addressed.

On the Kosofe Model City Plan, he stated that the plan and that of Lagos Island Model City plan are on the pipeline. He advised the team to come up with a template for the involvement of private practitioners in the monitoring of development.

He maintained that the ministry would work with the institute in implementing the recommendations of the report of the committee set up on the Ita-faji accident.

“I want to assure you that as soon as the physical planning regulation and allied law in places, we will put necessary machineries in place for the implementation. Enabling environment for staff is a priority of this administration. The change the city project is a welcome development but you need to let us know more about the benefits/advantages. The ministry has in the past leveraged on NITP and not less than six past chairmen of the institute have their root in the ministry”, he said.

Meanwhile, a past president of the institute, Moses Ajayi has advised the federal government to create an enabling environment that would attract private sector development of ranches across in the country. He lamented that adopting the option of RUGA settlements was more of a ploy to ensure that there are Fulanis’ spread all over the country. Ajayi spoke during the kick-off of activities to mark 40th year anniversary of Molaj consultants, a town planning firm, in Lagos.

He warned that RUGA settlements should be optional for states while a more rational way out of the crisis is for the federal government to enable the private sector to set up ranches for the use of the herdsmen.

“States that have large agricultural lands and cattle population could have RUGA with the support of their state government. The herdsmen/ farmers’ debacle is a town-planning problem. The white men came into this country, knows that there are people that travel rearing cattle on clearly marked roots outside the city line. With time some groups started farming on the cattle root and at that point, it should occur to the government to change the alignment of the cattle root. Town planners opt to have called the attention of the government to the need to change the cattle root”, he stated.

Ajayi who is the founder of the firm decried lack of master plans to guide the growth of the majority of the Nigerian cities blaming it on the failure of urban governance and lawlessness on the part of the government.

He urged the public to become more proactive in planning matters to achieve liveable cities in the face of increasing urbanization. “The public doesn’t believe that the city is their own and should get involved in its management and development. In short, the public has allowed autocracy to be the order of the day in our town”, he said.

Speaking on the celebration, he explained that the anniversary’s activities which include, essay competition among tertiary institutions, roundtable discussion on ‘sustainability of consultancy firm’ and awards to corporate clients/associates as well as thanksgiving service was necessary to appreciate God for surviving the years, despite the turbulence of the Nigerian business environment.

On his part, a professor of town planning from the University of Lagos, Leke Oduwaye who is one of the two professors produced by the firm, observed that as long as the herdsmen are out to do business, setting up of private ranches for their activities is the best way to go.

Oduwaye said, “Private ranches would be better managed unlike when it has public interest. Anything that is agricultural based, there should be a subsidy if it can’t sustain itself. If they are subsidized there would be efficiency and there would be a way that the government could get its revenue back”.He stated that it’s unfortunate that despite the provision in law that involves the public both in plan-making and development control, Nigeria public have been complacent.

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