‘Constitutional status of urban planning not in tandem with global practice’

NITP National President Mr. Luka Bulus Achi

Town planners have said that the 1979 Constitutional provision on Status of Urban and Regional Planning is not in tandem with the global practice of inclusiveness.

The former President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners  (NITP), Chief Steve Onu made the assertion at the investiture of Nelson Nwaosu as the 9th Chairman and inauguration of the new Executive Committee of the Abia State Chapter of the institute said that urban and regional planning should be on the concurrent list to enable the federal government participate actively at global platform on international protocols on urban planning and human settlement related issues.

According to him, the role of the federal Government however, should be limited to policy formulation and development of planning standards, preparation of national physical development plans, Regional Planning and provision of assistance to state and Local governments.

Onu who spoke on “ Repositioning Urban And Regional Planning For Good Governance “ said that the legal framework for the current administration of urban and regional planning as contained in Urban and Regional planning law, reflects the Federal structure of Nigeria which (law) he stated, “ provided common standards for planning throughout federation”.

He added   however that  “ State basic planning laws and regulation modeled after the Urban and Regional Planning laws are meant to achieve complementarities and harmony within the environment.”

Onu stated that though the second generation Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law was enacted in 1992 expanded the scope of Urban and Regional Planning beyond the Local Authority by assigning roles to the three tiers of Government (Federal, State and Local), the federal government was yet to implement it by establishing the Urban and Regional Planning Commission.

He cited Aba Metropolis comprising five LGAs namely Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa and Ugwunagbo as a case in point saying that each of them has a planning authority.

According to him, planning of area wide infrastructure provision and sanitation cannot effectively and economically be achieved under this arrangement unless a model Council of Government is created where policies, programs affecting area wide infrastructure provision and development will be articulated jointly by the Chief Executives of these LGAs within the Metropolis and executed jointly”.

He urged for a constitutional amendment that will incorporate Urban and Regional Planning in the Concurrent list but to limit the role of the Federal Government to policy formulation in Urban and Regional Planning, Establishment of Planning standards, preparation of National Physical Development plans as well as Regional Planning but not development control as this aspect is a residual matter.

NITP National President Mr. Luka Bulus Achi who performed the investiture of the new State Chairman through his first Vice President, Mr. Lekwa Ezutah, urged town planners to remain focused on the development of functional, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable human settlements saying that to achieve this “ we must address our minds to the fact that professional planning is not only about development control as there are even more serious issues of sustainability, inclusiveness, resilience, live ability of the human settlement”.

The new Chapter Chairman pledged to reposition town planning in Abia State in particular and the country in general through effective capacity building for members.

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