TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, has assured members of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, that efforts would be made for improved budgetary provisions in 2021 budget.
This was in view of the critical roles town planners play through review and implementation of physical plans for satellite towns, urban renewal, and other levels of planning interventions.
Aliyu, who gave this commitment when members of the topmost management of the planning profession paid her a courtesy visit in her office.
She, however,stressed that recent flooding in most parts of the territory could have been avoided if town planners were actively engaged in the physical planning of satellite towns and settlements.
The minister who is also a town planner by profession frowned at the conflicts of roles between physical planners and engineers and other allied professionals, saying “this is an era to redefine the essence of town planning in Nigeria”.
In her words ; “How can town planning not be given prominence and engineering takes precedence? And this what we faced as a professional body. The flooding which is unexpected is as a result of neglecting town planners. Perhaps, it is an opportunity for town planners to also sit together and see how they can salvage the situation.
“However, in the FCT and with the approval of the FCT Minister, we set up an adhoc committee of town planners to go round the city to see what has been done and what is left undone. This is because if we continue to do the same thing again and again, we should not expect different result. I can tell you proudly that in the past, powers were usurped and realities are now telling on us. This is an era to redefine the essence of town planning in Nigeria”.
She, therefore, appealed to members of the National Assembly to assist the profession for improved budgetary provisions for the implementation of physical plans for satellite towns and urban management.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of delegation and National President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Tpl. Lekwa Ezutah, commended the minister for what he described as “demonstrated passion and commitment to the course of physical planning” in Nigeria particularly in the Federal Capital Territory since assumption of office as FCT Minister of State.
While appreciating the efforts at creating the Directorate of Physical Planning in FCT Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), he implored the Directorate of Physical Planning be given the full latitude to exercise its functions instead of being subsumed under the Directorate of Engineering Services of the STDD, noting that such step would promote effective delivery of services by the Directorate.
“We have observed that the FCT is in dire need for planners at all levels to facilitate organised development and achievement of the intents of the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the provisions of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law.
“We recommend an aggressive manpower hunt for professional planners into the services of FCTA, provide adequate equipment for enforcement and improve the capacity of planners through training and retraining programmes either locally or international programmes,” he stressed.
Ezutah, however, pledged the Institute readiness to be part of providing affordable housing for rural dwellers in the Federal Capital Territory.