By Muhyideen Jimoh, Abuja.
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called on the Federal Government to put in place structures for the implementation of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act.
Its National President, Mr Nathaniel Atebije, made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the quarterly press conference of the Institute.
Atebije, who decried the lack of physical planning in most states of the country, underscored the need to implement the 1992 Act to the letter, so as to avoid environmental disasters.
“What explanation can the government give to the people of Nigeria for not effectively activating the law on urban and regional planning which it enacted about 30 years ago?
“We call on the Federal Government, governments at all levels and the people of this nation to urgently activate the law on urban and regional planning which was enacted in 1992.
“There is also need to set up relevant structures to promote the planning and development of our human settlements,” he said.
The Act provides for physical and development planning in Nigeria and for the protection of the environment.
It also provides for the setting up of the Development Control Department and the Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal.
The president, in his paper titled “There can be no prosperity in the jungle”, likened most states to a “jungle” because of the lack of urban planning, which had resulted in slums, inadequate social infrastructure and insecurity.
“A jungle has no plan; each member of a jungle navigates its own way. Some members in a jungle are predators, while others are preys.
“Nigerian settlements are a caricature of space, a travesty of order and display of environmental cacophony.
“We make bold to say that any group of people, community or government that neglects physical planning has sealed a contract to perish and has enrolled to be on the judgement line of posterity,” he added.
Atebije also stressed the need to establish a Federal Ministry of Physical Planning and recruit professional town planners to guide location of land uses.
He said that the perennial flooding and other environment disasters, being experienced in the country, could be mitigated through an integrated masterplan.
The NITP. which was established in 1966, has steadily grown to be the leading body in sustainable, integrated and inclusive urban planning in Nigeria.