By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
Federal Government has tasked directors of town planning and other relevant stakeholders on the need for development of functional physical planning standards for Nigeria.
The Director Urban and Regional Development (URD), Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Olasunkanmi Dunmoye, made the disclosure at a workshop, held in Ibadan, Oyo State,recently.
The two-day regional workshop was organised for directors and experts on preparation of national physical planning standards in Nigeria.
Dunmoye, represented by an official of the ministry, David Olakunde, said the Federal Government had, in November 2021, mobilised national stakeholders to drive the process of developing common standards and guidelines that could be applied to moderate physical planning activities in the country.
He said that the efforts had resulted in the generation of a general framework of core thematic issues to be contained in the proposed document.
“It was agreed that the framework shall be subjected to reviews by stakeholder groups at regional levels and this explains why we are gathered here today.
“It is a clear fact that the federal government and all sub-national governments had been applying one set of standards or the other before now.
“But there is the need to synchronise these to reflect our federal character.
“There is also the need for federating units to work together more closely in order to guarantee smooth, sustainable and cohesive human settlements development across the country.
“You will all agree with me that one of the most popular global slogans amongst developmental experts today is: ‘leave no one behind’.
“This is what the initiative for developing National Physical Planning Standards seeks to promote,” he said.
Dunmoye further stated that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing viewed the physical planning standards preparatory process as a landmark event that would determine the destiny of human settlement development in Nigeria in the foreseeable future.
He reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to driving the process to a logical conclusion.
The director said that the stakeholders were at the workshop to discharge the task of preparing a tool that had the potential of guaranteeing integrated and sustainable socio-economic and physical development for Nigeria.
According to him, it is a tool that several other African countries have embraced and applied successfully to move their respective countries forward.
Dunmoye urged the stakeholders to provide vital inputs toward improving the draft physical planning manual, such that it would become the springboard for engendering harmonious development in the region.
He also enjoined them to play their respective roles with utmost diligence, thereby setting a very clear direction for eventual national workshop.
“At the end of the series of regional workshops at regional levels, we are hopeful that a fully acceptable, practical and functional instrument for the management of physical development activities in Nigeria would emerge.
In his address of welcome, a Director in the Urban and Regional Development Unit of the ministry, David Olakunde, said that the workshop was aimed at formulating acceptable physical planning standards for Nigeria.
He said that the ministry had, in 1992, initiated the annual forum of Directors and Heads of Town Planning Organisations in Nigeria to engender productive collaboration on physical planning issues.
“Since then, the enthusiasm and support to the vision of working together for common good have been very high. It is our earnest prayer that the zeal will not wane at any time.
“Our coming together today is to deepen the ongoing process of preparing the first-ever compendium of standards that will help guarantee sustainable development of the different aspects of physical environment and human settlements across Nigeria.
“We are here to build on what had been done so far and to introduce the region’s specific character into the document in the making.
“In welcoming you, I want to pose this challenge that we apply the opportunity of this workshop for maximum benefit.
“In the course of this meeting, we shall be relying on each and every one of us to put forward his or her best efforts into the various discourses.
“If we are diligent with this request, we shall finish well by improving the quality of these national planning codes and regulations,” he said.
Olakunde added that the workshop would also be promoting the synergy amongst different tiers of government as well as building higher levels of partnerships between government and non-governmental agencies playing roles in the human settlement development sector.
In his goodwill message, the Federal Controller of Housing in Oyo State, Mr Jacob Gbolahan, stressed the need for Nigeria, as a rapidly growing and developing country, to prepare and implement the national physical standard.
This, according to him, will ensure that all the physical developments in the country, whether for circulation, recreational, agricultural, educational, residential, commercial or industrial purpose, are planned and executed in a sustainable, efficient and equitable manner.
“It will also help to protect our natural environment and preserve it for future generations.
“The standard, which will be applicable at all levels of planning, from the national level down to the local government level, will take into account the unique characteristics and peculiar needs of each region.
“The standard should also address the challenges confronting the nation, such as the rising population, rapid urbanisation, climate change and socio-economic inequalities.
“The preparation and implementation of this standard is a monumental task and will require the cooperation and support of all levels of government, including the private sector and the civil society,” he said.
Gbolahan welcomed all the participants and urged them to make quality contributions for the success of the workshop.