Institute Calls for Review of Town Planning Law

The Nigeria Institute of Town Planning (NITP) has called for the review of the 1992 Town Planning Law to enhance efficiency in urban planning.

The Acting National President of the institute, Mr Luka Achi, made the call recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

Achi said the review of the town planning law should ensure effective resource management and stipulation of the functions of the three tiers government.

``Each government, either state or local government should look at the 1992 Planning Law which exists in the country that tells you what to do at each level – federal, state and local government.

``The authorities that you have to compose; the kind of jobs you are supposed to do, the kind of plans that are prepared.

``But you will discover that some states are yet to enact the laws for their states.

``I think government needs to first look at the law to know what is on (the) ground, then call the professionals to question.

``So, I think if the government starts in that way, to me, it is going to reduce a lot of waste they are having in the country because planning is also resource management.’’

The acting president stressed the need for the political office holders to appreciate that planning helps in averting decisions that will create frictions especially when structures are put on the ground.

He noted that some state government have yet to enact a town planning law and employ the right calibre of professionals to render the much needed services.

Achi, a chartered town planner also listed ways by which the government at all levels should ensure standard in town planning.

``The first is getting the professionals to fill in the correct places.

``Two, getting the political (office) holders to appreciate what planning can do for them.

``Three, is for both the society and government to respect the provisions of the law and what it says, especially when it comes to putting anything on the ground.

``Any decision a human being takes must be interpreted into some geographical space and that geographical space is what we plan, we arrange , we organise so that those activities can work together without causing friction and creating an embarrassment on the other persons.

``Once you violate that principle, of course you will be faced with a lot of problems. You have to plan ahead.

``It is the same thing with physical environment. If you don’t plan, you will continue to see all the vices we are seeing now; they are a result of lack of planning.’’

He explained that every settlement is supposed to have some form of planning control but said some states place more emphasis on the cities because of ``administrative convenience”.

``So, people can misbehave in smaller towns until it becomes unbearable that the rate at which it goes makes it difficult for these planners to go there for enforcement.

``Equipment is also responsible as we need mobility to go round and a whole department may have only one vehicle and equally lack maintenance fees.

``It is required that you must use security officers during enforcement, and if you do not have the fund to carry them along you will be forced to carry few and it will be inefficient.

The acting president decried the appointment of quacks in the town planning sector, attributing the trend to ``god-fatherism’’.

``The wrong people are doing our jobs; those that are not trained who have grown in the system constituting nuisance thinking they are planning well while professional planners are blamed for not doing the jobs.