Abia proposes master plans for Umuahia, others 

NITP

Past NITP National President, Dr Chijioke Odumuko (left); National President, Dr. Femi Olomola; Abia Deputy Governor Ude Oko Chukwu, Vice chairman, Abia State Chapter of NITP, Lekwa Ezutah; Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Renewal Elder Ocee Aguwa (Permanent Secretary) and State Chairman/state’s Director of Town Planning, Chibueze Nwaogwugwu at the luncheon held in Aba, recently

After several failed attempts, the State government is embarking on structure and master plan for Aba and other city centres. However, experts say NITP members should take the issue of plan preparation and implementation seriously as well as ensure that adequate resources are made available to implement the project 

PRESSED to address unplanned urbanization, Abia authorities have commenced the development of master plans in three major city centres – Umuahia, Aba and Ohafia.

The new development was announced at the 2015 annual luncheon of the Abia State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) held at Aba, recently.

Speaking at the Luncheon, Ikpeazu who was represented by his deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu said that his government’s policy thrust, which is hinged on education, commerce, industry, oil and gas, health and education cannot be achieved without proper planning of the state physical environment. He described the theme of the Luncheon “ Improving The Quality of Life of Abians Through Physical Planning” as apt “ at the time the government is making impact through massive rehabilitation of roads and infrastructural developments.

Ikpeazu pledged the government’s willingness to collaborate with NITP to improve the quality of life of Abians and the cities through the implementation of all master plans.

The UN Habitat Programme Manager in Nigeria, Kabir Yari, said that the choice of the luncheon theme, which he described as apt and timely, “demonstrates the proactive thinking and the willingness of the Planners of Abia State to be part of the solution to the multifarious problems of urbanization and unplanned urban growth.

I would recommend that you take the issue of plan preparation and plan implementation very seriously, he stated, stressing that urbanisation and unplanned urban growth are associated with slums, informal settlements development, traffic congestion and inadequate basic urban services. “Urbanisation dividend does not come automatically.

The way urbanisation is planned and managed matters significantly. If cities are to contribute significantly as engines of growth, they must get necessary and adequate attention from the city authorities.

This comes in terms of adequate resources – technical, financial and institutional capacities as well as tools and instruments to plan and manage cities,” said Mr. Yari.

He said: “The challenge before a professional organization like the NITP is how to be a catalyst in breaking the current vicious cycle of inadequate planning and dysfunctional settlements to a vicious cycle of getting livable, efficient and functional cities”, the Programme Manager stated that UN Habitat developed a number of tools and instruments to assist planners and policy makers to undertake their jobs more efficiently” The State NITP Chairman who doubles as the state’s Director of Town Planning, Chibueze Nwaogwugwu commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for approving the commencement of the Aba Master Plan and flagging off various development projects.

Amongst dignitaries at the occasion are NITP National President, Dr. Femi Olomola, his Vice Lekwa Ezutah, past National President, Dr Chijioke Odumuko, A past president of the institute, Moses Ajayi, Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Renewal Elder Ocee Aguwa among others In his paper titled “ Improving The Quality of Life Through Physical Planning”, Ajayi said planners need all the support to transform the physical environment. “

If we want improvement of the quality of life in our cities, we must allow physical planners to do their work and give them all the support as individuals, communities as well as different levels of Government or we shall all suffer the consequences”.

He defined physical planning as developing a rational use of land with accompanying infrastructure and restraining the excesses of individuals in the interest of the community. “

Physical planning refers to the active process of organizing the structures and functions to ensure orderly and effective sitting (or location) of land uses and encompasses deliberate determination of spatial patterns with aim of achieving the most optimum level of land utilization in a sustainable manner.

Physical planning which is normally carried out by the state and local government organizations for the general good of the community, is a design exercise that uses the land use plan as a framework to propose the optimal physical infrastructure for the a settlement or area, including infrastructure for public services, transport, economic activities, recreation and environment protection.

Physical Planning is concerned with the general pattern of land use, the character and location of public buildings and structures, the design of streets, the location and development of transit and transportation systems and all other physical facilities which are necessary or desirable to promote the economic betterment, comfort, convenience and the general welfare of the people”.

Also speaking, Odumuko called for urgent acquisition of the Aba Metropolitan Physical Development Master Plan as its faithful implementation has the ability to promote the quality of life of the people.”

Where they do not exist as in the case of Aba, the access to the various benefits will certainly be lacking.” He recalled that in the 1953 Population Census, Aba human population was about 58,000, presently over one million, and growing to becoming a mega city. “In 1948, the Colonial Administration prepared the Aba Township Master Plan which became the basis for its development.”

He added that the government of the defunct Eastern Nigeria gave physical development planning a boost by the promulgation of the Town and Country Planning Law Cap 126 of 1963 under which the Aba Planning Authority was created to attend to its physical development.

According to him, a bold attempt was made by the former old Imo state governor late Chief Sam Mbakwe to move forward the physical development planning of the state while in 1980, under the powers conferred by the Land Use Decree of 1978, out of 33 No Settlements, 14 of them in present Abia State, were designated Urban Areas.

Odumuko disclosed that government proceeded to commission the physical preparation of a comprehensive physical development Master Plans for the various Urban Areas and Growth Points with varied degrees of success and failure, he said that in the case of Aba, a contract for the preparation of its comprehensive physical development plan was awarded but that for various reasons including lack of necessary base maps and particularly, political will, the project failed. 1013wds



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