By Muhyideen Jimoh
Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has underscored the need for adequate physical and urban planning measures to drive the country’s economic development.
National President of NITP, Mr Nathaniel Atebije, stated this on Monday in Abuja at the quarterly news briefing of the institute, with the theme: “The New Dawn: We are either done or down.”
Atebije, who commended the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for its new policy direction, stressed the need for proper planning, consultation and implementation of critical policies for any meaningful development to take place in Nigeria.
“I listened to the inaugural address of the president with loads of hope and appreciation. There seem to be a focus, but the focus needs some level of trimming to ensure that we get our priorities right.
“The president spoke profusely on security, economy, job creation, agriculture, infrastructure, monetary policy, foreign policy and other matters. Such lofty dreams have been shared in the past but they went unfulfilled because of lack of planning.
“I reiterate that all the listed activities take place on available land; and unless there is plan of where such projects are to be located, the best of the investments may not be realised.
“We should bear in mind that land is fixed and demands on it expand every day. To ensure that the right project is in the right place at the right time, town planners must be engaged as consultants to plan our settlements and manage them,” he said.
The NITP president called for use of new technological tools, such as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to aid physical planning, in line with international best practices.
“Geographic Information Systems (GIS) serves as both database and toolbox for urban planning. In a database-oriented GIS, spatial and textual data can be stored and linked, using the geo-relational model.
“GIS supports efficient data retrieval, query and mapping. When combined with data from other tabular databases or specially conducted surveys, such as socio-economic surveys, geographic information can be used to make effective planning decisions,” he said.
According to him, issues such as flooding, ocean surges and other disasters can be curtailed through holistic planning.
Atebije decried the recent ocean surge in a riverine community in Ilaje, Ondo State, which displaced more than 2,000 people, while calling for more attention from the federal and state governments.
He also called on Kano State government to exercise restraint and be more logical and professional in carrying out any demolition in the state.
The NITP president said that the institute would continue to work with relevant stakeholders, including state and federal governments, to enhance professional urban and town planning for the good of the country. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq