By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Federal Government has solicited collaboration from the UN-Habitat to facilitate its Urban Renewal, Slum Upgrading and New City Development Project.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa made the appealed when Mr Oumar Sylla, Director, African office of UN-Habitat based in Nairobi visited him on Friday in Abuja.
Dangiwa said basis on UN-Habitat’s vision “a better quality of life for all in an urbanising world” aligns fully with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration of Sustainable and Urban Development.
“So as a ministry, we have a plan to increase access to decent, quality and affordable housing for all Nigerians.
“This includes 80 per cent of low and medium income segments of the society.
“It is for this reason that I am impressed with your Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2023. I see several points of intersection with the Renewed Hope Agenda of our government,’’ he said.
Dangiwa urged UN-Habitat to continue to render technical support to the ministry as the focal point for implementation of Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 11, aimed at making towns and cities safe and sustainable.
“We will like to seek UN-Habitat collaboration in advancing the SDGs and helping us to mobilise multilateral funding for our Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading Projects and New City Development Project,’’ he said.
The minister assured the UN-Habitat director of the country’s commitment to fulfill its obligations.
“We have set in motion the process for our country to pay its statutory contribution to UN-Habitat; this was delayed due to the transition to a new administration in the country.
“We belief that the continuous funding support for the UN-Habitat Support Office (UN-HAPSO) in Nigeria will reposition the office to adequately play its role in providing technical support services to housing stakeholders in our country.
“In developing a future work plan, we will like to have a series of engagements with UN-Habitat so that the activities and programmes mapped out will align with the priorities of the current administration,” Dangiwa said.
He expressed optimism that the visit would bring more impactful partnership between the ministry and UN-Habitat that would reflect the vision which included reduced spatial inequality and poverty in communities.
Earlier, the leader of UN-Habitat delegation, Sylla congratulated the minister on his appointment and pledged the organisation’s support with the government on the realisation of urban development.
“We have a long standing partnership with Nigeria in various areas and at the continental level.
“We have been promoting sustainable urbanisation and Nigeria has been supporting the development of the new urban agenda which is the frame work of acceleration of the SDGs.
“At the national level, we are working in support of the revision of National Urban Policy, National Housing Policy and supporting member states in planning to anticipate growth, where UN- habitat is bringing its expertise,’’ he said.
Sylla said that the organization was working in various states on the issue of basic service and support many states like Yobe on provision of water and sanitation especially during COVID 19.
“Moving forward, we are here to see how best we can start this collaboration between UN-habitat and the government of Nigeria knowing that there is a new administration and new vision.
“We are happy to see urbanisation being one of the priority areas of this government where UN-habitat can bring some valid addition to make sure the cities offer better lives to all citizens.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the UN-habitat is the leading agency on human settlement and urbanisation that provide support to member states in anticipation of urban expansion.
The organisation also supports member countries to make sure cities become livable place and energetic for economic transformation.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ekemini Ladejobi