Nathaniel Atebije, the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, has urged the Federal Government led by Bola Tinubu to create a dedicated Ministry of Physical Planning.
Atebije believes that such a ministry is necessary to enhance the quality of the environment, which he claims currently resembles a chaotic jungle, hindering prosperity due to inadequate attention to national physical planning.
During his quarterly press conference in Abuja on Monday, Atebije emphasized the importance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government fulfilling its campaign promise by ensuring strict adherence to town planning laws and environmental regulations.
He expressed concern over the environmental damages caused by ocean surges, attributing them to the lack of proper physical planning.
Atebije also cautioned against employing foreign experts for the country’s Geographical Information System, highlighting potential national security risks.
Atebije stated, “We call upon the APC-led Federal Government to establish institutions that will enforce the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law, enacted about three decades ago. This includes setting up the National Physical Planning Commission to prepare a national physical plan.
Furthermore, we urge the federal government to restructure its agencies and establish a dedicated Ministry of Physical Planning rather than treating it as a subordinate department.”
He acknowledged the positive start of the new administration and expressed the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners’ anticipation for effective and purposeful leadership.
“While listening to the president’s inaugural address, I felt hopeful and appreciative. There is a clear focus. However, this focus needs refinement to ensure that our priorities are properly aligned.
The president extensively discussed security, the economy, job creation, agriculture, infrastructure, monetary policy, foreign policy, and other matters. In the past, lofty dreams of this nature were shared but remained unfulfilled due to a lack of planning.”
Atebije reiterated that all the mentioned activities take place on land, and proper planning of project locations is necessary for the best investments to yield desired results.
Considering the fixed nature of the land and the increasing demands placed upon it, he emphasized the importance of engaging town planners as consultants to plan and manage settlements effectively.