Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa has announced the Federal Government’s plan to enhance cooperation with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) to advance efforts aimed at achieving a more sustainable housing and urban landscape.
The minister made this commitment during a meeting with the leadership of the institute on Thursday at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Arc. Dangiwa emphasized the significance of effective urban and regional planning, highlighting that the institute’s contributions and the expertise of its members would play a pivotal role in the ministry’s endeavours to construct livable, respectable, and sustainable cities and communities.
- “As you are all aware, our great nation is at a critical juncture in its history. With a rapidly growing population and urbanization trends, the challenges facing our cities and towns have become more complex and demanding. It is evident that proper urban planning and housing development are key to addressing these challenges effectively.”
He further underscored the institute’s vital role in shaping the physical, social, and economic development of cities and communities, emphasizing the importance of expertise in spatial planning, environmental management, and infrastructure development to ensure well-structured urban areas that meet the needs of citizens.
NITP’s advocacy for policy reforms and capacity-building initiatives
NITP’s delegation, led by its president, Town Planner Nathaniel Atebije, highlighted the challenges faced by the institute and the sector as a whole.
They called on the Minister to support specific requests, including expediting the completion of the Revised National Urban Development Policy and National Physical Planning Standards.
They also urged the implementation of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law to guide physical development and the establishment of relevant institutions such as the National Urban and Regional Planning Commission.
Atebije further noted that
- “Presenting an executive bill to amend areas of the law that do not have sufficient provisions for effective enforcement to make the law more contemporary, particularly with the possibility of putting physical planning matters on the concurrent list in the constitution, is an important step to take.” He urged the Ministry to prioritize comprehensive capacity building for professionals to enhance their performance.
One of the institute’s requests is the establishment of an agency responsible for gathering and analyzing housing data to access both quantity and quality, facilitating effective planning and implementation of housing policies.
Minister’s reassurances and Collaborative efforts on Urban Planning Challenges
In response, the Minister assured the delegation that many issues related to the legal and regulatory frameworks of urban and physical planning, raised by the institute, were already under examination by relevant departments and partner agencies.
- “For instance, we’re already working with the National Population Commission to conduct a housing census to determine the quality and quantity of houses in Nigeria so that we can ascertain the true situation. We do not believe there’s a need to create another agency for that purpose, as it would further increase the cost of governance, which this administration is trying to reduce. Besides, that would amount to duplication of responsibilities.”
- “On the issue of placing the law in the concurrent list, we’re already working with the states to make that a reality. However, it also depends on the cooperation of the National Assembly, which we’re confident we will receive. I can assure you that the other issues you raised, including those related to the implementation of the Urban and Regional Planning law, undue tenure elongation of your council members, and the recruitment and training of professionals, are matters we are taking seriously as a ministry, and they will be resolved in due time.”