Urban Planner Urges Rivers State to Prioritize Physical Planning

Prominent urban planner and member of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planning (NITP), Emmanuel Ikechukwu, has urged the Rivers State administration to give physical planning and development the highest priority.

In a statement released yesterday in Port Harcourt, Ikechukwu urged the State administration to give physical planning and development the highest priority.

He urged the state to take advantage of the town planning profession’s potentials in order to meet global difficulties brought on by rising urbanization and guarantee a higher standard of living for all of its citizens.

Effective physical planning is not a luxury, but a bare minimum for the region’s sustainable growth and development, he declared. It is high time Rivers State understood this.

 

Ikechukwu emphasized the historical omissions and ignorance relating to the state’s need for physical planning and highlighting the terrible effects this carelessness has had on its people.

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Ikechukwu identified the early 1970s as the time when the necessity for thorough planning first became widely recognized as the cause of the problem.

He mentioned how the state government started creating settlement master plans and physical blueprints during this time.

Nevertheless, he added, “Despite these efforts, a lack of political will and finance resulted in these proposals accumulating dust on government office shelves, never seeing the light of implementation.

 

He made the point that the situation of the state’s human settlements now is largely due to this ongoing disregard for sound physical design.

 

Even the River State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2003, which at the time was signed into law by Governor Sir Dr. Peter Odili, is still mainly inactive today.

This lax enforcement, he claimed, “reflects the government’s limited belief in the significance of physical planning to the overall well-being of its citizens.” Ikechukwu stressed that a state of emergency is necessary in the case of Port Harcourt and Rivers State as a whole.

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The repercussions of poor physical planning are plaguing the area, rather than valuing and coordinating land use activities. Building collapses, unplanned settlements, unnecessary flooding, and other disasters are some examples of how these manifest, and all of these have a negative impact on the quality of life and the mortality rate.

 

He raised the crucial query of why the top priority for development has been pushed to the margins.

He questioned, “Is it a deliberate ploy or a lack of political will to improve the well-being of the state’s residents through effective planning and physical development activities capable of transforming the social, physical, and economic fortunes of the state?”

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Ikechukwu also expressed amazement at how little the educated elite in the State knew about the field of physical planning.

He emphasized the important need for knowledge and education in this crucial subject, pointing out the ridiculousness of hearing the term “urban renewal” being used incorrectly to describe funerals that have been expanded.