From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

The Nation Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has blamed governments across the nation for poor city planning and springing up of slumps in major cities of the country.

National president of the Institute, Olutoye Ayinde, gave the blame in Umuahia, the Abia State capital during a tour of the state.

Ayinde, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development said approval of buildings is a pedestrian aspect of the work of a Town Planner, stressing that building plans weree meant to be within the framework of development plans for any settlement.

“Each city supposed to have master plans which are policy statements of government, but what we have had is that the various levels of plans that are supposed to have been done, were left undone and this is not the making of the Town Planners, it is the making of government”.

The NITP President noted that it was only government that takes leadership in making the plans because it has what he called the power of eminent domain.

“Government has the power of eminent domain, it is only her that can take over someone’s land for over riding public interest and that is why government must take responsibility for preparing those plans that will make building plans make sense.

“It is government that dictates the pace of how cities grow, they make policy for public housing, so, when there is a gap, like we have in Nigeria, every citizen is left to self help”.

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Ayinde said he was touring the nation to access the state of planning and create awareness as according to him, “even many governors think that building plan approval is town planning and that’s turning the whole things upside down”.

“The tour was meant to enlighten those in authority and the stakeholders of what town planning is all about”.

He advised his members to collaborate with government to do planning and to make cities livable and sustainable.

Chairman of Abia chapter of NITP, Kingsley Madumere decried the situation whereby town Planners were blamed when there was building collapse.

“Town Planner is not a builder, he is not an architect or a structural engineer, his work is essentially to ensure that land uses are maintained”.

Elder Nelson Nwaosu, immediate past chairman of NITP, Abia State and Stephen Nwazue, the institue’s publicity Secretary advised perspective developers to always get approval from relevant authorities before embarking on any project.

They said it will not be in the interest of developers to want to have their way with money instead of going the hug of getting their application properly approved.