By Amuda Dan Sulaiman FAB
Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has expressed concern over the alarming rate of urbanization in Africa and Asia.
Speaking yesterday at the 50th National Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan (UI), Mrs. Aliyu lamented that a very large proportion of the urban population lived in slums and squatter settlements without basic necessities of life.
The minister, who said the theme of the conference ‘Regenerating Nigerian Cities for Sustainable Development’ was apt, regretted that many urban towns in Nigeria needed regeneration.
Her speech reads in part: “This year’s conference of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners of which I am a proud member comes with a special mix of history. This ancient city Ibadan which is home to the oldest degree awarding Institution in Nigeria is not only the cradle of knowledge as popularly known but is also the cradle of our great Institute, because the first meeting was held here in Ibadan 50 years ago. I am indeed privileged to be part of that history as probably the First Female Town planner to be appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Worthy of note is the privilege to meet one of the founding fathers of the Institute in the person of Pa Adediran who will also be participating in this year’s conference.
Standing humbly before you today with gratitude to God almighty, my message will be incomplete without saying a very big thank you to the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, HE, President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising and appointing a town planner and one of our own into his cabinet.
It is my dream that one day, a town planner and one of our own, will rise up to the occasion of becoming the president of our great nation, to bring the true essence of urban and regional planning to bear as well as to add more value to the aesthetic beauty of Nigerians wonderful topography.
The theme of this year’s conference “Regenerating Nigerian Cities for Sustainable Development” could not have come at a better time than now. The rapid urbanization in many developing countries over the past half-century seems to have been accompanied by excessively high levels of concentration of urban population in very large cities.
Urbanization is taking place at different speeds in different continents globally.In Africa and Asia the proportion of city dwellers is rising at an alarming rate, and it is predicted that the proportion will likely reach 50 percent by the year 2025. Developing countries today face greater urbanization challenges than developed countries. Developed countries urbanized at a comparatively leisurely pace.
It is worthy of note that nearly half of the Worlds’ people are now city dwellers and more than one billion of the worlds’ city residents live in inadequate or deficient housing; because of rapid urbanization. The problem is more felt in Africa, Asia and Latin America where half of the population are either homeless or living in houses which are dangerous to health and an affront to human dignity. A very high proportion of the urban population live in slums and squatter settlements without adequate water, lighting, sanitation and waste disposal. In Nigeria, Many towns in urban centers also need regeneration.
It is my sincere view and hope that this conference will examine the goals and operations of regeneration in the built environment, the problems, criticisms and achievements in Nigeria and also articulate how the built environment could be improved upon or enhanced for sustainable development and living in Nigerian cities.
Let me at this juncture commend the efforts of the National President and members of the National Executive Council of the Institute for this wonderful and timely initiative to take the lead in the discussion on regenerating Nigerian cities for sustainable development. And I am optimistic that the outcome of this conference will add significant value to our policy thrust in the development and growth of our cities on a sustainable basis.
Finally, I wish to declare the 2019 Annual Conference of the Institute with the theme: “REGENERATING NIGERIAN CITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT” Open.