9th June, 2010
The Lagos State House of Assembly, South-West Nigeria, has finally split the State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development in the bill it just passed to strengthen the ministry and put an end to cases of building collapse in the state.
The three agencies that would now operate under the ministry include the Physical Planning Authority, the Building Control Agency and the Urban Regeneration Authority. They would be overseen by General Managers and have been given different areas of concentration according to the bill titled â€œLagos State Urban and Regional Planning Development Bills, 2010.â€
The Physical Planning Authority attempts to redefine the environment and map out the environment in terms of physical structures. It will also issue building plan permit and drawing and design of regional plan.
The Building Control Agency focuses on the physical structures and insurance for structures undergoing second and third floors, while the Urban Regeneration Authority has the duty of revamping blighted areas in the state and turning slums around.
While expressing his joy that the bill has seen the light of day, a member of the House, Hon. Muftau Egberongbe, who proposed the bill, said the concept and idea about physical planning had always been lucid and weak before the bill was passed by the house. This, he said, was the reason for the defects in structures in the state.
â€œWith the population explosion and the mega city prospect of the state, if we fail to do the necessary planning of our environment, we might end up in chaos. God forbid another Tsunami and a disease prone environment.
â€œThe bill tends to map out the grey areas and effect solutions where possible and to ensure the issue of collapsed buildings would be a thing of the past,â€ Hon. Egberongbe said.
He further said that the machinery to make the bill work was ready and that the bill was to ensure recorganization of the machinery to make it more functional and proactive.
â€œIt is a welcome idea and the committee did a detailed job to fill a vacuum in our society and the impact will be positive,â€ he added while expressing optimism that the bill would become effective when the state governor, Babatunde Fashola, finally assents to it.
Majority Leader of the House, Kolawole Taiwo, had at the plenary and the third reading of the bill, moved the motion which was seconded by Mudasiru Obasa from Agege Constituency II for the bill to be sent to the governor for his assent.
Though the bill empowers the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development to delegate responsibilities to agencies and review the issuance of planning permits, it requires the assent of the state governor for special building projects.
â€” Eromosele Ebhomele