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Ogun retools physical planning agencies, unfolds 'build right' initiative

Published by Guardian on Mon, 20 Aug 2012

ALARMED at the spread of unplanned physical developments across the state, the Ogun State Government, has retooled the two agencies saddled with the responsibility of managing development and planning in the state, as plans are afoot to launch a new initiative known as 'Build Right.'The bodies are Ogun State Urban and Regional Planning Board (OGURPB) and Bureau of Urban and Physical Planning (BUPP). While the latter is given the responsibility of policy formulation, the former implements and enforces the policies on physical planning and Development.Build Right is the state's strategy of responding to mounting challenges confronting physical development and planning in the state, The Guardian has learnt. It's a programme by the two agencies aimed to ensure that anyone building within the state complies with the law on building regulations.Compliance with building plan approval will ensure that buildings are erected in accordance with the law and not on drainage channels, flood plains, beneath high tension wire or on land designated for major road projects or other public uses.With the new initiative, the government will engage in extensive public campaign on compliance to all relevant state laws on planning, and where necessary, all developments that have contravened the laws, which could not rejigged would be totally demolished.Speaking exclusively to The Guardian on the programme last week in Abeokuta, the General Manager, Urban and Regional Planning Board (OGURPB), Mr. Abiodun Stephen Adewolu, said the present administration has decided to rebuild the state, having observed spread and continuous rise of unplanned structures across the state, a situation that could lead to coarse, if not checked now.'Ogun State is one of the fastest developing states in Nigeria both in residential and commercial development and this fast growth has created some challenges. Specifically, many individuals, companies and even large religious groups simply develop property without going through formal building approval.'As a result, we have properties, which have been built on flood plains, under high tension wires or cited in wrong locations. We also have properties, which are illegally built in areas zoned for other purposes, for example some buildings are occupying land, which had been designated for road expansion and may bow need to be demolished. In other cases people have just added floors to existing buildings and such developments face a major risk of collapse.'On the retooling, the OGURPB's chief, said the Amosu-led administration had invested over N130 million in vehicles, computer equipment and other resources to ensure that the agencies can effectively discharge their obligations.He said the initiative is imperative now, as many of state's owned lands had been encroached into. For instance, while nearly all the secondary school landed property had been encroached into, government's landed property around Presidential Hilltop, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Obasanjo Hilltop, Agbara Estate, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) among others, had been also encroached into by some lawless people.Adewolu said the programme will affect all stakeholders in the construction sector ' developers, professionals and the governments be it local or state, positively well.'It is going to make our state better for all by ensuring that development is properly managed. So for examples, lives will not be put at risk by building of a filling station very close to a residential building or next to a school. Also the risk of injury from collapsed building will be reduced because developers will not able to put building on flood plains and then rent them to people. For those who own land in Ogun State, build right is a charter that ensures transparency in our building plan approval process, by ensuring that everything is easily understood. Those who have property without building plan approval cannot sell their property at the moment, but by regularising, buyers can confidently proceed knowing that the property they are buying is legally approved.'And once the initiative is launched, as a way of enforcing the law, officials of the board, will be patrolling the state to monitor development and to ensure that all on-going building projects have building plan approval, which has been simplified.
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