COVID-19: Bauchi moves to reform urban planning, redistribute social services




Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed

Worried about ravaging Coronavirus pandemic and the threats that crowded and unplanned environments pose to its easy spread, Bauchi state government is speeding up plans to reform its urban planning to provide for redistribution of social services.

Bauchi state Comissioner of Lands & Survey, Professor Ahmed Adamu disclosed this on Monday in a statement he personally signed and made available to our correspondent.

He said that the state is completing an ambitious reform of its urban planning institutions to more effectively deal with public health issues and pandemics.

He explained that this has also been an important window at repositioning the state for sustainable development.

The Commissioner added that the origins of modern planning has direct links to public health, and that social and physical distancing are integral parts of urban planning regulations and basis for development control which the reform will revisit.

“The policy and institutional reform involve strengthening urban governance and land management, to allow the state, more effectively address informal growth and land speculation, and to redistribute social services and activity clusters across major cities.

“The State Capital is currently the leading recipient of internally displaced persons, many of whom live in poorly serviced outlying squatter settlements.

“The State recently signed a cooperation agreement with the UN-Habitat on urban reform and is completing new infrastructure networks to ease traffic congestion and reduce urban densification,” he added.

On the historical significance of cities in shaping human destiny, Professor Ahmed said that the time is more than ripe for national planning to accord special attention on the value and risks in Nigeria’s urbanisation landscape.

“Not only are our major cities key to our economic survival, but they are also in the frontline of pandemics as the COVID-19 crisis has just shown.”

It would be recalled that the World Bank has variously advocated for a shift in Nigeria’s development planning, from oil to cities.

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