By Miracle Esegha, Warri
The governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has said that officials of the Town Planning Office and other regulatory authorities must ensure strict compliance with the town planning and urban development laws.
According to him, a safe, secure and flood-free environment required the cooperation and strong partnership of the regulatory officials and the public.
He made the call,
Oborewori made this assertion when the National President and Executive members of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, led by Mr. Nathaniel Atebije, visited him at Government House, Asaba, on Monday.
The governor maintained that the theme of the Conference “Planning Nigerian Settlements for Climate Change Adaptation and Flood Resilience,” was timely in view of the devastating effects of flooding in the country.
He said, “town planning is a critical factor in preventing flooding in our urban centres and communities. The indiscriminate construction of buildings on waterways is something that must be addressed.
“This is a very timely topic, given the growing concerns about the problems associated with Climate Change and Global Warming. As you may be aware, Delta State is a coastal state and faced with the problems of erosion and flooding.
“The Delta State capital, Asaba, and the commercial capital,Warri, are two of the hardest hit. But I am glad to inform you that the problem of flooding in Asaba has been reduced because of the storm drainage.
“Before now when there is rain, there will be flood everywhere but today it’s not so and the Warri storm drainage project is on-going and about 70 percent has been done.
“If not because of the challenges of having structures on our waterways that are not supposed to be there; from reliable information, your hear town planners giving approvals to build on waterways, which is very bad.
“I have given order that any structure on the waterways that disturbs the flow of water should be brought down. So, town planners have a lot of work to do in Delta State.”
Oborewori appealed to the town planning bodies to caution members from giving approvals without visiting project sites to ascertain the suitability of the environment for such buildings.
“So, when you are discussing, you should know that any time you give approval for building, you should go to the site to confirm that the place is proper for building.
“As you may be aware, Delta State has done well in terms of attending to flooding issues. Thank God that this year we did not encounter any flooding issues again as earlier anticipated.
“As the saying goes, water must find its level. And when it doesn’t find its level, it sits back to result in flooding and urban decay. I had to order the demolition of such structures just recently in the Warri axis.
“Officials of the Town Planning Office and regulatory authorities must ensure strict compliance with the town planning and urban development laws.
“A safe, secure and flood-free environment, requires the cooperation and strong partnership of the regulatory officials and the public,” Oborevwori stated.
Earlier, Atebije told the Governor they were in Asaba for the 54th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the institute holding at the Event Centre , Asaba.
He stated that the conference would provide a platform to interrogate the challenges of Climate Change, flood resilience and ways to provide mitigation measures, emphasizing that Delta, being a coastal state, would benefit from the programme.
The convener, Mr Atebije, who congratulated Governor Oborevwori on his environment-friendly policies, enjoined him to meaningfully engage certified town planners in the Ministry of Urban Renewal in the implementation of the master plan of towns and cities across the state.