…Pays $1.5 million counterpart fund

By Boluwaji Obahopo

Kogi State Government says its partnership with UN-Habitat towards restructuring four of its cities for urbanisation is a bold step geared towards laying a foundation for sustainable development for the State.

*Gov. Wada

The State Governor, Capt Idris Wada who stated this last week in Okene during the City consultations for State of Kogi Structure Plans Project organised by UN-Habitat said the State’s location, her economic, cultural and social potentials had resulted in uncontrolled and unplanned spatial expansion, which has necessitated the need for planning to address urban problems.

Wada who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi disclosed that the partnership with UN-Habitat will help in the implementation of the structure plans that will accelerate sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development, “The city structure plan will also provide healthy environment, attract investments and make the state the preferred destination for investors and tourists based on the ability to actualize the opportunities that abound.

“The knowledge and experience gathered from the UN-Habitat experience will be put into use in the development of master plans for other cities aside the initial four cities. The payment of the $1.3 million as state government counterpart funds, underscores the importance government attaches to urbanisation. I urged the people to make sincere input that will lead to the realisation of the programme’s objectives”, Awoniyi said.

The UN- Habitat Regional Director for Africa, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran Oyeyinka, represented by Kabiru Yari, who commended the state government for preparing city plans for four cities in the state said absence or non-implementation of master plans and City Development Strategies had been responsible for the near collapse of Nigeria’s ecosystem.

Oyeyinka, while eulogising the state government for placing priority on the City Structure plan said that the commencement of the City Consultation programe is in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 and the prompt payment of counterpart fund by the state government.

According to Oyeyinka “Kogi State as in other parts of the country has had to contend with problems arising from rapid urbanization and high population growth. Due to the absence or non-implementation of master plans or City Development Strategies to guide their long-range growth, cities in the State have been unable to cope with the consequences of unsustainable growth, leading to their failure to contribute to the over-all economic and social development of the state.

“This has resulted in slum formation, inadequate housing, and poor provision of basic urban services like water, sanitation, health and education and encroachment of plains and other sensitive ecosystems. The overall objective of this project is to promote sustainable human settlements development and management in Kogi state as well as the attainment of the Habitat Agenda and the goals of Kogi state’s Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies, SEEDS, the Local Government Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies, LEEDS, for participating cities and their Local Governments and the monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs,” Oyeyinka stated.

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