BENIN CITY: Edo State government has held a one day workshop to examine the challenges of unstructured and illegal urbanization and proffer solution to ensure Benin regains its city status.
Speaking to newsmen at the workshop with the theme: “Urban Chaos-refocusing Town Planning In Edo State”, the chairman of the workshop and former commissioner for Housing and Urban development Arch. Frank Evbuomwan said 500 years ago, Benin City was acclaimed as one of the best designed planned city in the world.
He said that the glory of the city is now in the past as she is now a shadow of itself and this has prompted the Edo State Government to come out with this initiative in getting Benin City back to its former glory of a well planned, beautiful city for all inhabitants.
Evbuomwan said the workshop is about getting back the city. “It is about doing the right thing. We discovered that the way Benin City is developing presently is not the best for all of us. There are slums springing up everywhere, illegal markets, and shops and so called development without control, it is not right.
“This government is a government that has the political will to do the right thing. The steps taken so far, is pointing towards this direction. The recommendations that come from this workshop will be given to the governor for his implementation. I am confident that the governor will do the needful” he said.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Dare Dania said if the state must get it right the professional bodies in the building industry must work together as a team. He said the initiative of the programme is to find a lasting solution to the chaotic development in the state.
“One of the fear and problem is that of political interference. We lack the capacity in terms of adequate man power and equipment to do our job. We need the political will for us to be able to do the right thing to enable our state to development” he concluded.
A participant at the workshop Dr. Chukwujekwu Ifenna called on the government to use the political will at her disposal to implement policies and decision that will turn around the illegal urbanization in the state. He urge Edo state government to do the needful to correct the wrong using the political will if need be compensating those that will be affected when the government takes the bold step to do the needful.
Another participant and a former surveyor general to Bendel and Edo State Dr. Sunny Ukpaise thanked the governor for the workshop saying the programme is apt and necessary at this point in the history of the state.
“The purpose of this workshop is to examine the problems and proffer solution to the problem as well as looking for the way forward. The outcome of the workshop will equally help us to advised the government on what to do to bring orderliness in developing the city.
He said when the city is well developed it becomes beautiful where people come to relax and stay as long as they wish. It will also increate tourism and tourist activities. This is a worthwhile programme and exercise, the government of the state must be commended for the laudable steps teken so far.