World Habitat Day: Edo presents regional development, city master plans to stakeholders

By Isaac Olamikan

Edo State Government has said the state’s Regional Development Masterplan as well as the Benin City Masterplan will guarantee a safe, healthy and habitable environment for all Edo residents.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development, Isoken Omo said this during an event in Benin City to mark the 2022 World Habitat Day, celebrated by the United Nations and its sister agencies.

The event held at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City is themed “Mind the Gap: Leave No One and Place Behind.”

According to the United Nations, it is aimed at exploring the problem of growing inequality and challenges in cities and human settlements.

Guests at the event include the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Jonathan Lawani; Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Stephen Idehenre and Commissioner for Security and Public Safety, Omololu Ojehomon.

Others are Commissioner for Roads and Bridges, Engr. Okojie Newton and the Managing Director of Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) Kelvin Uwaibi, among others, including students, traditional leaders, and civil society groups.

Omo said, “The Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development and other ministries in the state really understand the need to preserve and protect our environment and habitat, and today is a day to look at and deliberate on what we see in our environment.

“We all need to collaborate to carry everyone along and mind the gap without leaving anybody and place behind. That is what Edo State is doing with the master plan. We have two master plans; one is Edo State Regional Development and the other is the Benin City Master Plan. All these plans are to ensure our environment continues to remain habitable and give us value from our environment.

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“The plan is a 24-month project which will end next year in May. Today, we are bringing phase one for you to see and participate in and don’t want to bring you a finished document but here to engage with you to have an impact as we are focused on producing a living document which we will start to implement from now on.”

The Commissioner further noted, “Our land is not expanding but the population is expanding and as such, we need to plan to ensure the environment is not worse hit but continues to be a good habitat for the people.”

Taking participants through phase 1 of Edo State Regional Development and Benin City Master plan, Dr. Barry Aiworo said, “The master plan we are preparing today will be here for the next 30 years. It’s clear that the plan is not for the immediate but for the future.

“The plan is in phases 1, 2, and 3 and we have started going through the phases of the plan. For us to carry out this plan, we have studied the old plan which was a failure hence the need for a new plan.”

On his part, Vice Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Institute of Architects, Dennis Osasuyi Egharevba, noted, “the Master plan is a technical tool for the government as it will help the government achieve a lot.

“The plan serves as a guide for the Edo State Government and if adequately implemented, it will lead to several successes of this administration on different fronts covered by the plan. It’s a two-in-one plan and it is great to behold as it will stimulate development.”

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