Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Project Greening, Sanitation At Lafia Modern City, Peninsula

Lafia — A liveable cities project, where urban regeneration and renewal will feature in the overall plan to actualize the development control agenda of the administration in Nasarawa State, has commenced, with the master plan showing a proposal to execute a greening, water and sanitation project in not less than 25 percent of the new districts being planned across the state.

In all, there are 11 district scheduled for detailed planning in the project being handled by some of Nigeria's leading town planners working through a consortium of firms partnering with Siraj Engineering Consultants, called Pragmatic Solutions Consult Nigeria, Envicons, and National Environmental Design Associates. The district are five in Karu at the gateway into Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), four in Lafia, the state capital and parts of Doma, a neighbouring local government area, as well as two in Keffi, also near Abuja.

Prominent among the districts under plan are Peninsula, at the border with Abuja, and Lafia Modern City, which plan is designed to conform to the environment-friendly standards being promoted by World Cities Summit (WCS), otherwise called World Mayors' Forum, with particular designs to implement the summit's Liveable Cities master plan where green zones are prominent, and water and sanitation are a achieved.

"The districts being planned will be the birth place of environmental friendliness in Nasarawa", Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, a Senior Special Assistant to the governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura said.

Between June 29, and July 7, Governor Al-Makura was in Singapore to present the success story of his administration, so far, before world leaders including mayors of leading cities of the world, as well as stakeholders in the world habitat project. The event was the 2012 edition of World Cities Summit (WCS), otherwise called World Mayors' Forum.

The forum is a premier event that brings together practitioners and policy makers with leading experts in their field to identify innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing cities today, according to Wikipedia. "It is an international conference series on public governance and the sustainable development of cities."

Jointly organized by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) and the Singapore Civil Service College (CSC), this year's Summit expects over 1,000 delegates, up from 800 delegates in the 2008 event, comprising ministers, governors, mayors, senior government officials and business leaders.

Speakers representing diverse cities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, led discussions to address issues on the practical aspects of city governance and integrated approaches to urban development under the summit's theme of 'Liveable and Sustainable Cities for the Future'. Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank and Mr James Adams, Vice President of the East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank, were there.

Al-Makura led a delegation comprising the head of the government's reform programme on lands, Sonny Agassi, and the state Attorney General, Mohammed Abdullahi - and participated in the various sessions of the summit which drew over 1,500 participants from across the world. The summit took place at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at the Marina Bay Sand, a city "envisioned as a vibrant 24/7, environmentally-friendly mixed-use precinct where people live, work and play", according to the official site of the organizers.

"That is what we are implementing here. The execution has just commenced after the consortium of town planners completed paper work with us", said Sonny Agassi, who is also the state's Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning.

He said the percentage of greening on the planned districts has not been completely worked out, but added that "I can assure you, our inspiration and futuristic theme of Liveable and Sustainable Cities, drawn from our Singapore visit, where we came face to face with one of world's most planned cities, laced with greenery and a functional water and sanitation, is our guide. That we are going to implement in our districts being planned in six locations."

Daily Trust recalled that Agassi had said on return from Singapore, that "in Singapore, we told our story; the story of a government committed to taking Nasarawa close to 21st Century city with liveable features; the story of a state nasty experience in development; a story of new agenda to make things happen like in Abuja, our big neighbor. Our governor made a big appearance there, and relayed to the whole world, our efforts, which attracted interests and partnership, by extension."

The cadastral districts planning entails the adoption of the General Land Use Budget promoted by UN-Habitat, with an extension to give specifics on arterial roads to connect main roads, residential areas, neighbourhood shopping centres and mini shopping centres as well as schools and other plans, Alhaji Jibril said.

The district planning is a third component of the totality of Nasarawa Geographic Information System NAGIS, a project being handled by a consortium led by Siraj Engineering Consultants. The creation of cadastral districts is in its third month of implementation, by Pragmatic Solutions Consult Nigeria, Envicons, and National Environmental Design Associates. They have already produced an inception report on the project, which design shows that about 200 square metres of land is available for the planning which will create 10,000 plots out of six districts to run in Karu, at the border with Abuja, and 160 hectares at the Lafia Modern City.

Sonny Agassi, the commissioner and supervisor of NAGIS, had said the governor has already attracted interest of foreign investors from his recent trips to America, as well as Singapore, to partner with the state to run infrastructure in theat the completion of the planning on the proposed districts. This, he said "will create a landscape of controlled development with facilities that will make Nasarawa an identical city to Abuja."

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