The Anambra State Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has been observing the trend of events, globally and locally, as occasioned by the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a professional body whose activities have great relevance to community hygiene and healthy living, NITP aligns with the actions of Governor Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike Global) so far taken in securing Anambra against the pandemic spreading in the State.

Though these measures are standard protocols of the World Health Organization and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, town planners are highly impressed with administrative maturity, openness and public participation approach with which the State Government handles each issue, especially the index case. We commend the State Government for assiduously swinging into action and swiftly controlling the virus from spreading further.

Anambra State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners also commends “Ndi Anambra” for their obedience to all directives. Obviously, the obedience of “Ndi Anambra” to the Governor’s instructions contributes to preventing the spread of the virus. Equally, Governor Obiano’s numerous palliative measures extended to all towns and communities in Anambra must be commended. To a large extent, this has cushioned the harsh impacts of the pandemic and its control protocols on the people.

The donations and contributions of numerous individuals, groups and associations made to support the impressive actions of the Anambra State Government are also exemplary. Their actions are commendable and will definitely be rewarded by the Almighty God.

However, the Chapter observes with sympathy the sufferings, economic downturn and frustrations that go with the measures and urge Ndi Anambra to exercise patience. Obviously, this situation cannot last forever. It must fizzle out very soon. Let us all be patient with the government.

Town planners equally observe the lapses created by the then absence of Civil Servants from their duty posts, especially in the area of Physical Planning Administration and Development Control. This has created false opportunity for recalcitrant developers to contravene town planning regulations. We want to draw the attention of everybody to the implications of such illegality, which include building collapse, loss of lives, wastage of resources and materials due largely to the fact that the development must be demolished.

Above all, such illegal development creates unhygienic environmental conditions that support COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the foregoing, we are calling on the Anambra State Government to activate the process of demolishing all illegal developments carried out during the period of the lockdown. The Chapter therefore warns all such illegal developers to desist from such acts.

As a matter of fact, COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for every government to invest heavily in well planned settlements with functional amenities such as good water supply, good roads, conveniences, etcetera. For Anambra State, this can best be achieved through slum upgrading and urban renewal programmes as well as review of existing Structure Plans or Master Plans, preparation of the Structure Plans for other urban settlements in the state and spirited implementation of same for the urban towns and settlements.

Finally, Town Planners commend our Health workers (Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Medical Scientists, Technicians, cleaners, drivers and others) who are in the frontline of the risky exercise of controlling the pandemic. We pray that God Almighty shall continue to guide and protect them.

The Institute also calls on “Ndi Anambra” to obey all directives, which include regular hand washing and application of alcohol-based hand sanitizers; physical distancing; wearing of face masks; avoidance of large crowd of gathering. Finally, we are praying God to protect Anambra State and its economy against the destructive consequences of COVID-19. Amen.
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ANAMBRA UPDATE

Anambra Update is an independent publication, established in 2012 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Anambra and Ndigbo in extention. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Igbo Social-Cultural Race

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