Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has called for a collective reflection, stocktaking and strengthening partnerships, to accelerate action in the pursuit for sustainable urban development in Nigeria.
Fashola made the call in his keynote address at the commemoration of the 2019 World Habitat Day and World Cities Day yesterday in Abuja.
The 2019 Urban October has the themes: “Frontier technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth” and “Changing the World: Innovations and a Better Life for Future Generations “
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, read the keynote address on behalf of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, the Minister of Works and Housing.
Fashola said we all have the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and build the type of cities we desire for our good health and well-being, and for that of our future generation.
Fashola disclosed that in partnership with UN Habitat the Federal Government had embarked on the review of the National Urban Development Policy as well as implementing urban renewal and slum upgrading programmes in several urban communities across the country.
With a view to creating smart and sustainable cities across the nation, the minister maintained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has not relented in its commitment to making sure that Nigerians have a better life by addressing the housing and infrastructure challenges and those posed by unplanned cities which led to increased slums and shanties.
He listed the various programmes already embarked upon by the Government through his ministry, which include: the on-going National Housing Programme, the launch of the National Maintenance Framework for Public Building as well as the review of the Urban Development Policy.
In his welcome address the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mohammed Bukar, said the celebration of the World Cities Day around the world was to enable us view cities as drivers and incubators of innovations, industries, technology, entrepreneurship and creativity in ground breaking ways to achieve lasting impacts on the communities, and to ensure that “No one and no place is left behind as we build the future we want.”
In her goodwill message, the Executive Director, UN HABITAT, Mrs. Maimunah Moh Sharif, called on stakeholders to identify ways to overcome challenges confronting urbanisation in a way that everyone’s life could be improved.
She noted that cities are the best place of innovation and creativity, assuring that UN Habitat would be ready to fully support the Federal Government in her bid to create sustainable urbanisation.
The Chairman Senate committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu represented by his Vice, Senator Oyelola Isa Ashiru pledged the Committee’s full support towards achieving a sustainable development of our cities.
The highlights of the event were: the Honourable Minister’s inspection of the exhibition stands and presentation of gifts to students of Witty Might Academy, Holy Child Educational Homes and Fine Trust Academy for song rendition, poem and drama presentation at the 2019 Urban October celebrations.