By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan on Tuesday advised the six South west states governors to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before embarking on any urban renewal programme in the region.
NISER Public Sector Group head, Dr. Abubakar Oladeji gave the advice in Ibadan while delivering the institute’s monthly lecture titled “Socio-economic implications of Urban Renewal Programmes in South-West Nigeria: The case of Ogun, Oyo and Osun states” .
Dr Oladeji maintained that EIA “is necessary in order to cushion the negative effects of their urban renewal programmes on their people and that conduct of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be needful due to the fact that every urban renewal programmes is characterised by “demolition of structures on roads, markets and other public places” which could results to income reduction and affect the victims live in general.
He stressed that governors in Ogun, Oyo and Osun stares have already embarked on various urban renewal programmes in their respective states but that the deliberate exclusion of stakeholders while embarking on most of the projects will not augur well for such programmes.
Speaking further, he identified
some of the challenges posed by immense rapid urban growth in contemporary Nigeria to include the general human and environmental poverty and the declining quality of life” saying, this “reality justifies the need for implementation of Urban Renewal Projects (URPs).”
According to Dr Oladeji, “majority of respondents in this study affirm their support for URPs but frowns at the style of implementation of the programme, especially the aspect of limited or no consultation with the people.”
Emphasizing that “the concept of urban renewal can be dated to 1940s”, he said the process of urban renewal which include destruction of structures results to economic hardship for many, hence there is a need to first conduct the EIA to reduce the negative effects on the people.
“In the three states, demolition of structures on roads, markets and other public places has affected the citizens. Many of the respondents lament the negative effects of URPs on their lives.While a segment of the citizenry believes that URPs are timely, well-thought out, and are capable of transforming the economies of the state, other groups in the society, most especially, the victims of the urban renewal programmes think otherwise”.
Speaking further, Dr Oladeji disclosed that for the Southwest states to cushion the effects of urban renewal in the areas, there is the urgent need to “conduct environmental impact assessment (EIA) and “proper education and enlightenment of people on issues of urban renewal.
“Addressing the menace of environmental degradation” would also helped.Adoption of public private partnership and institutional framework for URP” and “ensure enforcement of legislations on environmental sanitation”.