The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan has counsel South-West governors to conduct environmental impact assessment (EIA) before embarking on any urban renewal programme.
Dr. Abubakar Oladeji of the Public Sector Group, NISER gave this hint 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” on Tuesday.
He maintained that EIA is necessary as a measure to forestall any negative effects of their urban renewal programmes on the people they governed.
Oladeji pointed out that conducting environmental impact assessment (EIA) would be necessary due to the fact that every urban renewal programmes is characterised by “demolition of structures on roads, markets and other public places” which resulted into income reduction and affect the victims live in general.
While acknowledging that governors in the three states, Ogun, Oyo and Osun in their own way embarked on various urban renewal programmes, Oladeji however frowned at deliberate exclusion of stakeholders while embarking on most of the projects.
“Some of the challenges posed by immense rapid urban growth in contemporary Nigeria are the general human and environmental poverty and the declining quality of life. This reality justifies the need for implementation of Urban Renewal Projects (URPs).
“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.
While attesting the fact that “the concept of urban renewal can be dated to 1940s” Oladeji insisted that 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”.
Oladeji then recommended that states in the region especially in their wisdom to cushion the effects of urban renewal should ensure “Conduct of environmental impact assessment (EIA) and “proper education and enlightenment of people on issues of urban renewal.
Oladeji also recommended that “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”.