The Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar Aliyu has emphasized the need for Africa to look inward for solutions to the numerous challenges of urbanization confronting it so as to overcome them.
The Minister made the remark today, while delivering a speech on the 2nd day of the on- going validation workshop on evaluation of Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
The event was organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in conjunction with the UN HABITAT. Today’s programme is on: National Dialogue on Sustainable Urbanization and Human Settlements with the theme: Implementing the New Urban Agenda and SDGS in Nigeria. The event which started yesterday ends today .
The Minister said : ”We believe that urbanization challenges in Africa require African solutions. For this reason, Nigeria has been in the fore front of championing the African Urban Agenda which is aimed at mobilizing African nations to unite in its quest for home made solutions to her urbanization challenges and to contribute in unison to the global urbanization debate”.
Engineer Aliyu further said “If African Cities are to become more resilient and inclusive, increased investment in public transport, housing and infrastructure will serve the need of urban dwellers especially the low income group which constitutes about 70 percent of urban dwellers”.
The Minister noted that the event would further consolidate on the existing cordial relationship between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the UN- Habitat in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the 2030 Development Agenda and African Agenda 2063. “We look forward to a robust partnership in the areas of funding, capacity building and technology transfer”, he added
While delivering his address, the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edwards Kallon commended the Federal Government and the United Nations (UN-Habitat) for organizing the event which he said, would position Nigeria to key into the growing momentum of global commitment to tackling the growing challenges of sustainable urbanization.
Mr Kallon added that the United Nations in conjunction with UN-Habitat Programme office, (HAPSO), had worked with stakeholders in Nigeria to support initiatives considered essential to achieving a more decent quality of life for the citizenry, especially the vulnerable ones.
In his address, the Director Regional Office for Africa, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Dr. Naison Mutizwa Mangiza disclosed that his organization had decided to establish Multi- Country Offices in African Countries that would be led by senior International staff to address more effectively, priority issues of urbanization.
Dr. Mangiza further disclosed that Abuja had been considered fit for a Multi- Country Office as many countries in the West African Sub- Region could be easily reached from there.
The Director Department of Urban and Regional Development, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Dr. Chike Akamelu said, rapid urbanization in Nigeria had generated challenges such as urban poverty, slum and deprivation, chaotic physical expansion, increased crime rate in cities due to the rise in the rate of unemployment and so on.
Dr. Akamelu disclosed that stakeholders would review the national policy on urbanisation during the dialogue so as to find veritable solutions to the problems of urbanisation. “This forum is expected to generate ideas which are capable of turning the current poor state of our cities and thus guarantee better life, first for the teeming city dwellers and afterwards for the rest of the nation”, he said.