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By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria.
The need to restructure the country with full autonomy for local government areas has again been emphasized in view of its importance at ensuring that cities in the country are resilient enough to withstand modern day natural and economic crisis, which if not planned for can leave behind far reaching consequences.
This was part of the resolutions contained in a communiqué made available to newsmen in Kaduna after a stakeholders workshop organized by the Nigeria Resilient Cities Network (NRCN) which was held at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria at the weekend.
According to the communiqué which was jointly signed by the NRCN Team Leader and Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) Sector Leader on Effective Cities, Michael Mutter and Director, ABU Directorate of Advancement and NRCN National Policy Advisor, Professor Adamu Ahmed, autonomy for local government areas would promote service delivery to cities.
“We shall promote the idea and practice of effective local governance for cities, through State, Local Government, Business and Community agents and agencies. In particular, we will seek more effective local authority and service delivery to the cities.
“City Advocacy: We shall actively promote and advocate on behalf of cities at the highest levels in Nigeria and internationally; their establishment as distinct entities, with adequate provisions, sense of ownership and effective management. We will draw attention to the precarious condition of our cities and their importance as economic centres, coupled with their vulnerable status in an age of multiple challenges,” it stated.
The communiqué emphasized that efforts would be intensified at integrating informal areas within cities, with a view to making them included in development frameworks.
“In our respective cities and jurisdictions, we shall actively pursue and support measures to integrate informal and unplanned areas into the formal planning and development frameworks of our cities.”
It explained that NRCN would deliberately advocate and promote the incorporation of resilience strategies in urban plans and economic development for Nigerian cities through Peer Learning, where they would commit to the principle and practice of collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual support through peer learning and review.
“Stakeholder Engagement: We recognize that there are many voices in the city, many agents already working hard, but not always working together. We therefore commit to promoting deeper collaboration, cutting across the silos of departmental, socio-economic and cultural divisions.
“Local Land Markets: We commit to seeking strategies and plans to make land easily accessible and by promoting the concept of 100% coverage by Certificates of Occupancy (C of O).
“Development Control: We commit to seeking more effective means to collaborating with traditional authorities, local agencies and any other stakeholders into the formal land administrative system and development control, from the local level up to Governor-level,” it added.
The communique informed that the declaration was adopted by the participants over 70 which included  the VC ABU: Represented by DVC Academics, UN Habitat: Kabir Yari- Country Director, Emir of  Kano, represented by District Head of Gwale and Dan Majen Kano Alhaji Yahaya Inuwa, Chairman Nasarawa LGA Kano State Lamin Sani, Vice chairman Kano Municipal LGA, Ahmad Hamza Baba and the Head of Service Katsina State,
Mohammed Lawal Aliyu, who led a team of five including GM’s of Urban Development Board and Housing Corporation, as well as the Surveyor General Kano State and delegation from the Kano State Urban Development Board.
Others are the Representative of Hon Comm. of Economic Planning, Kano State Govt, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) represented by Executive Secretary and Deputy, Delegation of Kaduna State Govt. led by Representative of DG Kaduna Geographic Information System, I.D. Suleiman, and NIAF Expert on NRCN formation and Resource Person, Simon Gusah.

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