By; DR KABIRU USMAN HASSAN
In the last decades, Gombe metropolis has experienced drastic changes not only in its shape and vast geographical expansion, but also in its internal transformations which is the pinnacle of urbanization. As the Gombe city populations grow, they increase the demand for goods and services, rise in economic development, which tend to expand the metropolitan or suburban into the surrounding environment.
Since Gombe town assumed the status of a state in 1996, the infrastructural development coupled with demographic increment have no doubt increased tremendously. This is beside the eradication of problems associated with development control in the town, thereby affecting the infrastructural and socio-economic development of Gombe State. The tremendous growth of Gombe metropolis in all ramifications is obviously clear and to some extent quite disturbin. This is evident considering the sad reality that settlements are sprinkling up on a daily basis without proper and strong guidance of planning and development control exercise. This has resulted to the total neglect and abandonment of basic amenities, infrastructural facilities and essential services provision across the metropolis.
Demographic imbalance, governance, social economic status, limited resources, data gaps, inequalities, and discrimination can be identified as major impediments for the achievement of sustainable urban development in Gombe state. Thus, the Gombe state government in
its bit to provide a comprehensive solution to the development control problem within the state and address the challenges of housing development and delivery holistically decide to create a special zone called “Gombe Capital special development Zone”.
GOMBE CAPITAL SPECIAL DEVELOPMENT ZONE, is a State Government’s project that aims to provide a safe and conducive environment to both local and foreign investors in the state, most especially in terms of land use and urbanization as well as to accommodate the influx of people seeking meadow-land. Significantly, this resulted to the creation of Gombe capital special development zone.
The Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s administration conceives the new project which is geared towards reviving the Gombe metropolitan area, and the development of the State with a specific interest of constructing a befitting city center and structures so as to draw investors in the State. The Gombe state government idea of the land reform is to ensure every land holder enjoys the social benefit as well as the economic advantage from a proper legal documentation. However, this is geared towards paving ways for a suitable space for the creation of structures and other infrastructural facilities needed within the state. The zone consists of an area of about one-thousand, four-hundred and seventy-eight point one-seventeen (1,478.17) hectares which includes the following Government layouts; BAG1048, GDP 12, GDP 16, GDP 16A, GDP 16B, DP 65, GDP 4, GDP 4A, GDP 5, BAP 4, and other customary titles.
Equally, the Gombe state government decided to revive and upgrade this Residential areas within the Gombe metropolis for the purpose of creating functionality, efficient and esthetically pleasing physical environment for living, working, circulation and recreation. The physical space will be organized and managed in such a way that its present condition will meet the demand of the future and at the same time gain the attention of foreign investors to the state. This is to ensure that the environment is not overdeveloped, overbuilt, overused, or overpopulated. It recognizes the signs of tension that indicate when the environment is overstressed and can adjust its demands on the environment, to avoid pollution, natural disaster, and social disintegration.
One major reason for the creation of Gombe Capital Special Development Zone can be attributed to none availability of educational facilities, health centers, office complex, community facilities, poor alignment of road network and uncoordinated pattern of development which tent to disrupt the functionality, social cohesion, economic viability, dignity, convenience and aesthetical value of the area. It is pertinent to give it a physical planning touch so as to prevent the possibility of the era generating into slums and as a result, orderliness within the environment will be restored; dignity will be lent to the resident who will live, work, in the areas.
The Gombe Geographic Information Systems (GOGIS) on its part under my leadership, constituted a high powered technical team, which did a fantastic job and rigorous exercise of layout auditing within the earmarked area (zone), from August 2021-Dec 2021 and uncovered some distortion, land racketeering, and manipulation of high significance ranging from roads blockage, illegal subdivision of schools, children playground, maternity, and public places. Similarly GOGIS also, organize a workshop for all relevant stakeholders, traditional rulers, land officers and law enforcement agencies in Nov, 2021 which intimate the audience on the activities of GOGIS and the state government objective on land reform and land administration system while seeking support and cooperation of all the relevant stakeholders for the purpose of achieving state-wide integrated physical development in Gombe state and also the state government objectives of creating the special zone called Gombe Capital Special Development Zone.
This is informed by the understanding of the need to think ahead to accommodate the city’s growth and deciding which lands should be built on and when and whether they should be used for residential development, industry or for some more specialized function. Cities that are sustainable, resilient and inclusive are dependent upon good governance that encompasses: Strong effective leadership, which helps overcome fragmentation across departments, multilevel governance and investment sectors when building consensus and eliciting action on specific agendas and one of the effective ways to accomplishing these physical planning standard is through layout auditing and the preparation of a community base approach and implements it through phasing programme.
The phase 1 of the project commences around July 2021 with special Re-Design of BAP 4 and Southern BAP 4 area (Wuro Liman) as well as land auditing of the other earmarked layout that has followed up by land title verification of the applicant’s information and documentation to ensure adequate provision of services and infrastructure within the area. The Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s administration being a sincere government that believes in transparency, accountability, quality, effective service delivery and good governance, established the state’s Project Implementation, Monitoring and evaluation team (PIME) in Jan 2022 which are charged to maintain close working relationship with GOGIS to ensure the smooth running and implementation of the land verification exercise and ensure adequate provision of infrastructure and services within the zone.
So far, over 2000 plots out of the 3150 within the earmarked area have been duly verified by the state Project Implementation, Monitoring and evaluation team (PIME) in full collaboration with GOGIS which has since taken back to the agency for the recertification (Digital C/O) program for the respective plots owners after the issuance of final clearance. Also, GOGIS in Conjunction with the Project Implementation, Monitoring and evaluation team has resolved cases of Double allocation, overlap, missing plots/block and other lingering land issues bedeviling the land administration system in Gombe state for decades now.
MY DEAR LOVERS OF GOMBE STATE, honest, concerned, keen followers and observers of events and happenings in the state under the administration of His Excellency, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya let me at this juncture convey to you that this exercise is meant to promote orderliness within the environment as well as the desired sense of belonging in the society and to achieve a good relationship between people, jobs and functional development in the environment and not to repeal anyone’s land ownership. However, it is within this zone that the state Government is embarking on one of the Mega Project ever executed in the history of Gombe state which are; THE STATE SECRETARIAT, STATE HIGH COURT, AND THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY amidst the roads network and infrastructural facilities that will be placed within the zone by the Governor Muhammadu inuwa Yahaya’s administration.
Therefore, for the purpose of achieving state-wide integrated physical development in Gombe state there is need for the involvement of PHYSICAL PLANNERS to formulate long term perspectives of physical planning in the state. Thus, it is my honor and privilege as the DIRECTOR GENERAL GOGIS to be part of this gigantic and historic project in our dear state and as a Town Planner i will continue to provide professional and moral support so as to attain a notable degree of benefits to the populace as well as the curb the prevalent incessant urban sprawl within the state.
Dr. Kabiru Usman Hassan is the Director-general of Gombe Geographic Information Systems.