The Ihechiowa Scholars Forum has advocated for advocate town planning in the developmental agenda to ensure compliance with global best practices in order to secure the environment and create lasting aesthetics for our semi-urban communities.
In a virtual lecture on the Ihechiowa Scholars platform delivered by Town Planner, Sam Ogbaa, who is a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, he pointed out that there is need for a reorientation of individuals to appreciate the fact that a functional environment means more to the people.
“This is a crucial topic which we should address decisively without getting the government so much involved. Let them sort out Aba, Umuahia, etc first. Also, Ihechiowa does not necessarily need ‘urban status’ yet in view of possible Land Use Act restrictions.
The scholars said “we still have a good number of people who do not appreciate beauty and order in an environment. These people still see a well laid out environment as a foreign phenomenon. And yet our forebears were very organized and decent people. as we could see in their layout of the ‘EZI’. Each Ezi had building lines and set-backs and all the things that a modern town planner looks out for, they observed.
According to them, “First and foremost, the Ihechiuowa Development Union, IDU, should form a town planning committee with representatives from each village. Henceforth, every building must get approval from the LGA. The Ihechiowa town planning committee should ensure that the town planning standards are met.
“When I built my house, I made sure an architect drew the plan and I got approval from the LGA, I didn’t give any bribe because all the setbacks where according to town planning regulations/specifications. Each village should also have a three-man town planning committee that will be working with the IDU central town planning committee.
Dr Uwaoma Uche, who is the organiser of the event stressed that the fact remains that most buildings and structures in Ihechiowa do not have proper building plans and approval by the local authority. Among the contributors at the event were Arc Mathais Okoro from Abuja, Barr Chris Agwu from London, Dr Mrs Ejitu Isong from Uyo. Others were Dr Uwaoma Uche, Dr Okoko Kalu from United Kingdom and the President General Ihechiowa Development Union, Elder Chief Emeka Kalu Nmeri.
The host of the weekly intellectual discuss, Dr Uwaoma Uche, described it as a way of giving back to the community intellectual based content for Development. He then called for synergy between the community development union, the government and the intellectual class to bring about holistic semi-urban and rural development initiatives.