By Mary Agidi
The Ondo State government has declared that an end has come to the era of impunity and lackadaisical attitude of residents towards Town and Spatial Planning Standards, Rules and Regulations in the state as Special Court to prosecute those that construct building structures contrary to approval given to them has been established.
Making this known is the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban development, Prince Solagbade Amodeni at a stakeholders’ meeting on the use of Special Court in the Prosecution of Contraveners of State Planning Laws held in Akure the state capital.
According to him, this is in fulfilment of the State Governor, Arakurin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s, promise to make physical planning a major thrust of his administration.
He emphasized the need for all and sundry to learn how to subject development intention, guides, designs, and proposal to the rules, procedures and current operative policy, noting that, failure to do that will attract appropriate sanction by the Special Court domiciled in the ministry.
“It must be noted that the Governor magnanimously approved, in like manner, the emplacement of Special Court (Mobile Court) to take care of all recalcitrant contraveners”, he disclosed.
Amodeni lamented that the embargo placed on processing and approval of Petrol stations across the state since 2013 has done more harm than good to the environment as Filling Stations were constructed in areas that were suitable and not suitable.
His words : ” The lacuna created by the prolonged embargo had done far more harm than good.
“In the same vein, embargo was placed on all physical construction along the Arakale corridor sometime in 2010 during the dualisation of the Arakale road to give way for effective planning and to create an enabling environment, yet developers disregarded the embargo with unabated construction/development.
“Consequently, on assumption of office, our Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) promised to make Physical Planning a major thrust of his administration. By and large, after due consideration, the embargo placed on filling stations was lifted in June 2017, while that of Arakale was lifted on 4th October 2017″.
The Commissioner disclosed that to further demonstrate the commitment of the current administration towards befitting physical structures, fund has been approved for the re-activation of moribund Physical Planning Task Force code named Physical Development Enforcement Squad (PDES).
He maintained that government preferred to maintain its integrity rather than allow property that doesn’t meet the set standards to be erected in the state.
He assured stakeholders that with the maximum of three weeks, their proposals will be approved, adding that there is no intention to victimise anybody.
In his welcome address earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Alaba Adeyemi, mni had described the meeting as symbolic and first of its kind since the embargo was lifted.
He noted that it is imperative for a forum like this to be organised as related to physical development of the State to engage meaningful deliberations where the resource persons will put the stakeholders through.
The meeting witnessed presentation of papers by Resource Persons from the ministry on “the New Arakale Corridor, Development Permit Procedure and Town Planning Standard ( Gas and Petrol Filling Station), Importance of Layout in Physical Development, the Management of Open Spaces, and Use of Special Court, Physical Development Enforcement Squad, and The essence of Approval before Construction.
Stakeholders at the meeting included, Chairmen of the Local government areas of the state, representatives of Igbo community, Department of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Justice, among others.