Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN (middle), signing the New Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency Law at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday, August 2014. With him are: Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (2nd right), Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye (2nd left), Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Mufutau Egberongbe (left) and the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tpl. Toyin Ayinde (right).
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Monday, 18th August, 2014 signed into law a bill amending the state Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law lifting the restriction on employment of General Manager of the state Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA) to include other relevant professionals in urban renewal and development.
The Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law of 2010 which created agencies including the state Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA), said the General Manager of the authority had to be a town planner. But the new law, which emanated from an Executive Bill, expands eligibility for the post of General Manager to a mix of professionals relevant to that aspect of governance.
The Law, as amended and passed by the state House of Assembly, now reads that the General Manager must be a person of proven ability and integrity with relevant qualifications and at least 15 years post-qualification cognate experience in urban renewal.
In his remarks before appending his signature to the bill at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Fashola said the amendment has become necessary because of the requirement for more multi-dimensional professional capacity within LASURA so that the authority would be able to undertake and complete part of the uncompleted World Bank projects which lifespan expired late last year.
The Governor explained that the state government took a collaborative project with the World Bank and recently the Lagos Metropolitan and Urban Development and Governance Project (LMDGP), adding that, like all World Bank projects with limited life spans, the project wound up late last year.
“So part of its uncompleted work is what LASURA will be undertaking and that is the justification for the requirement for more multi-dimensional, professional capacity within the agency so that it would have the full complement”, the Governor said adding that there was need for government to retain the flexibility to look for a related professional, especially when the skills lie outside the purview of a town planner.
He explained further, “Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can have a town planner who has all these experiences and skills. Sometimes those skills lie outside the purview of the town planner when you need it and Government must retain that flexibility which the law limits”.
Noting that urban renewal is a component of urban development and town planning, Fashola declared, “When you can’t find a town planner with those skills at the time you need it, you must be able to look for a related professional who can carry on from there. So it is a cross mix of disciplines”.
According to the Governor, people with construction economics knowledge will also be required because “these are critical people with project planning and project management experience who are going to be required”. He added that apart from the urban renewal and regeneration essence, the Authority is also dependent on proper economics, costing, project planning, project design and project monitoring.
Pointing out that the new law now provides the required window to expand the kind of personnel in the authority even if, for now, a town planner still heads it as General Manager, Fashola added that the law reinforces “the growing footprint of the work LASURA is doing and the need for more skills”.
Describing the amendment as most welcome, Governor Fashola stated, “They are now in Adeniji-Adele doing the regeneration of the Adeniji-Adele Housing Scheme where some of the houses are sinking and some are structurally threatened. They are now rebuilding five blocks there. They are in Isale-Gangan; they have been involved in the redevelopment of Oluwole Market, they are involved in the Badia regeneration and slum upgrade there”.
Earlier, while introducing the bill, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the amendment of the law has become expedient because the work of LASURA which is essentially urban regeneration, urban renewal and optimization of land use, is multi-dimensional involving a mix of professionals.
Giving a background to its amendment, Ipaye describe the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law of 2010 as “a law that is very comprehensive because it covers all aspects of our Urban and Regional Planning Policy as well as the creation of agencies for the management of that aspect of governance.
“There was an Executive Bill proposing only the amendment of a single section of the Law. The Bill was sent to the House of Assembly and it was confined to the House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development and was eventually considered and passed by the House of Assembly”, the Attorney-General said adding that LASURA’s work of urban regeneration, urban renewal and optimization of land use are “all essential aspects of operating a Mega-City such as ours in a very limited area of land”.
Also present at the event were the state Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke orelope-Adefulire; Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule; state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba; and his Works and Infrastructure and Physical Planning and Urban Development counterparts: Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and TPL Olutoyin Ayinde respectively; Chairman of the state House of Assembly Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Muftau Egberongbe, among other members of the State Executive Council and House of Assembly.