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Don laments policy-makers’ neglect of local, indigenous knowledge

A Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Ibadan, Bolanle Wahab, has lamented neglect of community, local and indigenous knowledge systems by policy-makers in settlement management.

He also called for the indigenisation of the planning and management of human settlements through greater utilisation of indigenous techniques, personnel and approaches.

Wahab stated these during the 522nd inaugural lecture of the university titled: “Informal Communities and Planned Slums: The Tragedy of Environmental Planning Without Indigenous Knowledge Systems,” which he delivered on behalf of the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management.

The professor lamented the situation in Nigeria where policy and decision makers ignored community, local and indigenous knowledge systems, which they ignorantly equate with retrogressive ideology, old fashioned and of no positive consequence.

He said that the traditional inclusive governance systems that sustained the communities for centuries were viewed as slow, time wasting, unscientific, and are therefore, discarded and jettisoned without consideration until when there are crises and insecurity problems and traditional rulers and apparatuses are invited for rescue.

Meanwhile, given the opportunities and challenges that informal settlements offer urban and peri-urban populations, Wahab advised that governments, development agencies, scholars and professionals should come together and formulate actionable strategies to transform the ailing informal and formal settlements into livable communities.

He also advised that improvement in quality of urban environments through community-based and participatory waste management, water supply, road improvement, public sanitation, and neighbourhood revitalisation should be the priority of the government.

He said that government should collaborate with both the private and popular sectors to champion the enactment and enforcement of appropriate laws and by-laws for proper planning and management of the living environment.

The Professor of Urban and Regional Planning advised that the need to re-shape physical surroundings to better lives of the people should be seen as a basic human activity by all stakeholders in a collective, collaborative and sustainable manner.

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The British Canadian University acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Nigerian people. Our main campus is situated in Cross Rivers. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.

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