To bring about sanity in the built sector and forestry incidences of building collapse, the Delta State government, on Tuesday in Asaba, has introduced three stages of approval for building permits as the pre-approval, the approval and post-approval.
The government through the State Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Olorogun Arthur Akpowowo declared that tough penalty awaits defaulters of building permits.
Besides, he explained that the new measure is to ensure quality of construction and reduce incessant cases of collapsed buildings in the state.
Olorogun Akpowowo remarked that the transfer of the department of Town Planning and Urban Renewal Planning Board to the Ministry of Urban Renewal has given the ministry the responsibility of developmental control in the state.
He said, “What I mean by developmental control, is if you have your private land and you need to build on it, you have to come to us through our offices across the state. There are Area Planning Offices across the state where you can go and get your building plans approved. If you are lucky to get government land, you have to go to the Urban renewal planning board to get your plans approved.
“The Ministry of Urban Renewal today is now in total control of the state’s development in terms of permits,” he said.
On the benefits of the re-organisation to the state, the Commissioner said his ministry was well positioned to run the departments and agencies.
“We are in charge of urban space management so that we can guide the construction activities and make sure they comply with our building code.
“The incidence of building collapse will be drastically reduced because we are now going to have three approvals; the pre-approval, the approval and post-approval to ensure that we don’t just give permits without a follow-up.
“We have adopted this stringent approach because there have been incidents where people come with plans to build a storey building, and you give them approval for a storey building, they end up going to build 3 or more storey buildings, because there is no proper monitoring and follow-up.
“These are going to be highly reduced if not eliminated because we will give permit and follow-up to ensure that what the person is doing is in line with our permit, by checking the building environment, the architects, the surveyor and everyone on board.”
On the Koka Interchange, Akpowowo said beyond reducing loss of man hour, the project would help to beautify Asaba and make it a befitting state capital.
“The man hour loss in that axis sometimes is an economic waste. Movement from point A to point B is an economic gain and so with the ongoing flyover, there will be ease of movement.
“The concept is to allow for free flow of traffic and it’s going to reduce man hour loss, it is going to serve as aesthetic.
“My ministry is going to do the beautification aspect of that project when the civil work is completed. So, you are going to see a beautiful major exit and entrance point of the state capital,” he stated.
Akpowowo lauded Governor Okowa for the Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat housing all the ministries in one building stressing that work has become more enjoyable since the ministry moved to the new Secretariat.
“The enjoyment is second to none, we have not been enjoying our offices as much before now. Because like you know where we were before now, was in one building housing the Ministry of Urban Renewal and the Ministry of Oil and Gas with a lot of generator noise.
“For over 2 years that we were there, we never got BEDC power supply. We had about four generators blaring at the same time so the environment was never conducive for work.
“But since we moved here around December 13th, we are enjoying this place and the facilities are wonderful, people are beginning to respect our offices as commissioners. Where you do your business has a lot of impact on what you do. So, we are grateful to His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for this Secretariat, ” Akpowowo started.