Delta Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Arthur Akpowowo, says the state government has adopted a three-pronged approach to check defaulters of building permit.
Akpowowo stated this in Asaba in an interview with newsmen.
He said that the current reorganisation in the State Ministry of Urban Renewal would ensure tough time for defaulters of building permit in the state.
He said that in order to avoid several infractions, there would be three stages of approval for building permits; the pre-approval, the approval and post-approval.
According to him, 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.
“What I mean by developmental control is if you have your private land and you need to build on it, you have to come 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 still 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,” Akpowowo said.
He said that the reorganisation had positioned the ministry to run the departments and agencies to ensure they conform to building code across the state.
“We are in charge of urban space management so that we can guide 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 permit 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 three 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,” he said.
On the ongoing Koka Interchange, Akpowowo said that 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 due to vehicular traffic jam, sometime 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 said.
The commissioner lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for the Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat which housed all the ministries in one building, saying that work had 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.
“Like you know, where we were before now, for over two years that we were there, we never got public power supply from the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
“We had about four generators blaring at the same time, so the environment was never conducive for work.
“Since we moved to this secretariat around Dec.13, 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, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for this Secretariat,” Akpowowo said. (NAN)