A review of the Nigerian urban and regional planning law, cap. 138 LFN of 2004
Keywords:Development control, implementation, legislation, Nigeria, physical planning, planning law, urban and regional planning law, urban and regional planning legislation
The 1992 Urban and Regional Planning Law, later catalogued as Chapter 38 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) in 2004, is the latest in a series of legislations on physical planning in Nigeria. Contrived as a national legislation under a centralised administration, it was meant to be adopted by each of the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. However, 30 years on, full implementation of its provisions is yet to be effected. The objectives of this review article include an exploration of the content of the law and the status of its implementation across the 36 states in Nigeria from 1992 to 2022. The method used is qualitative, involving a review of secondary information from government documents, newspaper reports, and content analyses of provisions of the law in view of the realities of planning administration in the country. The article shows that only 11 states out of 36 have passed the law, demonstrating a general lacklustre attitude towards it. In addition, the required institutions of autonomous Local Planning Authorities and Development Control Departments, which the law prescribes as arrowheads in its implementation, are yet to be established, even in the states where the law has been legislated. The article discusses the provisions and relevance of the law and the wide gulf between its intent and the reality of urban growth in Nigeria. The article concludes by recognising the general lack of competence among the states in implementing the law and identified key issues including the need for future planning legislations to be more pragmatic by separating policy from detailed development control standards in their administration.
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