TPL Dr Femi Olomola: How LUPAR will transform Planning Practice

Keynote address delivered by Tpl ‘Femi Olomola. Ph. D; Fnitp at the opening of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) 17th Edition (2015) of Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme (MCPDP) with the theme: “Development of a Multi User Template for Land Use Planning And Analysis Reporting (LUPAR) in Nigeria.”

The MCPDP held in Port Harcourt Rivers State (June 18TH – 19TH, 2015); Ibadan, Oyo State (July 1ST– 2ND, 2015) and Kaduna, Kaduna State (August 5TH – 6TH, 2015)



I hereby welcome everybody to this 2015 17th edition of our Institute’s MCPDP.

The objective of this keynote address is to share with you matters that were dominant in the minds of members of the Management Committee, National Executive Council and the Council in conceptualizing, considering and approving the topic – Land Use Planning and Analysis Report (LUPAR) as the theme of this year’s MCPDP.

  1. a)      What is Land Use Planning?  In simple language land use planning is principally concerned with the art and science of ordering the arrangement of the use of land to achieve convenience aesthetics, amenity etc within the broad framework of overriding considerations for the public interest.
  1. b)      The Urban and Regional Planning Decree 88 of 1992 clearly defines the legal and institutional framework for Land Use Planning in Nigeria.
  1. c)      The decree put a duty on the three tiers of government on the preparation of different levels of physical development plans (section 1) which will show the future use of every square metre of land in their jurisdiction. Five types of development plans each are to be prepared by the Federal and State Governments while the Local Governments are to prepare four (section 1). With 36 states in the country and 774 local government councils, the three tiers of government need to produce nothing less than 3,200 development plans if the provisions in Section 1 of the decree are to be satisfied.
  1. d)      The decree understood development control in broad terms to entail exercising regulatory powers over physical development of land with the objective of ensuring that developments are carried out in conformity with the appropriate development plan.  To enforce, is to ensure obedience to the rule of law.  The development control departments are therefore given powers to make sure planning decisions are enforced.


Taking into account the comprehensiveness of these provisions one may be right in asking why we have not to date got the environment of our dream? 

It is to be emphasized that the preparation of the various development plans, the      development control and enforcement systems advocated in the decree calls for a machinery and organizational structure that must be able to effectively provide the following:

  1. a)      An accurate and realistic physical development plan prepared at reasonable scale – say 1 : 1250.
  1. b)      A department manned quantitatively and qualitatively by competent personnel (professional, technical and administrative) who will efficiently consider planning applications, take reasonable and appropriate decisions within a short time and enforce these decisions.
  1. c)      Suitable tools to make the preparation of physical development plans possible and enable the technical personnel of the department monitor physical developments being carried out, embark on effective enforcement so as to realize the full potentials of the enforcement processes in the decree.  Tools here refer to detailed and accurate base/topographical sheet on reasonable scales, motor vehicles, accommodations, office furniture, telephone, photocopying, duplicating machines and caterpillars.


Basic Questions: The questions can be asked: How far and to what extent can each of the three tiers of government provide these three elements in an attempt to discharge their planning, development control and enforcement responsibilities under the decree?  By merely relying on our intimate knowledge of the organizational structure and operational modalities of the town planning system in Nigeria we can safely assert as follows:-


  1. a)      Availability of Realistic Physical Development Plans on Suitable Scales


As pointed out earlier each tier of government is required to produce a minimum of four levels of physical development plans.  These plans can only be prepared when up-to-date base maps on suitable scales are available:

This however is not the case.  Even in Lagos State (erstwhile Colony of Lagos) where the colonial presence can be traced to 1861 and the Federal presence from independence in 1960 to the present time, up-to-date base maps on suitable scales are luxuries which the city planning department does not enjoy.

It is therefore crystal clear that the myriad of development plans expected to be prepared by the three tiers of government is a myth.  Yet effective planning, development control and enforcement cannot take place in the absence of development plans.

  1. b)      Personnel

   With the number of professionally registered town planners in the country   below 5,000, the quantitative and qualitative elements of competent personnel to man the development control department is yet another wishful thinking.

  1. c)      Provision of Appropriate Operating Facilities and Tools

    Operating facilities and tools which are needed to run an office charged with the responsibility of monitoring developments and enforcing development control decisions are never adequately provided for the following reasons:-

The individualistic nature of physical developments in the country particularly in the area of residential developments results in the complex nature of the demands it usually makes on the development control and enforcement systems.  Land and building construction material are expensive and individuals are left to sort this out.  As a result of this, citizens tend to buy land almost anywhere for the following reasons: Apart from electricity, other publicly funded services like water from the Water Board is never efficient – so it is normal for developers to have boreholes within their premises.  Local governments are not known to maintain roads in a reasonable state with the result that various landlords associations sometimes have to construct and maintain their own roads. Though electricity is known to constrain development, potentially rich home owners are known to have overcome this constraint by having powerful generators.

The cumulative effect of all these is the development of many housing units here and there particularly along many new roads.  Development takes place in all directions putting a lot of demand on development control and enforcement.  For every one hundred developments, there are a hundred planning applications for development permits in a hundred different, often scattered, locations.  Before granting development permits regularly by way of monitoring to ensure the development being carried out are in compliance with the approved permit.  it is from monitoring that enforcement proceeds.

.     It is all these complexities that the Development Control Department has to cope with  – a situation aggravated in our urban centres where demand for industrial development goes hand in hand with that of housing and others.

.     This is a capsule summary of the development pressures under which the development control departments operate and the realities of enforcement.

  1. d)      Other Factors
  • The number of states has grown from 4 regions at independence in 1960 to 12 in 1967, 19 in 1976, 21 in 1987, 30 in 1991 and 36 in 1996 (plus Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory).  Consistently there is a corresponding increase in the local government councils – 774 as at today.  By these events many towns and cities became political and economic centres overnight.  However the development of appropriate policies and infrastructures required to keep pace with the above described fragmentary evolution were not there, making the evolution of our dream built environment nothing more than an hallucination.
  • There are substantive capacity gaps in the abilities of the federal, state and local governments agencies involved in positively shaping our built implement and monitor essential urban services and facilities.  Their management practices and systems are not responsive to the needs of the residents or that imposed by the rapidly changing socio-economic environments created by new growth centres referred to earlier on.
  • In addition there is lack of reliable data on which to base any meaningful and effective planning and management of our settlements.  Available information is scanty, fragmented and often unreliable.


We pondered on all these and asked what can we, as Registered Town Planners, do?  We had series of brainstorming sessions and the Big Bang came!  The Land Use Planning Analysis Report (LUPAR)



  1. LUPAR – as conceptualized


Your LUPAR is best contextualized in this scenario of our imagination of a plot of land measuring say 648 square metres (the usual 60feet x 120feet). The plot can either de developed or vacant. Imagine a minimum of 1,000 metres radius (say 55plots) drawn round the plot thus giving a minimum area of 3,142,000 square metres (314 hectares approximately). A thorough Land Use Analysis Survey of this land must be carried out followed with the land use analysis map with all the identified land uses coded in the NITP-approved professional colour code. A twelve to fifteen page report on the plot has to be written addressing the following :-  

–  Name of the owner of the plot; information on title to the land; type of existing development or proposed on the plot; building plan approval/permit number if there is an existing development on the plot and a detailed location plan of the site. 

–   Statement on current government approved or proposed Town Planning Development Plan covering the area where the plot is located. – Regional/master/district/local plans as applicable. 

–   Report on the Land Use Survey/Analysis. 

–   Professional opinion on the proposed use of the plot in question.

  1. With LUPAR, it is hoped that 95% of all the problems itemized in a, b, c, and d earlier on discussed will be significantly addressed.  This shall lead, to situations, where our colleagues on government can now rely on LUPAR as a companion in their decision making processes.  A combination of two or three LUPAR in the same neighbourhood will, if carefully joined together, provide an updated base map of the neighbourhood at zero cost to the Town Planning Authority.
  1. I very happily wish to inform that the belief and Mission statement of this administration goes thus:
“Between us and the next generation there is a contract. It is our SACRED duty to create the enabling environment to make the young/upcoming ones be convinced that the moment you GENUINELY struggle/work hard and get your certificate of registration with NITP & TOPREC, you can nod your head in fulfillment that it is not only a passport to good living but also to a fortune. Against this background priority number one on their seven-point agenda is JOB CREATION. We had earlier on stated the objective of “Creation of at least 5 million units of jobs per annum for RTPs which is designed to provide the much needed bread & butter income for the profession. This shall be via the introduction of a Land Use Planning Report prepared by Registered Town Planners which shall accompany applications for building permits, issuance of CofOs, opening of Corporate accounts with banks and incorporation/registration of new companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission, etc.” 

Thanks for listening.


National President


4 Replies to “TPL Dr Femi Olomola: How LUPAR will transform Planning Practice”

  1. It is a welcome development and everything must be done to have it in the statutes. Kudos to the efforts of the President and his team. We need more of this creative thinking. Thank you.

  2. A Well done attempt in making the profession more lucrative in the country.I wish it is successful,backed and favoured by the policy of change in the country.

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