In a bid to protect all destitute, mentally challenged and street urchins across the state, the government has concluded plans to move them to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Akanran, Ona Ara local government area of the state for rehabilitation.
This is just as the government has began service of notice of warning on corporate organisations and owners of property who have permanently sealed up drainages in their domain.
The move, the government said, is to allow for evacuation of the drainages and water channel that has been blocked by refuse.
The government warned that the refusal to comply with the notice might lead to government sealing up such property or business premises for violation of the state environmental laws.
State commissioner for environment and water resources, Mr Isaac Ishola made the disclosure during the stakeholders’ interactive forum on the newly introduced Management of Public Spaces (MOPS) Scheme at an event which held at the Western Hall, House of Assembly Complex, Agodi Secretariat, Ibadan.
The MOPS scheme is to help the government to capture public spaces in the state in its urban regeneration master plan and where possible to involve the private sector in such development such as identifying and documenting all public spaces, removing encroachers, securing the sites and keeping them beautiful and environmentally friendly for residents.
The interactive forum was attended by government agencies, parastatals, corporate organisations and relevant stakeholders.
While noting that flooding in major parts of the state are self-imposed by the people as a result of failure to yield government advise to stop dumping of refuse on flood paths, Mr Ishola noted that the government will only consider the option of compensating the victims if there are sufficient and justifiable reasons for such.
Speaking on the MOPS Scheme, the commissioner said “MOPS is a tool for rejuvenating Oyo state at a little cost to taxpayers and within and with minimum disruption to daily commercial activity.
“MOPS will help to update government data on public spaces and to secure all such areas. In this way, trespassers and miscreants can be removed from parks, setbacks and such like making them safer for public use and available for development.
Secondly, MOPS will reinforce the activities of other Oyo state agencies such as waste management, transport management and signage. These are the agencies that are charged with enforcing regulations on the proper use of public spaces to ensure a cleaner, healthier and more orderly environment.
“Thirdly, MOPS will ensure that beautification and horticultural works on designed routes and parks are developed and always kept maintained. This will increase the value of adjacent private properties and also make the vicinity attractive for development. For example, recreational purposes such as parks, for commercial activities, such as shopping malls for short-term car parks.”
He called on the corporate organization in the state to take advantage of the new scheme, especially the well-manicured areas for branding and promotion of their products and brands.
Explaining what constitutes public spaces, the Director General, Bureau of Planning and Development Control, Mr Waheed Gbadamosi, represented by S.P Taiwo, a director in the agency, said roads, including pavements, public squares, parks and beaches make up public spaces.
He said, “In land use planning, open space is any open piece of land that is undeveloped, that has no buildings or other built structures and is accessible to the public.”
He regretted that most of the public spaces in major towns and cities are being largely misused through unauthorized conversion to residences and business places; unauthorized parking lots by commercial concerns whose buildings lack parking provisions; unauthorized markets and garages and unauthorized refuse dump sites.
He pointed out that the physical and mental health benefits of using green open spaces are becoming ever more apparent to governments and citizens, saying “MOPS is quite timely and important because it is vital for cities to find ways to preserve, manage and create a new public/open spaces.”