Niger State, Nigeria 24 November, 2020 - UN-Habitat and the Niger State Government organised a one day dialogue bringing together policy actors and stakeholders to discuss and validate the draft Niger State Urban Policy and identify policy areas to accelerate sustainable urbanization in the state.

Over 100 participants took part, over half from the public sector and others including the private sector, civil society and academics, The meeting agreed to coordinate and harmonise efforts among institutions for the implementation of State Urban Policy

The Secretary to the Government of Niger State, Ahmed Matane highlighted that the state government had spent two years formulating the Policy. He added that its implementation will enable towns and cities in the state to rearrange their financing, management and governance to provide infrastructure and services on a self- sustaining basis.

The South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, In-Tae Lee, said the improved living conditions of urban population and the development of people-centred and sustainable cities was rooted in the implementation of urban development policy. He encouraged the Niger State Government to take lessons from South Korea to accelerate the development of sustainable cities and towns by implementing the policy.

Remy Sietchiping, Chief Policy, Legislation and Governance Section of UN-Habitat, who participated virtually, commended Niger State for pioneering the formulation of a state-driven urban policy in Nigeria. He added that the draft policy has 10 priority areas that shall be consistently monitored and reviewed over time to ensure their relevance for the development of Niger State.

During the dialogue, participants provided inputs on how to strengthen partnerships to implement the policy. Valda Martins, a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Minna said “as we gradually switch to the implementation of the urban policy, the creation of public spaces should be given a priority” noting that issue of safety and security particularly for the girl child and women working in markets should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Abdullahi Khalil, the comptroller of Niger State Fire Service, suggested that emergency response and disaster management should be an integral element in policy or project development. Dr. Imam Abdullahi, the permanent secretary, Niger State Ministry of Transport proposed transport for recreation and health such as bike lanes and race tracks should be considered in the policy document and during its implementation.

To conclude the dialogue, participants suggested a committee should be established to review  pilot projects with a greater emphasis placed on multi-agency coordination along with the buy-in of the general public to achieving sustainable development in the state.

The formulation of the Niger State Urban Policy is part of the UN-Habitat’s three countries (Iran, Myanmar and Nigeria) National Urban Policy Programme financed by South Korea.