Gombe State is a land of many resources but inadequate development control mechanism is affecting the development of the state. Since Gombe town assumed the status of state capital, the city centre is expanding both in terms of population and business. The situation with regards to population increase is getting out of hand day by day, thereby, resulting to shanty town, scattered settlement, slum conditions, among others.
As Gombe State continues to grow in terms of size and population, planners are in increasing demand to manage the challenges and changes being recorded. Thus, planning as a dynamic process that is constantly evolving in response to changes within the community is required especially in Gombe metropolis. The need for town planners to come to our rescue has thereby become inevitable. Town planners are professionals that develop strategies and design communities in which we live, work and play and balance the built and natural environment, community needs, economic sustainability and cultural significance.
One of the main purposes of establishing Gombe Geographic Information Systems (GOGIS) is to redirect the general philosophies of pre-existing lands and its structure in the state through the application of a uniform statutory regulation of ownership and control of land rights and to stimulate easier access to land for greater economic development as well as promote social cohesion and assist other stakeholders in checkmating or regulating development control activities in the state. Therefore, as an urban planner who manages the distribution of land among competing uses to attain maximum practicable degree of economy and convenience, my concern as the DG is in ensuring sustainability of life through effective management and utilisation of land and its scarce resources for sustainable development, improve the quality of life and create vibrant communities within the state.
It is also important for the citizens of Gombe State to note that: In 1978, the Supreme Military Council which was the all-encompassing ruling organ of the military government in Nigeria promulgated the Land Use Decree. (The Provisions of the Land Use Act 1978), section 1 of the Land Use Act provides inter alia: “All lands comprised in the territory of each state in the federation are hereby vested in the governor of that state and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act.” This provision automatically created a trust of land in each state of the country. It gives the legal but not the absolute ownership of the lands to the governors. By so doing, it altered the breadth of individual, corporate and community lands rights in Nigeria.
Section 2 of the Act created two types of lands in Nigeria, urban and rural. It vested the urban lands in the state governors and rural lands in the local government councils Section 315(5)(d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) specifically listed the Land Use Act as one of the existing laws that has been given effect by section 315 (1).
“It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part hereof by assignment, mortgage, and transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained…”
In accordance with section 26 of the Act, any transactions such as assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise without the governor’s consent is void.
In land use, a setback is the minimum distance which a building or other structure must be set back from a street or road, a river or other stream, a shore or flood plain, or any other place which is deemed to need protection. Setback can be explained as the minimum open space required around any building or structure. Setbacks are required at the front, rear and sides of buildings and the specifications vary from one area to another. Hence, one of my roles as a citizen of Gombe State and also as a professional in the field of town planning is to advocate planning ideas and proffer planning solutions while educating my fellow citizen with regards to land distribution and management for sustainable development in other to improve the quality of life and create lively communities within Gombe State. Thus, the following enlightenment becomes necessary for your perusals.
Classification of roads within Nigeria and Gombe State:
- Freeways road: are wide roads designed for fast-moving vehicles to travel long distances with higher speeds. These are generally designed in four lanes, two lanes in each direction. Traffic movement on freeways is continuous and unhindered because there are no railway or road intersections and no signals.
The access is controlled everywhere in this type of roads the driver never comes in contact with the opposing flow of traffic. To separate traffic from other roads Freeways are accessed only through ramps. Bridges or underpasses are constructed to create a passage for roads which cross freeways. Parking and Walking are strictly prohibited on freeways and they don’t have footpaths on either side of roads. The minimum speed limit and maximum speed limit varies from the country by country and it ranges between 45mph to 75mph.
•Freeways road dimension range between 90 meters – 124 meters. •Freeways setback between the edge of the road and the building is 90m. •NB: we don’t have freeways road in Nigeria.
- Expressways: Expressways are one of the superior types of access-controlled roadways where the entry and exit of the expressway are fully controlled by ramps. Expressways are meant for a free flow of very speed traffic. Expressways are designed to travel quickly with great comfort and safety by avoiding sharp curves, busy traffic intersections, railway junctions. Vehicles with high acceleration are only permitted in expressways. Heavy load vehicles, cargo vehicles, pedestrians are not allowed. Parking, loading and unloading are strictly prohibited on Expressways. Example of expressway in Nigeria:
•Lagos- Ibadan Expressway •Ibadan-Shagamu Expressway
•Kaduna-Abuja Expressway •Expressway dimension 120 metres •Expressway setback from the edge of the road to the building is 90m (differs from country) NB: it is totally prohibited to erect structures on highways side because of the nature of speed traffic by heavy vehicles except for farms, airport, and rail station, among others.
- Highways Roads: Connect villages to cities or cities to cities or state to state or the roads connect the state capital to the national capital are called highways. Highways are the roads run through the length and breadth of the country. They are generally laid in two lanes. Highways are further classified into National Highways, State Highways, Urban Highways and Rural Highways. We will discuss these types in location and function category. Some examples of Highway in Nigeria are:
•Oyo – Ogbomoso highway (A2) •Madalla/Abuja-Kaduna Highway •Kaduna – Kano Highway •Highway dimension 90metres •Highway setback requirement is (90m right of way) 45m from the centre
•NB: it is only advisable to erect public structures with large parking space on highways because of the nature of the road and the traffic volume, thus, residential houses are not allowed along that road.
- Arterials Roads or Major Road: These are the roads laid inside the city or town for the movement high volume of traffic. An arterial road joins the central business point to the outside residential areas. Arterials provide access to the highways. Pedestrians are allowed to cross the roads only at intersections or at designated pedestrian crossings. The flow of traffic is controlled by a signaling system at intersections. Parking is usually not allowed on arterial roads. Some examples of major roads in Gombe state are:
•Gombe–Biu road •Ashaka – Bajoga Road •Bauchi – Gombe road •Highway dimension 90metres •Highway setback requirement is (90m right of way) 45m from the centre
•NB: it is only advisable to erect commercial structures with large on the highways side because of the nature of speed traffic by heavy vehicles except for farms, airport, and rail station, among others.
- Collector roads: are major and minor roads that connect local roads and streets with arterials. Collectors provide less mobility than arterials at lower speeds and for shorter distances. They balance mobility with land access. The posted speed limit on collectors is usually between 35 and 55 mi/h. Pedestrians are allowed to cross only at intersections. Parking can be allowed except at peak times. Some examples of collector road within Gombe state are:
•Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Road •Federal Teaching Hospital Road •Jeka da Fari Road/Arawa – Danieshi Road/University Road • State Low Cost Road, Bye Pass Road •Sabon Layi Road (Abubakar Habu Hashidu way) • Tudun Wada Road (Usman Shehu Abubakar Way) •Herwagana Road and Pantami road •Collector road dimension (60m right of way) 30m from the centre.
•NB: Residential buildings are also not allowed on collector roads, it is also only advisable to erect commercial/public structures with large parking space such as eatery, hotel, banks, shopping mall, theatre, cinemas, tertiary institution/schools and stadium among others.
- Local roads: These are roads that provide limited mobility and are the primary access to residential areas, businesses, farms, and other local areas. Local roads don’t carry a large volume of traffic like arterials. The speed limit is restricted to 30km/hr in a local street. Pedestrians can cross the road at any point in local streets. Unrestricted parking, loading and unloading of vehicles are allowed in local streets. They usually don’t have any divider with boulders but divided with 1m dotted white lines or straight white line.
Some examples of Local road road within Gombe State are: •Arabia Technical Road/Sarkin Fulani Road
•Buba Shongo Road/Ayu Road •Yamaltu Deba Road/Abacha Road •Federal Low Street /Jalo Waziri Road •Ajuji waziri Road/Mai Alewa Road •Modibbo Tukur Road/Dadaleso Road •Local road dimension varies between (States) (24m, 18m, 15m, 12m, 9m,. • Setback from the edge of the local road to buildings is 6m
- Access Road/Street: These are road used for direct access to individual lots within a residential area or for access to commercial premises. Some examples of Access road within Gombe State are:
•PDP Street/Okeaze Ikpeazu Street • Alabura S. Kudi Crescent/Sarkin Dabe Street
•Orji Street, 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue & 3rd Avenue •Hajiya Uwani Street/Ayika Odo Street •Access road dimension varies between (States) 9m, 7m or 6m •Standard Setback from the edge of the Access road to buildings is 3m or 6m from the centre of the road.
- National highways: National highways run throughout the length and breadth of the country. These roads connect state capital cities to the national capital city. A minimum of two lanes, one for each direction is provided for National highways and these two lanes are divided by a strip of boulders. The minimum speed of 80Kmph should be maintained on National highways. They are usually labelled with numbers NH1, NH70. Example of National highways in Nigeria is
•Lagos – Niger border (via Ibadan, Illorin, Sokoto) •Port Harcourt – Cameroon border (Via Enugu, Jos, Maiduguri) •Elele –Niger Border (Via Warri, Benin City, Kaduna, Kano)
- Motorways are expressways which are built for a free flow of very speed traffic. Expressways are designed to travel quickly with great comfort and safety by avoiding sharp curves, busy traffic intersections, railway junctions. Heavy load vehicles are strictly restricted on expressways.
Pedestrian ways: The way or a route built specifically for the pedestrians where any vehicles are strictly restricted are called pedestrian ways.
Therefore, State Development Board as an agency that manage and regulate property development in the state in order to ensure that all development takes place at an appropriate time and place and in such a manner that goes in line with determined set of policies or standards, solicits for maximum support and cooperation from the good people of Gombe State for the betterment of our society.
Dr. Hassan, the director-general of Gombe Geographic information Systems sent this piece from Gombe