By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that population explosion in Karu, headquarters of Karu Local Government Area, has made it impossible for the state government to plan for the city.
Engineer Sule made this known while playing host to a delegation from the UN-Habitat, at the Government House, on Wednesday.
According to the Governor, with the continuous influx of people into Karu, which is contiguous to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it’s out of place to put the population of the city at around two hundred and something thousand, as is presently the case.
“That is why we can’t plan for Karu, because you plan for two hundred and something thousand people and then 500, 000 people are coming and going out, then you are not going to succeed.
“After the amount of efforts we put in there, we construct roads for two hundred and something thousand people, one million are plying that road, that road will be damaged. If we don’t have data, information, we won’t be able to do a good job,” he stated.
While emphasizing the significance of data in effective planning, Engineer Sule commended the UN-Habitat for selecting Karu Local Government Area in the country as sole beneficiary of its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy.
He described the intervention as timely, especially that Karu, Keffi and Lafia constitute over 80 percent of the total COVID-19 infections in the state.
The Governor specifically appreciated the UN agency for undertaking to update the Karu urban profile, to facilitate evidence-based development planning, as well as conduct training programme to enhance capacity of local and national authorities on COVID-19 response and evidence-based development planning.
He equally commended the Karu Local Government Chairman, Hon. Samuel Akala, for distinguishing himself in Marrakech, in Morocco, which led to UN-Habitat selecting Karu for its pilot project in the country.
The Governor used the opportunity of the meeting to thank the Gen. T. Y. Danjuma Foundation, for choosing to similarly intervene in three locations across the state.
Earlier, UN-Habitat Consultant, Paul Okunola, disclosed that the agency has selected Karu Local Government Area as sole beneficiary for its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy, with $220, 000 earmarked to be utilized.
Okunola listed the projects to be undertaken as, installation and commissioning of six emergency water sources, hand washing stations and other health and hygiene interventions in Karu peri-urban settlement, production of updated Karu urban profile to facilitate evidence-based development planning, as well as conduct training programmes to enhance the capacity of officials on COVID-19 response and evidence-based development planning.