Within the past decade, the city of Ibadan has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of hotels and a conspicuous emergence of facilities called ‘lounges’. What is extremely bothersome in this new development is the total failure of planning in the location of these facilities.
It is amazing how the absence of planning has resulted in a pattern of schools being in close proximity to adult establishments. All over the great city of Ibadan, from Moniya, Monatan, Ojoo, Molete, Challenge, Iyaganku, Bodija to Ikolaba/OritaBashorun, you find primary and secondary schools and sometimes daycare centres located across from or few doors away from lounges and hotels.
Giving approval for the location of hotels and lounges should be done a little more thoughtfully. Hotels and lounges should not be situated indiscriminately. Notwithstanding the fact that the law requires hotel sponsors to conduct a professional environmental impact assessment, the Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control should do a common-sense environmental impact assessment.
The Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control and its predecessor Ministry have failed to factor the interest of our children in their approval processes for hotels and lounges in Ibadan. Our Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, should, as a matter of urgency, please, correct the grave error of his predecessors that inadvertently created the pattern of schools and lounges/hotels as neighbours. Approval and siting of hotels and lounges should be done with some sense of decency. A sense of decency is what makes it appalling to have lounges and hotels in primary and secondary school neighbourhoods.
Children should be given special treatment under the Engr. SeyiMakinde administration. For the sake of our children, Oyo State should provide leadership for Nigeria by re-establishing school zones. Within the area designated as a school zone, permissible activities are delimited. Even cars and motorists cannot drive beyond a prescribed speed limit for the safety of the students.
Within the same context of child safety, the State should impose stiff punishments for motorists and cyclists who are at fault in a collision with school buses and very stiff penalties for drivers and cyclists that carry students in reckless and dangerous ways. At the very least, adult establishments should not be allowed to operate in school zones. We urge GovernorMakinde to halt this reckless practice and help our children learn in appropriate environments.
• Jaiyebo wrote in form Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State.