In the light of recent challenges confronting the built environment and the country at large, Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, have cautioned professionals against the abuse of office and ethical values.
The President, Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof Layi Egunjobi, said it had become necessary for stakeholders to observe ethical principles both in the private and public sectors for them to be able to face certain challenges confronting the country.
He noted that a score of doubts, dilemmas, dubious loyalties and conflicting incentives might cloud the application of ethical conduct.
According to him, this can result to the rise of misbehaviour, failures or unfulfilled public expectations that feed more demanding public reactions to various planning problem such as building collapse, environmental degradation and slum development among others.
Egunjobi and others spoke at the institute’s Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme with the theme, ‘Mastering ethical conduct in town planning practice.’
“The role of ethics becomes more central and should penetrate more deeply both into the profession, practice and professionals for better service delivery in some challenging circumstances. We should become even stauncher supporters of our code of ethics, and even more determined to work to achieve its broad implementation,” he said.
The President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lekwa Ezutah, said town planners could only raise the quality of lives of people through creating and maintaining liveable environments by disciplined practice in line with ethics of the profession.
He noted that in recent years, greed and impatience had driven so many professionals to abuse ethics and code of conduct for pecuniary gratifications.
He added, “These are perpetrated through reckless use of stamps and seals, abuse of land use plans through uncoordinated changes; bastardisation of plans; building plan approvals without recourse to master plans, where they exist; supplanting in bidding for consultancy services; poor performance of duties, including non-attendance of lectures by our colleagues in academics, thus impartation of knowledge and other innumerable acts which are inconsistent with established rules of operation.
“Due to these acts against ethics, members are priced low and they rub negatively on us through projection of bad image of our noble profession to the public.
“Non-adherence to ethics would sweep the carpet from under our feet and take food from our table. I therefore call for caution in the practice of the planning profession to enable us hold our heads high, in terms of integrity before the government and the Nigerian public at large. We must bequeath a worthwhile legacy to posterity.”
Ezutah said the profession of town planning could no longer be business as usual for defaulters of professional ethics.
“The professional ethics and disciplinary committee will no longer stop at barking but will bite defaulters hard to serve as deterrents to misconduct,” he said.
The Managing Director, MOA Planners Limited, Moses Ogunleye, stated that as a profession, town planning and its practitioners should be distinctive in conduct and exemplary in character.
“In other words, they should stand for and be known for something. Practitioners of the profession can only be respected when what they stand for edifies objectivity, honesty, probity, incorruptibility and integrity,” he added.
The Chairman of the 21st MCPDP Committee, Prof Smart Uchegbu, said it became necessary to address ethical issues due to challenges in the profession.