By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has held that the State House of Assembly acted unconstitutionally, in enacting the Section 5 of the Survey Law of the state, which requires surveyors to obtain written consent of the Surveyor General of the state before carrying out survey on any state land or land acquired by the state government.
Consequently, the court held that the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON) is the only body vested with authority to regulate and control survey practice/profession throughout the country.
Justice Osiagor made the pronouncements while delivering judgement in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1789/2020, filed by seven surveyors, Adaranijo Ibikunle Ganiyu Rafiu, Aluko Kikelomo Sikirat (Mrs.), Adedeji Olarewaju, Adams Benjamin Olugbenga, Mekuleyi Oluseyi Samuel, Aliu Samuel, and Fashina Adedapo, against the Surveyor General of Lagos State and 10 others.
Other defendants in the suit are, Surveyors Council of Nigeria, Olatunbosun David, Adesina Adeleke, Akomolafe A.O, Odetunmobi O. Olufemi, Mrs Akintaro, Michael Adebisi Alonge, Egbeyemi Lateef, the Attorney General of Lagos State, and the Attorney General of the Federation, respectively.
Justice Osiagor held further that SURCON has the powers to issue the guidelines for the conduct of survey practice in Nigeria 2020, in exercise of its powers to regulate and control survey practice/ profession in the country and that the surveyor general of Lagos State, being a member of SURCON, is bound to follow and apply the guidelines for the conduct of survey practice in Nigeria 2020, in Lagos State.
The court also held that the surveyor general of the state lacked the power to deny the plaintiffs or any registered surveyor consent to conduct survey on any parcel of land in the state (whether owned by the state government, corporate bodies or private individuals) and that he also lacked the power to reject copies of survey plans submitted by the plaintiffs [and every other registered surveyor in Nigeria) for lodgement.
He further held that the surveyor general of the state did not have the power to demand and/or insist on counter-signing a survey plan prepared by a registered surveyor or any plan at all, as the same has been abolished in Nigeria, as far back as 1974.
Besides, Justice Osiagor held further that the engagement of Olatunbosun David, Adesina Adeleke, Akomolafe A.O, Odetunmobi O. Olufemi, Mrs Akintaro, Michael Adebisi Alonge, Egbeyemi Lateef by the surveyor general via a letter dated September 15, 2020, with Reference No. OSSG/CAD/2020/Vol. 1/ 033, as the only surveyors to carry out surveys in the Mende Revocation Area, to the exclusion of the plaintiffs [and every other registered surveyor in Nigeria] is, hereby, set aside for being in gross violation of the provisions of Sections 4(d) and 19(1) of the SURCON Act, Sections 1(3), 1(5) and 3 of the guidelines for the conduct of survey practice in Nigeria 2020.
The court also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from giving effect to the surveyor general’s letter dated September 15, 2020 with Reference No. OSSG/CAD/2020/ Vol. 1/033, pursuant to which the said seven appointed surveyors were engaged by the surveyor general.