From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) has urged the federal government to formulate policies on building collapse to prevent the trend in the country.
NIS National President Surv Dr Kayode Oluwamotemi made the call in his address at this year’s Annual General Meeting/Conference held at the Obafemi Awolowo Civic Centre, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The 56th AGM focused on “Mapping Policies, Strategies and Spatial Infrastructure Development for Sustainable E-Governance in Nigeria.”
Expressing worries over the spate of building collapses in the country, Surv Oluwamotemi remarked that everybody is looking only at Lagos State when it comes to building collapses, pointing out that if adequate steps are not taken the ugly trend will spread across the entire country. According to him, it is the surveyors who can take action and measurements to remedy the situation.
He stressed the need for government to formulate policies on the monitoring of buildings comprising bungalows and storey buildings aimed at ensuring that owners of buildings, whether private, government or corporate entities save lives and properties. He explained that measurement is not in terms of using tapes, but the application of equipment for monitoring either annually, bi-annually and so on, with a view to ascertaining whether the structures are tilting.
The national president said one of the challenges in the profession was the infiltration of quacks which he maintained was not peculiar to surveying but can also be seen in other professions. He, however, added that the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors has regulations and other machinery in place to checkmate any unprofessional conduct if not complete eradication, at least appreciable reduction in the number of imposters/quacks.
He observed that Nigeria stands to benefit immensely from applying surveying and mapping, including their allied services in land administration and governance. In the same way, Ekiti State and Nigeria will gain enormously if they work assiduously on opening up land mass to investment in various areas.
“Surveyors will help you to know more about what is yours so that your interests and rights can be properly secured. This is the thrust of the theme of this Conference and we hope that at the end of the interactions, the resolutions generated will receive warm acceptance by government and also inform the direction of policies and projects”. We have prepared a template for inclusiveness of Surveyors as a professional association, we are committed to evolving, participating and advising in whatever area that requires our professional knowledge and competence in the effort to achieve egalitarianism for our country and people. Computers/automation has made its incursion into virtually every profession. This has tremendously enhanced the efficiency of practices and service delivery across the board. As much as we all agree that boundaries are fast disappearing, it would be totally out of place to expect that a Scrub Nurse, no matter the number of years spent with a Surgeon in the theatre, would be allowed by law to perform the operation because he or she has not been intellectually prepared to handle it.”
He pointed out that products of Geospatial Information (maps and data) are strictly technical and not artistic (maps) as the computer has made them look. “Surveyors determine position, size and directions through observations of the natural heavenly objects like stars and sun. Surveyors have been deriving and using data from these celestial objects before the innovation of artificial objects. The satellites which have made automation of the processes possible, would the surveyors who have been trained to use and used these natural objects like the sun and some of the other stars not be more competent to apply/interpret data from these artificial satellites? Satellites have made signals receivable on many devices using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The fact that we have these facilities on our phones does not necessarily make us competent in their use and or provide technical interpretation of the information made available at some higher level. At some points, we would need the service or input or someone who is adequately trained and certified to provide such input, the Surveyors”.
Oluwamotemi further said that States like Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Imo and Cross River have benefited tremendously from using Geospatial Information to increase and improve the awareness of taxes, and promote and advance compliance and the attendant revenue accruable and generally improve land administration and governance.
Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi, in his address delivered by his deputy, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi said, “Ekiti government is very happy to host the history-making event of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors(NIS) holding for the first time in Ekiti State.
“Despite the fact that Ekiti does not have huge financial resources, the State still offered to host the programme.
“Ekiti State is very aware of the importance of Surveying and Geo-Information of everything. Without Surveying, it will not be well mapped.
“Mapping of domains is very important.
“My administration has always keyed into the provision of BioData in the state.”
Responding to how the Ekiti State government has been tackling the issue of quackery in the profession in the state, the commissioner for Investment, Trade and Industry, Hon Muyiwa Olumilua said, ” Not patronising quacks is the duty of the people. A lot of people would rather go for cheap survey plans at the risk of actually getting a proper survey done. Now, the government always warns people not to do their surveys with surveyors that are not licensed. A licensed surveyor has a seal, so anybody who promises to do a survey for you and does not have a seal, definitely that person is not a registered surveyor, the person is a quack.
“The onus is on the people to actually go to the right persons for their surveys, and when a survey is done it takes a licensed, registered surveyor to get it stamped at the office of the Surveyor General. So, there are procedures, there are steps that should be taken. When you come across somebody who is ready to do a job that will cost you may be a hundred thousand for twenty thousand naira, know that you were buying a fake product.
“We (the government) can only issue a caveat emptor, that is “buyer beware”, to prevent or warn the people not to patronise quacks.
“With regards to surveying generally in the State, Ekiti State has one of the most comprehensive GIS projects in the country. Very soon, the process of obtaining Certificates of Occupancy will be done totally online, emphasising our drive to make the whole process completely paperless.”