“Presently, values of land outside urban areas are not known, they are not recognized and that gives the impression that such lands do not have value”
Sir Nweke Umezuruike is the Chairman Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON). It is an agency of the Federal Government that regulates and controls the practice of estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria. In this interview with Daily Sun, Nweke fielded questions ranging from the efforts of the Board in increasing the GDP of the country through its services to its membership of International Valuers Standard Council (IVSC). He noted that the call for the unification of all surveying professional bodies as is the practice in the United Kingdom where the RICS holds sway and in the neighbouring Ghana was basically to ensure a proper functioning and surveying practice between the three surveying professions in Nigeria which are NIS, NIESV and NIQS.
Well, in several ways, I am sure you know that Nigerian estate surveyors and valuers are the property managers of the nation which involves proper management of land and everything on and in land. One way we assist in increasing the GDP is that we have been talking seriously about property registration and titling, giving our support that every parcel of land in this country should be titled and registered. When that is done, every Nigerian even in the remotest village will have a document over the land that he owns. This will be a document that will be recognized all over especially by the financial institutions like banks and what have you. This will make even a farmer in his remotest village to carry his document and go to his bank, obtain a loan and do his business. Presently, values of land outside urban areas are not known, they are not recognized and that gives the impression that such lands do not have value whereas they have value and by the time we aggregate all the land values in Nigeria, even the GDP you are talking about will triple. For the present day activities of the board especially in the urban areas, I am sure that you know that as Estate Surveyors and Valuers, the professionals are the only people entitled to value land dealings, plants and equipments. Until you know the value of what you own, you cannot know your worth.
Well, you know estate survey valuation is divided into two broad categories; urban real estate and rural real estate and for the rural, while the presence of surveyors is not that felt is the same thing that is affecting the nation at large. The nation has failed to realize that the salvation of the country economically lies in agriculture. By the time we realize that, there will be more activity in the rural area and that increased activity will also pull all the practitioners including estate surveyors and valuers to that sector. But presently, that is lacking because an estate surveyor and valuer cannot go and engage where there is no activity. That’s just the simple reason.
We are in support of a uniform surveying body. It allows for uniqueness just as it is being operated in some other countries. Even recently, we made a proposal for the office of the Valuer-General, which is also in a bid to ensure continued growth and development of the surveying practice. The call for a uniform surveying body was pioneered by several bodies including NIESV, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) and chartered surveyors under the aegis of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigerian chapter. The call for the unification of all surveying professional bodies as is the practice in the United Kingdom where the RICS holds sway and in the neighbouring Ghana was basically to ensure a proper functioning and surveying practice between the three surveying professions in Nigeria which are NIS, NIESV and NIQS. The uniform body when formulated will be expected to develop frameworks that will make the government accountable to the populace. Hence, efforts geared at ensuring a uniform surveying body in the country if well processed and executed will also enhance the surveying practice in the country.
West African countries
You know the English – speaking countries derive their professional growth from England so with all the English speaking countries. We have similar institutions and regulatory bodies. The French speaking countries are slightly different because they grew from France. So like Ghana, we relate well with them when they have events. We invite them and vice versa and we are quite similar in several respects. We cannot say Nigeria is lagging behind Ghana or any other English Speaking countries
Membership of IVS is very paramount because IVSC is International Valuation Standard Setting Council just like ESVABON is Valuation Standard Setting Body of Nigeria. The international community wants to make sure that professionals abide by internationally recognized standards and the valuation standard is also involved if valuation does not keep to the internationally recognized standards, nobody will recognize it for anything. When Nigerians realize that estate surveyors and valuers keeps to internationally recognized standards, they should relax because their valuation problems are being handled by professionals who are recognized internationally and I think it is a big advantage and it’s not a backyard profession.
The green book is a standard book containing all the valuation standards and when the hard copy becomes available, let’s say barely one month from now even users of services invested valuers will have access to it, buy it and study it to make sure that the reports they get are in accordance with the standards in that book. But more than that, it is a bible to the practitioners. Makes sure that every report that goes out from the offices is in accord with the standards of that book.
When the board was established in the mid 70’s, registered persons were very much below one thousand (1000), but today registered persons are in the range of five thousand 5000. So it has grown tremendously and more are being registered though. I am sure that you were at the induction ceremony where almost two hundred were inducted at the same time. Every now and then, we are interviewing and registering people who are found fit and proper to be registered. So, we are growing and even at that, the number of the registered person serving over 198 million estimated population of Nigeria, we still know that we have not got enough to adequately serve the nation so, efforts are being made to keep increasing the number.
You check quacks by reporting them to the appropriate authorities. Quacks are those people who are not registered surveyors and valuers but are practicing as registered surveyors and valuers. It is our duty to report them to the Nigeria Police because anybody who is not registered but is practicing is a quack. When he does that he is breaking the law and our duty is to report them to the police and follow up to make sure that they are punished.
Anybody who is not using our services where it is required is doing that at his risk. Registered Estate Surveyor and Valuer gives you a guarantee that relying on their services, you can never get it wrong. So, it is important that he uses our services and valuers.