By Chibota Edozie
The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors has praised the Enugu State Government for reversing its decision to implement counter-signature, a practice whereby the surveyor-general of the state counter-signs survey plans already signed by registered surveyors.
Leading a delegation of members of the NIS executive council on a courtesy visit to the Enugu State Government House, the President of the Institution, Bern Omo Akhigbe, commended the state government for the action.
According to him, effective use of surveyors will prevent most of the problems encountered in land development.
Akhigbe canvassed the inclusion of surveyors in road constructions and other engineering projects in the state, and the country in general.
He therefore called on the government to remove the surveying aspect of construction-related contracts from contractors and engage surveyors separately in order to ensure quality.
Also, at another courtesy visit to the management of NTA Zonal Network Center, Enugu, the NIS called for the establishment of a Survey and Mapping Agency.
The proposed agency will partner with the ministries of land and environment to ensure that surveying is made part and parcel of national development initiatives, according to the NIS.
“Surveying should be taken seriously by the government,” Akhigbe said, adding that surveying could help to combat rigging during elections.
According to Akhigbe, “when an area had been surveyed and the population is known, it will be difficult to rig but what we have now is that huge figures come from rural areas where the population is actually scanty, because, since the areas were not surveyed, they (politicians) can blow up the figures.”
However, the Assistant Director News, NTA Enugu, Bennie Mordi, urged the NIS to create more awareness about surveying in the country.
She observed that members of the public have scant information about surveying.
“There is not much awareness about surveying – if you ask the average man on the street he will say ‘what is that?’,” she said.
It could be recalled that under the counter-signature arrangement, survey plans cannot be registered with the government unless they are counter-signed by the surveyor-general.
Although the practice was abrogated by Nigerian constitution over 30 years ago, Enugu State Government re-enacted the law in 2004, a development which prompted the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors to take the matter to court.
Following the court case, the state government had reverted to the status quo by stopping further implementation of the counter-signature procedure.