The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has held that a registered surveyor is qualified to practise in any part of the country, without obtaining the consent of a state surveyor-general.
Justice Daniel Osiagor, in an August 2 judgment a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, held that the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON) is the only body that can regulate and control survey practice/profession in Nigeria.
The judgment followed a 10-point relief sought by seven plaintiffs via their Originating Summons of December 11, 2020, filed and argued by their counsel, Osaretin Ogbebor.
The judge held that the Lagos State House of Assembly acted unconstitutionally, in enacting Section 5 of the Survey Law of Lagos State, which required surveyors to obtain written consent of the state’s surveyor-general, before surveying any state land or land acquired by the government.
Justice Osiagor ruled while delivering judgment in a suit FHC/L/CS/1789/2020.
It was 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.
The others are SURCON, Olatunbosun David, Adesina Adeleke, Akomolafe A.O, Odetunmobi O. Olufemi, Mrs. Akintaro, Michael Adebisi Alonge, Egbeyemi Lateef (all surveyors), the Attorney-General of Lagos State, and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Justice Osiagor held further that SURCON has the power to issue guidelines for the “Conduct of Survey Practice in Nigeria 2020”.
He held 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 Lagos State lacks the power to deny the plaintiffs or any Registered Surveyor consent to conduct survey on any parcel of land in Lagos State (whether owned by the Lagos State Government, corporate bodies or private individuals).
It added that the Surveyor-General of Lagos State also lacks the power to reject copies of survey plans submitted by the Plaintiffs (and every other Registered Surveyor in Nigeria) for lodgement.
The court further held that the Surveyor-General of Lagos State does not have the power to demand and/or insist on counter-signing a survey plan prepared by a Registered Surveyor.
Besides, Justice Osiagor set aside 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 September 15, 2020 letter 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).
The judge held that the contract of engagement was 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.