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Recovering Akwa Ibom State lands: The challenges before the Office of the State Surveyor General

By Leo Leo Umana

Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession and science of determining the terrestrial or three dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a LAND SURVEYOR.
The points are usually on the surface of the Earth, ànd they are often used to establish land maps and boundaries of ownership, locations like building corners or the surface location of subsurface features, or other purposes required by government or civil law, such as property sales.
Surveyors work with elements of geometry, trigonometry, regression analysis physics, engineering, metrology, programming languages and the law. They use equipment like total stations, robotic total stations, GPS receivers, retro reflectors 3D scanners, radios, handled tablets, digital levels, drones, G’s and surveying software.
Surveying has been an element in the development of the human environment since the beginning of recorded history. The planning and execution of the most forms of construction require it. It is also in transport, communications mapping and the definition of legal boundaries for land ownership, as an important tool for research in many other scientific disciplines.

Let me quickly pint out the important functions of surveying:
• To determine, measure and represent land, three dimensional objects, point fields and trajectories.
• To assemble and interprete land and geographically related information.
• To use the information for the planning and efficient administration of the land, sea and any structure thereon; and
• To conduct research into the above practices and to develop them.

THE LAND USE ACT CHAPTER 202, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA 1990.

“An act to best all land compromised in the territory of each state ( except land vested I in the Federal Government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the state, who would hold such in trust for the people and would henceforth be responsible for the allocation of land in all urban to individuals, resident in the state and to organisations for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes while similar powers will with respect to non urban areas are conferred on the Local Government  (27th March, 1978) commencement”.

THE SURVEYORS COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (SURCON)

This council was established by CAP 4;25, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 1990. This is the regulatory body of all the practicing surveyors within all statesbof the federation.
Though there are numerous functions of the body called SURCON, we will wish the following for then purposes of the subject matter above.

  • It shall maintain, in accordance with the Act that established it, the discipline within the survey profession.
    • It shall regulate and control the practice of the profession in all its ramifications.

CHALLENGES AND CALL TO DUTY

In line with the developmental and industrialization drive of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, the acquisition of lands in the State Capital or within the State Capital Development area and in Local Government Areas are of pre-requisite and of great deal.

To achieve this, the State Surveyor General who doubles as the Chairman of SSCE in AKS  ( SURCON STATE COMMITTEE ON ETHICS) and practice of the surveying profession must as a matter of necessi2make lands available to the government, corporate organizations and individuals with the collective or sole intent to develop them as required by law and its statutes.
State Government lands encroached must be retraced and retrieved. Points mapped, border lines and boundaries must be maintained strictly.

Events like this will bring the Office of the Surveyor General in direct conflicts with staffs individuals, communities and organizations who had in one way or the other been involved in the concession of lands, sale of lands with fake documents and those who actually bought the lands which may at various times result in litigation which can slow down the pace of industrialization drive.

IGNORANCE

Some individuals, communities may feign ignorance that, they did not know they were building or residing in the state government lands.

COLLUSION BETWEEN STAFF AND INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES

Some staffers of the office of the Surveyor General who had colluded with the seller’s and buyers may equally create a bottleneck in the wheel of industrialization progress and acquisition of lands.

PILLAR NUMBERS
The Sharp practice of backdating pillar numbers instead of getting new pillar numbers from the Office of the Surveyor General posses a great challenge.

POLITICS AND CABAL INFLUENCE

The politics of Akwa Ibom State on IBIBIO-ANNANG-ORON alignments and sentiments can pose a danger to the realization of a defined goal and objective of that office. In view of where the of the organization comes from can be politicized for selfish and personal interest.

Professionalism and qualifications should be strictly followed and pursued.

SABOTAGE

In any setting like this, we can’t and must not rule out acts of sabotage internally and externally.

CONCLUSION

To attain a certain goal, most especially in the actualization of the industrialization drive of this administration, the office of the Surveyor General then is a pivot and a pillar to the success of the government program, the setting of records in correct and direct proportions, retrieving and retracing of points, lines, borders and boundaries, dismantling of illegal land syndicate, re-organization of the office and SURCON, generating revenue for the government through the regulations and sale of maps, pillar numbers and professional charges. Staff discipline and professional conduct/discipline is a sine qua non.

* Leo Leo Umana is a social and analytical commentator.

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