By Ime Silas

Surveyors practicing in Akwa Ibom state have cried out to the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his intervention in order to save the profession from the hands of extortioners.

A Surveyor who spoke to our Paper on grounds of anonymity, maintaining that he was not authorized to address the press, since he was not an official of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, NIS, Akwa Ibom State branch, however said that such intervention became necessary for the sake of members of the public who would always want their property surveyed.

Our correspondent who is investigating complaints of delays in issuance of Certificates of Deposit (COD) by the public, gathered from surveyors that most times, the COD were allegedly withheld in the office of the Surveyor-General as punishment against practitioners who query the rationale behind what they termed as excessive extortions.

It was gathered that the COD, upon application by a surveyor to the office of the Surveyor-General, is supposed to be issued within a maximum of ten (10) days. But clients in Akwa Ibom may have to wait for over six (6) months, as the cases may be.

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While accusing the Akwa Ibom State Surveyor-General of complicity in the extortions, using the SURCON Ethics Committee as ‘police’, they expressed their fears that if these practices were not checked, it might affect the public as well as encourage unethical practices in the survey profession.

One of our respondents, a surveyor said “The delay in the issuance of Certificates of Deposit is not caused by Surveyors, after all, they are not the issuing authorities. Rather, in most cases, the Office of the Surveyor-General intentionally withholds them on various grounds, some of which are unknown to the ethics of the practice.

In most cases, the delays come because the Surveyor-General wants to punish Surveyors who ask questions as to the reasons of extortions and other underhand practices going on within the survey field in the state. I have been in the Survey practice for over thirty-five (35) years now, this is the first time I have seen a Surveyor-General actively working against the interest of Surveyors in this state”.

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Efforts to speak to the Akwa Ibom State Surveyor-General, Surv. Emem Isang, prove abortive as calls to her known telephone number were not replied or returned, as at press time.

The Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, NIS, Akwa Ibom state branch, Surv. Felix Udoh, was not on seat, when our Correspondent visited his office in Uyo to speak on the matter, as he was said to be away on official duty.

When contacted, the State Chairman of the Association of Private Practicing Surveyors, APPSN, Surv. B. J. Akpan, while corroborating the allegations of extortions by the Office of the State Surveyor-General, however noted that efforts were on to correct the anomalies.

He stated that the Chairman of the State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, NIS, Surv. Felix Udoh, had introduced new levies on surveyors in the state, which the practitioners are complaining against.

“Well, I won’t talk much on the issue of extortions and the levies because as the newly elected State Chairman of APPSN, I am in talks with both the leadership of NIS (Nigerian Institution of Surveyors) in the state and the Office of the State Surveyor-General on how and why these levies should be reduced.

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The APPSN under my leadership, has sent in proposals to this effect. We are hopeful that the authorities concerned will do the needful. My administration is barely few months old. So I am still looking at the books to really see where we can make amends.

“It is not untrue that Surveyors in Akwa Ibom state are working like elephants, but eat like ants. Instead of few persons feeding fat from the sweats of Surveyors, we are looking at such monies being saved for their rainy day.

However, as I said earlier, we have sent in our inputs for the proposed amendments to whatever must have constituted extortions. At appropriate time, we shall avail you with any information on these issues”.

To be continued…