Estate surveyors seek monarch’s help in solving housing problem in Lagos

The Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has appealed to the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, to support its quest to provide possible solutions to housing problems in the Lagos.

Members of the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers made this request during a recent visit to the oba, where they also urged the monarch to support their struggle for urban regeneration and prevention of building collapse. They also presented their views on infrastructure inadequacies and decay, among others.

The visit, led by the Chairman of the Lagos Branch of NIESV, Mr Offiong Samuel Ukpong was part of activities to mark the 2016 Estate Surveyors & Valuers’ week in Lagos.

The estate surveyors informed the Oba that many public infrastructure were depreciating in value because estate surveyors’ professional input was not being harnessed by the government.

Ukpong said, “Nobody listens to us or takes us seriously and things under our professional competences are daily getting destroyed and eroded and the society and our people are worse for it.

“In the Federal Executive Council today, there is no Estate Surveyor and Valuer there. But the Estate Surveyor and Valuer is also a land Economist. Therefore who advises government on land matters?” He queried.

“Similar situation is replicated in all states of the federation. I cannot recall the last time any estate surveyor and valuer was appointed a Minister in the Federation or Commissioner in Lagos State and asked to oversee issues on land matters, housing or physical assets of the state or the federation. “Little wonder that our national assets like stadia are decaying. The Federal Secretariat in Ikoyi has been abandoned. Our public buildings are decaying yet we have the right professionals who can add value to our assets and sustain them,” he further said.

The surveyors also said they were concerned that there was frequent collapse of buildings in the state, adding that these sad incidents were not unconnected with the non-inclusion of their members at the planning and construction stages.

They also blamed greedy investors in housing for collapse, saying they sometimes build above the level approved for them, adding that some of them were compelled to cut corners because of unfavourable short-term bank loans.

They further warned against the devaluation of the naira, saying it would cause untold hardship in the country, particularly in the purchase of goods and services, adding that about 80 per cent of construction materials were imported.

On the regeneration of Lagos Island, the surveyors said “The tiny units of development or buildings can be identified, harmonised or aggregated and developed into multi storey buildings with modern conveniences and facilities without losing the original ownership rights or interest.

“There are many areas that are due for redevelopment; most part of the Lagos Island, Shitta area, Iddo, etc. Lagos is a major urban centre in the world, but 30 metres from the major highway, what do we find, rural characteristics.

“We as Estate Surveyors and Valuers see these things and are worried but who is there to listen to us or to engage us.”

Responding, Oba Rilwan Akiolu promised to take up their case with the relevant authorities. He also condemned the spate of building collapse in the state, but he promptly attributed this to corruption which he said had pervaded the entire construction space.

He recommended stiffer punishment for professionals found to have compromised their profession, while also advising the government on prompt payment of contractors to avoid shoddy jobs.

The Oba called on Nigerians to support the admininistration of President Muhammadu Buhari “for its sincerity of purpose.”

He further called on the Niger Delta Avengers to sheath their sword, noting that their activities were inimical to the growth and development of the economy.