FORGET FEDERAL ALLOCATION, SURVEYORS TELL NORTHERN GOVS
Until the northern states governors realize the value of surveyors in the affairs of governance and the development of massive land in the region, they will continue to depend on the federal allocation for the development of their respective states.
This was the submission of the Chairman of the newly formed Northern Surveyors Forum (NSF), Sani Mohammed Isa, when he addressed a press conference at the weekend in Kaduna shortly after the Forum's Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Although, Isa lamented that there was shortage of qualified surveyors in the North to survey the massive land in the northern region, he called on the northern governors not to depend on the federal allocation because according to him, the surveyors could generate enough revenue for each state in the region if only the governors would realize their importance in providing information on the vast land in the North.
He also pointed out the benefits of land reform being embarked upon by the Federal Government, saying that the reform would allow every parcel of land in the country to be traced to an owner for record and registration purposes. According to him, 'since northern governors are political leaders, sometimes they don't understand even the value that they will derive from getting the surveyors properly placed.
'The surveying profession can generate revenue all the states need, they don't have to depend on federal allocation if they can sit down and properly make sure that whatever land and the value they have, should be properly harness so that they can get value out of them. 'So we are currently liaising with the northern governors and with time, we believe that we will not only meet them individually but if they realize this, they should be able to contact us to do some of these things for them and to also advise them.
'The number of surveyors compared to our land mass and requirement for this survey to be undertaken is so small. If half of Nigeria is in the North by an acre of an area, and only one twentieth of surveyors in this country or may be one fiftieth in the North are surveyors because since it is the enormity of the requirement of manpower, they should be brought up quickly to assuage the problem when it comes.
'It is not surveyors from Canada, Oyo, or from Bayelsa that will come and do it, but even if they come, when you have indigenous surveyors who understand and relate with the local language because when you come to do certain things, there must be enlightenment so that people will not come and say you have taken over their lands.
'But on the issue of land reform, we want to see that every parcel of land and every farmer who has a farm in every village knows that this is his land, his name is written down, the area is written and some sort of legal certificate is given to him. Each and every land in Nigeria is captioned in form of a small map and allotted individual. Just like in township where you have plots, everybody has a plot of land. In the rural areas, they have farms, nobody has ever care to see whose farm it is.
' So the land reform is trying to make sure that every land that is in Nigeria is related to owner, that is what the land reform is saying. If every land parcel in Nigeria is related to the owner, then the issue is that each of these owners will be registered as the owner of that land, and if it is registered, he can go to the bank with that registered title to even get a loan.
'If you are in Yobe State or Osun State, you will know that the land use decree specifies urban land and semi-urban land which deals with the governor and the local government chairman, so all these ones now will be solved because if you are in the village, your land will be marked, and you will know that this is your land, and you registered it, and even if you don't want to use it, your land which is in the village will be more valuable than land in Abuja. But now, land in Abuja is higher because they know the value and they have premium attached to them.
'This process cannot take place until the surveyor undertakes and give all the information, and if out of 20,000 surveyors in Nigeria only 400 of them are in the North, you can see what I am saying about the number of surveyors coming down, whereas we want the number to go up. 'We are not saying that we have X number of surveyors in the North or in the whole country, we are saying that the whole of this country actually needs more surveyors.'