By Victor Gbonegun
After months of lingering legal tussles that ended at the Federal High Court over the powers of the Lagos State Government to regulate the practice of real estate transactions within the state, the national body of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has met with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to resolve the issues through alternative dispute resolution.
The institution also used the occasion to reel out pressing issues affecting estate surveyors and valuers practicing in Lagos.
Estate Surveyors and Valuers Regulatory Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) and NIESV had filed a suit against the Lagos State Government, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who were listed as first and second respondents at the Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging the authorities over its power to set up an agency called Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) to monitor activities/license anyone who wants to practice as a real estate agent and company within the state.
But, in a considered judgment, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court had struck out the originating motion and upheld the powers of the Lagos State Government to establish a regulatory agency for estate agents trading in Lagos State.
The president and chairman of the council, NIESV, Sir Emmanuel Wike, who led a delegation comprising the institution’s first Vice President, Johnbull Amayaevbo, second Vice President, Victor Alonge, National Secretary, Shola Abeji, National Publicity Secretary, Saheed Makinde, Board of Trustees member, Prof. Austin Otegbulu, the Chairman of Lagos branch Mrs. Olabisi Demola-Alade and others, to Governor Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Marina told the Governor that the reason for approaching the court was to seek legal interpretation of the extant laws pertaining to the practice of estate surveying and valuation in Nigeria in sync with the Estate Surveyors & Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria Decree No.24 of 1975, now CAPE13 LFN 2007.
Wike said, “Given that the matter has been thrown out of the Federal High on the ground of jurisdiction, the Institution is now ready and willing to extend the olive branch by bringing the matter for alternative resolution.”
The NIESV president proposed the creation of the position of the ‘Valuer-General’ of the state as well as engagement of estate surveyors in private practice to serve as consultants for the assessment, valuation, and payment of compensation for compulsory acquisition projects and other core areas of its practice as done in other states of the federation.
He commended the Governor for his outstanding leadership and exemplifying good governance through completed and ongoing projects in various parts of the state.
Receiving the delegation, Sanwo-Olu promised to address issues raised by the NIESV’s president, especially; those bothering on the LASRERA bill, pledging that the bill would be amended with the inputs of the institution.
The governor also promised to consider the request of the institution in upgrading the entry-level for estate surveyors and valuers, at the state’s ministries to grade level (09).
Sanwo-Olu appreciated the role of the profession in the development of the State and expressed the willingness of the government to continue to partner with the institution for the development of the State.
He further commended the institution for electing a female chairman in its Lagos branch, who happens to be from the public service as well as appreciated the leadership of the institution for the honour of inviting him as the patron of the institution.
Sanwo-Olu urged the institution to keep pushing to enviable heights and encouraged younger members to aspire to a greater height in professional pursuit.