Climate Change: Surveyors Tasked On Institutional Roles To Stem Tide

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By ‘Dotun Akintomide

Surveyors in the country have been tasked on various institutional roles they must play to arrest climate change devastations which have continued to ravage the planet, leaving tales of deaths, destruction and economic losses in countries.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with the environmental problems emanating from global warming witnessed in perennial floods, desertification and drought in the north; coastal erosion in the south; which were exacerbated by haphazardly planned city structures, surveyors have their jobs well cut out for them as highlighted at the 13th Annual Adekunle Kukoyi Memorial Lecture, organized by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Lagos State Branch.

Chairman, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Business Group of Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs) Onikepo Akande while delivering her lecture paper entitled: “Climate Change And Roles of Surveyors,” observed that the 2015 heat wave in Europe which pushed global temperatures to the highest in the history of the human race; flooding on the east and west coast of Germany; the covering of one-third of Bangladesh by flood waters; deadly hurricanes in the US were all harsh realities of climate change.

On the home front, “cases of drought and flooding disrupting growing seasons leading to economic losses and the displacement of millions; Arid and Semi-arid northern Nigeria becoming dried-up; unsustainable environmental plan and policy were all products of irrational decisions made over the years,” Dr. Akande who was a two-time Minister of Industry and the immediate past President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) lamented.

According to her, surveyors as built professionals, saddled with the responsibility of planning from the preliminary stage of the construction process, it behooves on them to identify likely environmental problems and proffer futuristic solutions.

In playing their roles to mitigate against the effects of climate change, Akande enumerated: “development design, project management, land administration, information management and monitoring” as areas that surveyors must make meaningful contributions in the built environment.

She maintained that swelling population and urban migration have continued to over-stretch public facilities in urban centres as seen in Lagos, hence, the need for surveyors and the entire value chain of the construction industry to always conceptualize virgin ideas aimed at putting in place eco-friendly infrastructures to stop inherent ecological problems, as well as forestall looming catastrophe on the environment.

Professor Francis Fajemirokun, a past President of NIS who spoke on behalf of the President-in-Council, NIS, Surv. Akin Oyegbola, stressed on the importance of human race leaving the planet better than they met.

“Surveyors must be enterprising enough to identify survey contents in all the challenges facing humans as caused by climate change,” he noted.

Meanwhile, in his remark on attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with eco-friendly technologies, Former Chairman, Levers Brothers Nig. Ltd, Dr. Michael Omolayole, pointed out that, while it is important to address climate change issues with such FDIs, “government must ensure the negotiations suite our own terms and not to the exploitation of Nigerians.”

Berating the low level of technological transfer to Nigerians by foreign firms, Omolayole, (a close associate of the celebrated late Surveyor, Adekunle Kukoyi, past President, NIS, 1973-1978) said “Nigeria’s population has become a cash-cow for foreign companies with little consideration for development.”

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