Worried by various climate change-induced environmental challenges in the country, professional land surveyors are seeking roles to mitigate its adverse effects on human settlement and environment. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
For a long time now, the telling effect of climate change has continued to put urban centres, many lives and the environment in danger. It has consistently compelled stakeholders, encompassing the government, non-governmental/civil society organisations, religious bodies, professional institutions and residents to find ways to mitigate the negative and dangerous effects on humanity.
Part of the problem has been the rapid population growth in Nigerian city centres and urban extension, which has stretched the boundaries of some of the cities to unsustainable limits. Perturbed by the current challenges posed by climate change and the lopsided approaches being adopted in resolving flooding cases, drought and desertification – leading to incessant clash between herdsmen and farmers, professional land surveyors under the auspices of the Nigerian Institution of Surveying (NIS) have tasked the Federal Government and policy makers on the need to seek their expertise in resolving the issue.
According to them, being professionals in charge of various geo-spatial data, they have the knowledge and expertise necessary for adaptation to climate change in order to protect and prevent future disasters resulting from this change in nature.
Speaking with New Telegraph during the 13th edition of Adekunle Kukoyi Memorial Annual Lecture organised by the Lagos State branch of NIS, some of the professionals blamed the crises in the middle belt on effect of climate change, saying that surveyors have a big role to play in whatever solution the Federal Government is proferring. The late Adekunle Kukoyi was the president of the institution from 1973 to 1978.
Experts’ perspective Lagos, NIS Chairman, Mr. Adeleke Adesina, stated that the issue of climate change had become a global problem that is being discussed world over, adding that surveyors as stakeholders in the environment and land matters must add their voices on ways to combat disasters posed by climate change. According to him, surveyors should be contacted in the proposal to mitigate climate change, especially the proposed grazing law in the country, adding that they have relevant land information for planning. He said that surveyors could identify, survey and manage grazing and farm sites.
He said: “Promoters of grazing law should identify surveyors; it should acknowledge that there are surveyors. “If you jettison them, the repercussion will be there later.” Immediate past Chairman of the branch, Mr. Gbenga Alara, noted that climate change had become a global phenomenon caused by human activities.
He pointed out that it had become a collective thing on the part of every human being to salvage the environment, adding that the government must put in place sustainable and right policy that will guide man in its existence. On the role of surveyors, Alara said that they were to make sure that everything is in the right position, ensure proper planning and carry out monitoring to best serve humanity.
A former Minister of Industry, Chief (Mrs) Oniikepo Akande, who was a guest speaker at the forum, noted that the dependence on cars and lack of public transport infrastructure has indicated both social and political problems, pointing out that sustainability of living environment had become an issue that needs to be addressed on various levels. She said: “Climate change affects livelihoods, human settlements and land use patterns.
The manner in which decisions about access to, use of, and control over resources are implemented and enforced are central to the success of climate change adaptation and mitigation.” She challenged surveyors on the critical roles of protecting the environment in the areas of development design, project management, land administration, information management and monitoring. Akande advised policymakers and the government to tap into the expertise of skilled professionals if the war against climate change and environmental degradation is to achieve the desired results of saving lives and protecting the environment.
Akande, who is also the Chairman, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Nigeria Business Group, tasked surveyors to rise to the occasion, saying that they had the knowledge and expertise necessary for adaptation to climate change.
“You work with the land, people, political and social institutions in developing, building and maintaining towns and cities. These put you at a very important position to advocate and lead the agenda to protect the present and future victims of climate related disasters,” Akande said.
Reiterating the importance of surveyors as custodians of accurate land information, Akande, who is also the immediate past Chairman, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, advised policy makers on ways to tackle challenges of climate change, saying they should consult for accurate and relevant information on land usage. She enjoined surveyors through their various associations to ensure developmental projects and also comply with best practices and environmental standards.
The starting point for surveyors in the fight against climate change is commitment to identifying and promoting global best practices and sustainable utilisation of land.
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