Surveyors Tell Lagos’ Surveyor-General To Obey Court Order On Nullified Section 5 Of Survey Practice Law

Surveyors Tell Lagos’ Surveyor-General To Obey Court Order On Nullified Section 5 Of Survey Practice Law

  • Metro
  • September 4, 2022
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Surveyors in Lagos State have asked the Lagos State Surveyor-General to obey the recent judgment of the Lagos Federal High Court, which nullified Section 5 of the State Survey Practice Law and permitted any surveyor to practice the profession in any part of the State without any hindrance.

 

The surveyors’ counsel to the Surveyor-General of Lagos State was contained in a letter written by the lawyer, Osaretin Ogbebor, over the alleged refusal by the officials of Surveyor-General to accept for lodgement, the record copy with Plan No: TOC/0699/06/2022/LA, dated the 10th of August, 2022, prepared by Surveyor Olatunde M. Olarinre, which was rejected for lodgement and marked as “Old Yaba Acquisition.”

It would be recalled that Justice Daniel Osiagor had on August 2, 2022, while delivering judgment in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1789/2020, nullified Section 5 of the Survey Law of Lagos State, which requires Surveyors to obtain written consent of the Surveyor General of Lagos State before carrying out a survey on any State land or land acquired by the Lagos State Government.

The suit was filed by seven Surveyors, Adaranijo Ibikunle Ganiyu Rafiu, Aluko Kikelomo Sikirat (Mrs.), Adedeji Olarewaju, Adams Benjamin Olugbenga, Mekuleyi Oluseyi Samuel, Aliu Samuel, and Fashina Adedapo against the Surveyor-General of Lagos State and 10 others,

Others listed as defendants are Surveyors Council of Nigeria, Surv Olatunbosun David, Surv Adesina Adeleke, Surv Akomolafe A.O, Surv Odetunmobi O. Olufemi, Surv Mrs Akintaro, Surv Michael Adebisi Alonge, Surv. Egbeyemi Lateef, the Attorney General of Lagos State, and the Attorney General of the Federation respectively.

Justice Osiagor had also held the Lagos State House of Assembly acted unconstitutionally to have enacted the law. Adding that the Surveyors Council of Nigeria is the only body vested with the authority to regulate and control survey practice/profession throughout the Federal Republic.

The judge also held further that the engagement of Surv Olatunbosun David, Surv Adesina Adeleke, Surv Akomolafe A.O, Surv Odetunmobi O. Olufemi, Surv Mrs Akintaro, Surv Michael Adebisi Alonge, Surv. Egbeyemi Lateef by the Surveyor General via a letter dated 15 September 2020 with Reference No. OSSG/CAD/2020/Vol. 1/ 033, as the only Surveyors to carry out surveys in the Mende Revocation Area, to the exclusion of the Plaintiffs [and every other Registered Surveyor in Nigeria] is hereby set aside for being in gross violation of the provisions of Sections 4(d) and 19(1) of the SURCON Act, Sections 1(3), 1(5) and 3 of the Guidelines for the Conduct of Survey Practice in Nigeria 2020.”

The surveyors who are plaintiffs in the above-mentioned suit, while reacting to o the alleged refusal of the Surveyor-General’s refusal to accept for lodgement, the record copy with Plan No: TOC/0699/06/2022/LA, dated the 10th of August, 2022, prepared by Surveyor Olatunde M. Olarinre, in a letter captioned “the act of disobedience to the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1789/2020, between Surv. Adaranijo Ibikunle Ganiyu Rafiu and six others and Surveyor-General of Lagos State and 10 others and its incidental effect.”

The surveyors’ lawyer letter reads; “The above subject matter refers.
We act as Solicitors and write on the instructions of Surv. Adaranijo Ibikunle, Ganiyu Rafiu, Surv. (Mrs) Aluko Kikelomo Sikirat, Surv. Adedeji Olanrewaju, Surv. Adams Benjamin Olugbenga, Surv. Mekuleyi Oluseyi Samuel, Surv. Aliu Samuel and Surv. Fashina Adedapo, the Plaintiffs in the above-referred case, hereinafter referred to as “our Clients”.

“The attention of our clients has been drawn to the refusal by your good self and officers in your office to comply with the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos in the above suit dated the 2nd day of August 2022.

“One such act of non-compliance with the judgement of the Court is the refusal by officers in your office to accept for lodgement, the record copy with PLAN NO: TOC/0699/06/2022/LA, dated the 10th of August, 2022, which was prepared by Surv. Olatunde M. Olarinre. The said record copy was rejected for lodgement and marked “OLD YABA ACQUISITION” despite the orders of the Honourable Court to the contrary. A copy of the letter of submission of the record copy and pillar returns, as well as the record copy itself as marked and rejected, is hereby annexed as evidence of our client’s assertion.

“To this end, we have the instructions of our clients to bring to your notice the implications of disobeying Court orders in Nigeria.”

Directing the Surveyor-General’s attention to the consequence of disobeying the court order, the surveyors’ counsel cited the case of “Rt. Hon. Michael Balonwu & Ors -V- Governor of Anambra State & Ors (2007) 5 NWLR {Pt. 1028} Page 488 at 564 565 paragraphs B G per DENTON-WEST JCA held thus: “An order of Court whether valid or not must be obeyed until it is set aside. An order of Court must be obeyed as long as it is subsisting by all no matter how lowly or lightly placed in the society. An act of disobedience towards an order of the Court can render any further action by those who have acted disobediently to sanctions from other Courts because no Court would want its orders flouted. This is what the rule of law is all about hence the Courts have always stressed the need for the obedience of Court orders.”

 

He also cited the case of Oshiomhole & Anor v. FGN & Anor (2004) LPELR5188(CA) “But in a democratic polity, where principles of rule of law are firmly entrenched in the system, it will be working in an anticlockwise direction, an affront and indeed an onslaught on democracy if a person or body of persons however highly placed, shall decide to brush aside, downgrade and ridicule a Court’s order. The Court, on the other hand, is always jealous of its decisions and will not allow anyone to ridicule it. A Court of law is never a toothless bulldog, it can bark, bite, break and may, as circumstance may warrant, eat up the bones.”

The surveyors threatened to cite the Surveyor-General for contempt if he does not desist from disobeying the court order on the said nullified section 5 of the State Survey Practice Law.

“It is our clients’ stern instruction to advise that you desist from such acts of disobedience to the judgment of the Honourable Court, as they will not hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings against you if such actions or omissions calculated to disobey the orders of the Honourable Court re-occurs in your office.”

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