Pressure mounts on SURCON to allow lecturers engage in private practice
There are pressure on the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON) to consider surveyors lecturing at higher institutions for private practice.Proponents of this new move said such consideration would encourage surveying lecturers to stay put in higher institutions and mentor up coming surveyors in order to save the profession from extinction.
Under the civil service regulations in Nigeria, lecturers like other civil servants are barred from taking any other vocation apart from farming and group consultancy services.The Law of the Federation does not allow anybody in public employment to do private practice.
Also, the SURCON Act permits its members wishing to carry out surveying jobs to have a registered office for the work.This convention therefore makes it difficult for surveying lecturers from taking jobs and issuing plans because they need a legal office to so do.
But some members of the Association of Private Practising Surveyors of Nigeria (APPSN), said such strict restriction is not fair to their colleagues in academics and do not also augur well for the practice.
Some of them, who spoke at the second quarter APPSN Delegate Assembly hosted by the Lagos chapter in Alausa, were of the view that SURCON should work out an arrangement that will make them do limited service in order to keep them in the teaching jobs.
One of them, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity expressed sadness that the council could take such decision, saying many lecturers are already practicing subtly.
To him, allowing a limited practice will a sort of legalise it and ensure their inclusion in projects.He also urged the council to live up to the occasion by initiating relevant constitutional amendment to protect their colleagues in the higher institutions.
But NIS Chairman, Lagos branch, Adeleke Adesina said by law, lecturers are not supposed to practice, but can only do consultancy jobs.“If they are interested in practice, they should come out and practice, that is the law”, he said.Also, APPSN National Chairman, Yomi Bobadoye said the law of federation does not allow anybody in public employment to do private practice except farming.
According to him, it is a code of conduct for all professional practice. “However, there is issue of institutions undertaking consulting services. It is allowed at that level. “I am aware of the consultancy services of University of Lagos, doing a lot of work, they do it all over the world not just in Nigeria. But producing plans for cadastral surveys is not allowed.“If you said lecturers should practice, what then stop those in offices of surveyor -general of the federation and states.
“You know in our practice, the regulation said every practitioner must have an office recognised office and practitioner office is equivalent to government office.“ So if you are saying that they should practice, then it means that they should have an office and then become a legal body.”
According to him, lecturers can also collaborate and work with colleagues.“If I have an assignment and feel a colleague in academic is good enough to do it, then we can work together nothing stop that and from there you can make money,” he said.
“Sincerely, asking lecturers to do practice should be an opinion known but not expressed because if it is against the law of the land and we should be seen to be law abiding ”, he added.