Hard times now awaits quacks who parade as professional estate surveyors and valuers in Rivers State in order to disposssess the unsuspecting public their hard-earn money in the state.
This is because the Nigeria Institutions of Estate Surveyors and Valuers has put adequate machineries in place to arrest and prosecute any body caught in the act no matter how highly placed.
Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Rivers State Chapter, Mr Mark Nemieboka dropped this hint in an exclusive interview with The Weekend Tide in his office in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Describing quackery as one of the greatest challenges confronting the institution in the state, Mr Nemieboka revealed that quacks infiltrate the estate surveyors and valuers profession through the practice of estate agency which is one of the major aspect of the profession whereby the professional represents either the buyer or seller in law and valuation and guide his client on how best to go about the business in the property market.
According to him, quacks have no basic training for such transaction, adding that what they know is that some body wants to sell or buy a property in order to collect commission stressing that the unsuspecting public are at risk in dealing with them.
“We try to ensure that whenever we see people who claim to be estate surveyors and valuers, we arrest and prosecute them in high court in Port Harcourt”, he emphatically stated.
Commenting on the negative implications or otherwise of involvement of agents in the housing sector in Nigeria, Mr Nemieboka who is also the director of estate in the Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority in Port Harcourt disclosed that there is no legislation outlawing agency in the country.
“It is all comers affair as it were and anybody can go to the Corporate Affairs Commission and say that he is a property agent, the commission will register the person” he revealed.
However, he further disclosed that the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers in Rivers State has concluded arrangements to organise a programme whereby people willing to practice agency work would go through registration process and also recognised at that level so that the body could control the activities of quacks in the profession.
He acknowledged that the involvement of quacks in the estate agency practice was responsible for high values of estates and increase of rents because they are not guided by ethics as property that would sell for N10 million is sold for N12 million in order to share the surplus of N2 million.
Mr Nemieboka pointed out that the development has affected every profession including medicine and law in Nigeria and he urged professional bodies and Nigerians to rise against the ugly trend so as to save the lives of the citizens and image of the country.
The chairman hoped that with the advancement in education and aggressive enlightenment campaigns rolled out by the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Association Board of Nigeria (ESVABON) and other regulatory bodies in the built environment, the days of quacks in the housing sector are numbered.
On what qualifies a person as a member of the institution, the NIESV boss explained that the person must be qualified to assess the value of properties such as land and associated development of land, assets including immovable assets and by law established or licensed to do so.
According to him, the individual must have training in an accredited department in a tertiary institution in Nigeria or abroad and upon qualification, goes through the professional process of getting qualified and there after appear before the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Association Board of Nigeria and after satisfying the conditions, he is licensed to practice as a professional.
He regreated that many people do not know the difference between estate surveyors and valuers with other professions within the surveying profession such as land surveyors and quantity surveyors.
However, in the recent times, due to development activities and mortgage institution as well as urban renewal programme of the government a lot of people now know the functions of estate surveyors and valuers in Rivers State,” Mr Nemieboko disclosed.