Contexts for Discourse and Implications of the 1962 SCA of Nigeria


By Abu, I. Michael

The main responsibilities of the government of any of the countries in the world are within the domains of law creation and enforcement, maintenance of order and defence of territorial area and protection of lives and property, preservation of foreign relations, economic planning, projects implementation, growth and development, provision of welfare and public services.

Every government fashions, unveils projects and programmes based on varying philosophies for policy guide and direction in order to achieve the purposes of administration and governance. For Nigeria, the Muhammadu Buhari Administration unfolded a 9 point development agenda: the areas are for the stabilization of the macro economy; increased agricultural productivity, and food security; ensure energy sufficiency; improved transportation and other infrastructure; drive industrialization; improved health, education, and productivity of Nigerians; enhanced social inclusion by scaling up social investments; fight corruption and improve governance; and security for all citizens.  These were captured in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) before the introduction of the Security, Economy and Anti-Corruption (SEA), a broad socioeconomic scheme of the government.

In the quest to fulfilling its responsibilities, the government is also structured into Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) among other establishments and organizations for various operations and services. Their efforts are for common purposes and aims geared to achieving a responsible egalitarian society that could guarantee security, happiness and support the promotion of the people’s drives, aspirations and yearnings within the standards and norms of the state.

The Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGoF) is an Extra-Ministerial Office, an establishment with substantial mandates. Its roles are captured in the Second Schedule, Part ll, Section 4, Item K, Paragraph 25 of the 1999 Constitution. This speaks volume of its relevance in terms of governance and development. As a solution provider in view of its services and products which offer Evidence-Base Decision-Making Support System (EBDMSS), OSGoF is obligated for the delivery of requisite geospatial data for the Nigerian Government and other stakeholders. It is the implementer of the Survey Coordination Act (SCA) of 1962 and its subsequent amendments.

Its responsibilities are central to all the sectors of the economy. The Office apart from general purpose departments such as Human Resource Management, and General Services, comprises certain technical departments with functions impacting heavily on various sectors; this arrangement emphasizes the centrality of OSGoF to the Nigerian Government and its MDAs and every other sector of the economy. Its departments include Cadastral situated at the Ministry of Works and Housing for land matters; Geodesy, Geospatial Engineering, Hydrography, Intelligence Survey, Infrastructure, International Boundary and Internal Boundary. Others are Cartography and GIS; Photogrammetry and Remote-Sensing; Survey Coordination, and the Special Duties Survey responsible for zonal and state offices. There are also the Planning, Research and Documentation as well as the Commercials and Business Development Departments.

Emblematically, Nigeria resides in OSGoF. It is the repository of the country and everything therein. Information on the landmass, the nature and behaviour of the land within a particular location, the natural and artificial materials on or beneath the ground among others are accommodated in its data bank, one of the main reasons OSGoF invests heavily in servers.

OSGoF is already working towards reviewing the SCA because it came into being in 1962 and obviously sightless of present day realities. It recently had a coordination conference with the Nigerian Military, the Police and other Para-Military organizations for effective implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the SCA. The Federal Government has demonstrated its commitment to this; the National Security Adviser to the President, General Babagana Mongunu (rtd) deployed a very senior military officer in person of Major General Samad Adesoke, Director of Communications in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to work in tandem with OSGoF for effectual enforcement of the SCA.

The essence of the SCA is for the defence of our territorial area and security of the people, effective management of the land and the resources therein to maximize economic prosperity for sustainable development. Discussions on the SCA expected to spur the desirable actions from political and policymakers should be on areas where surveying and geo-informatics find expressions; these are defence and security, land administration, agriculture, mining, building and construction, telecommunications, land, water and air transportation and many other matters of the economy.

Michael is the Head of Press and Public Relations Unit of OSGoF, Abuja.