…Warns against unethical practices among members
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mr. Walter Onnoghen, last week, inaugurated the disciplinary committee of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) with a warning that days of grace are over.
After weeks and months of expectations, the tribunal finally took off with its inauguration at the Lagos office of ESVARBON, Alausa, Ikeja, by the CJN who was represented by Kenneth Ahia to guide the tribunal on matters of law and procedure.
The inauguration began the era of hard times for quacks and professionals engaging in unethical practices in the estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria.
The Chairman of ESVARBON, Sir. Nweke Umezuruike, also doubles as chairman of the tribunal with other elders and leaders of the profession as members of the committee.
In his opening speech, Umezuruike said with the inauguration of the tribunal, ESVARBON became more invigorated to wield the big stick against erring members and quacks parading themselves as professionals.
According to him, the board would now pursue any matter of professional misconduct that comes to its cognizance without necessarily receiving a formal complaint.
In his clarification, the Registrar of ESVARBON, Mr. Ifeanyi Uzonwanne, stated that the law establishing the board provided for it to have a disciplinary tribunal.
Umezuruike said the tribunal would help the board to determine how well or how badly the profession of estate surveying and valuation was being practiced. He stated that the board had always had a disciplinary committee but that it had not been properly enforcing discipline.
According to him, “While every registered person believes that the board has the big stick, not many have seen the big stick wielded. That may have made people feel that the board is toothless or that it has teeth but cannot bite.
“In the area of enforcement of discipline, it is no longer going to be business as usual. The board may have waited for cases of professional misconduct to be reported to it, without using the powers conferred on it by Section 13 of the Act setting it up. That section charges the tribunal with the duty of considering and determining any case referred to it by the investigating panel and any other case of which the tribunal has cognizance.”
According to him, no group can call itself a profession unless there are rules guiding the practitioners. “Over the years, we have heard complaints of professionals who have not behaved properly.
The board has not been able to show to members of the public that proper behaviour is expected of all members. The board will not just enforce discipline, but is also willing to wield the big stick,” Umezuruike said. He, however, stated that the tribunal would not witch-hunt but that it would no longer wait without taking any action.