By Naomi Douglas
The current practice of asset declarations by Nigerian public officials without the involvement of professional Estate Surveyors and Valuers enables corruption, says an Abuja-based Estate Surveyor and Valuer, ESV Olugbenga Rotimi.
ESV Rotimi, in a chat with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, noted that government and the public were at the receiving end because the current method of asset declaration by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) leaves much to be desired as it allows anticipatory corruption to be perpetrated.
He attributed the situation where declared assets are either overvalued or undervalued for ulterior motives to the non-involvement of professional valuers, describing the status quo as unacceptable.
“They have not been consulting Estate Surveyors and Valuers in asset declaration. Before you can declare your assets, the law governing us in Nigeria as at today says it is only an Estate Surveyor and Valuer that must give value. And we have a situation where people just ascribe value to an asset.
“It is absolutely wrong and that is why most often than not, you have not been seeing the true reflection of what it is supposed to be. That has always been the case in Nigeria.
“If you are unable to nip it ab initio, you have also allowed corruption from inception. Therefore, it is always very important to know the networth of an individual before they become our representatives. We have always been missing out in the area of not getting true information, and an information you don’t have today can be used for or against you tomorrow,” he stated.
Rotimi, who is a senior partner in Olugbenga Rotimi & Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers based in Abuja, therefore, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to have have a rethink and embrace the engagement of professional estate surveyors and valuers in asset declaration ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Therefore, I can say without mincing words here that our government needs to do more in the area of engaging professionals especially Estate Surveyors and Valuers in ensuring that they get true value. It affects so many parts of our lives,” he added.