Built environment experts have urged the National Assembly to make adequate provision through law to protect and project the real estate professionals in the country.

A structural engineer, Chief Adio Oluwafemi Olopade made the plea at the investiture of the 25th Branch Chairman and Executive Committee members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Lagos State Branch where he noted that the profession, which is one of the best in the world, has been relegated to the background due to the influx of non-professional into the business.

The nonagenarian and elder statesman, who doubles as the President of the Metropolitan Club said, to reverse the negative trend, practitioners must collectively rise to protect the industry by constantly lobbying those in the authority for adequate recognition.

He also challenged the well-established members to give young professionals in real estate, opportunity to grow by sharing their wealth of experience, promote professionalism and work together for the growth and development of Nigeria.

Also speaking, a professor of real estate management from the University of Lagos, Mrs. Modupe Omirin backed the call for the creation of Valuer Generals’ Office to advance the fortune of the real estate sector.

“The office of the valuer general will improve the perception of valuation work within ministries and outside the ministry. There will be a better grasp of the need to patronize estate surveyors and valuers.

She lamented that many young Nigerians are shying away from the profession due to their belief that it is a difficult terrain to breakthrough financially.

Prof. Omirin therefore, tasked practitioners to encourage them through mentorship while members must also boost the relevance of the profession across board by acquiring new skills for job performance.

According to her, the recent impact of flooding in Lagos State can be resolved by using mechanical engineering expertise in ensuring that drainages are properly channeled.

On his part, the guest speaker, Dr. Chidi Amuta, stressed the need for practitioners to collaborate with government and the private sector in proper management of lands to solve the problem of homelessness, which he noted, has reached its peak in the country.

To mitigate the challenge of deficit in housing, he said practitioners in real estate must strategically engage with governments at federal and state levels to address the housing needs of the nation.

He said: “In Nigeria, 50percent of our estimated population of 184 million lives in urban areas already. Our urbanization is growing at an estimated average of 3.75per cent of the population, creating an ever-bulging demand for affordable housing. As it relates to housing supply and delivery, the migrations into the urban areas of Nigeria mainly Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano/Kaduna have already created a housing deficit for Nigeria.”

He pointed out that the Nigeria’s embarrassing housing deficit is worst in an area that only government intervention can make a difference, namely, public housing. For him, the provision of houses for federal and state public servants, local government employees, rural and semi urban dwellers do not make sense to private real estate investors. He said only the government could take the necessary risks in a segment where the risk to return ratio is heavily weighted on risk.

Amuta appealed to the new executive council to work assiduously in eliminating charlatans and touts who he said have invaded the profession.

• The Guardian