BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OFFICE
The Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation, (formerly known as Federal Surveys) was established about the close of the nineteenth century. The surveying profession was such an important profession in the colonial era to the extent that in most commonwealth countries of Africa, the Surveyor-General was the highest ranking public officer after the Governor-General. During the colonial era, the Surveyor – General of the Federation was next to Governor – General of Nigeria. In the pre- and post- independence period, particularly between 1960 and 1975, Nigeria lacked the culture of funding mapping programmes. There was technical assistance from the United Kingdom (U.K) / Canada (60%) and other donor nations. The first Director of Surveys in the defunct Federal Survey Department was Surveyor RO Coker (1963-1978) the defunct Federal surveys department was a department in the then Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. In 1984, Federal Surveys, following a re-organization in the Federal Ministry of Works, initiated the establishment of National Boundary Commission with the Vice President of Nigeria as the Chairman. The pioneer management staff of the present National Boundary Commission was drawn from the then Federal Surveys. In 1987, the National Council of Ministers approved a 5-year proposal for the demarcation and survey of international and interstate boundaries. In 1988, the Council approved the revitalization and resuscitation of Federal surveys. This resulted in the upgrading of the Survey division to a full department. Between 1995 and 1998, there were many favourable recommendations to upgrade the Department to an extra-ministerial one in the various communiqués of the Council on Works and Housing and Survey Co-ordination and the Advisory Board on Survey Training Conferences. Efforts made to actualize the provisions of the communiqués did not yield the desired results. It became necessary to upgrade the office to an extra-ministerial department so as to revitalize and reposition it to meet the challenges of the physical and socio-economic development of the country regarding her surveying and mapping needs.
OSGoF attained its current extra ministerial status by an approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC NO EC17) with effect from 5th May 2005 and published in gazette No 86 volume 93 of 5th October 2006. In March 2006, the office gained Self Accounting status.
At inception, OSGoF had three (3) technical departments, one (1) service department and four (4) units with the mandate to establish survey offices in Ministries. Surveyor Isaac A.A. Adewola, (SGoF 2003-2006) thus became the first Surveyor General of the Extra Ministerial OSGoF
The Office has been restructured and expanded into seventeen (17) departments comprising fourteen (14) technical departments, three (3) service departments, eight (8) units, Eight (8) OSGoF Units in Federal ministries six (6) Zonal Directorates and Thirty- Six (36) State field offices.
The following table shows the leadership of the Federal Surveys Department /Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation in chronological order from 1963 till date.
TABLE SHOWING LEADERSHIP OF FEDERAL SURVEYS DEPARTMENT/ OFFICE OF THE SURVEYOR GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION FROM 1963 TILL DATE.
SOURCE: OSGoF (2021)