By James, Michael Igiri
Foremost professor of Surveying and Geo-informatics Engineering, Peter Chigozie Nwilo on
Wednesday 23 rd August, declared that with up-to- date maps and other quality geospatial
information, it is possible to have a global picture of what is happening at any place in order to
design effective solutions based on knowledge and not guesswork.
He stated this while delivering his inaugural lecture at the J.F Ade Ajayi Main Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos.
The former Surveyor-General of the Federation who has done researches in showing the significance of zero order controls and their roles in integrating maps across neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa, explained that, the success of infrastructural development such as roads, railroad, waterways and airports are heavily dependent on geospatial information.
Issues of climate change and how these lead to sea level rise and the frequent occurrence of storm
surges were discussed.
“ The sea level is rising in Nigeria at a rate of 1mm Per annum but a more regional representation of
the annual sea level rise in West Africa was obtained for the Ghanaian Coast of Takoradi as 3.9mm,” he explained.
Several cases of land and coastal erosion including flooding in some states of the Federation were
discussed and applications of geospatial information in addressing them were presented. More so,
studies using satellite imageries, a more modern geospatial tool were also demonstrated by the
The consequences of the destruction of the Lagos State wetlands were highlighted as observed from
the flooding experienced in Lagos recently.
“ The recurrent flooding caused by heavy rainfall in parts of Lagos State especially Lekki Lenin and
Ajah has caused serious infrastructural damage.
“To combat this, the Lagos State Government should restrict or totally prevent development
activities on flood plains and areas liable to flood in the state. Also with the on going construction of
the Emo Atlantic City and coastal defences, there is the need for an intensive and robust understudy of their impacts on the coastal dynamics of the Lagos coastline especially on the rides, waves, coastal erosion and ocean currents.”
He further noted:
“The reduction in the water volume I Lake Chad did not miss my attention. This was studies using
remote sensing and geographic information methods.
“It was seen that Lake Chad is depleting due to the overuse of the waters and construction of dams along the Rivers that empty into Lake Chad.”
Prof. Nwilo revealed that as Surveyor-General of the Federation, he was able to establish a
functional Data Centre hosting a very large server, and orchestrated the production of maps at a
scale of 1:25,000 covering 65% of the country following the purchase of SPOT satellite imagery
orthophoto of about 92% nation’s coverage and digital elevation data of 100% coverage of the
“ The maps produced from the acquired data are now available for upload into the OSGoF web
portal as sources of revenue generation for the nation.
“Also, working regularly with other Ministries and Agencies of Government was a major part of my
efforts for government to work seamlessly. Thus, the Office of the Surveyor General became very
visible during my tenure due to the advocacy efforts of my administration,” he said.
As a member of the University of Lagos academic community, and present Head of Department of
Surveying and Geo-informatics Engineering, Professor Nwilo revealed that he has served as member in various academic committees and boards including Unilag Consult Management Board, Post Graduate School Board, Member University of Lagos Senate, Member SIWESS Committee, Member Board for Technology Development Unilag, Member Faculty of Engineering Research and Publication Committee, Adviser University of Lagos Conservation Society, amongst others.
The lecture ended with an acknowledgement of those who had played important roles in his
historical and academic trajectory, and also thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Adisa Bello for giving him, “the unique opportunity to present”, his inaugural lecture.