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One of the sad and most challenging hurdles in the real estate industry is how to identify a quack and unregistered surveyor. The industry has been so bastardised with the influx of surveyors who are not qualified or know nothing about their professional obligation and henceforth lead many investors and professionals astray upon engaging them. This article is positioned to discussed and evaluate the rigorous process and means to identify these quacks that have caused more harm than good.

How to Identify a Quack Surveyor


The most full-proof way to detect this is to consult your property lawyer, with vast performance of successful dealings in land transactions. This is reasonably so, as the lawyer usually on behalf of his clients, interface with other professionals such as the surveyor and agents; he is thus better placed to give sound advice on the choice of a surveyor and all related matters.


By their fruit we shall know them, says the holy scriptures. Some of the fruits which quack surveyors produce are as follow:

  • A survey Plan with a wrongly Spelt Name: Quacks are usually in a hurry and as such might not be detailed enough to inscribe the correct name. Now once that wrong name is lodged in the data base or original list at the Surveyor’s General’s office, all subsequent documents are expected to bear that same name. Though it can be corrected upon payment of some fees, the process can be traumatic and time consuming.
  • A survey Plan without a Registered Seal of the Surveyor: Every licensed surveyor has a registered seal which must be attached to every survey plan prepared by him or her. The seal is in a round shape and contains the name of the surveyor in Capital letters and the acronym “SURCON”, Then inside of it, is contained the registration number, usually written thus: for example: REG. NO. 111.
  • A survey Plan without a full description of the Address: By full address, I mean the location of the place i.e the name of the Street, name of the Area and the Local Government Area. This is very important, as it indicates the exact location the land is situate. For example, if your survey plan indicates just the name of the area, without the Local Government Area, you might discover later, that the land you thought you bought, is located elsewhere. Though the street of the location might not have been well mapped out in some places, a good survey plan should show enough details about the address of the place, especially the local government area.
  • A survey plan with Inaccurate Size Measurement: Surveyors have tools with which they get the square metres of the coordinates upon measurement. Quacks would usually not use the right equipment and therefore would not get the exact square metres of the land, leading to the size been either too short of exact size or in excess. The obvious effect of this is that boundary disputes are likely to arise in the nearest future.
  • A survey plan without a Survey Plan Number or an Inaccurate Plan Number: it must be noted quickly that a survey plan without a survey plan number cannot be lodged at the Surveyor- General’s office, any agreement drafted pursuant to it is useless and it is thus a worthless piece of paper. The survey plan number is usually written at the left-hand bottom of the survey plan, with an inscription “PLAN NO.”
  • A survey plan with a back-dated date: Now when a survey plan is drawn today, it should show today’s date, anything short of that is fraud. Quacks in connivance with fraudulent land grabbers or Omoniles as they are popularly called in Lagos, can back-date a survey plan to achieve some ulterior motives. Now such a plan would usually not to be lodged at the Surveyor-General’s office. The effect of a back-dated survey plan is that, it would be very difficult to process your title documents with it, because it could be a sign that the land that is sold to u belongs to another person. Besides, where the government upon granting an excision of an area and publish that in the gazette the survey plan must tally with that contained on the gazette.survey
  • A Survey Plan without a Stamp and Signature of the Surveyor: a proper survey plan in addition to the registered seal of the surveyor, would usually contain his office stamp with signature and the address of his office.
  • A survey Plan which does not show accurate shape and Existing Road of the Land: A survey that is properly done must show the proper shape of the land and existing roads in that location. This would aid your architect in building the land to right specifications and where existing road is not well reflected, it could lead to a situation where you are either building on a reserved road or you simply have bought a place which have been reserved as road. A registered survey would be able to explain how he derived the road as showing on the survey plan and how that connects with your land.
  • A Survey plan without Beacon Numbers or Inaccurate Beacon Numbers: A beacon is a small stone with numbers inscribed on it to show the boundary of the land, reflecting the four sides of the land, i.e south, west, east and north of the land. Now there cannot be same beacon numbers for different parcel of land. Now from the fees paid to the surveyor, he is expected to purchase the beacon stones/numbers from the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors and the beacon numbers placed on the land must be same with those reflected on the survey plan, anything short of this is fraud. Quacks are not entitled to buy from the Institute and as such might fabricate beacon stones/numbers and jeopardise the interest of the land owner.
  • A Survey without the “FREE FROM KNOWN GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION”: As earlier stated, the Governor of the State has powers to acquire any land for public purposes, subject to payment of compensation. A properly done survey plan, would have the stamp or logo with this inscription: “THIS PARCEL OF LAND IS FREE FROM KNOWN GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION or LAND UNDER GOVERNMENT ACQUISTION”. This is very important.

How to Avoid Fraud by Quack of Fake Surveyors or Incompetent Surveyors.

The first thing you must do before dealing with a vendor or someone who intends to sell his land or property, is to consult a property lawyer, who would usually request the vendor to afford you with copies of many documents such as receipt for the land, Deed of Assignment, Survey plan, building plan etc. At this point I will gladly recommend to you, the Ibeju-Lekki Lawyer legal team that provides land varication services that aids investors to detect the genuineness of lands and properties. You can reach us on 08034869295 or  email:

Now the property lawyer buoyed by his training and experience would scrutinize these documents including the survey plan and conduct relevant searches upon payment of professional fees  to decipher the authenticity of these documents and for the sake of this topic. It is thus advised that you see the search report of the property lawyer, before proceeding further on the land transactions. This is the smartest thing to do, to avoid the many trouble and court litigations that comes with land acquisition.

Having said that, below are some basic tips on how to avoid falling prey into the hands of Fraudulent Surveyors:

  • Do not deal with any surveyor on proxy. It is advised that you consult your lawyer for advice and personally visit the office of the surveyor.
  • Do well to invoke your eagle’s eye in scrutinising the names, addresses and other particulars on the survey plan.
  • When you engage a surveyor, always make out time to go with him to the land or send trust-worthy persons while he is doing his measurement.
  • Ask for his credentials before engaging him, his registration number and seal and forward same to your lawyer for further probing.
  • Ensure that the beacon numbers on the survey tally with that placed on the land.


We should all join force together to stop patronising quack and unregistered surveyors, they have caused so many investors to lose money, pain and lose trust in the property industry.

I hope that this article has shared some information which if adhered to, would guide you from the path of fraudulent surveyors and put you on a strong footing in land transactions, which you can enjoy in peace and happiness and pass same to your children and future generations. Happy Reading!

Do not hesitate to email ( or  call us at +2348034869295 if you have any concern relating to the subject matter or you want us to conduct a due diligence/verification on your property.







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