Digital Horizon marks anniversary, seeks merger of practising firms

ONE of Nigeria’s most successful indigenous surveying firms, Messrs Horizons Company Limited is celebrating its 20th anniversary, with a call for the formation of multidisciplinary professional practices in the building and construction industry.

In a submission during its company’s anniversary held recently in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, the Managing Director, Digital Horizons, Akhigbe Klein Irenen said the survey profession plays significant role in the socio- economic development of the country, and practitioners should take advantage of government’s local content policy in the oil and gas sector to improve their skills and earnings.

According to Irenen, surveyors should emulate like lawyers, engineers, and accountants, where as many as 20 members come together to form larger firms to form partnerships and consortium that would enable them to compete favourably with the multinationals in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

“Forming formidable firms would allow us to compete favourably with the multinationals. This approach is necessary to forge ahead and get recommended for jobs in oil and gas sectors of the economy. Therefore, we need to take available advantage of government’s local content policy in the oil and gas sector to improve skills and earnings,” he said.

He said that land surveyors are needed in national development with respect to providing up to date or current maps for land acquisition, effective physical planning and land administration,  which can be acquired through either aerial surveying (Photogrammetry or Remote Sensing) or ground surveying.

The Digital Horizons boss also stated that surveying can also be used to determine and outline the form, extent, and position of features on or beneath the surface of the earth including water bodies for control purposes—that is, for aligning land and construction boundaries and for providing checks of construction dimensions and for global positioning.

In fact, land boundaries are set or measured for proper descriptions; the topography of landforms and natural or artificial objects and major construction and civil engineering works such as dams, bridges, railroads, and highways are controlled by surveying methods.

He stressed that the environmental challenges facing some part of southeast and south-south areas in term of erosion where properties are being destroyed and lives being threatened require professionals’ assistance, especially the surveyors.

Similarly, he also suggested that surveyors should, in concert with other relevant professional bodies, design models that help control erosion. They could jointly establish a network of control in such areas that prone to the menace, by engaging in large-scale mapping so as to determine flood plains and basins for the development of storm water system.

“A major cause of flooding is increase in drainage along river course, when such river is already highly sedimented. At this point, surveyors need to carry out bartimentry survey of all rivers and streams on regular basis to monitor the sediment that yield at level of situation to enable free-flow of water. These are new areas that government could employ the services of surveyors.”

Irenen disclosed that the company is ready to share its expertise in business partnerships, maintaining good working relationship with host communities in both her base and operational environments, and other enviable tendencies with other surveying firms.   In the next 20 years, Digital Horizon plans to expand into deepwater operations and become a major survey firm in the sub-continent and beyond.

The company incorporated in 1998, veered into offshore survey operations by commencing a consultancy agreement with Fugro Nigeria Limited and operations continued to wax stronger in 2004, when it entered into a strategic technical partnership with Geodetic Offshore Services Ltd (GOSL). This partnership opened doors to more involvements with offshore survey industry as the company got opportunities to work for major clients within the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

“The natural process of growth has seen the company expand and currently operates in three divisions namely the Survey Department (responsible for all operations involving surveys on land), Offshore Department (responsible for all offshore operations) and the Engineering Department (servicing both the Survey and Offshore departments). The company boasts of a robust array of state of the art equipment in both land and offshore operations, all of which are in full redundancy”, said.

He added that the firm is a sure reference point in the indigenous survey community, and this can be attested to by the fact that the company has provided services for major companies in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. These clients include but are not limited to the NNPC, Exxon Mobil Nigeria, Chevron, SPDC, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), West African Ventures (WAV) and many others.

The company currently boasts of over 30 members of staff who are employed in various capacities. This is made up of highly trained professionals including registered surveyors, an IHO certified Category ‘A” hydrographer, qualified technicians and experienced workmen. The workforce regularly undergoes training and retraining in both hardware and software aspects of her operations, within and outside the country..

Meanwhile, a town planner, Prince Ebenezer Oluseyi Lufadeju who spoke on ”Ethics As Relates To Life”, noted the negative effects inherent in unethical behaviours.

“Pressure entails making decisions under stress or dealing with complex issues that have no clear indication of what is right or wrong. The fear of being stigmatized as not been a team player is enough to join the band-wagon by some workers. As a result of greed, some employees, even management and board members avert contractors, or clients, or suppliers information for self-gain and convenience. Therefore, all must understand well the organisation’s business ethics”, he said.


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