The Nigerian Academy of Engineering on Tuesday appointed President Muhammadu Buhari as its Grand Patron, and applauded his administration’s desire to address the country’s infrastructural deficit.
Speaking at the investiture of the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President of the Academy, Mrs Joanna Maduka, said Buhari’s appointment was in line with Article 7.0 of the academy’s constitution.
According to her, the constitution provides for the appointment of a Grand Patron to promote, support and protect the activities of the academy.
She said the academy was convinced that the Buhari administration had the capacity to raise Nigeria’s standing amongst the comity of developed nations through the funding and exploitation of the gains of science and technology.
“We are highly delighted at the desire of your administration to address the infrastructural deficit in our country.
“This effort is very germane to the development of our nation. For this to be done effectively and efficiently, inputs are required from all cadres of engineering disciplines,’’ she said.
She observed that the anti-corruption posture of the Federal Government was a move in the right direction as it would ensure economic transformation of the country.
She stressed the need for Nigerian engineers to be adequately engaged in planning, policy formulation, consultancy and construction as well as industrial processes of production and manufacturing.
Maduka thanked the President for accepting the appointment and for appointing one of them – Ogbonnaya Onu – as a member of the Federal Executive Council.
In his remarks, President Buhari frowned at the sophistication deployed in the blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area.
According to him, going 70 kilometres into the sea to blow up oil pipelines with ease, suggests that some “professional associations with high competences must talk to their members to ensure they are not deploying their skills in a negative way to the detriment of the country.’’
“How can ordinary Nigerians go into the deep sea – almost 70 kilometers – to blow up installations.
“They are not ordinary Nigerians. So you have to talk to your members.’’
President Buhari stated that it is not true that Nigerian engineers are under-sued.
He recalled that 99 per cent of those that constructed the four refineries in the country were Nigerian engineers.
He, therefore, described Nigerian engineers as those “whose capacity to learn is unparalleled’’, adding that the government has always taken engineers seriously in the task of nation building.
President Buhari said it was unfortunate that none of the four refineries in the currently working.
He blamed the country’s past leadership – and not engineers – for the current status of the refineries.
“Nigerian engineers are competent and cost-effective. I respect you all.
“It takes a lot to be a competent engineers,’’ he stated.
He thanked the academy for appointing him as Grand Patron.