By Michael Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria was in dire need of new engineering technologies to address its power supply and metering challenges.
Speaking at the 27th Engineering Assembly of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, also emphasized the need for an upgrade in engineering practice in Nigeria.
He said, “Our country is in dire need of new engineering technologies to improve our infrastructure development. We need to upgrade the quality of engineering practice and concentrate on the application of modern engineering technology in road construction, power, manufacturing and housing among others.
“New engineering technologies are also needed to improve services in agriculture, transportation and power sectors, particularly to revamp our power generation, transmission and distribution, as well as our metering system.”
He noted that the absence of the requisite infrastructure in most engineering faculties up to our universities, that complement theoretical teaching with practical knowledge, had created a wide deficit in the quality of Nigeria’s engineering products.
According to him, of similar concern was the fact that Nigerians are victims of poor quality of service delivery by poorly trained and unqualified engineers, adding that wherever there was a collapse of infrastructure anywhere in Nigeria, everyone is left to count the losses.
He said: “Similarly, the absence of up to date engineering curriculum to reflect the current global trends in engineering, has drastically reduced the competitiveness of our engineers. There is a deserving gap between engineers trained in Nigeria and those trained abroad. There is the need for our universities to turn out quality and world grade professionals.”
The president further declared that no society could develop without engineering, noting that it is his desire to see the development of engineering training and practice in Nigeria and through it, a better living for all Nigerians.
To this end, Buhari commended the efforts of COREN in the review of the engineering curriculum for undergraduate training in Nigerian universities, while he called for support and encouragement for the leadership and members of the engineering family to evolve practical ways and means for improving engineering vocation and practice in Nigeria.
In his presentation, President of COREN, Mr. Kashim Ali, commended the Presidency for the promulgation of Executive Order Number 5, which gives preferences to indigenous firms in the award of contracts, stating that it was an indication that the Federal Government now believes in the ability of indigenous practitioners.
According to him, with this Executive Order, the ball was now in the court of the Nigerians engineering practitioners to prove that they are competent and bale to execute projects that meet international standards.
He, however, noted that over the years, it had been observed that certain lacuna exist in the Engineers (Registration) Act CAP E11 of 2004, which vests powers on COREN to regulate the practice of engineering in all aspects and ramifications.
According to Ali, this lacuna in its Act had served to hinder the optimal performance of COREN, especially in the area of enforcement, prosecution of quacks and inadequate sanctions for offenders among others.
He said, “To this end, there have been clamour for amendments to the Act. This prayer has also been answered as stakeholders including the Minister of Power, Works and Housing have come together to work with the National assembly for the amendment of the subsisting Act, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is now awaiting the concurrence of the Senate.”