…Says amended Act gives it powers to Investigate, prosecute them
By Chris Ochayi
President, Council of the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Mr. Ali Rabiu, says the Council has the powers to investigate licensed engineers and non-engineers who engage in engineering businesses that resulted in infrastructures failures.
Rabiu, who spoke weekend while addressing members of Properties Correspondents in Abuja, said that the 2018 amended Act invested the Council with powers to conduct holistic investigation in the sector.
He added that investigations show that most building collapses across the country have been found to be handiworks of quacks.
According to him, “The 2018 amended Act has given us enormous powers I must confess. We have the powers to investigate not only those we have licensed but also non-engineers who engage in engineering business to cause failures of engineering infrastructures.
“But I want to assure you that many of the investigations we have carried out recently of building collapses, we have not found any engineer who are trained to work wanting. So mostly, it is quack, that is why we moved to amend our Act to give us powers to be able to prosecute these quacks. And now we have that amendment accepted by the government so we can prosecute quacks” he said.
The COREN boss however, noted that such investigations take a lot of time for determine one’s involvement, adding that the Council has concluded six investigations while two are still outstanding for the year.
“But first of all, we have to carry out investigations to determine the extent of involvement of such people in any collapse. These investigations take a lot of time for you to investigate and determine one’s involvement.
“We have concluded six, two are still outstanding for the year. The Act says you have to get an assessor from the Chief Justice of the Federation, to guide us on the points of law while trying these people on the tribunal. So we are waiting for Chief Justice to send us an assessor and then we will constitute the tribunal and go ahead with trial” he added.
According to him, during the year, Council carried out some aspects of its core mandates one of which is the registration of engineering personnel and firms, and accreditation of engineering programmes in Nigerian universities and Polytechnics.
“In the outgoing year, we are able to register 509 engineering personnel, made up of 3796 engineers, 622 engineering technologists, 29 technicians, and 52 craftsmen, you know, the engineering profession is a family made up of four cadres, engineers, technologists, technicians, and craftsmen. We all come together to ensure the success of whatever project we are handling. So this is the number we were able to register in this outgoing year in spite of numerous challenges of COVID 19, and so on.
“We visited 11 universities to do accreditation in their engineering faculties. We accredited 44 programmes and all the programmes were approved”.
The President also noted that paramount among the projects of the Council in the year, was the development of the permanent site at Jabi area of the FCT, which was initially started under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
According to him, the current leadership of the Council had earlier jettisoned the PPP arrangement and source funds through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and budgetary allocations to carry out the project.
“We have set up a committee of Council to review the designs and I can tell you that the review of the design is ongoing. We hope to commence the project proper in the year 2021”.
He said the Council also have some ongoing capital projects across the country. We are building state offices in Benin, Nasarawa state, Katsina state, which started this year.
Rabiu disclosed that COREN is currently entering into MoUs with critical stakeholders aimed at strengthening the Council’s professional proficiency.
He said that in line with the Outcome Based Education (OBE) which COREN instituted recently, the Council at the just concluded National Council of Works in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, the Council approved the placement of engineering students in all federal contracts.
“Before now, there have been a lot of difficulties. Engineering students find it very difficult to get placements for industrial training, but the Council on Works approved that all federal contracts should accept students for training, this is sequel to the efforts COREN had been making over the years to this done.”