By Danusa Ocholi, Abuja:
NASARAWA State Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, used the 26th Engineering Assembly of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, which was held in Abuja recently to address critical issues facing the profession in the country. The governor who was the chairman at the event expressed concern over the rising sad situation where the country is being turned into a dumping ground “for all kinds of pseudo engineers as expatriate engineers in Nigeria.” He said COREN must rise up to the occasion to stem the negative trend.
The governor said apart from the influx of these expatriates’ issues such as operators’ errors, design failures, malfunctioning of equipment vis-à-vis quackery in the profession should be critically analysed and panacea provided.
Gov. Al-Makura also enjoined COREN not to neglect the roles played by artisan such as mechanics, electricians,plumbers, masons and others ‘who will not want to be called quacks but populate the nooks and crannies of our towns and cities, providing the necessary gap of engineering services to the people.” Likewise, he enjoined COREN to be flexible in evolving mechanisms such as short term training, orientation on the job, enlightenment, workshops and seminars which may provide certification , trade placement and be recognised as certain category of the Council.
He said this measure “will go a long way in reducing Nigeria from being a dumping ground of all kinds of pseudo engineers as expatriate engineers in Nigeria.” Another issue of concern to the Nasarawa state governor is capital flight caused by exodus of indigenous engineers.
He said: In a broader perspective, it is my opinion that the only way to forestall capital flight, on the one hand, and to foreclose the flight of indigenous engineers in search of greener pastures on the other, is to develop a stringent regulatory framework and evolve more attractive conditions of service in order to retain Nigerian engineers for diligent engineering services. Accordingly, I charge COREN to address the lingering trends of irregular certification and deficiency in ICT which have continued to affect best practices in the profession. In spite of that, I commend COREN that notwithstanding attainment of academic qualification, engineers and others are subjected to rigorous professional examinations before registration.”
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring, NCDMB, Simbi Kesiye Wabote , in his presentation at the 26th Engineering Assembly commended COREN for providing the country’s engineers the assurance and opportunity to practice both at home and abroad as a result of “high standard and international best practices it has maintained in regulating and controlling the training and practices of engineering in the country.”
Wabote expressed regret that before the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development [NOGICD] Act in 2010, Nigeria was losing about $20 billion annually with little or nothing regained in the country. He said “All fabrications, engineering and procurement were done abroad resulting in estimated capital flight of $380billion in 50 years. Estimated job lost opportunities was in the region of 2 million. Less than 3 per-cent of marine vessels were owned by Nigerians with no functioning dry dock facilities amongst absence of other key supporting infrastructures.
He said that NCDMB has recorded some achievements in increasing in-country value retention in the oil and gas industry, and these include existence of two world –class pipe mills, impressive pipe coating yards, increase in the number of Nigerian-owed vessels to 36 % ,resuscitation of moribund dry-dock facilities via patronage ,local manufacturing of electrical cables required in the oil and gas and several other examples.”
COREN president, Engr. Kashim Abdul Ali said in its desire to raise the profile of engineering education in the country, and indeed in Africa as a whole, the Council decided to benchmark Nigerian engineering qualifications against those of other nations with high intellectual standards.
Engr. Ali said that “our BMAS was distribute for review to UNESCO , International Science , Technology and Innovative Centre[ISTIC] and the Federation of Engineering institutions in Asia and Pacific[ FEIAP].The review turned out really positive ,leading to the admission of COREN after due formalities , as a member of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and Pacific[FEIAP].The implication of this is that Nigerian engineers duly registered by COREN now have mutual recognition in 48 countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan, China, among others.