President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will heavily utilize talents and skills of local engineers to rebuild ailing infrastructure across Nigeria.
He was speaking at an investiture ceremony by the Nigerian Academy of Engineers (NAE) at the State House in Abuja.
The President described Nigerian engineers as ‘competent and cost effective.’
“The well-trained and highly experienced engineers have contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of this country, and they remain indispensable,” the President stated.
President Buhari who was decorated as the Grand Patron of the Academy, said both military and civilian administrations over the years depended on Nigerian engineers for designs and constructions across the country.
‘‘By insisting that we must be cost effective in building infrastructure, we will utilize Nigerian engineers. I respect them a lot, and I know it takes time to be trained as an engineer,’’ he said.
The President noted that local engineers contributed more than 90% to the design and realization of two refineries, 2,500 pipelines and 20 depots in the country during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum in the mid-1970s, and that the success of the Petroleum Trust Fund was largely hinged on their skills.
‘‘Somehow, every time and anywhere I have served in this country, we found it cost effective to use Nigerian engineers, and we relied on their capacity to understudy, learn and deliver. It will be wrong to fault Nigerian engineers for the failure of refineries. You should blame the political leadership. How can you build and not know how to maintain an asset,’’ the President said.
He said individual political leaders should be blamed for Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure, not the engineers who had always been willing to contribute to national development.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers, Mrs. Joanna Maduka said science, technology and innovation were the key drivers of growth across the globe.
She urged the government to explore and engage the multiple engineering talents in the country for more purposeful results.
‘‘For the country to attain sustainable growth status, the Nigerian engineers need to be adequately engaged in planning, policy formulation, consultancy and construction, as well as industrial process of production and manufacturing,’’ she stated.
Maduka commended the anti-corruption fight of the government, saying it will turn around the fortunes of the economy.