President Goodluck Jonathan has commended engineers in the country for their contributions to national development.
He urged them to continue to play pivotal role in the development of infrastructure in the country.
The president made the remarks in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 21st Engineering Assembly organised by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
The president was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen
He said that the forum with the theme ‘Engineering Capacity, Integrity and National Transformation’ was ideal, as it would provide participants opportunity to discuss issues affecting Nigeria’s development.
“This has become the ideal forum for the promotion and enhancement of professionalism in the engineering practice.
“We have reached the point in our national life when we must reflect and review what is and what ought to be in the interest of our people.
“This discussion with COREN, which focuses on capacity building and integrity in the engineering profession, is a commendable initiative.”
He urged COREN to step up its standard for quality assurance as it carries out accreditation of courses in institutions of higher learning.
“Capacity building in the profession begins with the institutions and the accreditation of engineering programmes has continued to promote standards in the faculties of engineering discipline,’’ Jonathan said.
He also called for the application of appropriate sanctions on institutions that fail to comply with the requirements for professional accreditation.
Jonathan assured the council of governments’ support in funding the institutions to upgrade their facilities, adding that engineering programmes must lead the way in capacity building.
He bemoaned the unpleasant stories of quacks and mediocre elements infiltrating the profession, saying it “ought to be a thing of the past’’.
“This is a serious challenge to us all; the cost of construction in Nigeria is believed to be the highest in sub-Saharan Africa and this is caused by unqualified individuals posing as professionals.
“Nigeria must get value-for-money in engineering projects.’’
The president pledged governments support in bringing down the cost of construction.
“To achieve the objective of capacity building, government has approved a reform of the road sector. We believe that the establishment of the Content Development Act will also help to build indigenous capacity.”
In his speech, Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswan harped on integrity in the engineering profession.
Suswan decried the ugly recurrence of collapse of structures and the influx of foreign companies in the country, saying “the problem may be as a result of inadequate capacity’’.
He called on professionals in the construction industry to ensure that integrity and hard work were embraced by indigenous contractors.
“The problems we have with the indigenous contractors include lack of determination and zeal for work, insincerity and unwillingness to do a good project.
“We are therefore left with failed projects and the dominance of foreign firms,” Suswan noted.
On his part, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammad commended the engineers for the development of infrastructure in the territory.
He promised that the FCT administration would create a stronger synergy with the council in ensuring that projects were properly handled to specifications.
In his remarks President of COREN, Mr Ibukunle Ogunbayo, pledged the councils’ support to ensure that standards are met through the continuous monitoring of projects.
Ogunbayo said that the council was working out strategies to revive technical colleges across the country to help in producing better artisans with skills.
The 2-day engineering assembly had over 2000 members and dignitaries in attendance.