President Muhammadu Buhari said in Abuja on Tuesday that his administration would use skill of indigenous engineers to build the country’s infrastructure nationwide.
President Buhari stated this at his investiture as Grand Patron of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers, NAE, at the State House.
He said Nigerian engineers were “competent and cost effective.”
According to him, the well-trained and highly experienced engineers have contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of the country and, therefore, remain indispensable.
The President, who was decorated as the Grand Patron of the NAE at the ceremony, 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 per cent to the design and realisation of two refineries, 2,500 pipelines and 20 depots in the country during his tenure as minister of petroleum in the mid-1970s.
He added that the success of the Petroleum Trust Fund was largely hinged on their skills.
President Buhari 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.
“Somehow, every time and anywhere I have served in this country, I 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,” he said.
In her remarks, the President of NAE, Joanna Maduka, said science, technology and innovation were the key drivers of growth across the globe.
She urged the Federal Government to take advantage of 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 noted.
She noted that in the last one year, Nigerian engineering companies performed laudably in the procurement and construction of a 600 megawatt power generating plant and a 330KV switching station, which she described as the biggest in the national grid.