By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Minister of Works, Sen. David Umahi, has assured the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) of government’s collaboration in road construction and management to enhance the sector’s development in the country.
The minister gave the assurance on Wednesday when a delegation of the academy led by its President, Prof. Azikiwe Onwualu paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Yakubu Kofarmata, thanked the delegation for the visit and commendation.
Umahi said the performance of the ministry was prompted by President Bola Tinubu’s charge that good and quality roads be constructed across the country.
He expressed worry over the rate of malpractices by some engineers in the construction industry.
“One discovers that a road which is constructed in other parts of the world, which will last 30 or 40 years, is not so in Nigeria. In Nigeria, such lasts just for two or three years.
“Though the engineering methods are not different, the results are not the same.
“This is as a result of some malpractices carried out by the contractors in connivance with some unpatriotic individuals,” he said.
He expressed the government’s determination to work with the academy and other stakeholders to end all forms of sharp practices in the sector.
He pledged to continue to deliver on Tinubu’s mandate by ensuring that roads were constructed to specifications and safety.
“This will ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government is not only sustained. It will be seen to be working for Nigerians who deserve to reap the benefits of democracy.”
Umahi also assured the Nigerian Academy of Engineers that the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) would be restored to being funded by the government.
He harped on the need for real professionals to always be in charge of engineering supervision whether foreigners or Nigerians.
“It does not matter, we only want accredited COREN recognised practitioners to be in charge.”
He assured the academy of the ministry’s support in all areas of collaboration, especially in skill acquisition for young engineers.
Earlier, the President of the academy had commended the minister over his insistence of local content in road construction, including the use of COREN registered engineers for supervision of projects.
Onwualu also called on government to restore COREN to national budget.
“We believe that the function of regulation is different from that of professional bodies.
“We, therefore, urge the minister to work towards convincing the government to restore funding of COREN which is a regulatory body for engineering practice, not a professional body.
“Every regulatory body mandatorily must be funded by the government for it to deliver on its mandate.”
Onwualu went further to seek for the ministry’s partnership in capacity building, adding that NAE could develop programmes for Continuing Professional Development and training, to enhance the skills and knowledge of engineers.
“In execution of one of the flagship projects of the NAE namely the National Engineering Innovation Award.”
The don also called for partnership on policy to upgrade Civil Engineering laboratories in the Faculty of Engineering of various Universities and Polytechnics.
This, he said could be done by devoting one per cent of the particular project cost to equipping the engineering laboratory of universities, near the project site.
“Also, policy on capacity building to adopt innovative road and construction methods and materials, including use of bitumen, concrete, and implementation of existing road construction and maintenance manuals and standards.
NAN Reports that NAE was established in 1997 as a non-profit and non-governmental institution for the promotion of excellence in engineering training and practice. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola