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April 22, 2024
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NSE President advocates AI for food security, safety of citizens

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By Grace Alegba

President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mrs Margaret Oguntala, on Thursday said Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a major technological component needed to achieve food security in Nigeria.

Oguntala said this in Lagos at the investiture of Mr Oluseun Faluyi as the fourth National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISafetyE), a division of the NSE.

 

“I can confirm that AI cannot be relegated as one of the major technological components required to achieve food security in Nigeria,” she said.

 

Speaking on the investiture of Faluyi, she said the theme of the event, “Leveraging the Power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Safety Engineering: Prospects and Potentials” was apt.

Oguntala, who is the first female president of the NSE, said the theme had direct relevance to our economic and technological development as a nation.

“Sustainable national growth, advancement and productivity are increasingly dependent on improved capacity in all spheres, which include the deployment of artificial intelligence in crucial fields such as safety engineering.

“We will all agree that this lecture is coming at a period when we are experiencing a gamut of challenges in different sectors of our economy – financial, agricultural, medical and even engineering – all with challenges that have direct underlying safety issues.

“Artificial Intelligence will come in handy to help tackle some, if not all, of these challenges. Therefore, there is not a more appropriate time for this discourse than now,” Oguntala said.

She announced that the 2024 National Engineering Conference of the society will hold in November, and will deal with issues of food security.

The President, who was among dignitaries inducted fellows of NISafetyE, said the theme for the conference will be ,”Sustainable Engineering Solutions to Food Security and Climate Change”.

 

Newly inaugurated chairman, Faluyi, reeled out his plans toward bringing positive changes to the institution by focusing on increased financial resilience, organisational, inspiring stakeholders engagement and nurturing , learning, growth and development.

Also, the outgoing National Chairman, Mr Akaninyene Ekong, reeled out achievements of his administration.

The guest lecturer, Adeyemi Adetunji, called for improvement in safety culture practice in Nigeria to curtail avoidable accidents, untimely deaths and disasters in the nation.

Adetunji, who is the former Executive Vice President, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd., said safety should be a watchword in all branches and arms of engineering because engineers were problem solvers.

He cited examples of petroleum tank fire disasters, road crashes and building collapses which were avoidable if engineering codes and standards as well as ethics were upheld.

He called for more focus on safety across sectors of the economy for safety and preservation of lives, property and the environment.

He listed factors inhibiting adherence to safety rules in Nigeria to include poor regulatory environment, bureaucracy, low emergency response, lack of punishment for offenders, and corruption among others.

He called for commitment on the part of engineers in applying their knowledge and skills to solving societal problems.

He also called for regular ICT training and retraining in addition to applying codes and standards for infrastructure to prevent disasters.

“In wrapping-up, I would like to submit that I am a strong believer in Goal-Zero. It is possible. The members of the Institution have to roll-up their sleeves and commit to action.

“And knowing that it is only through focus and perseverance in “doing” that will deliver results. The NISafetyE must set for itself quarterly goals and track performance on same.

“Nigeria needs you all as we cannot afford any more loss of life and scarce resources through failure in any Engineering Safety-related activity,” he said. (NAN)

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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