The Challenges of Civil Engineering in Nigeria- Engr Ali Rabiu

Engr. Ali Rabiu, studied both at the Polytechnic  and University. He read Civil Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Bida and Offshore Engineering at Bayero University, Kano. He is a consultant engineer, principal partner of Ar-Ar Partnership
that is into civil engineering consultancy. In 2007, he became chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Kano Branch. Presently, he is one of the Vice Presidents of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

Sir, please could you tell us about the challenges that Civil Engineers are facing in the country?
Engr.Rabiu: Well, challenges are there. They abound actually. Generally, you know the country has a lot of challenges in infrastructure. There are infrastructural gaps in the country that we need to address. The few infrastructural jobs or contracts that go out are given to foreign multinational contractors. In that case it is a big challenge to indigenous civil engineers. Thank God the Nigerian Society of Engineers is addressing this and as I am talking to you now there is a bill at the national assembly. The Bill for indigenous contractors is aimed at motivating and promoting indigenous civil engineering firms.

Nigerians choose to patronize, I don’t know what to call them, non-civil engineers for civil engineering jobs, rather than consulting the qualified engineers. What do you have to say about that?
Engr. Rabiu: That is the attitude of Nigerians towards cutting corners. There is no profession even in the law profession that there are no quacks or ‘quackery’ in Nigeria. The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, which is COREN, in conjunction with NSE, is addressing the issue of quacker in the engineering profession. It is quite difficult but I believe given the means, we will do a lot to see
that we stand aside quackery.

But indeed it is posing a lot of destruction in the country; not just to us as engineers but to the economy because the issues of engineering structural collapse witnessed across the country are not engineered by engineers themselves. Most of these structures that collapsed are structures being designed and supervised by nonengineers or quacks. Like I said, it poses a lot of danger. COREN has been given the responsibility to see that it addressed the issue and I believe when this is successfully done, the issue of collapse and all that will reduce drastically.

Sir, what would you say is the reason why young engineering graduates rather than practicing engineering go into other sector, like the banking sector?
Engr. Rabiu: Because there is no encouragement to the Nigerian engineer; of course there is the tendency for the younger engineers to move to greener pastures. If the government addresses issues of motivating, like I said, indigenous engineers, indigenous contractors, the younger engineers will have jobs to do. There are no jobs  in the engineering sector. So there is the tendency to move to other areas, like the banking sector. But with the bill in the National Assembly, NSE was there yesterday (January 14th 2010) to make their input to the bill; if the bill is passed and properly implemented, I believe there will be a lot of jobs for the Nigerian engineers to do. Engineers would be practicing engineering, rather than going to other professions.

Thank you very much sir for the time you spent with us

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