COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF 24TH COREN ENGINEERING ASSEMBLY HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA FROM 10TH – 12THAUGUST 2015
THEME: OVERCOMING THE CHALLEGES OF NIGERIAN MONOLITHIC ECONOMY: THE ROLE OF ENGINEERING PROFESSION
The 24th Engineering Assembly organized by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja between 10th and 12thAugust 2015. The Special Guest of Honour invited for the Opening Ceremony was, His Excellency, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Chief Host, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Dauda Shuaibu Kigbu, mni was represented by Engr. U.G. Jibrin, FNSE. While the Host, Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Engr. John O. Chukwu, FNSE was represented by Engr. Bala Danshehu, FNSE.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Ogbeni Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, FNSE, the Governor of Osun State. The Lead Paper, titled “Overcoming the Challenges of Corruption in the Nigerian Monolithic Economy: the Role of the Engineering Profession.” was presented by Chukwu Nwaze, a Chartered Accountant and a Public Policy analyst.
Goodwill messages were delivered by:
i. The Permanent Secretary,Federal Ministry of Works, represented by Engr. Bala Danshehu, FNSE.
ii. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, represented by Engr. U.G. Jibrin, FNSE.
iii. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by Engr. Ali Wudil, FNSE.
iv. Dame Julie Nwariaku, a representative of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
v. Regional Director and Representative of Regional Office, UNESCO, Abuja, Mr Benoit Sossou.
vi. Academician Dato Ir. Lee Yee Cheong, Chairman Governing Board, UNESCO International Science, Technology & Innovation Centre (ISTIC) for South-South Cooperation, Malaysia.
vii. Representative of the Kano State Governor, Hon. Shehu Haruna Lambu.
viii. Representative of the Niger State Governor, Engr. Abubakar Y. Salisu.
ix. Representative of the Kwara State Governor, TPL Alabi Amuda.
x. Deputy Governor of Yobe State, H.E. Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu FNSE.
The Sub-Theme papers presented were:
“Getting it Right: “the Role of the Engineering Community in Diversifying the Nigerian Economy” by Dr.Jummai Umar-Ajijola.
· “The Role of Agriculture: The Bank of National Security” by Senator (Dr.) Abdullahi Adamu, CON.
· “The Steel Industry in Nigeria: the Journey so Far”, by Engr. Isa Joseph Onobere.
· “Oil and Gas Exploitation and Refining: Challenges and Prospects to the Nigerian Economy” by Profs Ogbonna F. Joel and Joseph A. Ajienka.
· “Agribusiness and Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria by Temitope A. Daramola.
· “Industrialization as a Catalytic Engine of Growth to transform Nigeria into a Modular Economy” by Engr. Prof. Adagboyin Moses Obiazi, and
· “The State of Nigeria Federal Roads and the Urgent Need for a Proactive Asset Management Strategy” by Prof. Donath Mrawira.
The dinner talk titled “Change: Technical Education and the Provision of Sustainable Infrastructure in Nigeria” was presented by Prof. Abubakar Mustapha mni, OFR. A former Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri, Borno State.
The 24th Engineering Assembly was well organised and held successfully. Complimentary gifts were presented to the distinguished guests and the technical paper presenters. There were also plenary technical sessions and syndicate meetings of Professional Associations and other Stakeholders, otherwise called the Engineering Family Forum. The Assembly was attended by about four thousand participants including engineers, technologists, technicians, craftsmen and other stakeholders from all walks of life. The annual Engineering Assembly continues to be the biggest gathering of engineering professionals aimed at evaluating and discussing issues of interest to members of the engineering family and the nation at large.
At the end of the 24th Engineering Assembly the following observations/recommendations were made:
1. The major challenge facing the engineering profession is how to initiate and sustain engineering projects in the midst of corruption and scarce resources. To achieve this, the engineering profession needs to focus primarily on ethics, effectiveness and innovation to ensure infrastructural development. It also needs to be more visible, give timely cost saving advice to policy makers and respond promptly to environmental challenges that have bearing on the profession and the society at large.
2. The profession should continue to support anti-corruption crusade on engineering projects and pursue collaborative effort on fighting corruption with other agencies such as ICPC.
3 In order for the engineering profession to play an active role in the diversification of the Nigerian economy, there is need to address the following:
i) Training of enough engineering personnel that are relevant, globally competitive and are able to face the challenges of the 21stcentury. This will require carefully designed interventions that combine the potentials of the Triple Helix of government, academia and industry.
ii) COREN/NSE should synergise with NASENI and other relevant organizations that are saddled with reverse engineering to enable Nigeria to quickly close gaps in design and production as done by Asian Tigers.
iii) Government should give priority to vocational and technical education necessary to provide skills required for economic diversification.
4. COREN/NSE should synergise with relevant Agencies to enhance Research and Development (R&D) with tripod approach where efforts are coordinated in a competitive environment involving Academia, Government and the Private Sector. There is the need by the profession to partner with the legislature for appropriate intellectual property protection law to safeguard R&D investment by Government, Businesses (Private) and Academic Institutions.
5. National security cannot be successfully achieved without giving proper attention to food security. Therefore, to ensure food security, the following are imperative:
a. Appointment of a food security adviser by the President of Nigeria.
b. Increase in food production through improved varieties, inputs and markets in a sustainable manner.
c. Increase in public and private finance of agriculture.
d. Improvement in rural infrastructure, distribution network and storage facilities.
e. Encourage private sector participation in the creation of food value chains and cooperation in the implementation of regulations.
f. Agricultural engineering personnel should actively participate in virtually every level of agricultural operation.
6. Iron and Steel industry is sine qua non for the growth of any economy being a major role player in industrialization and infrastructural development. Government should provide fund to complete and commission the Ajaokuta steel plant and other steel plants/rolling mills and operate them efficiently under the public-private partnership arrangement; thereafter formulate a policy to discourage importation of finished steel products. This will generate massive employment opportunities.
7. There is the need to tap the full potential of the entire oil and gas value chain by building more refineries (especially modular refineries and some other low and medium technology refineries) and other petro-chemical plants that use oil and gas as feed stock.
8. One way to resolve youth restiveness in the oil producing region of the country is for the government to put in place a programme to enhance the capacity of local operators of illegal refineries to produce higher quality products and generate employment for the people. This will ensure safety of the personnel involved as well as minimise environmental pollution.
9. In order to positively transform the country through focused industrialization to a modular economy, government should harmonise tax administration, complete elimination of dumping of goods, improve on power supply and security of lives and properties.
10. To preserve our roads, weigh bridges should be constructed and compliance with load limits on the roads enforced.
In conclusion, the participants commended the efforts of COREN for organizing this thought-provoking Assembly.
Engr. Wopa Kamila Maliki, FNSE, mni