The Federal Controller of Work in Lagos State, Mr Kayode Popoola, said plans were ongoing to upgrade the ministry’s Highway Training School in Lagos to boost local content and researches into road construction.
Popoola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the upgrade was necessary to accelerate capacity of local engineers in construction methods to help Nigeria overcome its huge infrastructure deficit.
He said that the ministry would incorporate research and development into the upgraded curriculum to ensure local engineers begin production of construction materials and equipment needed for road construction.
“The ministry will start manufacturing all the components that we can do locally for our roads. We have engineers, we have staff and we have equipment. It is just training that we need.
“That Highway Training School in Badagry is where we normally train all our highway technical assistants.
“The technical assistants are the ones we take to site to take measurements, they take charge of surveys, the road works, and even testing of materials on site.
“The Highway Training School is not for the Federal Ministry of Works alone, other state governments including Lagos, do send their staff there for training. So the school is very useful to the nation,’’ he said.
He explained that the training school in Badagry was not abandoned but would be upgraded to perform at optimal capacity to meet up with current needs of the nation.
Popoola said in the past, only secondary school leavers were admitted into the training school but now the admission requirement has changed as people with higher qualifications were being absorbed.
“What the ministry is planning is to upgrade the training school so that even very senior engineers can go there and receive refresher training,’’ he told NAN.
He, however, declined comment on how soon the upgrade could be achieved, insisting that “plans are on the way to make sure that the training school continues to function as it used to be.’’
Popoola explained that training and retraining was a continuous exercise, and that the training school offered huge potentials for development of local engineers.
He said that the place of research and development was also important and was being explored, stating that the ministry has geotechnics department and laboratories for testing construction materials.
Geotechnical engineering, also known as geotechnics, is the use of scientific methods and engineering principles for the acquisition, interpretation and use of knowledge of materials from both beneath and above the earth to solve societal problems.
“The training a Controller will receive will not be the same as that of senior or principal engineer will receive.
“So, we are going to incorporate, integrate all those researchers to come and teach us on how to effectively utilize the Training School so that little amount will be spent on importation.
“We have bitumen in Nigeria in abundant quantity somewhere in Ondo though it is yet to be extracted by Federal Government. That does not mean that the engineers will not receive training that will help highway work further,’’ he said.
He added that Nigeria has two other highway training schools in Kaduna State and Benin, Edo, which could revolutionise the construction industry in the country.