KEY NOTE ADDESSBY JAMES O. AKANMU, PhD, FNSE, FNICE AT THE ANNUAL END OF YEAR DINNER AND AWARDS BY NIGERIAN INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS (LAGOS CHAPTER) ON THE THEME “BRIDGING THE INFRASTRUCTURE GAP, THE LAGOS WE KNOW” ON WEDNESDAY, 26TH DECEMBER, 2018 AT DIGITAL VILLAGE, ALAUSA, LAGOS
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great honour for me to deliver, on behalf of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers , Lagos Chapter, a keynote speech at this very important forum. I would like to first congratulate the leadership of NICE Lagos Chapter for the arrangements for this programme. I also would like to thank our guest speaker for finding time to honour the invitation in spite of his busy engineering and political schedules.
Today, as requested by the organizers, I will start with a brief attempt on the import of adequate infrastructure in any country. Secondly would highlight some infrastructure need of the state that can bridge the infrastructure gap in Lagos we know. Thirdly, I would like to dwell further on the professional roles of civil engineers in bridging the infrastructure gap.
2.0 IMPORTANCE OF ADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURE
Ladies and gentlemen, Infrastructure is the bedrock of the economy. A well-developed infrastructure is not only essential for attracting foreign investment, it is vital for long-term growth and competitiveness of countries worldwide. Infrastructure can be described as activities that provide society with services necessary to conduct daily life and to engage in productive activity and development in a country’s economy.
Robust infrastructure helps to determine one state or country’s success and in particular it leads to diversifying production, expanding trade, coping with population growth, reducing poverty or improving environmental conditions. World Bank’s World Development Report (1994), indicated that one (1) percent increase in the stock of infrastructure is associated with a one (1) percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) across all countries.
FUNDAMENTAL INFRASTUCTURAL NEEDS
In a state like Lagos, the economic hub of the country, there is no gainsaying the facts that the factors that are most significant in accelerating the pace of economic development are energy, transport, flood control, water resources, housing, agriculture, finance, communications, education, and health.
Civil engineering Infrastructure facilities include but not limited to the following:
- Good transportation system such as water, road, rail and air.
- effective and efficient water supply distribution system
- effective and efficient wastewater facilities management
- effective and efficient facilities for domestic, municipal, hazardous and industrial solid waste management
- Provision of a drainage system.
- Supply of electrical power from hydro, solar, wind, thermal, gas and other sources of renewable energy.
- Construction of recreational places e.g gardens, parks etc.
PROFESSIONAL ROLE OF CIVIL ENGINEERS IN BRIDGING SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTUREGAP
Civil engineers work towards solutions for safe, effective waste management through the implementation of specialist recycling and processing strategies. Waste can also be used to provide alternative sources of power, if managed properly. Civil engineering is vital to the process of understanding how these strategies can be utilised to their fullest effect.
The technical roles of the civil engineer can be divided into three categories: those performed before construction (feasibility study, site investigation, design); those performed during construction (dealing with clients, consulting engineering, contracting) and those performed after construction (maintenance and research).
All civil engineering structures from dwellings to arch dams, breakwaters to freeways are placed on or in the ground thus requiring some sort of a foundation system.
Foundations are the main product of geotechnical engineering. The civil engineer engaged in soil investigation, analysis and design suitable foundation and appropriate soil improvement techniques and methods.
A transportation system comprises passenger and goods traffic by land, water and air systems. Land transport is done by highway and railroads. The planning, designing, construction of road, railway, airport, harbour etc including traffic studies and designs are the reserved of the transportation engineering and transportation engineers.
Structural engineering is that branch of civil engineering where the static and the dynamic properties and behaviour of buildings, bridges, towers, tanks and similar structures are taken care of. Therefore, the import of civil engineers curbing failures and collapse of buildings, towers among others
The Water/ environmental engineer are responsible to provide a community with potable water, protect public health by safeguarding the ecosystem. The civil engineer assists by planning and constructing the facilities ranging from the intake of raw water to the system through disposing of waste in various forms, in order that the infrastructure is able to cope with the increasing demands.
An environmental engineer solves the problems of pollution of air, water and soil that poses threats to public health. We are involve in solid waste management, water and waste water management, air and noise pollution etc
Water is essential for the livelihood of the human being and the community. Civil engineers has the role to play in hydraulic structures such as dams, weirs, berths, quays, harbours, breakwaters and canals closely connected with transportation engineering.
We call on the government of Lagos state to make effective use of civil engineers in the provision of housing; expansion of the IPP scheme to cater for public utilities and industrial zones and in the provision of an intermodal transport system ( air, road, rail and water) for easy movement from the suburbs to urban centres,; and the provision of adequate solid waste management facilities coupled with water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Infrastructure is the bedrock of the economy. A well-developed infrastructure is not only essential for attracting foreign investment but also vital for long-term growth and competitiveness of countries worldwide.
The roles of civil engineers in good transportation system such as water, road, rail and air; effective and efficient water supply distribution system, wastewater facilities management; domestic, municipal, hazardous and industrial solid waste management, drainage system, adequate housing system cannot be compromised
For effective governance, civil engineers are needed at policy and law formulation, serves as the experts to the executive and professional expert witness to the judiciary. We encourage the legislative arm of government to adequately engage civil engineers in law making and oversight functions, the executive should engage civil engineers in all infrastructure development for a healthy environment while the judiciary should not hesitate to call on civil engineers as expert witness in all civil engineering areas.