COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 55TH NATIONAL ENGINEERING CONFERENCE, EXHIBITION AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS (NSE), ABUJA 2022, HELD AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTER, ABUJA, FROM 14TH-18TH NOVEMBER, 2022
The 55TH National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) tagged ABUJA 2022 was held at International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja from 14th – 18th November, 2022. The theme of the Conference was “ADVANCING THE FRONTIERS OF COMMUNICATION AND DIGITAL ECONOMY IN NIGERIA”.
The five-day event comprised variety of activities including Opening Ceremony, Plenary and Technical Sessions, College of Fellows Roundtable Symposium, Group Dynamics for NSE Divisions and Branches, Students Programme, Young Engineers Forum and Election Manifesto presentation. The Conference was enriched with other equally important social activities that enhanced interaction and networking among the participants. These included Presidential cocktail, Spouses Programme, Cultural/Award Night, Welfare Night, Annual General Meeting (AGM), Annual Dinner and Closing Ceremony. All activities were well attended by Engineers, Researchers, Academia, Industrialists, Policy makers, Legislators and Development Partners. Over 3,500 participants registered for the Conference. A total number of Eight (8) lead papers were discussed at 2 plenary sessions while Fifty-seven technical papers on the eight sub-themes were presented. Foreign delegates from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Kenya Institutions of Engineers participated fully in the conference. Thirteen (13) accredited companies and organizations participated. Most of the divisions of NSE also participated in the exhibition during the conference.
The opening ceremony was chaired by the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Tasiu Saad Gidari-Wudil, FNSE, FNIM who also delivered the welcome address. The Chairman, Central Planning Committee (CPC), Engr. Etido Inyang, welcomed members to the occasion. The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, FNSE was ably represented by the Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator, Dr. Adeleke Mamora. Two other Hon. Ministers graced the occasion. The Hon. Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Aliu Ibrahim Patanmi who was the Guest Speaker was represented by Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, the DG, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana.
A Conferee of Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr. Kola Adesina, MFR, Executive Director, Sahara Group was honoured for his significant contributions to the development of power sector of the nation and his remarkable contributions to engineering profession and humanity.
Other dignitaries at the occasion included the President of COREN, Engr. A. A. Rabiu, FNSE, MFR, the Chairman NSE Board of Trustees, Engr. Emeka M. Ezeh, FNSE, FAEng, OFR; the President-Elect, World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), Engr. M. B. Shehu, FNSE, FAEng; Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission, Engr. Ahmed Amshi, FNSE; Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, CFR; Representatives of Service Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, Major General P. E. Eromosele, Rear Admiral A. A. Orederu and Air Vice Marsal Wonah, respectively. Also in attendance was Engr. Rabiu M. Kwakwanso, FNSE, Former Governor of Kano State and Presidential Candidate of NNPP.
Also in attendance were National EXCO Members of NSE, Past Presidents, Spouses and Members of the Society.
The foreign delegates who attended the occasion included four-man Ghanaian delegation led by President-Elect of Ghana Institution of Engineers, Ing. Kwabewa Bemping, two-man delegation from Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers (SLIE), led by Ing. Prof. Redwood Sawyer Jonas Abioseh Syvanus, Immediate Past President and three-man delegation from Kenya, led by the President, Institution of Engineers, Kenya (IEK), Ing. Emela Owino Ohaga. Other dignitaries included Engr. Chief. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu CFR, MFR, FNSE and Prof. M. S. Haruna, FNSE, FAEng, Executive Vice Chairman NASENI.
NSE Presidential award was given to 89 distinguished individuals, which included former State Governors, Chief Executive Officers of public and private companies.
The opening ceremony was concluded with the tour of the Exhibition stands, led by the representative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and supported by the Chief of Defence Staff among others.
The following observations were made at the end of the Conference and Annual General meeting:
- Commend the efforts of the Federal Government as enabler in championing safe and secured digital Nigeria as well as promoting inclusive growth on a sustainable basis.
- Inadequate and lack of modern communication infrastructure affecting the spread, reliability, connectivity, high cost, accessibility, and penetration of digital inclusion.
- There is apparent improvement in provision of services and commerce triggered by adoption and adaptation of digital technologies which need to be sustained and made competitive.
- Digital innovations and technologies are transforming the rural and urban market structure with gradual integration leading to improvement in job and wealth creation for enhanced livelihood of the rural populace.
- Recognized the separate efforts of public and private sector in human and institutional capacity development in the various aspect of communication and digital economy with little synergy.
- The slow pace in creating the enabling environment hinders the full realization of Private Sector Participation (PSP) and exploitation of the huge opportunity created by the adoption and adaptation of digital technologies, innovations and products for positive impact.
- Weak and uncoordinated monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanism in the communication and digital subsector affect the implementation of strategies and programmes for enhanced growth and effectiveness.
- The competitiveness of famous and inspiring digital platforms (jumia, konga, bolts, uber, etc) that connect market participants together in a virtual world reveals optimum prices of commodities, services, and products, as well as generate trust between clients and service providers (strangers).
- Limited investment and transparency in the development and deployment of technologies and innovations as well as the requisite human capital development to intervene and mitigate the recurrence of annual flooding especially in prone areas is majorly responsible for the annual disaster bedeviling the nation.
- Weak institutional and legal framework that fall short to provide seamless coordination, standardization and synergy among relevant MDAs and the private sector to deploy technology and innovation like NigComSat-1R to facilitate real time intelligence management and curb insecurity across the entire country.
- The positive role of Media and Communication plays in national cohesion and security and if not properly managed can result in a converse.
The following recommendations emanated from the Conference and Annual General Meeting:
- To sustain the advancement of communication and digital economy, the Government in collaboration with the private sector and other key stakeholders should ensure implementation of policy and strategies, strengthening of MDAs, enforcing compliance of laws and regulations, creating public awareness, etc.
- To create favourable enabling environment for the digital economy to strive, Government needs to increase investment and partnership in the provision of modern communication infrastructure to enhance the sustainable growth of digital environment for efficiency
- Strengthening the critical enablers to motivate the service providers for sustainable quality service delivery.
- Promote private sector led and Government facilitation in the expansion and deepening rural and urban market structure integration through the deployment of digital technologies and innovations.
- There should be deliberate effort to remove the existing barriers in human and institutional capacity development within the public sector and between the private sector to ensure synergistic operations and complementarity in communication and digital innovation.
- Government at all levels need to as a matter of urgency ensure the provision of critical enablers including energy, security, skilled labour, etc to encourage more partnership with the private sector in upgrading infrastructure and efficient service delivery.
- Strengthening of Monitoring, Evaluation and Feedback mechanism through the collective action of regulators, operators, service providers and technical partners championed by professional bodies.
- Promote targeted empowerment programmes initiated by the MDAs and Private Sector in the communication and Digital Economy sector to exploit maximally opportunities available.
- Proactive measures at all levels of Government and other stakeholders supported by effective enforcement of best practices including communication and digital technologies for flood control.
- Internal security matters need to be on the Concurrent List to have inclusive participation and synergy in curbing crimes at all levels. To enhance coordination and efficiency in intelligence management, national security and control center with a unified command and control, and coordination structure for proactive crisis detection, response, and management.
- To achieve balanced reporting that will promote national cohesion and security, there is the need to ensure that the media practitioners adhere to guidelines, codes, and standards of the media profession and perform their tasks responsibly.
Engr. Tasiu Saad Gidari-Wudil, FNSE. Engr. Joshua Egube, FNSE.
President, (NSE) Executive Secretary, (NSE)