By Perpetua Onuegbu
Abuja, Oct. 16, 2020 Mr Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister of State for Works and Housing, has stated that a focus on quality engineering education would ensure the delivery of world class infrastructure.
The minister spoke at the 18th International Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE), in Abuja on Friday.
The theme of the conference is “Reform of Engineering Education: A Strategy for Sustainable Development in Nigeria”.
According to him, it is only fair that Nigeria focus on quality engineering education in order to ensure the delivery of world class infrastructure to improve the lives of the citizens.
“It is only through a better adoption and adaption of engineering that Nigeria could share in the good life that it offers in other climes. The starting point is quality engineering education,” he said.
He regretted that Sub-Saharan Africa had no engineering capacity forcing it to rely heavily on imported expertise, and attributed that situation to insufficient output from training institutions.
“The graduates we get from the engineering schools lack practical experience.
“UNESCO reports indicate that Nigeria produces 3,500 engineers a year. This is a modest number, but the engineers remain largely unemployed because of the lack of the requisite training,” he said.
The minister, however, assured the delegates that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the development of the engineering profession, considering its critical role in economic growth.
He said that the administration had invested heavily on research and development, particularly on engineering education.
In her address, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE), Mrs Aishatu Umar, said that the annual conference was exceptional to civil engineers from different sectors of the economy.
“We focus on deliberating on the sustainable ways to enhance the profession,” she said.
She added that the conference was also an opportunity for engineers to individually analyse their performance, asses impact and restrategise on ways to practice the profession for sustainable development of the nation.
Umar described the 2020 theme as well thought out, “considering the fact that the world is being reshaped for better technological advancement”.
“Nigeria cannot continue to be left behind. We cannot afford that,” she said.
The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Babagana Muhammed, described the annual conference as a gathering of professional engineers for the advancement of engineering practice in Nigeria.
Dignitaries at the occasion included Umaru Tafida, the Emir of Lapai, and Mr Ali Rabiu, CoREN president, among others.