By Abiemwense Moru
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has said that the engineering profession has been infiltrated by quacks as “engineer’’ is ascribed to anyone wearing a helmet.
Dogara said this on Monday in Abuja at a public hearing on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Engineers (Registration etc) Act, organised by the House’s Committee on Works.
He said that the effect of this was that “our lives are put at risk by collapsed buildings and potholed roads as well as failing machines among others’’.
According to him, today, engineering failures have not only brought financial and economic costs to our country, they have also imposed heavy social costs on us.
“Worse still, there appears to be no internal mechanism to deal with these ugly developments and so there is a need to respond to emergent challenges and align with global best practices.’’
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, told the stakeholders that the Bill was among others, designed to “empower the registration council to arrest and prosecute quacks in the practice of engineering.
He added that the bill when passed, would give responsibility to the Council over companies engaged in engineering, to register, licence all engineering firms and personnel, including offences and penalties as well as their enforcement.
“It will also empower the Council to earn more revenue to fund its operations and activities to compliment government funding and extend the mandate of the Council to include engineering regulation and monitoring.’’
President of Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Mr Kashim Ali, in his submission, said “the most disturbing is the fact that registration of engineering firms has been limited to engineering consulting firms.
“This has resulted in total absence of COREN oversight on other organizations engaged in engineering works and services in Nigeria, which includes construction companies, engineering industries and manufacturing companies.’’
In his presentation, a renowned engineer, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, said that the services of engineers were indispensable, but regretted that they were never made ministers.
“In the ministry of health, we have a medical doctor as minister and why is it that now we don’t appoint engineers in their rightful position.
“In 1960, the parliament had no engineers, so politicians were given appointments meant for engineers, and today the situation remains same.
“I ‘m retired now; I can’t become a minister again, but engineers should be given their rightful place because they will do the job better,’’ he said.
In his contribution, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the ministry would ensure that it put smile on the faces of Nigerians.
He said “the level of infrastructural development across the three ministries that will take place before I leave office will put a smile on the faces of all Nigerians’’.
The minister was represented by a Director of the ministry, Mr Sunday Umannah.