The NAE President added that the role of an academy of engineering all over the world was to serve as Think-Tank for the technological and economic development of a nation.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday blamed the ongoing destruction of offshore pipelines on highly skilled engineers as he observed that ordinary Nigerians were not capable of accessing them.
He has therefore requested the the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) to admonish their members with a view to stopping those who may be involved in the unwholesome acts.
He made the remark after his investiture as the Grand Patron of the NAE by its delegation led by the President, Mrs. Joana Maduka, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari said the sophistication involved in the act of blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta suggested that those involved were not ordinary Nigerians.
He wondered how ordinary Nigerians could go as far as 70 kilometers into the open seas to blow pipelines with ease, noting that some professional associations with high competences needed to talk to their members to ensure they were not deploying their skills in a negative way to the detriment of the country.
“How can ordinary Nigerians go into the deep sea almost 70 kilometers to blow installations. They are not ordinary Nigerians. So, you have to talk to your members,” he stated.
The President rejected assertions that Nigerian engineers were under utilized, as according to him, 99 percent of those that constructed some of the country’s refineries were Nigerian engineers.
Noting that Nigerian engineers’ capacity to learn was unparalleled, he added that the government held engineers in high esteem in the task of nation building.
Drawing from past experiences in office, the president absolved Nigerian engineers of blame on the condition of Nigerian refineries, saying: “Nigerian engineers are competent and cost effective. I respect you all, it takes a lot to be a competent engineers.”
He added: “Somehow, everytime and anywhere I have served in this country, we found it cost effective to use Nigerian engineers, and we relied on their capacity to understudy, learn and deliver.
‘‘It will be wrong to fault Nigerian engineers for the failure of refineries. You should blame the political leadership. How can you build and not know how to maintain an asset.’’
Speaking earlier, Maduka said that in the last one year, Nigerian engineering companies had performed well in procurement and construction of a 600 megawatts power generating plant and a 330KV switching station, the biggest in the national grid,
According to her, “Countries like China, USA, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are examples of nations that have harnessed the benefits of their engineering academies for economic progress.”
Maduka praised the anti-corruption efforts of the administration as a step in the right direction, saying that it would bring about economic transformation to the country.
On government’s desire to fix infrastructural deficit in the country, she said: “This effort is very germane to the development of our nation. For this to be done effectively and efficiently, inputs are required from all cadres of engineering disciplines.”