President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday stated that local engineers contributed over 90 per cent to the design and realization of the nation’s two refineries, adding that individual political leaders should rather be blamed for the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.
Stating that it was wrong to fault Nigerian engineers for the failure of the refineries, he disclosed that they contributed to the actualizing of 2,500 km of pipelines and 20 depots in the country during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum in the mid-1970s and that the success of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, was largely based on their skills.
A statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, reports that the President spoke at an investiture ceremony by the Nigerian Academy of Engineers, NAE, at the State House, during which he was decorated as the Grand Patron of the NAE.
He pointed out that well-trained and highly experienced engineers had contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of the country, and they remain indispensable.
Buhari added that his administration will heavily utilize talents and skills of local engineers to rebuild ailing infrastructure across the country, describing the engineers as ‘‘competent and cost effective”.
‘‘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,” he said, stressing that individual political leaders should be blamed for Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure, not the engineers who had always been willing to contribute to national development.
The President continued that both military and civilian administrations have over the years depended on Nigerian engineers for designs and constructions across the country.
‘‘By insisting that we must be cost effective in building infrastructure, we will utilize Nigerian engineers. I respect them a lot, and I know it takes time to be trained as an engineer,” he said.
‘‘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.”
In her remarks, the President of the NAE, Mrs. Joanna Maduka, said science, technology and innovation were the key drivers of growth across the globe, urging the Federal Government to explore and engage the multiple engineering talents in the country for more purposeful results.
‘‘For the country to attain sustainable growth status, the Nigerian engineers need to be adequately engaged in planning, policy formulation, consultancy and construction, as well as industrial process of production and manufacturing,’’ she noted.
Maduka commended the anti-corruption fight of the Federal Government, saying it would turn around the fortunes of the economy.