President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja said 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.’’
Speaking at an investiture ceremony by the Nigerian Academy of Engineers (NAE) at the State House, President Buhari said the well-trained and highly experienced engineers had contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of the country, and they remain indispensable.
The President, who was decorated as the Grand Patron of the NAE at the ceremony, said both military and civilian administrations 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.
The President noted that local engineers contributed more than 90 percent to the design and realization of two refineries, 2,500 km of pipelines and 20 depots in the country during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum in the mid-1970s, adding that the success of the Petroleum Trust Fund was largely hinged on their skills.
‘‘Somehow, every time 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,’’ the President said.
President Buhari said individual political leaders should be blamed for Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure, not the engineers who had always been willing to contribute to national development.
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.
Special Adviser to the President