Road Construction work
By Jude Okwe in Calabar
Nigerian engineers rose from a four-day workshop in Calabar, Cross River State, with a call for the institutionalisation of local content in all spheres of engineering works in the country, if the nation’s technology is not to remain dependent on the West.
In a communique issued at the end of the workshop, engineers under their umbrella body, the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) said inclusion of local content in engineering works was the only way to develop their capacity and ensure relevance in infrastructure development; in line with vision 20:2020.
They also sought a road development programme to be executed through “the full process, within a framework of adequate conceptualisation, feasibility studies, planning, engineering, design, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance”.
President of NSE, Mr. Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola, who read the communiqué, explained that the society wants government to pursue a programme that would facilitate the development of better rail, aerospace, conveyance, pipelines, power systems, waterways and road transport system in the country to ease the hardship faced by the masses.
The forum focused on policy and development framework, technology and innovation, safety, security and environmental issues as well as maintenance and sustainability of the transportation system in the country.
It also noted the failure of the transportation sector in the country and sued for a robust overhaul of the various sectors of the industry to facilitate movement of people, goods and services.
The NSE said the poor network of roads in the country accounts for the many carnages being witnessed, noting that “road accidents can be reduced with proper education of drivers and control of issuance of drivers’ license through properly structured and verifiable certification system.”
It solicited for a synergy between the Federal Government and the nation’s engineers to guarantee effective road maintenance culture, and advised it to set up a Federal Roads Maintenance Authority and state governments to articulate and put in place a functional road maintenance mechanism in their sphere of influence too.
The communiqué advised that the various stakeholders in road safety and maintenance should rise to the occasion by ensuring that there is a good road network in the country through maintenance that draws funds from a dedicated account.
Government was called upon to define the role of various road safety and maintenance agencies in order to avoid duplication, which often leads to neglect and buck passing.
The engineers made a fresh call for a Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) for the dry docking and shipbuilding repairs to revitalise the near-comatose sector of marine transport stating that “this will greatly reduce capital flight and increase local content.”
The communiqué viewed the operation of the various transport sectors as being disjointed and urged that an integrated system be introduced that facilitate easy movement of goods and people for rapid transformation of the country.
The NSE workshop, which had as its theme ‘Effective Transportation System in Nigeria: The Way Forward’, featured annual general meeting, election of new executive committee, technical sessions among others.
The deputy President of the body, Mr. M. B. Shehu, emerged as the new President and will assume office next month when the tenure of Mr. Ajibola would have elapsed.
More than five thousand participants attended the event, which took place at the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who voted during the election of new leaders of the engineering body.