Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Society of Engineers has said, at the current state, the country’s infrastructure is “unfit for purpose”.
NSE gave its rating in the 2017 National Infrastructure Report Card Rating and Analysis, which was released at the investiture of Mr. Adekunle Mokuolu as the 31st President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) saturday in Abuja.
According to the report, within the last two years, between 2015 and 2017, Nigeria recorded two points drop in the rating of its infrastructure by the society.
Specifically, it stated that the overall rating of the national infrastructure was F1, meaning “unfit for purpose”.
The report explained that the latest rating of the infrastructure was informed by poor operations and maintenance standards, adding that of all the infrastructure categories it analysed, only those of the oil and gas sector were relatively seen to be the best performing.
According to the report, “The scope of the National Infrastructure Report Card rating is defined to assess selected infrastructure at national level rather than regional/state-wise. Therefore, the results presented provide a national perspective to the state of Nigeria’s infrastructure systems.
“The overall rating of Nigeria’s Infrastructure was F1 – unfit for purpose. This rating is a further drop by two points for E2 in the previous rating carried out two years ago (2015). This rating generally portrays a perceived decline in the state of Nigeria’s Infrastructure.”
The national infrastructure report, which the immediate past president of NSE, Mr. Otis Anyaeji, presented to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, stated that the present state of social mass housing in Nigeria was deplorable, and 64.2 per cent of the country’s city dwellers live in slums with inadequate living conditions.
It also rated the country’s power infrastructure low on progress, adding that it dropped from its E1 rating level (poor state) to F2 (unfit for purpose: infrastructure has failed or is on the verge of failure, exposing the public to health and safety hazards. Immediate attention required), while its security infrastructure was rated F3 (unfit for purpose), its educational infrastructure, F2, its agriculture infrastructure, F1, and its information technology infrastructure, E3, meaning it is on a poor state and on the verge of failure.
The report explained that 1,661 responses were obtained from the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, with a larger percentage of responses coming from Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, Delta and Kaduna respectively.
“Expectedly, therefore, participants are key stakeholders or opinion leaders whose input and involvement in the sub-sector is significant enough to be able to influence the provision or public perception of the standard of service or performance of the Infrastructure,” it further explained.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a special guest of honour at the investiture, expressed doubts that electricity supplies in Nigeria had made some remarkable progress. But, he hoped there would be changes in the sector when the programmes initiated under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) are completed.
Clad in a cream overflowing native attire with a matching cream cap that has brown details, Obasanjo, made these remarks when he mounted the podium to present awards to recipients at the event.
When one of the award recipients, a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited, Mr. James Olotu, was called up and presented the award, the former president said he wanted to be sure the claims by Mokuolu during his citation that Olotu completed the construction of 10 power generation plants under the NIPPs were true, and hence, he asked Olotu behind the microphone to confirm that to him.
Turning to the audience after that, Obasanjo said: “If you want to know what I was asking him when the president (Mokuolu) said the 10 power plants have been completed. I asked him if they have been completed and feeding power to the grid, and he said 85 per cent of them.”
“That depends on what you are getting in your homes. Let’s hope that 100 per cent of them would be completed and all of them would be feeding power into our homes; maybe we will see the change. Congratulations,” he added.
The former president however refused to speak further on this. He also did not respond to questions directed to him by reporters who accosted him on his way out of the investiture ceremony.