Nigeria’s Infrastructure ‘Unfit for Purpose’, Says NSE

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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.

  • Daniel Obior

    These Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) fools should be ashamed of themselves. Where were they when various governments in this country were appointing lousy non-professionals as minister of works? Even a corrupt retired police officer whose only credential is being a wheeler dealer politician, was minister of works for eight years. There was nothing to show for the billions voted for road repair and related infrastructure, during his tenure. These fools should put their effort in ensuring only professionals are appointed ministers in ministries charged with infrastructure projects. After all, this is largely done for the ministry of health, where the minister is a medical professional..

    • Amukoko

      Even in the health ministry where the minister of health is largely a medical professional, has the state of the nation’s health services improved at all?

      As we say in project management, the project manager does not have to be a technical “domain expert.” The project manager can have the “domain” knowledge as long as there are the right team.

      I put it to you that naija’s problem is not necessarily that of not having the “expert” (an engineer must be in-charge of any engineering ministry, ditto for health, aviation, agriculture, mineral resources, etc, etc), but, is more of what l refer to as the “Nigerian psyche”!

      This is best described as the way of life, the way the average Nigerian behaves, its traditional respect for authority is sacrosanct. In general, they hardly questions any authority. The Oga, at the top, is taken as a ‘non-sin-qua-non; ‘d-facto’, not to be questioned or challenged in whatever he/she says. You don’t disagree to agree with the niaja boss – hence the inherent problems we have with infrastructure and service deliveries.

      • Daniel Obior

        Fully agree with the effects of the Nigerian factor in virtually all we do in this country. My point remains that it is more helpful when the professionals who know the issues are put in charge. If medical professionals were not in charge of the health ministry, the bad situation would have been much worse. I would not put a policeman in charge of a space project. Pure and simple. My comment says professionals and non-professionals. Your introducing “domain expert” versus “domain knowledge”, is simply splitting hairs.

        • Amukoko

          I agree generally with your line of argument. No doubt about that. I’m one who believes in have a square peg in a round hole.

          However, this line of thought should not be carried too far. Hence, the popular saying in project management, as in my last piece.

          All over the world, we have people at the helm of organizations, be it governmental or private, that don’t have the ‘Expert Domain Knowledge” in that particular field. I can give hundreds of examples of this. But, let’s just agree to disagree that while it’s an ideal thing to do, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee success!

          Would love to hear your thoughts!

          Have a blessed week

          • Daniel Obior

            Agree expert knowledge is not necessary, but the right professional knowledge. Cheers.

  • Ak

    there is no light, guys!