(By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye – ABUJA)
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the sophistication involved in the blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta suggests that those responsible might not be “ordinary Nigerians”.
According to him, heading into open waters for almost 70 kilometers to blow up pipelines indicates the involvement of professionals with such a degree of competency that those in the drilling industry may have to monitor their members to ensure that professionals are not deploying their skills as economic saboteurs.
The President made this observation after his investiture as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), conferred by its president, Mrs. Joana Maduka, at the Presidential Villa.
“How can an ordinary Nigerian go into the sea, 70 kilometers or more, and blow up oil installations? That cannot be an ordinary Nigerian. So, I hope you will appeal to your colleagues to make sure that what we have built, they should safeguard it, whether they are working with multinationals or the government.”
The President, disagreeing with the claim that Nigerian engineers were under-utilized, stated that 90 per cent of refinery builders in the country were indeed Nigerian engineers.
He added that the government has always taken engineers seriously in the task of nation-building.
The President, regretting the fact that none of the four refineries in the country are currently in working order, said that the country’s leadership, and not its engineers, are to blame.
“I think that if Nigerian engineers are denied their roles, it is not the fault of the profession, it is the fault of some individual governments. Other governments have done their best and found Nigerian engineers competent and cost-effective. Nigerian engineers are very quick in performing in the field”.
The President added that both military and civilian administrations over the years depended on Nigerian engineers for design and constructions across the country.
“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 (our) refineries. You should blame the political leadership. How can you build and not know how to maintain an asset?” he said.