Professionals blowing up pipelines, says Buhari
Pledges to patronise local engineers
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the destruction of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, saying the sophistication involved indicated that professionals were behind the vandalism.
Buhari made the observation yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after his investiture as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) led by its President, Mrs. Joana Maduka.
According to the president, going into the deep sea several kilometres to blow up pipelines with ease suggests that some professionals with high expertise were involved. He said this required that the professional associations should talk to their members to ensure they were not deploying their skills in a negative way that harmed the country.
“How can an unskilled Nigerian submerge, go under the sea, 70 kilometres or more and blow up oil installations? That couldn’t be an ordinary Nigerian.
“So, appeal to your colleagues to make sure that what we have built, they should safeguard it whether they are working with multi-nationals or the government,” he told the engineers.
The President also faulted the delegation’s earlier submission that Nigerian engineers were being under-utilised.
The President revealed that local engineers contributed more than 90 per cent to the design and realisation 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. He added 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.
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.
His words: “I think that if Nigerian engineers were 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 taking up and performing in the field,” Buhari said.
In her remarks, Maduka called on the Federal Government to engage professional engineers to assist the administration in the task of fixing the country’s decaying infrastructure.