The Deputy Director (Inspectorate), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Engr. Battah Y. Ndirpaya has admitted that many universities in the country produce fake engineers. This he attributed to inability of those universities to meet accreditation requirement of COREN (Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria) and other relevant bodies. “There are so many universities that produce fake engineers because they are not accredited”, he said. Engr. Ndirpaya made this disclosure to our correspondents in a chat in Abuja.
In the interview he gave an insight into the activities of COREN. “COREN is the council for the regulation of engineering in Nigeria. It means the regulation of engineering starts from training, practice and organization – it is encompassing”, he explained. He said that the process starts from the student who must have at least 5credits in SSCE with compulsory subjects as English Language, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and any other subject. He said that COREN does accredit engineering courses in collaboration with other accrediting bodies. “Engineering course must be accredited. This involves the subjects you must read, lecturers that will give the lectures and the practicals you must undertake”, he narrated.
For an engineer to be registered with COREN, he must have at least 4years post graduate practicals. It is after registration that one is free to use the word “Engineer” as prefix. There are classes of people that COREN registers. Engr. Battah explains them thus; Technicians (holders of OND of less); Technologists (holders of HND); and Engineers (degree holders).
COREN in its resolve to rid the system of fake engineers, has influenced the government to stop promotion of any engineer who has got to level ten without registering with COREN. “If any public servant exceeds 4years in office without registering with COREN will not get further promotion; he cannot go beyond level ten even if he has PhD.” he said.
Engr. Battah warned that anybody who engages an unregistered engineer to prosecute a project is patronizing quack. He defines quack thus, “If a professional is not registered with his professional body, he is a quack. Quacks are people who are not practicing according to the ethics of COREN, he emphasized. He maintained that it is the duty of the client to insist that the person he is engaging is registered with a professional body.
The Deputy Director frowned at some engineers what accept jobs outside their professional training. “An engineer is not supposed to do the job he is not professionally trained to do. It is one of the ethics of the profession. If one does that and there is a problem, he will be nailed when reported to the body”, he said. According to him, there are 14 branches of engineering in Nigeria and each has its own training schedule that makes it different from the others.
On the dearth of institutions to absorb graduating student engineers, Engr. Battah attributed it to lack of industries and slow development. This according to him has led to most engineers taking bank jobs. “You discover that what most engineers do now is that they go to sit for aptitude tests. And anywhere there is aptitude test; engineers come top because of their training. Go to the banks you will see engineers. Accountants are now protesting that engineers are taking up their jobs. Some when they get bank job go for ICAN and before you know it, they are chartered accountants”, he posited.
In comparing the competence of Nigerian Engineers and their foreign counterparts, he said that Nigerian engineers are among the best in the whole world. He said the problem is that the authorities value foreign engineers more than our own. “If a road project is given to an indigenous engineer to build and the same is given to an expatriate, you will see that the one given to the expatriate is 100% higher in cost than the one given to the local engineer”, he lamented.
In conclusion he said that the number of engineers is growing by the day and braches of COREN too. He said that there are two branches in Abuja; Abuja and Maitama branches. The Abuja branch has over 2000 members and that two more branches have been proposed for the FCT.