The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), has again kicked against the high number of foreign artisans in Nigeria, especially from neighbouring countries, describing the situation as shameful.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Committee of Technical Colleges in Nigeria (COTEC), in Abuja, the President of the council, Mr Ali Rabiu, stressed that the regulatory body was doing everything possible to ensure that the anomaly is addressed.
Rabiu, who was represented by a member of the council’s board, Prof. Sadiq Abubakar, explained that engineers, more so, craftsmen, technicians, technologists must rise to the occasion by being more competitive.
“As a nation, we cannot import artisans from neighbouring countries to service us; that is a failure on our side, not on the leadership, but in this case the engineering professionals.
“COREN along with the four associations under it must join hands to ensure that we change the situation for the better. I use this opportunity to solicit your understanding and support so that we will down the road turn back and say, yes we did it,” he said.
Rabiu said: “COREN in its wisdom took the bold decision and steps to correct that abnormality. So, the president of our dear council has asked me to welcome you and to tell you that the council has taken a decision against all odds to make sure that we have the COTEC running.”
Rabiu disclosed that the council had signed a new revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to be able to deepen the accreditation of training of technicians and technologies, to deepen the level of skills.
Also speaking in the same vein, the Registrar of the council, Prof. Joseph Odigure lamented that the education and practices of the technicians and craftsmen within the profession had been neglected over the years.
“This has resulted in the unproductive situation where instead of having the largest number of professionals as craftsmen at the bottom, narrowing up through the technicians and technologists cadres to a few engineers at the top in form of a normal pyramid, the reverse is the case, with the engineers being the largest in number, representing an inverted pyramid,” he said.
The figure explained that, as of June 2021, of the total number of registered engineering personnel in the country, included engineers numbering 62,313; engineering technologists, 6,587; engineering technicians, 937; and engineering craftsmen, 2,778.
He added: “The negative consequences of this neglect are visible in the national economy. Today, artisans of precinct countries around the nation’s borders have taken over craftsman practice in Nigeria.
“Artisans are now imported from China, Taiwan, Benin Republic, Togo, etc. to fix technical problems in Nigeria. The situation is so bad that the technical colleges are on the brink of survival; the intake of students has become a problem.
“There is no motivation for prospective students and their parents to make technical colleges a choice over secondary schools. This is very unfortunate,” he stated.
According to him, while in the 60s and 70s, technical education was the pride of the country, with sprawling structures, well-equipped laboratories, sound and robust staffing as well as robust staffing, the situation has turned out for the worse in recent years.