The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has said it will soon commence the enforcement of a new act that empowers the body to end the increasing rate of building collapse in the country.
The President of COREN, Engr. Ali Alimasuya Rabiu, disclosed this recently in Auchi, Kogi State, at the second annual “Engineer Kashim Ali Distinguished Lecture Series” titled: “Agricultural Mechanisation and Food Production for Youth Empowerment: Engineering Sustainable Development.”
Daily Trust reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier in the year assented to the Engineers Registration Amendment Act (2019) to address the menace of building collapse and other cases of engineering failure in the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, who had announced the new law, said the act also established COREN; with far-reaching powers of prosecution of infraction, regulating industrial training of engineers and capacity building of local content in the engineering industry.
The new law grants COREN the power to prosecute “any person or firm that contravenes the provisions of this act in a court of competent jurisdiction; regulate industrial training schemes among engineering practitioners and students,’’ Enang said.
Reports shows that over 30 people have so far died while over 80 sustained injuries from more than a dozen building collapse incidents across the country since January, 2019, with one of the latest incidents being the collapse of a two-storey building at 30 Ososa Street, Bariga, Lagos, that left four persons injured.
Buildings have continued to collapse despite measures by both the federal and state governments over the years to check the ugly trend. Speaking on the act, Engr. Rabiu said COREN had recorded many successes due to the instrumentality of the new law.
He said, “We are worried about building collapse in the country, but government has given us a new law that empowers us to create more departments for engineering regulation and monitoring.
This will give us a leeway to be more effective in monitoring engineering projects. “99 pe rcent of investigation we have carried out on building collapse in the country shows that our engineers were not involved; that is the truth of the matter.” The COREN chief said to stem the tide of building collapse, the law had empowered the council to prosecute those who were responsible: whether engineers or not, adding that before now, the law only empowered them to prosecute engineers who were on COREN’s register as members.
He said lack of government patronising Nigerian engineers and their products as identified by speakers during the lecture had been a challenge to the development of the engineering profession in Nigeria. “Nigerian engineers are good outside the shores of the country due to enabling environment. If our engineers are given the enabling environment, they will proffer solutions to our challenges,” Rabiu said, and added that, “Nigerian engineers are up to the task if allowed to prove their mettle.”