Engineers have lauded the new Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Act, saying the law has brought sanity and restored dignity in the practice.
Before now, COREN was handicapped and could not punish offenders because it lacked the power of arrest.
But the new Engineers (Registration, etc.) Act, Cap E11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 has changed that stance. It broadened the powers of the Council and its Registrar recognises the diversity of the engineering profession and provides for engineering regulation monitoring.
The Act also grants compulsory attestation to all expatriate quota for engineering practitioners, including turnkey project, where there are no qualified and competent Nigerians for the job in question at the time of application and that granting of the expatriate quota.
President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Rabiu Ali, said the council is putting machinery in place for the implementation of the new Act.
According to him, there is no law that is 100 per cent perfect, there must be grey areas that should be made more decent.
“That notwithstanding, we are happy about what we have. It has given us more powers to deal with infractions in engineering projects across the country. We have wide-ranging powers to regulate the practice of engineering in all aspects and ramifications.
“We are now allowed to prosecute non-engineers who commit infractions in engineering projects; our funding windows have also been expanded and opened.
“We no longer rely on the budgetary provisions from the national budget, there are other windows now from which we can source for funds.
“We are happy with the aspect that allocates 0.005 per cent of every capital project awarded in Nigeria. We are working with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the office of the Accountant General to enjoy that particular facility.”
He further stated that the council has concluded investigations on eight building collapses in Lagos, Owerri, Ilorin, and Jos.
The council, he said, found out that three of the cases needed further interrogation at the tribunal.
“We have a tribunal, which will try our members involved in some of these cases, engineers and other practitioners in our register.
“They have been recommended for the tribunal. What is delaying the process is that the Act recommends a legal assessor, who will guide them on points of law at the tribunal. We have written to the Chief Justice of the Federation to appoint a legal assessor for us; we’re waiting for that”, he said.
Also, former chairman of Apapa Branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Dr. Ombugadu Garba, said the new Act has given more powers to the registrar to determine who should be engineering personnel.
The new Act, he said, further admits into the Council (COREN) the following: “Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians, and Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen, and one person each appointed to represent the – Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria, Federation of Construction Industry in Nigeria Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and Armed Forces in rotation.’
The council, he said, is now entitled to maintain a fund into which to be paid money appropriated by the National Assembly, subventions, fees, charges for services rendered or publications made, donations, engineering development levy, among others.
Another engineer, Friday Chukwu, said engineers want a COREN Act that can bestow actual power on qualified engineers.
“So we don’t just bark, but we can bite. We want the Act to be broader and actually backed by law. The President’s Executive Orders 5 and 7 are moves that will help but we want only qualified and registered engineers to handle all engineering projects from design to construction to supervision/ consulting”, he said.