By Ushang Ewa
The Calabar Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), has accused the Government of Cross River State for relegating local Engineers to the background in favor of foreign ones who are ‘unpatriotic’.
The NATIONAL ACCORD reports that NSE stated this during the weekend in Calabar, the state capital during a workshop on a review of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the NSE where it said that: “Engineers in Cross River State have no ideas about what is happening about all those projects. Foreigners are engaged in the execution of virtually all those jobs.”
“We are not carried along by the state government stressing that “any government that relies on foreigners to grow her economy, is bound to fail,” said the chairman of the Calabar Branch, Engineer Nsed Akonjom.
He continued: “Those mercenaries have no stake in our state and the country at large. That is the reason why we keep having failed culverts, bridges, roads and several other similar projects,” adding that: “People who are school certificate holders elsewhere come here and maybe because they are white skinned, our governments patronize them at the expense of local engineers.”
Nsed who is a lecturer at the Federal University, Abakliki in Ebonyi State expressed worry that “after attending some of the best universities within and outside the country, we are marginalized in favor of foreigners in the execution of contracts,” and called on the State House of Assembly to make laws that will urge institutions in the state to patronize “home grown engineers.”
He said the situation was not only peculiar to the state, but Nigeria as a whole and alleged that: “They patronize foreigners because they do deals with them and collect kickbacks.”
The current administration has embarked on projects with a combined total cost of over NGN1.5 trillion (USD4,207,590,000bn GBP3,209,549,652bn) in all sectors of the economy with the Bakassi Deep Seaport, 275 Kilometers superhighway and the almost 140 kilometers Mfum-Okpoma-Okuku-Abuochiche-Obudu-Ranch road gulping up to 70 percent of that sum.
And, in a similar vein, the former vice president of the NSE, Engineer Valerie Ifueko-Ageragba who represented the President, Engineer Oliver Anyaeje at the event said that: “No mercenaries will love our country better than ourselves,” and called on both government and the private sector to patronize local engineers.
A topical issue at the workshop was the NSE contemplating a change of name and Nsed said that: “As we are growing, we need a name that will embrace all. We did not have Communication Engineers before but today, we have so, the need for a new name to embrace all.”