The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, is a body set-up by the Decrees 55/70 and 27/92 (now Acts 110). The Decrees empowered the Council to regulate and control the training and practice of engineering in Nigeria and to ensure and enforce the registration of all engineering personnel (i.e. Engineers, Engineering Technologists, Engineering Technicians, and Engineering Craftsmen) and consulting firms wishing to practice or engage in the practice of practice of engineering.
To visit the COREN, click here
Their home page cries: do you know it is illegal?
1) For any tertiary institution to run engineering programmes at the University degree and Higher National Diploma levels without accreditation by COREN.
2) Do you know it is illegal for firms or persons to engage in engineering practice unless they are fully registered with COREN?
3) For any person, government or company to engage a Non-registered engineering person or consulting firm to execute or participate in doing engineering work in an engineering project, except engineering personnel still undergoing practical training.
4) Use a non-engineering personnel to perform engineering functions.
5) Assign non-engineering functions to engineers below managerial levels, particularly where the engineering functions are available.
6) Engage expatriate engineering personnel to do engineering work when qualified Nigerian engineering personnel are unemployed and available.
#1) There are a whole lot of mushroom institutions of ‘higher learning’ springing up as fast as Churches, and claiming to have links to Universities in America, Europe and Asia – all of which have an office in Nigeria. I saw one certificate earlier by an Indian institution with an office in Lagos state, claiming to offer Computer Science and Internet Engineering programs – all from a 2-room office located in Ikeja, Lagos state.
#2) In the Nigeria of today, everyone is an engineer. I have not heard any news/information where the COREN has enforced its stand on this illegality. Looking around Lagos State for example, there are some buildings which upon seeing them, a sane minded person can’t but wonder who the architect/civil engineer/s is/are? With some looking as if they are about to collapse, and a lot of others actually collapsing and killing innocent people, we can only wonder what the COREN is really doing. No wonder such usually have a signboard somewhere saying: “God is in Control'”.
#3 and #4) A quick look around engineering companies or organizations today will reveal that a lot of ‘engineers’ are not really engineers. These are ‘engineers‘ who became ‘engineers’ by ‘watching-experience’, who never had any formal/informal training in the job they are doing, and who are doing the job meant for engineering graduates. They were ‘just put through’ and since then have been performing their job, not because they understand what they are doing, but because they are employed to do it. In fact, they cannot even explain what they are doing.
How can engineering practice progress in Nigeria if engineers are not doing the jobs they are supposed to do? Many engineering graduates are working in banks(for example), in non-related engineering functions, not out of the dislike for the engineering profession for which they spent University time, but mainly because banks pay a higher salary, and such is more attractive. All that relatives and friends want to see is your new car, house and tushed up life. They don’t ask whether one is practicing his/her original profession. Who doesn’t like money? In so doing, they(engineers in non-engineering professions) displace University graduates who spent their time in Business Administration, accounting, statistics, banking and finance related courses. The same applies otherwise. There are a lot of non-engineering graduates who have taken up the job of engineers through ‘watching experience’. Among these sets are those who got their jobs as a result of ‘who they knew’ rather than ‘what they know’. Such cannot contribute to their position/take a better initiative to be more productive at what they are doing.These would not/never leave their job-positions because they know they aren’t useful in the engineering job-market for which they have acquired years of experience. I would say this is a round-robin problem and a careful approach has to be taken by the COREN to make thing right ‘in the long run’.
#5) For me, this is not clearly applicable in the Nigerian environ, especially because the engineer(below managerial level) thinks more about keeping his/her job, rather than refusing to do something just because it is a non-engineering duty.
#6) As Nigeria is more and more becoming a dumping ground for old/used computers/electronics, Nigeria is becoming a dumping ground for non-engineering expatriates doing engineering work.
First, the COREN says it is illegal to Engage expatriate engineering personnel to do engineering work when qualified Nigerian engineering personnel are unemployed and available. As more and more qualified and over-qualified Nigerians walk the streets for lack of work, more and more engineering expatriates come into the country on a daily basis to take up jobs meant for the ordinary fresh graduate, all in the name of investment. Its kinda painful, but like a friend said: ‘what can we do?”
I believe that there should be a reciprocity of applicable laws between Nigeria and all her diplomatic allies. Every privilege enjoyable/applicable to a citizen of country A living in country B must be enjoyed/applicable to a citizen of country B living in country A, regardless of whether one country is more economically advantaged than the other.
In a situation where reciprocity of applicable-laws between countries is not applicable, the Nigerian government and the COREN should join their hands together to ensure/enforce that Nigerians are given first and foremost consideration for local jobs, where talent is available before expatriates are considered. In situations where organizations flout such an instruction, they must be made to face applicable consequences. I am of the opinion that expatriates should be allowed to work in areas for which there is little or no local talent available, not in areas where University graduates become computer village CD-ROM sales-boys and sales-girls because they are unemployed.
This sad situation is not peculiar to the engineering profession. It cuts across far and wide. I once conversed with an accountant in a foreign owned/operated company who had a new boss(accounts manager) who could not use Microsoft Excel(MS Excel). She actually informed me that she had to put him through the most basic things about MS.Excel, understanding charts, graphs, performing simple operations etc. She complained: ‘and yet this guy has an official car, driver, a house and doesn’t know his job’. Another of my friends in a new job informed me of his surprise when he was informed that his ‘Oga’ was a 2-year engineering diploma holder who finished in 2005 from India. In fact, his job in Nigeria was his first, and as he(expat) was described, ‘he doesn’t know anything’. My informant finished his B.Sc in year 2000, and joined the company with 4-years related experience.
The I.T field as an example, a lot of imports actually don’t have the prerequisite education and technical skill needed for the job they are here to perform, yet they collect expatriate-salaries and are Lord’s over more qualified local talent. As bosses and managers, a lot of trial and error goes into their ‘technicalities’, they use the opportunity to learn and upgrade themselves rather than ‘transferring knowledge’ to the third world. Yes, the truth remains: you cannot give what you don’t have.
Who looses in the long run? we.