The Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers has advocated stricter measures to control engineering practice and punishment for professionals who fail to adhere to the rules.

The institute stated that the call became necessary due to frequent infrastructural failures in the country and the pressure they put on the engineering community, especially civil/structural engineers.

Echoing this, the keynote speaker at the investiture ceremony of Johnson Adegboyega Adeyoye as the NIStrustE’s 22nd president recently, Prof. Ikponmwosa Ewaen, noted that errors had been committed in the past in managing the crises.

Ewaen, who spoke on the topic “Civil/structural engineers and the burden of infrastructural collapse in Nigeria”, urged the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria to ensure that practising licences and seals issued to personnel have specialisation and specific practice areas.

He also identified structural defects as the leading cause of building collapse and advised engineers to practise their profession ethically or be prepared to be sanctioned if found wanting.

He said, “For any infrastructure that fails in Nigeria, the first culprit or the first accused professional is the engineer. This explains why the burden of infrastructural collapses in Nigeria should be borne by the engineers, particularly the structural/civil engineers.

“Our regulator, COREN, may have to also reconsider the classification of practice permit/license.

“The leading causes of building collapse in Nigeria were identified as structural defects, substandard and poor-quality materials, hasty construction processes, and the lack of or non-availability of geotechnical reports.”

According to Ewaen, to avoid infrastructure collapse in Nigeria, the national character of engineers must be re-engineered in line with global best practices.

He added, “There is no doubt that in managing the crises, errors have been committed in the past but stiffer measures would control the practice of engineering in Nigeria.”

The new president NIStrustE, in his inaugural speech, stressed the need for regulations as they play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of various sectors of the economy.

He also lamented complaints in the public sphere on the efficacy (quality) of some cement brands in Nigeria and urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to continually ensure that all cement brands for construction purposes in the country meet minimum global standards.

According to Adeyoye, materials testing centres should be established in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, while institutions of higher learning that are running related programmes should be encouraged to participate in materials testing quality control and assurance services.

“Regulation plays a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of various sectors of the economy and structural engineering is no exception. Various governments are crucial in making informed decisions about having only standard, stable, safe, durable and economically viable structures. erected to adorn the entire landscape of our dear country, Nigeria.

“We, structural engineers unequivocally lend our voices to the call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in motion machinery to ensure that the prices of cement, reinforcement bars and other essential construction materials are reasonable and affordable.

I make bold to affirm that if prices of these items remain what they are today, very astronomical indeed, incidents of building collapse will sadly undoubtedly continue to be topical and the order of the day in Nigeria,” Adeoye noted.

Earlier in his address, the immediate past President of NIStrustE, Peter OsarodionIgbinijesu, solicited engineers’ commitment to the values of integrity, collaboration and continuous learning to foster a culture of excellence and innovation that will propel the institution to new successes and achievements.

NIStructE was established in Lagos in 1967 by a group of Nigerian structural engineers trained in Britain.

The organisation aimed to provide professional training and development opportunities in the field of structural engineering in Nigeria.