Stakeholders kick against Bill to establish Chartered Institute of Electrical, Electronics Engineering of Nigeria

By Haruna Salami

Stakeholders in the engineering sector have urged the National Assembly to reject the idea of establishing the Chartered Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of Nigeria, in order to avoid a chaotic atmosphere as it regards the regulation of the activities of engineers in the country.

The condemnation of the proposed plan was made at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public  Service to collate stakeholders views on the bill, where the Bill for an Act to establish the chartered Institute of electrical and electronics engineering of Nigeria and for other related matters connected thereto 2021 was debated.

Addressing members of the Senate committee during the public hearing, officials and members of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria COREN, a regulatory body of engineers in the country, called on the lawmakers to dump the Bill, adding that it failed to take into cognisance the supreme role played by COREN in regulating the activities of engineers in Nigeria.

Others who warned against the proposed institute includes representatives of the National Communication Commission (NCC), National Universities Commission (NUC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) amongst others.

Sponsor of the Bill, Senator Sadiq Suleiman (Kwara North) said the passage of the Chartered Institute of Electrical and Electronics engineering is in line with international best practices in the area of engineering, adding that the sector is too wide to be left to COREN alone as it was necessary that Nigerians should begin to get interested in details rather than superfluous arrangements.

However, the representative of the standard organization of Nigeria (SON) Kuma Mo, said section 1(2) (d) of the proposed Bill which deals with “standardization and certification of products and equipment” infringes on the mandate of SON, which is the body recognized by law to regulate standards.

Addressing newsmen after the public hearing, registrar of COREN, Prof Joseph Odigure said regulation is key in a sane society devoid of chaos and disorder

“We want Nigerians to recognize the fact that COREN is the apex organisation and anything contrary as indicated in the Bill should not be allowed

“The bill as presented is a direct copy of COREN ACT. We cannot duplicate our functions. We are here say categorically say that we are not in support of the bill”, Odigure said.

While elaborating on their demand, former registrar of COREN, Engr Kamila Malik said “our prayer is that the Bill should be rejected, and the reason why we want it rejected is that much as we recognize the National Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, they are an institution under the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and there are twenty three others.

“On the regulation of engineering, the sole person that is allowed to do it and as recognized by the amendment that was just done two years ago by the National Assembly, is COREN.

“We have a new law which we are putting to test, just two years old. If there had been any issue they should have come together that time, but now we have a new law which has just been tested for two years. The Bill should be rejected and they should be referred back to their society of engineers. Whatever they have as complain can come as a regulation in COREN”

Chairman, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Engr Kings Adeyemi, who spoke in favour of the bill said the proposed institute would give “room for specialization”.

Helen Obi, who represented Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said part of the functions of the NCC would be duplicated in proposed institution.

On his part, Sen. Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South), urged the engineers to focus more on adding value to the society instead of fighting over supremacy.

Clarifying the principles of the bill, Sen. Sadiq said the proposed institute would have different mandates from that of COREN.

“I think that COREN has so much to do. If COREN can have key layers such as Institute of electrical engineering, it will pave way for a stronger society”.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau  assured the various stakeholders that the Committee will look into their memoranda and other contributions with the view to do justice to the bill.

He however let them know that the process is a long one, because the Committee’s report will be debated be the entire 109 senators, adding that if passed it will require the “concurrence” of the 360 members of the House of Representatives.

The final hurdle, the former governor of Kano state said will be assent of President Buhari if it is passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly.

Therefore, Shekarau advised all stakeholders to canvass their positions by lobbying at every stage of the way from the legislature to the executive arms.