The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has called for sustained action to groom next generation engineers with creative minds to revolutionise the country’s technological space.
The NSE said such engineers would held help with the problem of solving inventions for the nation.
The members of the society made the call in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria against the backdrop of the Idiat Aderemi Amusu Project Skill Competition for Secondary Schools on Thursday in Lagos.
NAN reports that 10 out of 21 invited secondary schools in Lagos showcased various inventions made from waste materials at the event organised by the Ikeja Branch of NSE.
Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, Chairman Ikeja Branch of NSE, told NAN that “any nation that wanted to grow and develop needs engineering” and should not focus on importing technology.
Akingbagbohun said the nation needed fresh ideas from creative minds to be able to come up with inventions and innovations to solve technological problems.
She added that no investment in infrastructure could solve problems in the nation hence, the need to use waste from the environment being imparted in the young scientists.
She said that NSE Ikeja branch had been grooming students since 2012 and would continue in its efforts to get support for the projects as well as ensure commercial production of the viable ones.
Mrs Idiat Amusu, a fellow of NSE and first female agricultural engineer in Nigeria, told NAN that the society was working towards a situation where three out of every five students would study sciences and engineering.
Amusu said that there was need to bridge the huge technical skill gap in the nation as well as change orientation of students from just theories to solving problems in the nation.
“You will agree with me that there is a major problem in the country today, it the problem of manpower for the technical community and this is best way to start, grooming engineers to ensure that we catch them young,” she told NAN.
She said that engineering was not fantasy but reality and the future of Nigeria depended on grooming young minds to lead the technological revolution.
The NSE President, Mr Kunle Mokuolu, represented by the Deputy, Mr Babagana Mohammed, praised the invention of State High School, Ikeja, that developed an app using robotics to fight insecurity in the nation.
NAN reports that the project invented by Master John Agbagbo a Senior Secondary School student (SS3) student who was not in attendance because he was writing an exam, was demonstrated by other team members who were in SS2.
Mohammed praised the technology which its inventors said “can save Leah Sharibu unharmed from Boko Haram’s” enclave.
He said the invention addressed the critical problems confronting the nation and for the young scientists to be able to think of using technology to track down terrorists and their locations was mind blowing.
He added that he was from the North-East and understood the extent and gravity of insurgency and the problem the students were trying to solve which was encouraging for the nation’s technological growth.
“Please carry on your knowledge and make a difference. In our profession, we solve human problems,” he told the students.
He called for sustained fight against insurgency as well as youth empowerment to tackle youth restiveness.
The Ogun Deputy Governor-elect, Dr Noyimat Salako, during the contest, expressed the hope that “the next generation engineers will protect our planet” based on their environment-friendly inventions being showcased.
Salako, a member of the NSE, described Mrs Idiat Amusu as an extraordinary mentor who had groomed several generations of successful and productive engineers.
She said that engineering was perceived in the past as a subject of “boring machines” but that technology was changing the narratives and appealed to the NSE to sustain the efforts to groom more engineers.
NAN reports that Keke Senior High School, Ijaiye, came first in the competition, while Iju Senior Grammar School came second and Vetland Senior Grammar School clinching the third position.
The projects focused on conservation of energy, clean energy alternatives as well as environmental protection devices using recycled materials.
Some of the inventions included wind mills, inverter blender, solar panels, solar powered fans, vacuum cleaners, Quick inverter pumps and various cooling systems.
Other schools that participated included, Oregun Senior High School, Army Cantonment Secondary School, Agidingbi Senior Grammar School, Babs Fafunwa Millennium School, Surulere and Ilupeju Senior Grammar School.
Winners went away with scholarships, laptops and cash gifts.