From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
The President of Nigeria Welder Association Comrade Pius Itama has expressed dismay over the choice of awarding contracts to foreign nationals at the detriment of Nigerian engineers especially professional welders.
He stated this in a statement made available to the media yesterday in Kaduna.
The statement which is an outcome of the National Executive Council emergency meeting held in Kaduna disclosed that the “rational for the 60 percent indigenous right in any contract awarded in Nigeria as enshrined in constitution”, has been defeated.
He accused the government of persistently given almost all the major contracts in Nigeria to foreigners leaving Nigerian engineers handicapped in their own country.
Itama blamed the government for its action, saying on several occasions, members have cried to the federal government but were given deaf ears even after advising them on this issue.
They cited an example of a recent contract in Lagos state by Dangote Group of companies, which was given to foreign experts despite the fact that Nigerian welders could do the work very well.
“Nigeria engineers, most especially Nigeria Welders Association can handle the job better and less expensive apart from employment it will creates for Nigerians than that of the foreigners.
“Nigeria welders have done a lot of work before now and the Federal government knows about it. For example, we have handled projects like, Refinery work in Kaduna, Port Harcourt Warri, pipeline constructions of jacketing, filling stations and building of Ajaokuta and It on Steel Company among others.
“Sometimes, we, NWA, use to be given competent test, but even though we passed the test as coded welders or x-ray welders, the government still, and always go ahead to denied our right as citizen engineers, well known, and registered.
“Now, may I ask this question that, where is the 60 percent indigenous right in any contract awarded in Nigeria as enshrined in Nigeria constitution?
“Notwithstanding, due to this attitude of the government, unemployment continues to be on the increase especially among the professional welders in Nigeria”, he said.
According to him, “This will also weaken the indigenous welders who have received a professional training, and again the profession will not entice the incoming generation of welders in Nigeria, a situation that may throw youths into criminal activities.
“Foreign-nationals have indeed taking over our job in Nigeria despite federal government policy that any job that can be done by Nigerians, should not be giving to foreign countries,” he declared.