By Abdullahi U. Danbakaba

Engr. Prof. James Isiwu Aguwa of the Department of Civil Engineering, School of Infrastructure, Process Engineering and Technology (SIPET), Federal University of Technology, Minna, has called for the use of locally available timber in the provision of infrastructural materials as part of efforts to greatly improve local content and reduce dependence on costly imported construction materials, thereby, reducing overall cost of construction in the country.

He stated this while presenting the 97th inaugural lecture of the University, titled, “Establishing Reliability of the Nigerian Timber as a Structural Material: Boosting Local Content Based Economy” on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at the University Auditorium, Main Campus, Gidan Kwano.

The Professor of Civil Engineering Who enumirated corruption, lack of political will, lack of awarenesses, poor linkage between government, research institutions and construction industries and wrong notion about the quality of timber structures as the major factors responsible for the continuing dwindling attitude of the citizens in exploring the potential of our locally available structural materials further admitted that Nigeria is naturally endowed with various types of timber species that can be harnessed for structural purposes.

“The earlier we applied the law in harnessing our locally available structural materials, the better for us.” The erodite scholar causioned.

Prof. Aguwa advocated for the formulation and inforcement of government policies on the use of well researched locally available structural materials which can stop excessive foreign importation of such materials where there are available local alternatives, stressing that, synergy between the institutions of higher learning and relevant regulatory bodies such as the Council for the regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) as well as the Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) must be ensured in order to consolidate the use of this well researched local structural material’s.

He emphasised on the urgent need for institutionalization of code of ethics and practice for various engineering materials and practices with full reliability based calibration without copying any part from foreign codes. However, he stressed that no country can successfully practice engineering without developing its locally based code of practice that is unique and friendly to its environment.

” COREN should as a matter of urgency take the lead in the preparation of locally based code of practice for practice of engineering in Nigeria. It is the sole duty of COREN to assemble all experts to produce locally based and reliable code of practice.” Engr Aguwa reiterated

The don also called on government and relevant stakeholders to embark on a massive plantations of timber trees across all the 774 local government areas of the federation to take care of the heavy civil engineering structural materials which would not only generate chain of employment opportunities but also give rise to export, thereby increasing the economic base of the Nation.

Photos by Elijah Yisa

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