Today marks another milestone in the history of the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISafetyE) as we witness another successful change of leadership and investiture of a National Chairman.
Two years ago, I was elected Deputy National Chairman at the National Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I am indeed humbled by the trust and endorsement by all of you to lead this young Institution for the next 2 years
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as humbling as this is, the challenge is huge. What I gather from my interactions with most of our senior Engineers / colleagues and the thinking of the wider society, is that the expectations are high but with teamwork nothing is impossible
As the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers, I must lead the way to address the problem of Safety engineering practice in Nigeria. In this regard the thrust of our administration shall centre on PRESS an acronym for the following key points
1. Professional Development
2. Research and Publications
4. Safety Regulations
5. Social Engineering- the political science perspective.
The plan is broad but it will serve as a guide for the next 24 months.
1. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
We shall consolidate on the successes recorded under the previous administration in professional development through specific safety competency training programs for Engineers and the public.
The Continuing Professional Development for the Safety engineer is to engender acquisition of knowledge and skills on core safety engineering competencies. This will require continuous learning and ability to work productively in teams to take an integrated approach to problem solving.
This will lead to a proactive recognition of opportunities in Process Safety, Technical Safety etc and subsequent actions to take advantage of them; with a commitment to ethical principles and to personal and organizational goals.
Thoroughness in examining the implications that engineering projects have for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
We have developed the NISafetyE Industrial Health Safety and Environment Training /Certification Levels 1-3 package also the NISafetyE certificate in Safety Health Environmental Risk Management (Advanced) Course which will now serve as a minimum mandatory requirement for membership into NISafetyE .
We also have the Train-the Trainer, Construction Safety, Fire Watch, Fire Prevention & Fighting, Confined Space Entry and the Process Safety Training Course package, which the 14 elements are further presented in modules etc.
This trainings and certifications are facilitated across the country through our Approved Training Providers using the NISafetyE training syllabus.
Members of NISafetyE and the public with Training Consultancy Companies are encouraged to register with NISafetyE to be assessed and approved to run these trainings in line with NISafetyE/NSE/COREN training and professional development mandates.
It is important to note that Technical Safety /Process Safety Engineering projects can be handled solely by wholly indigenous Nigerian Companies and of course no expatriate quota be granted for engineering job unless the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) certifies that there is no Nigerian, qualified to do such a job.
Process Safety eg HAZOP,MOC, PSSR , SIL, etc were before now considered the sole preserve of the expatriate community whereas we have competent Nigerian Safety Engineers who have the robust experience and operational capacity to handle such consultancies and mentor the younger Engineers.
We shall continue to encourage various Chapters of NISafetyE to continue their monthly technical sessions, which highlights Process Safety, Technical Safety, Functional Safety, Obsolence Management, Risk & Reliability Engineering, Construction Safety etc as core to our competencies. Chapters are also encouraged to promote the objects of our profession and reach out to the Local, State and Federal Government to ensure that the planning and execution of projects at that tier of government meets the desired Safety engineering standard.
2. RESEARCH AND PUBLICATION
We shall stimulate academic/research exploits through the screening, collation and publishing of research works. Researchers in our various higher institutions have experienced difficulties in getting their painstakingly executed research works published in journals of repute , most times their work gets stolen, issues of plagiarism arises, high exchange rates , poor quality peer review etc.
We are set to change this narrative through the creation of a solution being the NISafetyE International Journal of Safety and Engineering Research which shall be a quarterly online and print publication in strategic partnership with the Academia through the use of carefully selected peer reviewers from various Safety and Engineering Faculties within Nigeria and abroad.
This shall be within international standards but at an affordable fee to encourage our scholars.
Ladies and Gentlemen a look at our history captured here in this brochure will show you a gradual increase in our Chapters from 2 in 2017 to 6 fully functional chapters in 6 years. However, as a professional body we cannot truly be said to be National as our name implies if we limit our membership to states in the South South, South East and South West alone without the North being a part of us.
On the 22nd of Dec 2021, I embarked on a historical journey to the ancient city of Kano , a city with a rich cultural heritage . I was warmly received with smiles by all who I met in town as I was dressed in a traditional Akwa Ibom shirt and cap clearly distinguished as a man from the heart of the Niger Delta ,South South Nigeria seen in the core North ,Kano State.
I appreciate Engr Aminu Yusuf, Engr Alkasim Yakubu , Engr Shamsudeen Dalhatu , Engr Dayyabu Tijjani Chairman NSE Kano branch, Engr Mrs Hauwa Khaleel of APWEN and all the Engineers who accompanied me in large numbers to the Palace of HRH Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero,Emir of Kano. I daresay my entourage was so large that one would think I was a politician.
I was well received by HRH and the Kano Emirate Council and given good counsel, well wishes and a pledge to support NISafetyE activities, a visit that I will always cherish.
In a quest to further expand our frontiers to the North we have carefully assessed the credentials of some Engineers and following our byelaw provision for (non elective offices) we have appointed Engr Aminu Umar Yusuf as Assistant National General Secretary and Engr Abubakar Shehu Garba as Assistant National Technical Secretary this gives us a truly National Spread.
We shall be having the Kano Chapter inaugurated in a few weeks from now followed by Niger State , Kaduna State etc while we continue our expansion in the West through Oyo ,Ogun and Ekiti , in the East through Imo and Enugu .
4. SOCIAL ENGINEERING (the Political Science perspective)
Social Engineering from the Political Science perspective is the manipulation of social beliefs and behaviors by public or private entities through legislation, policy, and investment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all rethink and with that newer, easier means of communications and interactions have been developed and used through the virtual space.
The NISafetyE across her various Chapters has been using these platforms in the knowledge sharing series focusing on Process Safety as it applies to all industries with Guest Speakers from Countries such as Ireland UK, Angola, India and others. As we gradually manage the pandemic, we shall still rely on these virtual platforms to communicate and share learnings.
Hence,through our International Affairs Committee and Industrial Partnership committee we aim to have local and international collaborations with corporate organizations, other safety Institutions and stake holders . We shall harness the power of the social media for instance we are live streaming this event globally and we are being viewed through our website www.nisafetye.com and other platforms .
We shall still use both online virtual platforms and physical meetings to conduct our business even after COVID -19 pandemic is curbed
5. SAFETY REGULATIONS
‘’Government’s first duty and highest obligation is public safety’’a quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger an actor and past Governor of California USA.
With your support, we shall work closely with NSE/COREN and other relevant government agencies to commence the collation, harnessing/development of codes & standards for safety engineering practice
We shall articulate our position as Safety Engineers and advocate more for the Governments to establish Safety Commissions in States to regulate, promote and enforce compliance to Safety standards in line with ILO C155 such as we are doing with the Akwa Ibom State Safety Commission Bill as proposed by Rt Hon Usoro Akpanusoh.
It is worthy of note that I led a delegation of Engineers to make a presentation on the benefits of the bill before the AKHA Joint Labor Committee on 9th March 2020 talks were in top gear before COVID 19 struck. We hope the AKHA will revisit that bill, amend and pass it with the approval of His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel .
Engineering failures and disasters shall continue if the government and private developers fail to use professional engineers, yes the losses will continue if we fail to adhere to Engineering Codes and Standards.
We have had several interactions with the immediate past leadership of NSE and the current President of COREN. Mr President (NSE) and Mr President (COREN) let us work and create a synergy that will see us actualize our Collective aspirations leveraging on Executive Order 5 given to COREN by President Muhamadu Buhari. Recall as it is done in schools when a child (NISafetyE) does well it is the mother (NSE) and father (COREN -the Regulator) that receives the good result, commendations and praises.
To our friends, members , old and new Fellows please give us your support , patronize the NISafetyE training programs and events through sponsorship, placement of our engineering students and young engineers in internship positions and please extend employment opportunities to our members (for positions they are qualified for) whenever the opportunities arises.
Distinguished Fellows, we welcome you all, being a Fellow of NISafetyE has its expectations and we count on you.
My esteemed colleagues, it is time for engineers to take ownership. In the words of a past President of the American Society of Civil Engineers Marcuson III:
Take ownership of public policy, seek resources to solve our infrastructure problems, and define a national timetable for action.
Take ownership of public safety, health and welfare by always making yourself heard when something looks as though it might not be safe, even when the probability of failure is small.
The expectation is that as Engineers we should give sound advice and expert opinions to decision makers. When a decision is made that flies in the face of public safety, engineers must challenge that decision.
Another perspective has been raised in the words of a distinguished Public Health and Civil Engineering professional, Her Excellency Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele , the Deputy Governor of Ogun State .
In a speech made during the pre-investiture colloquim of the 33rd President of NSE Engr Tasiu Saád Gidari-Wudil on 21st January 2022 at the ICC Abuja She said ‘’If you are not on the table you are on the menu’’ take action and be on the table as Engineers where decisions are taken.
Our responsibility to render ethical decisions to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public must be instilled in our students today, for they will be tomorrow’s engineers this we can do through professional development courses and encouraging interest in Safety Engineering at the undergraduate level including sponsoring final year research works.
This I believe is a strategic way to build indigenous capacities.
In the words of Dr Myles Munroe we are a sum total as individuals of all that we have learned from all the persons who have taught us , both small and great . I have come across many individuals and groups that have made quite an impact in my professional life, I will just mention a few for time and space sake
As a very young man back in Lagos I first cut my teeth in Safety Engineering under the tutelage of Engr Segun Olatunji an outstanding Chemical/Process Safety Engineer the MD of Tomsey Engineering & Services International Ltd , a man with a strong passion and commitment to the advancement and sharing of Safety knowledge . A man who brushed my knowledge as a Safety Officer to the full awareness, desire, knowledge and competency of the Safety Engineering field. He stands with me here today as the Chairman Board of Fellows of NISafetyE.
Engr Thompson John Manam (late TJ) was my Boss, friend and mentor who was the 2nd Chairman Board of Fellows of NISafetyE , He inculcated a lot of values in me and other young Engineers such as the need to observe discipline , ethics, integrity and the boldness to speak up in the profession. Sadly, we lost him on Feb 1st last year, his dear wife is with us here today still giving me the active support just like her late husband did, thank you Mrs Evelyn Manam.
To the man I call the pathfinder , the leader and pioneer National Chairman of NISafetyE Engr A.B.Oyedepo (Babaoye) and the 2nd National Chairman Engr A.B. Emeasoba whom I took over from , Sirs I appreciate you both for your vision and drive to ensure this Division of NSE was established in 2016.
The Pioneer Chairman Board of Fellows Engr Dideolu Falobi , Engr Geof Nwaoko and wife Engr Dr Mrs K.C.Nwaoko immediate past Chairman Board of Fellows , my Deputy National Chairman Engr Seun Faluyi and Engr Chidozie Okereke Chairman Investiture planning committee thank you all for your support .
To my dear wife Mayen who has always taken the brunt of my participation in the activities of NSE and NISafetyE. You have been a sure pillar for me these past hectic years while I worked towards building the NISafetyE brand. I count on your continuous support as I ascend the etchelon of this Institution. I am forever in your debt.
To my parents Engr & Mrs Joseph Ekong , my Aunts Patricia Equere, Ime Eseme Essien, Rosemary Umana, Rose Etta, Mfon Peters, Ime Ekong, Mr Uduak Ekong ,Michael Ekong , Pastors Samuel and Grace Effiong of GloryWorld International Gospel Centre , Pastor & Deaconess Uwem Akpan, Engr & Mrs Friday Ikwang , Pastor Ubong Nsubong , Engr Godwin Umoh and numerous others that I cannot fit in here , thank you so much for your prayers and support.
To the entire National and Expatriate colleagues at the MPN Technical Training Center I appreciate you all thank you for your continuous advice, support and guidance.
To my National Executive Committee members, God Almighty is entrusting the running and leadership of this young institution in my hands, it is quite a huge task, which I cannot achieve on my own. Please I count on your continuous support, let us imbibe the spirit of teamwork and advance NISafetyE.
I thank you all.
Safety …the bedrock of Engineering.
Engr. Akaninyene Edet Ekong MISPON MNSE,MNSChE, FNISafetyE,FIPMA,FCImpt, FECRMI, FPLPi