Nigerian female engineers are asserting their capability to rejuvenate the country’s stagnant refineries within a year, if provided the opportunity to undertake the repairs.
Despite Nigeria’s position as an oil-producing nation, the comatose condition of the country’s four refineries has forced the country to heavily rely on imported refined petroleum products.
The women engineers, organized under the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), voiced their assurance on Saturday in Lagos.
Mrs. Atinuke Owolabi, the recently elected Chairman of APWEN’s Lagos Chapter, delivered the promise on behalf of her colleagues during the association’s public lecture and Annual General Meeting in Ikeja.
Owolabi asserted that female engineers across various sectors of the profession possess the capability to rejuvenate the refineries within a year.
“All women engineers are ready to come together and see how we can proffer solutions, making sure that we revamp these refineries,” she stated.
“So, we call on our president to challenge female engineers to revamp and rehabilitate these refineries, and I want to assure you that, within a year, just challenge us, we will make sure that the refineries will be put to operation by the grace of God.”
She emphasized that any nation aiming for development must empower its indigenous engineers and workforce.
She stressed that empowering homegrown engineers and affording them the right opportunities is essential to showcase their competence.
Owolabi noted that women possess inherent qualities of effective management and excellence, which should be leveraged in various areas such as infrastructure development.
She urged the reduction of dependence on foreign experts and advocated for greater opportunities for local engineers, who are equally or more competent than their foreign counterparts.
“I also want to implore our leaders, especially our president and governors, to empower indigenous engineers because we are very good.
A country without engineers cannot develop,” she emphasized.
Owolabi, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, pledged that her administration would focus on mentorship and skill development for young engineers.
She also committed to collaboration with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and outlined planned development programs for three Lagos communities.
“The guest speaker, Mrs. Olayinka Abdul, spoke on the theme, ‘The Role of Female Engineers in Building Sustainable Infrastructure,’ and stressed the urgency of adopting green alternatives due to rising fuel prices.
Abdul, a former APWEN President, highlighted the benefits of green buildings in terms of waste reduction, energy conservation, and long-term cost savings.
She cited Lagos State’s substantial investments in renewable energy and presented completed and ongoing interventions across sectors including health, education, housing, and transportation.
Abdul noted that the potential of various available options is squandered due to a class mentality that rejects local research. She encouraged APWEN to adopt communities and train them on converting waste to power.
She also outlined strategies for female engineers to combat workplace discrimination and receive mentorship from male colleagues without bruising their ego.
Panelists at the event proposed solutions to Lagos State’s inadequate water supply issue, emphasizing mentorship and advocacy’s role in bolstering the capacity of female engineers.
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