The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), on Saturday appealed to President Bola Tinubu to give female engineers an opportunity to fix the nation’s moribund refineries.
Newly-elected APWEN Lagos Chapter Chairman, Mrs Atinuke Owolabi, made the call during the association’s public lecture and Annual General Meeting in Ikeja.
Owolabi assured that female engineers spread across the various arms of the profession could fix 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.
“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 would be put to operation by the grace of God,” she said.
She said any nation aspiring for development must empower its indigenous engineers and manpower.
“It is imperative that our homegrown engineers are empowered and granted the right opportunity to showcase our competence,” she said.
She said women had inbuilt natural qualities of being good managers and being excellent, adding that their talents should also be explored in building roads and other critical infrastructure.
Owolabi said Nigeria should reduce reliance on foreign experts and give opportunity to local engineers who are equally or more competent than their imported counterparts.
“I want to also implore our leaders, especially our president and governors, to empower indigenous engineers because we are very good.
“A country without engineers cannot develop,” she said.
Owolabi, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, promised that her administration would focus on mentorship and skill development for young engineers.
She also pledged collaboration with other NGOs while reeling out planned development programmes for three Lagos communities.
“Together, we shall shatter barriers and triumph over challenges in reaffirmation of the fact that gender should never constrain one’s potential in any domain,” she said.
The guest speaker, Mrs. Olayinka Abdul, speaking on the theme, “The Role of Female Engineers in Building Sustainable Infrastructure”, said rising fuel prices required urgent measures for green alternatives.
Abdul, a former APWEN President, said green buildings reduce wastes, conserve energy and ensure huge energy savings and enormous long-term benefits.
She said Lagos was investing heavily in renewable energy while listing completed and ongoing interventions in various sectors, including health, education, housing and transportation.
Abdul said the various options available were wasting because some Nigerians have a class mentality not allowing them embrace local researches.
She cited examples of viable technologies, developed by “our forefathers”, being ignored because people want to move with trending foreign technologies.
Abdul advised APWEN to adopt communities and train them on how to generate power from their wastes.
She also enumerated measures female engineers could adopt against work place discrimination and how to receive mentorship from male counterparts without bruising their ego.
Panelists at the event proffered solutions to the multifaceted problem of inadequate water supply in Lagos State.
They enumerated ways mentorship and advocacy could grow capacity of female engineers.