Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have raised concern over growing decay in infrastructure development and lack of human capacity to handle advance level of non-destructive testing, which would have guaranteed adequate standard and integrity across key sectors of the nation’s economy.
They noted that lack of proper application of non-destructive testing (NDT) for integrity in infrastructure development crippled operations at the nation’s refineries, adding that close attention must be paid to Greenfield refineries to ensure desired results.
Speakers included the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote; Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Prof Akaehomen Ibhodode; and President, Institute of Non-Destructive Testing Nigeria (INDTN), Johnson Umukoro.
Speaking at the first International Conference of INDTN in Warri, Delta State, Wabote, represented by Timbiri Augustine of the Capacity Building Division, NCDMB, disclosed that there were very few in-country Nigerians with capacity for advanced level of non-destructive testing, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
He added that Nigeria has only eight persons with certification in NDT level three, and reiterated the need to urgently drive NDT development through a framework that would bridge the capacity gap in the sector.
“We have to come together to grow NDT in Nigeria. We are committed to growing local content in Nigeria,” Wabote said.
Speaking on, “Nigeria’s Infrastructure and Economic Development: Decay and Way Forward,” which focused on, Integrity of Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities, Prof. Ibhodode insisted that Nigeria deserved no commendation in terms of economy and infrastructure development despite huge resources.
Linking the prevailing situation to worsening standard of living, he said the country’s slow growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), worsening per capita income, corruption, crime, high level of immigration and lack of access to portable water were evidence of the poor economic growth and infrastructure development.
He said: “Despite the potential of a very rich country, Nigeria has a parlous state of infrastructure and economic development. The ways to improve this situation include having visionary leaders, local control of resources, establishment of heavy industries, and use of local expertise.”
Ibhodode, who stressed the need for private sector initiatives, decried the inability of government to sustain critical infrastructure and assets such as motor vehicle assembly plants, steel plants, refineries among others.
Similarly, Umukoro, who said the conference was organised to raise awareness on the need for infrastructure integrity through NDT, disclosed that while India and U.S. have over 20,000 practitioners, Nigeria only had about 10 persons with level three certification in NDT.
He said with NDT, a wide group of analysis techniques are used in science and technology to evaluate the properties of a material, component or system without causing damage.
According to him, the level of infrastructure decay in Nigeria is connected to poor infrastructure integrity, which can be addressed with proper NDT practice.
“We are trying to build a body of knowledge that would help Nigeria as it is elsewhere. There’s a gap in the number of people who are certified in NDT, because of this we have foreigners doing the jobs we should do. For the country to operate, NDT has a major role to play. For a functional economy we need more Nigerian NDT experts,” Umukoro said