The Director-General, Defence Research and Development Bureau, AVM Jumo Osahor, Director-General, Defence Research and Development Bureau, says the Armed Forces of Nigeria will require about N9 billion to provide military boots annually to kit soldiers.
The Director made this known in a paper he delivered during the Third Annual National Conference organised by the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria (SLTCN) at the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST), Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna State.
With the theme, “The Contributions of Leather Science, Technology and Innovation to the Nigerian Economy and National Security, the Director said that, “The Armed Forces of Nigeria will require about N9 billion to provide a pair of working shoes and boots for each soldier. The amount will double if we are to provide two pairs each per soldier every year.
“This huge sum of money if channeled to the indigenous leather industry will go a long way in revamping the sector and improving our national economy as well as security forces and provide jobs to our teeming youths.”
He said that the leather industry in Nigeria is yet to take advantage of the huge potential that exists in the military leather requirements of the AFN.”
While explaining that the Armed Forces of Nigeria comprising the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force all utilize leather materials as part of their military kitting, AVM Jumo Osahor said that, “these range from service shoes to combat boots among others. With strength of over 200,000 personnel, the requirement for shoes and boots is quite enormous especially with the requirement of at least two pairs of shoes and boots each per personnel per year.
“This translates to about more than half a million pairs of leather wares that could be provided through indigenous leather production industry yearly.
“At an estimated cost of N30,000.00 for a pair of quality working shoes (Bates) and N15,000.00 for combat boots,”
Earlier while declaring the conference open, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, assured the gathering that the ministry would partner with any professional body interested in any research field that would enhance the growth and diversification of the economy.
The minister, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Institute Of Leather and Science Technology, Dr Eucharia Ngozi-Oparah, urged the participants to deliberate effectively on topical issues that would address the challenges in the leather industry.
He stressed the need for effective deliberation particularly in areas where the economy would be improved through value addition of leather and leather products.