Jumo Osahor, director-general of the Defence Research and Development Bureau, says the military needs N9 billion to provide boots for soldiers annually.
Osahor said this on Thursday while delivering a paper at a conference organised by the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria (SLTCN).
The conference held at the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST), Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna state.
The air vice marshal said expenses would double if two pairs of boots are provided for the soldiers comprising of army, air force and navy.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will require about N9 billion to provide a pair of work shoes and boots for each soldier. The amount will double if we are to provide two pairs each per soldier every year,” he said.
“This huge sum of money if channelled 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.
“However, the leather industry in Nigeria is yet to take advantage of the huge potential that exists in the military leather requirements of the AFN.
“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 person 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.”
On his part, Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, said his ministry would partner any professional body interested in any research field that would enhance the growth and diversification of the economy.
Represented by Eucharia Ngozi-Oparah, director-general of NILEST, Onu said there is a need to enhance the economy “through value addition of leather and leather products.”