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The Defence Headquarters is to collaborate with the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology, Zaria to produce “Made-in-Nigeria” military boots.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Acting Director-General of NILEST, Dr Ekeria Ngozie-Oparah, on Tuesday in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Olonisakin, who was represented by Commodore Onegbe Christopher-Obenta, Deputy Director, Sea System, said the Defence Headquarters sought to collaborate with the institute to promote the use of Made-in-Nigeria products.

He expressed satisfaction with the facilities and staff at the institute.

“Let me start by congratulating the institute for the extensive equipment that I have seen.

“We are here to see for ourselves the possibility of collaborating with the institute in the production of some of our wears, especially the footwear.

“From what I have seen, I think the institute would be able to meet our standard,” he said.

According to him, “the collaborative effort is not just about awarding a contract and allowing the institute to do what it wants but the military will also be contributing to how and what it wants.

“If you make a boot, we may proffer suggestions so that when we wear them there will be more comfortability and will stand the test of time.

“In line with Mr President’s Made-in-Nigeria spirit, it is gladdening to have some institutions like this meeting our demands, to put an end to importation,” he said.

The Acting Director-General, NILEST, Dr Ekeria Ngozie-Oparah, said that the institute was established in 1964 by the then Northern Nigerian Government and the UNDP as a Hide And Skin Improvement Centre.

Ngozie-Oparah said it started as a Training Institute before it became a Research Institute, adding that it was the only institute providing training on leather in the West African sub-region.

She said that the institute had the capacity to produce 20,000 military boots within a short specified time.

She said most students of the institute were performing excellently in their postgraduate programmes better than their counterparts in the universities.

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