By Peter Amine
Jos – Rep Beni Lar (PDP/Langtang North/Langtang South), on Friday donated a building complex to the Jos extension centre of the Nigeria Institute of Leather Science Technology (NILEST), as part of efforts to promote entrepreneurial growth.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the complex named Beni Lar Entrepreneurship Development Complex, was inaugurated by the lawmaker who described the leather industry in Nigeria “a huge treasure worth over N25 billion”.
“The leather industry in Kano today stands as Nigeria’s foremost commercial hub in leather production and processing. It is also Nigeria’s biggest supplier of local leather.
“The leather industry in Nigeria is estimated to be worth N25 billion. It also employs hundreds of thousands across Nigeria.
“Cities such as Kano, Aba, Lagos are some of the cities that standout in the leather business.
“Today, history has been made in Jos, and by the grace of God, Jos is now joining this club in a big way.
“By the grace of God, through the support of NILEST and Ministry of Science and Technology, Jos will become the major hub for leather processing and production with the commissioning of this centre.
“Now we have a world class leather centre in Jos; it means we can compete with Kano and even overtake Kano,” she said.
Lar, who is the House Committee Chairman on Science and Technology, said that Plateau youths would be trained in leather production, adding that the centre would create jobs and generate income for many.
“There are abundant raw materials for the industry in Plateau. Nigeria is becoming a major global player in the production of leather designers. Plateau cannot afford to be left behind.
“In the past we used to go to other shores with skins collected from goats, snakes, sheep and other animals, but the processing will now be done here,” he said.
She expressed gratitude to NILEST, especially its acting Director-General, Dr Eucharia Oparah, for the support toward actualising the project.
In her remarks, Oparah said that the centre had 60 qualified and highly experienced staff with a liaison office at the Cabinet Office, Jos.
Oparah said that the centre had linkages with various institutions and agencies having similar objectives, adding that NILEST was addressing the diversification efforts of the Federal Government and also promoting the goal of patronising local goods.