A United Kingdom-based shoemaker, Adesola Benson, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to impose restrictions on the importation of certain footwear into the country.
According to Benson, such action will encourage local footwear manufacturers to go into mass production which will in turn have a positive effective on the economy.
The shoemaker who relocated from the UK told SUNDAY PUNCH that he was making plans to train 100 shoemakers as a way of ensuring that made-in-Nigeria products are available and patronised.
The entrepreneur who has his factory in Ikorodu in Lagos State pointed out that his aim was to make the town Nigeria’s shoe hub.
Benson noted that local shoemakers will succeed in their enterprise if the Federal Government would allow them to make footwear for paramilitary personnel instead of resorting to importation.
He said, “(Prior to now) I have been able to train about 10 shoemakers. Training is my area of specialisation. The local shoemakers will have breakthrough if Federal Government can encourage local manufacturers like us to make shoes for paramilitary personnel instead of importing. This will not only encourage us it will also boost the nation’s economy by patronising made-in-Nigeria goods. I am happy about the recent gospel of made-in-Nigerian goods being propagated by the Federal Government. It is another way to empower local manufacturers and also boost the nation’s economy.
“Many shoemakers in Nigeria are not educated. So, I want to empower 100 shoemakers in Ikorodu. I mean people who are not opportune to go to the university or don’t have the means to learn in the university like I did. I want Ikorodu to be like a city in Italy that is renowned for shoe-making. I want Ikorodu to be a Mecca for shoes in Nigeria so other states in Nigeria can imitate us.”
Benson further noted that it would benefit the country if the President Muhammadu Buhari banned the importation of shoes.
“Most African countries don’t produce shoes and we have a chance to export to African countries. But if Nigeria still imports substandard shoes, it is going to have a negative effect on local production.
“Well, I had made shoes for the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. But the one that brought me to limelight was a pair of shoes that I made for Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi,” he said when asked if prominent Nigerians patronise him.