The Oodua youth parliament has opposed the decision of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Scientific Technology (NILEST) to set up a N350 million tannery in Daura, Katsina state.
Speaker of Parliament Hon. Abdulmajeed Oyeniye, addressing a press conference in Abuja, said it was unfair that an institute located in the north-western geopolitical zone decided to locate such a project within the same region.
Oyeniye said: “Other states like Lagos, Oyo or Ekiti are no longer part of the country or was the institute established only for the northwestern region? This is unacceptable to the majority of Nigerians and must be reversed in the spirit of federal character and fairness.”
The parliament expressed its dissatisfaction with the institute’s director general, Professor Mohammed Kabir Yakubu, alleging that the institute has not lived up to expectations of providing job opportunities to Nigerians and helping boost the economy.
He called for Yakubu’s immediate dismissal with the aim of replacing him with a competent hand that would reposition the institute for service delivery.
The group said that “NILEST was conceived with the aim of harnessing the vast potential of the country’s thriving livestock industry, especially in northern Nigeria.
“With over 100 million cows, goats and sheep slaughtered daily, Nigeria was projected to be a net exporter of fur and an industrial center in the leather and fur industry. More than 20 years later, nothing has changed and it got worse under the current administration of Professor Mohammed Kabir Yakubu.
“The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has shown that Nigeria exports less than 100 tons of furs and skins. In fact, it is questionable whether this quantity is exported to neighboring African countries and whether it is just raw hides or hides.
“There has been no visible trace of NILEST anywhere in Nigeria, although there are slaughterhouses scattered across the country, from Maiduguri to Lagos to Port Harcourt. All attempts at skinning and preservation are done on an individual level without the involvement of a supposedly professional body.
“Thus, there are still rudimentary practices and techniques that make it impossible for the country to produce leather suitable for domestic consumption and there is more talk of export.
“Imagine five employees per slaughterhouse across the country. Imagine the indirect jobs that would have arisen with this arrangement. The value chain for animal skins and skins would have been enormous. This teacher’s inability to deliver is enough to send him back to the classroom he came from,” he said.