Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on Tuesday, announced that Aba shoe factor has begun production three months after its scheduled take off.
Governor Ikpeazu, in a tweet, said the kind of shoes produced could be used to kit security agencies in the country. He also promised that the shoes are of good quality and will be delivered timely.
He tweeted: “After years of committed pursuit, our Aba shoe factory has finally started production. This pair of shoes is a sample of what we can do to help kit our security agencies, including the @HQNigerianArmy, @NigerianNavy, @NigAirForce @PoliceNG, @CIVILDEFENDERS etc. I look forward to receiving orders for the mass production of the shoes & other kits for our security agencies as there’s no need importing what we can produce locally. I commit to personally ensure that quality and timely delivery aren’t compromised. Let’s join hands to save the Naira.”
Orient Daily recalled that the state government had earlier set deadline for take-off of the Aba automated shoe factory operations in September, 2020. The planned take off fell through. The Aba shoe factory is reported to have an installed capacity for production of about 5,000 pairs of shoes daily which translates to about 2 million pairs of shoes annually.
The technical partner of the factory, Mr Osaro Ekonweren, had equally praised the Aba shoe factory for possessing the best quality machines in the country. “We were amazed and impressed by what we saw on ground. Our group has been into shoe production in Nigeria for over a decade now, and I must confess that the machines we saw there when we went on inspection cannot be found anywhere in the country. We use machines in our own company but what we have is nowhere near what is at the Aba shoe factory,” he said after the inauguration of the board of the company by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in Umuahia.
Ekonweren further assured that the products from Aba factory would be well received in Nigeria and international markets.
“Products from this factory will not just be for the local market here but will be sold across West Africa and beyond. The factory will be run as a professional and commercial outfit with clear opportunities for value addition and job creation”, he said, adding that the factory would also produce other leather works like bags, belts, wallets, etc.
The executive director, operations of the factory, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu, said that the 30 shoemakers who were trained in China by Governor Ikpeazu on the use of machines in shoe production would form the initial technical staff of the factory while there will be huge emphasis on training for more operators.
Nwaogu explained that the delay in the start of production at the factory was because the governor had insisted that a professional organisation must be found to run the place and the process took some time, coupled with the pandemic of COVID-19 which shut down the country for about 3 months.
The governor inaugurated the board of the factory which has Mr Mark Atasie, a management consultant, as chairman and gave them a clear mandate to raise the bar and cement the place of Abia state as the powerhouse of leather works in Nigeria and West Africa.