APC Rejects Imported Rice, Insists On Border Closure

1 year ago Ogunsuyi Roland 0

National chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has told a delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vuong Dinh Hue, that the federal government would not reverse its policy on the closure of its borders with its neighbours and importation of rice.

The delegation came to seek an audience with the APC National Working Committee to prevail on the government to review its stance on the ban on importation of rice.

Speaking with newsmen after the closed-door meeting which lasted for over two hours, Comrade Oshiomhole told newsmen that he told the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam and his team in clear terms that the decision would not be reversed. He said importation of food, particularly rice was injurious to the economy.

He said: “Nigerians should unanimously back the decision of the federal government to close the border until our neighbours try to respect the laws of fair and free trade. Nigeria must not and can’t be a dumping ground for imported food, imported rice and other smuggled chemicals and drugs from other countries.

“I think this is one policy that Nigerians across the party divide, across primordial sentiments, should salute the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari in closing down the borders.

“For too long, Nigeria has been a big brother to our neighbours. Now, that big brother is hurting and hurting very, very badly. We must secure ourselves as in the way you board an aircraft that if oxygen fails, and they drop the mask, you help yourself before helping others. This is the moment. We must close the borders even if we do it for two, three years, it doesn’t matter. So that our neighbours will begin to respect the rules of international engagement and trade.

“What has happened is that people relocate out of Nigeria, target Nigerian market, use our neighbours to compromise our own trade policies.

“So, the media should understand what is at stake. We can’t continue to remain dependent on imported rice and that was why the ambassador talked about allowing Vietnamese rice to come into Nigeria, I said no! We aren’t going to do that, we won’t do that, on the contrary, we are prohibiting importation of rice. We don’t need imported rice, we didn’t grow up on imported rice.”

He, however, admitted that Nigeria has a lot to learn from Vietnam, particularly in the area of diversification of economy and poverty reduction.

“We have a lot to learn from them over a period of 10 years, they reduced poverty from 60 to 4 per cent.  In terms of sustainable growth, we have a lot to learn them.  We need to diversify our economy, invest in agriculture and that’s why we closed our borders to strengthen our economy.

“They want us to import rice but I have told them that we want to feed ourselves,  we have a lot of arable lands to promote agriculture.  I think we have a very fruitful discussion.”

Also speaking at the media briefing,  the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the delegation,  Vuong  Dinh  Hue noted with satisfaction: “The tremendous efforts that Nigeria is making to grow its economy under the APC administration.

“We must congratulate APC for its convincing victory and we hope that  under APC leadership Nigeria will continue to record tremendous successes.”

Dinh Hue pleaded for sustained bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Vietnam and further requested for a visit from President Muhammadu Buhari to meet his  Vietnam counterpart.

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