Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh said Nigeria’s borders are porous, and this has made the battle to reduce availability of foreign rice a difficult task and Nigerian government says it will increase the fight against rice smuggling through land border between Nigerian and a neighbouring country.
It will happen in few days time, according to the Minister.
He told youths in a leadership clinic under the auspices of Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI) that shutting the borders had become necessary to encourage local production and sustain the economy.
Mr Ogbeh did not mention the country, but he stressed that a neighbouring country was bent on destroying the economy of Nigeria through the discouragement of local production of rice.
However, one country that has been in the news several times for use of its border for smuggling of rice is Republic of Benin.
“Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbour of ours is importing more rice than China is importing.
“They do not eat parboiled rice, they eat white rice, they use their ports to try and damage our economy.
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“I am telling you now because in a few days, you will hear the border has been shut, we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect our economy.
“You will start seeing all sorts of negative things on the internet.
“Let me tell you why we need to shut the border, I grow rice, I was the first Nigerian to mill rice free of stones, if you plant rice in certain parcels of land, some poisonous materials gets into the rice.
Welcome To Poison!
“There are three kinds of water in their natural state; there is fresh water from the river, salt water from the sea, blackish water.
“If you go to the Delta in many countries, in South East Asia where they grow the rice, if you plant rice in the same place like four to six years continuously, the quantum of arsenic begins to increase and arsenic causes cancer and that is what they are dumping for us.
- “Some people say they prefer Thai rice because they are very sophisticated, welcome to poison,’’ Ogbeh said.