The Federal Government has said that the land borders will soon be totally shut to prevent smuggling of foreign rice and other toxic materials into the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh who made the revelation when he interacted with youths during The Guardians of the Nations International (GOTNI) leadership clinic held on Monday in Abuja also issued stern warning against consumption of Thailand rice saying it is poisonous
His words: “Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbor 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.
“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.”
Ogbeh lamented that the friendly relationship that existed between Nigeria and her neighbouring African countries was adversely affecting the nation’s economy, hence the decision to shut the borders.
According to the Minister, the federal government in past two years had succeeded in reducing rice importation by 95 percent and increased the number of rice farmers from five to 30 million.
He noted that states like Anambra, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa have taken advantage of the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) of the Federal government to upscale rice production, and such achievements will not be allowed to fizzle away through smuggling activities.
“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. We just have to handwork you to prosperity otherwise, this country will not grow. My wish for you is to have a better time than we had,” he added.