The Federal Government has threatened to shut down some land borders if the smuggling of rice continues from neighbouring countries.
This declaration was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, on Monday in Abuja, while speaking to newsmen on some of the Federal Government’s achievements in the agriculture sector in the last two years.
Ogbeh said the decision became necessary to encourage local rice farmers and to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018.
He said: “We believe they are determined to sabotage the efforts that we are making to guarantee self sufficiency in rice and to save foreign exchange which we don’t have.”
“They insist on bringing in rice through the land borders, avoiding the duties and the levies we put on them and they are definitely bent on sabotaging our efforts and we are getting increasingly unhappy with them.”
“And I must say that very soon, if they persist, we will take very nasty measures against them.”
“We will like to advise our neighbours who believe that the ECOWAS Treaty means that Nigeria is a volunteer nation for economic suicide.”
“We have no such plans — destroying our own economy to make any neighbour happy.”
“The ECOWAS Treaty number two does not suggest that any country can be an avenue of smuggling foreign goods not produced in that country for dumping in his neighbour’s territory.”
“If they insist, I do not think that government is far away from considering permanently closing certain borders very near us and when we do, nothing will make us change our minds on the issue, ECOWAS Treaty or not.’’