The Federal Government, yesterday, threatened to shut some land borders in Nigeria, if the smuggling of rice from neighbouring countries continues.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, gave the warning while addressing newsmen in Abuja on some of the Federal Government’s achievements in the agriculture sector in the last two years.
He said the decision had become necessary to encourage local rice farmers and enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018.
Ogbeh 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.
“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 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 for smuggling foreign goods not produced in that country for dumping in his neighbours territory.
“If they insist, I do not think that government is far away from considering permanently closing certain borders very near to us and when we do, nothing will make us change our minds on the issue, ECOWAS treaty or not.”