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Chief Austin Chikezie, the Chairman, Delta House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, has lauded the Federal Government for the closure of the border against rice importation.

Concise News reports that the lawmaker gave this commendation in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Asaba.

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He said that rice farmers in the country and indeed in Delta, now have a reason to smile, as they record good returns from their business.

Chikezie, a former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the state government had a well mapped out policy and programme for agriculture, which had empowered many youths and women.

He said that priorities were given to rice production, cassava, oil palm, poultry, piggery, goat rearing among others.

The lawmaker called for the ban on importation of other items being produced locally to encourage farmers in the area to develop, create jobs and make profits from farming.

According to Chikezie, the closure of border on importation of rice is a welcome development and there will be more gains if other items that are produced locally receive the same attention.

“The closure of border is a blessing to our rice farmers and as long as we can produce these items, I support the Federal Government, there is no need importing them’’.

He said that farmers in Delta would benefit from the government policies on agriculture because the state government had developed a plan to make the sector attractive to young people.

“There are many plans by the state government to make agriculture very attractive to youths in such a way that the value chain development will further commercialise agriculture,’’ he said.

Nigerians will praise FG — Lagos lawmaker

In related news, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Victor Akande, says Nigerians will praise the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government later over the closure of the nation’s land borders.

Akande, representing Ojo Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly, made this assertion in an interview with NAN on Tuesday in Lagos.

The lawmaker, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, said that the closure had security and economic benefits to the nation.

Akande said: “It is more beneficial to close our border than to allow it open for now.

“Nigerians might not understand this now, maybe because of the little pains it has brought; but the positive effects that will soon follow will make Nigerians to praise the President for doing so.

“Security of our country is key and germane; if this step is not taken now, it may be difficult to control movement of people, arms and ammunition into the country and win the war against insurgency,” he said.

The lawmaker urged Nigerians to be patient with the government, saying that the continued closure was in the best economic and security interests of the nation.

“We need the closure also to battle problems of unemployment in the country. Our appetite for foreign goods and services is to our detriment.

“We create jobs for citizens of the countries where these foreign goods are coming from while our teeming youths do not get work to do.

”As long as our local goods are not patronised, it is a death sentence to employment opportunities in our country.

“The border closure will make us look inward and see what we can do for ourselves and even go back to agriculture. Nigerians will praise the government later for this step,” he said.

According to him, the closure will help put the nation on the path of economic growth and development through revival of local industries.

“We will have a sense of self-sufficiency. It is an avenue for us to develop. People are cultivating and producing rice everywhere now which is good for us,” he said.