National Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has rejected a request by the Vietnam government to bring subsidised rice into Nigeria.
Concise News reports that the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vuong Hue, had requested the Nigerian government to allow the Asian nation to bring subsidised rice into the country.
Speaking through an interpreter, Hue said, “We can offer concessional import rate on rice while you are working on self-sufficiency. We can do two things at a time; while we give concession you can increase your local output.”
However, Oshiomhole while receiving a delegation from Vietnam led by Vuong Hue in Abuja on Tuesday, said accepting the request would further hurt the country’s economy.
Oshiomhole said: “If government allows importation of food, our youths will become idle, that will lead to unemployment. We want to promote food security.
“Rather than importing rice from Vietnam, your (Vietnam) farmers can take advantage of our arable land. We have to do that not only to protect farmers but to tackle food security.”
The ex-Edo State governor said the decision to close the borders by the Federal Government deserved the support of every Nigeria.
He said, “Nigerians should unanimously back the decision of the Federal Government to close the borders until our neighbours decide to respect the laws of fair and free trade.
“Nigeria must not and cannot be a dumping ground for imported foods, imported rice and other smuggled chemicals and drugs.
“I think this is one policy that across party divides, across primordial sentiments, people should salute the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari in shutting the borders because for too long, we have been a big brother to our neighbours. Now, that big brother is hurting us and hurting us very badly, we must secure ourselves as they say when you board aircraft that if oxygen fails and they drop the mask, help yourself before helping others.
“This is the moment. We must keep those borders shut. If we do so for two or three years, it doesn’t matter; so that our neighbours will learn to respect the rules of international engagement and the rules of trade.”
Oshiomhole added, “What has happened is that, people relocate from Nigeria, target Nigerian market and use our neighbours to compromise our own trade policies. So, I think the media should understand what is at stake.
“We cannot continue to rely on imported rice. That was why I told the DPM, when he talked about allowing Vietnamese rice to come to Nigeria. I said No, we are not going to do that; we will not do that.
“On the contrary, we are prohibiting the importation of rice, we don’t need imported rice.”