Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met and turned down the request by Vietnamese government’s on rice importation.
Led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Vuog Dinh Hue, the Vietnamese government had pleaded with the ruling party to appeal to the Federal Government to soften its policy on importation on foreign rice.
The Communist country delegation further disclosed during the meeting that it had also scheduled a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with view to pressing their appeal further.
However, reacting to the request, the APC’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, insisted that the border will remain closed until Nigeria’s neighbouring countries abided by the ECOWAS law, adding that the solution to the request was for Vietnamese farmers to invest in rice production.
He warned that Nigerian government won’t allow any country to use her as a dumping ground for unwanted chemicals, spoilt products among others.
“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 cuts across party divides, across primordial sentiments; people should salute the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari in shutting down 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 an 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, three years, it doesn’t matter so that our neighbours will learn to respect the rules of international engagement and the rules of trade.
“What has happened is that people relocate out of 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 relying on imported rice. That was why I told the DPM, when he talked about allowing Vietnamese rice to be imported into 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, not just that CBN denied the foreign exchange because there are linkages of forex unofficial.
“We don’t need imported rice because when I was growing up, and when you were growing up, we didn’t grow on imported rice. We must recognise that we are facing serious economic challenges,” he said.