Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged Nigerians to endure the high cost of commodities occasioned by the closure of the country’s borders, saying that the move was to ensure farmers in Nigeria become prosperous.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Benin City as part of activities of the ongoing National Festival for Arts and Culture, Osinbajo explained that part of the reason for the border closure was to get the attention of neighbouring countries to take more seriously the question of policing the borders.
He said other prosperous nations did not allow any country bring goods into their countries but opted to grow what they eat, noting that smuggling discourages local production and does not allow Nigerian farmers have access to the market.
“Part of the reasons for shutting the border is the smuggling that has been going on. If we continue to allow the Chinese and others to continue to bring in all those things, we will kill farming completely and most of our people will not be employed.
”There may be some pain in other to gain. The countries of the world that are prosperous didn’t allow anybody to bring in anything to their countries. They made sure they grew what they ate. I can assure you that very soon, you will see a great deal of progress; you will see more of our own commodity coming into the market. If we allow our own people grow these things, our people will prosper. The only way our people can prosper is if we let them use the opportunity that they have such as farming, fishing and others.
”We are going to make sure that commodities are cheaper. We must bear in mind that the reason today some commodities are more expensive is because we stopped smuggling. We have to encourage our local farmers so that our local farmers can prosper,” the vice president said.
He commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for the vision to seek to reposition Edo State as a foremost destination for investment and tourism, saying that Edo was blazing the trail in the direction of diversifying the country’s economy and moving the nation in the direction of revenue beyond oil.
“Tourism is one sector which has untold potential for growth; Edo State is blazing the train in this direction. By showcasing its rich heritage, Edo State will attract global attention for all of the right reasons.
“It is apt that the Edo State Government is pursuing a cultural agenda that include the recovery of the lost treasures of the Benin Kingdom from all of the places they were taken to across the world. The invasion of the Benin Kingdom would have ended a lesser civilisation instead the royal dynasty survived and the legacy of Benin endured not only through the lineage of the noble royal houses but also in the evident resilience of the people,” Osinbajo said.
In his remark, Governor Obaseki said his administration was committed to leveraging the state’s cultural capital to drive investment in the tourism sector, disclosing that tourism is the key pillar of his administration’s agenda and the next level was to translate the cultural assets into a force that attracts international tourists traffic.
”For us, entering the next level means manifesting the greatness of Edo State through tourism as one of the pass ways of sustaining growth and prosperity in post-oil future. We believe that Edo State can serve as a path finder for the nation in the post-oil economy. We recognise that culture and tourism are powerful tools for this progress,” he said.