Nigeria’s governing party the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected an offer to import Vietnamese rice to Nigeria.
The APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole rejected the offer made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Vuong Dinb Hue, when the Deputy Prime Minister led a delegation to pay him a visit in his office in Abuja.
While speaking to journalists after the visit, Mr. Oshiomhole also expressed support for the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to close Nigeria’s land borders.
Mr. Hue appealed to the APC to urge the government of Nigeria to open its borders and allow it to import Vietnamese rice at discounted prices adding that he and his delegation have already scheduled a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with view to restating the same position.
Reacting to the request, Mr. Oshiomhole insisted that the border would remain closed until Nigeria’s neighbouring countries abide by the ECOWAS law, adding that Vietnamese farmers can come to the country and invest in rice production.
“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 into our country.
“I think this is one policy that 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 brothers 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 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, 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 are growing up, we didn’t grow on imported rice. We must recognize that we are facing serious economic challenges.” Oshiomhole said.