The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday gave its strong support for the federal government on continued closure of the country’s borders as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) while backing the order, despite reports of its biting effect on the citizens said Nigeria can no longer be a dumping ground for all manners of importation.
The National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, also rejected a request made by the visiting Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam for the country to be allowed to export the country’s rice to Nigeria at a subsidised rate.
The Communist of Vietnam Tuesday had appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress through its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole to urge the federal government to open its borders and allow it to be importing Vietnamese rice at reduced prices.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Vietnam, Vuong Dinb Hue, who led a delegation to meet the APC Chief and members of the party’s NWC in Abuja said they had also scheduled a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with view to restating the same position.
Speaking at the end of his meeting with the Vietnam leaders, 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, our neighbours will learn to respect the rules of international engagement and the rules of trade.
“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.”