By Chris Ochayi
Some farmers in the country have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the land border remain closed for the next 10 years.
The farmers operating under the auspices of Agricultural Promotion Organisation of Nigeria, APON, made the call during a Solidarity Rally in support of border closure, weekend in Abuja, submitted that the policy will turn the country into rice production hub if retained.
The farmers who sang solidarity songs to always stand by Buhari, also displayed placards with inscriptions: “Border closure 80 percent gain, 20 percent loss. Carry go PMB.”, Land border closure; we demand continuity for ten years, Agric producers say yes to border closure, among others.
In his address, the President of the organization, Comrade Bashiru Alhassan, said farmers are happy with the land border closure policy of the present administration, adding that they now produce and make sales like never before.
He said, “We are happy with the closure of the land border. Farmers now make sales with a lot of products produce and consume by Nigerians.
“We are here to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the great achievements so far especially in the agricultural sector.
We are here to show solidarity with the government and to inform them that the border should remain closed for 10 years,”
The group said there is now no importation of rice into Nigeria and that communities and states are now producing a lot of rice in tones for the local consumption and for export to the neighbouring countries.
“Not only rice, cassava and other agricultural produce are now being produce in large quantities as a result of the border closure. All the agricultural associations are ready to continue to support the Buhari’s government,” Alhassan added.
Also speaking during the rally, the representative of Rice Farmers Association who is also the chairman Board of Trustees, Agriculture Promotion organization of Nigeria Comrade Akortsaha Aondohembafan, said the local rice is cheaper than the foreign rice and more nutritious.
He said the closure of the border has brought a lot of good things into the country, adding that the closure has stop smuggling of agriculture product.
He said even with the reduction in crude oil price at the international market due to outbreak of coronavirus, agricultural produce will help the Nigeria’s GDP.
According to him, “With the closure of the border, there is increase in revenue accrued to Nigeria because the local farmers are doing well,”
He said the Nigeria Customs CG, Hameed Ali should be commended for generating huge amount of money on a daily basis.
He said, “We are fully in support of the land border closure and it should continue for next 10 years.”