Nigerian farmers under the aegis of the Agricultural Promotion Organisation of Nigeria (APON) have requested that President Muhammadu Buhari keep Nigeria’s border against Benin closed for 10 years.
The group made the call during a solidarity rally in Abuja.
The farmers during the rally flagged various placards with inscriptions such as “Border closure, 80% gain, 20% loss. Carry go, PMB,” “Land border closure: We demand continuity for ten years,” among others.
President Buhari in August 2019 had directed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to shut Nigeria’s land border with Benin so as to check, among others, the smuggling of food items into the country.
President of APON, Comrade Bashiru Alhassan, told newsmen during the rally that farmers were in support of the President’s directive, adding that the closure had helped to upshoot local rice production.
Alhassan further explained that it has also increased growth in the production of agricultural produce such as cassava.
The comrade added that farmers in the country now make bountiful sales due to the increase in local rice consumption.
He said, “We are here to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the great achievements so far especially within the agriculture sector.
“We are here to show solidarity with the government and to inform the government that the border should remain closed for 10 years.
“All the agricultural associations are ready to continue to support Buhari’s government.”
On his part, APON’s Board of Trustee Chairman, Comrade Akortsaha Aondohembafan, said that Nigeria’s local rice was not only cheaper than the foreign ones but even more nutritious.
Aondohembafan also commended NCS for dutifully executing the President’s directive.
He added that the sector would uphold the country’s Gross Domestic Product as crude oil price has fallen further.
Bent Crude – the international oil benchmark against which Nigeria’s oil is priced – crashed to $33 last Monday.