The Federal Government has decried the high rate smuggling, stressing that it is stalling the production of homegrown food.
The Federal government noted that such a problem would continue to destroy the economy and widened the unemployment gap, if not promptly nipped in the bud.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, who said this when he visited Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, identified the state as one that has badly affected by the problem of smuggling and appealed to the governor to do everything within his efforts to address the issue.
In s statement made available to newsmen by Lokpobiri’s Special Adviser on media, George Oji, he also admonished committed farmers not to be weighed down by the situation as government was committed to solving the problem.
The minister was quoted by the aide, “The Federal Government has a challenge of smuggling. All the efforts and achievements recorded, both in the fishery sector and in the rice sector, which we are doing excellently well will be reversed if we do not combat the issue of smuggling.”
“It has a whole lot of problems; it affects our daily existence as a country because today we have been able to create a lot of jobs through agriculture and if smuggling is allowed to continue, the likelihood is that that will be reversed, there will be lot more of social problems.”
The minister divulged that one of the measures put in place by the Federal Government to combat smuggling was the setting up of the committee headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, which he said is working round the clock to ensure that the issue is arrested.
Besides, Lokpobiri stated that the Federal Government is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that Nigeria collaborate with the Republic of Benin, Niger and Chad to check this problem, stressing that, “it is why the President of Benin visited the President of Nigeria a few weeks ago.”
In his remarks, Governor Ibikunle Amosun frowned at the dimension smuggling has taken, noting that, “we are not unaware of those challenges that smuggling poses to our agriculture and that is why we are insisting that all our porous borders should be closed.”
Amosun regretted that his state has the highest number of unmanned borders in the country and disclosed that he was already discussing with the Minister of Interior, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service as well as the Nigerian Customs Controller on ways of mitigating the problem both in the short and long term basis.