President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that he intentionally closed the country’s borders in order to stimulate food production in Nigeria.
While the decision was widely condemned, Buhari emphasized that Nigerians later praised it.
He spoke at the inauguration of the new Customs Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
“I deliberately closed the borders because knowing Nigerians, they order rice, give some Niger address, and then they bring the rice here,” he said at the event.
“With our land potential – we thank God Nigeria is favoured. We have people, we have land, and we have weather. How many nations are as lucky as Nigeria in the world? Very few nations are as lucky as we are! We thank God for that.”
Continuing, he said: “So, closing that border – 1,600 kilometres from Lake Chad to Benin – and Nigerians insist they that they have to impress their neighbours and other people and they eat foreign rice. I said, ‘No rice’.”
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“You eat what you grow or you die. I tried to make my point. Later, Nigerians appreciated it because it provided more jobs,” Buhari added.
“People got back to the lands – we have them– and we produced what we eat. Let whoever grows excess rice eat his own rice or sell it somewhere else.”