Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi has appealed to residents of the state to exhibit nationalistic spirit to assist the Nigeria Customs Service to tackle smuggling of items into the country.
Bagudu, who made the appeal at the AgroNigeria High-Level Rice Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, asserted, “We need nationalistic spirit to fight smuggling.’’
The governor, also the Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat Production, described rice smuggling into the country as an ‘economic warfare’ by some countries.
He, however, urged all stakeholders to rise up and assist the government by providing adequate information to help apprehend smugglers.
“All Nigerians are responsible, most of the imported rice is not fit for human consumption and NAFDAC has done a number of studies to establish that.
“What people are misled with is that those people who are smuggling or carrying out economic warfare against us are able to drop prices below the Nigerian locally produced rice because it cost them literally nothing.
“So, Nigerians have to appreciate what we have, our farmers, processors, millers are doing a great job of given us good quality rice at fair prices and we need to support them.
“The more we support them, the more they deliver yet lower prices for rice.
“The foreign rice coming in cannot compete with ours in terms of freshness and years of produce.
“What is more important is for all Nigerians to recognise that some countries are waging an economic warfare against us, so we should all mobilise to fight this,’’ he said.