The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said he deliberately shut the country’s borders to encourage food production in Nigeria.
Buhari made this known while addressing Nigerians in a public conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
While the move was heavily criticised, Buhari noted that Nigerians later appreciated it.
He said, “I thank Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), I deliberately brought him here, please note, that from Lake Chad to Benin is more than 1,600 km, only God can effectively guard that border, so you’ll need a person who will have the energy, the competence to effectively supervise, and I deliberately closed the borders because knowing Nigerians they order rice and give some Nigerieans and bring the rest here.
“And with our land and with our potentialities, we thank God, Nigeria is favored, we have people, we have land, we have weather, we are lucky! How many nations are as lucky as Nigeria? We thank God for that.
“So, closing that border, 1,600 km more than that, and Nigeria insisted that they have to impress their neighbors and other people that they eat foreign rice. I said ‘no rice’, ‘you eat what you grow, you grow what you eat or you die’.
“I think I tried to make my point and later Nigeria appreciated it, because it provided more jobs, people go back to their land, we have the land and we produced what we eat, let whoever grows or bring excess rice eat his own rice or sell it somewhere else but not to Nigerians.”