Alhaji Atiku Abubakar the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, on Tuesday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that his government had reduced the nation’s dependence on foreign rice is false.
Atiku said that the Buhari administration, which has bragged about this achievement, made this known before the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on April 16, 2018.
According to Atiku, Buhari had said, “we have cut rice importation by about 90 percent, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”
Atiku also said that Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture, had on May 2, 2018 claimed that “unemployment in Thailand was one of the lowest in the world, 1.2 percent, it has gone up to four percent because seven giant rice mills have shut down because Nigeria’s import has fallen by 95 percent on rice alone.”
In a statement by Atiku’s campaign organisation, disclosed that “recently released data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Markets and Trade Report has proven these claims by President Buhari and his government to be false.
“According to the World Markets and Trade Report of the USDA, which is a public document, Nigeria imported three million metric tonnes of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of the product imported in 2017.”
“It does not end there. The report shows that there has actually been a steep drop in commercial rice production from its 2015 peak under the previous Peoples Democratic Party administration.”
Atiku said that the report explained that “Nigeria had consistently milled 3,780,000 metric tonnes annually – a drop from 3,941,000 metric tonnes recorded in 2015.”
The PDP presidential candidate appealed to President Buhari and his government to be truthful to the Nigerian public, rather than claim progress they have not made, “because no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.”
Atiku, however, said that he would always be honest and transparent with the Nigerian people as he carries all citizens along in his mission to Get Nigeria Working Again.