The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Tuesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim on massive rice production is fraudulent.
Relying on data recently released from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Markets and Trade Report, Mr. Abubakar said the government was not truthful about the rice claims.
“According to the World Markets and Trade Report of the USDA, which is a public document, Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tons 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.
“The report also showed Nigeria had consistently milled 3,780,000 metric tons annually – a drop from 3,941,000 metric tons recorded in 2015,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The former vice president, therefore, appealed to Mr. Buhari and his government to be truthful to the Nigerians and stop claiming progress the administration has not made.
He said no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.
Mr. Abubakar said he will always be honest and transparent with the people and vowed to carry the citizens along in his mission to “Get Nigeria Working Again.”
The Buhari administration has consistently boasted its biggest achievement is the reduction of Nigeria’s dependence on foreign rice.
The president had confirmed this on May 16, while having an audience with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
“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,” Mr. Buhari was quoted to have said.
Earlier on May 2, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, had claimed that Thailand was being hit by unemployment because of the fallen rice imports from Nigeria.
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