We are more than crude oil – Gov Bagudu

Alhaji Atiku Bagudu

By Okpe Oko, Abuja
The governor of Kebbi state, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, has emphasized on the need to focus on agriculture as Nigeria’s highest source of income generation in the coming years, saying, ‘’Nigeria is more than crude oil.”

 The governor said with the natural resources God has blessed the country with, including fertile land in all the states of the federation and rearing of animals will enable the country feed the whole West Africa.

He also said we do not understand that rice is an international trade commodity that is why other countries want us to keep buying from them thereby enriching their farmers to our farmer’s detriment.

Bagudu who was speaking with a select journalists on a fact finding mission to the state on the production of rice and wheat in his office in Kebbi, said: “Somebody will give you something you have, making you forget that you have your own to utilize.”

“The imported rice we have; Stallion, Indian rice, and Elephant Gold and so on, these people bring to us this rice and make them cheap because of the way they smuggled them into the country. Thailand, India and China buy a lot of paddy from farmers and keep for years to support their farmers as they have about eight million tons in their storage.

“If an Indian importer brings in rice to Nigeria claiming he bought them for a certain price, you cannot doubt him. I want you to understand that imported rice is not fresh like our locally produced rice. 

"The rice that are imported stayed longer like three years before they finally get to the final consumer in Nigeria, which makes it to lose all the nutrients. Some other countries discourage their Customs to disregard them and use certain parameter that will discourage their import and smugglers.”

The governor pointed that Nigeria has the potential to feed West Africa; for the ECOWAS treaty, West Africa buys from us and we also go to buy from them, saying that about Six million tons of rice is produced worldwide annually.

“Almost all Nigeria states produce rice so we can push and expand rice production significantly. Nigeria is more than oil, Sesame seed oil, groundnut and soya-beans oil… Brazil that produces crude oil more than us also has Soya-beans oil.

“Nigeria is more than crude oil, soya-beans, rearing of animals and others. This is what we have demonstrated in Kebbi state, that we can do it, Nigeria can do it.

“All the loans we have are less than a billion dollars, if we are ready to make good things out of Africa, we should be ready to fund it. Rice, cassava or oil should be encouraged in agriculture. This progress are made today because of President Buhari’s commitment to agriculture and the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe’s major contribution, people have put in more effort in rice and wheat production," he said.

Bagudu said Lake Rice produced in Kebbi state has an MoU with the Lagos state government, hence the name “LAKE”, Lagos and Kebbi, which 140, 000 Lake Rice was sent to Lagos state before Christmas and same will be done again for the Ramadan.

He opined that all the North-Western states and states that have low temperature can produce wheat as it is an easier crop to produce, adding that “we have not been able to set our objective clearly.”
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