Smugglers frustrating government’s efforts in agric sector, says minister
Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that government’s efforts in the agricultural sector will be frustrated unless urgent measures are put in place to stop smuggling in the country.
Lokpobiri, who spoke during a courtesy visit to Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, in his office in Abeokuta, urged states in border areas to complement Federal Government’s efforts to reduce smuggling.
He said social problems would continue to fester in the country if the problem is not promptly nipped in the bud.
A statement signed by Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, George Orji, said the minister identified Ogun State as one of the areas badly affected by the issue of smuggling and appealed to the governor to do everything possible to address the issue.
According to the minister, “the Federal Government has a challenge of smuggling. All the efforts and achievements recorded, both in the fishery sector and in the rice sector, which we are doing excellently well, will be reversed if we do not combat the issue of smuggling.”
Besides, Lokpobiri stated that the Federal Government is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that there is collaboration with the Republics of Benin, Niger and Chad to check this problem.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State governor, in his response, shared his concern with the minister on the issue of smuggling, noting, “we are not unaware of those challenges that smuggling poses to our agriculture and that is why we are insisting that all our porous borders should be closed.”
Amosun, who regretted that his state has the highest number of unmanned borders in the country, said he was already discussing with the Minister of Interior and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as well as the Controller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on ways to mitigate the impact of the problem.
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