Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the country is yet to attain self-sufficiency in rice production.
He was speaking at the 4th National Discourse organized in Lagos by The Companion, an association of Muslim Men in Business and the Professions themed ‘Food Security: Unleashing Nigeria’s Natural Potential for self Sufficiency’.
“We used to import $5 million of rice every day. Although local rice is enhancing the economy, it is still more expensive than imported rice,” he said.
Professor Osinbajo said that countries normally place subsidy on their rice to make it less expensive.
His words: “We are still at the point where we can do so much better. Once we are able to mill our rice, then we can compete with imported rice in terms of pricing.”
Immediate past governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, described Nigeria as a very poor nation that needed to stand up against corruption and improve on food security.
At the National Discourse, he stated that high concentration and investment on crude oil was melting the economy without meeting the demands of Nigerians and world markets.
Reacting to the country’s downward slope in agricultural development, president of Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) and pioneer vice-chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Fola Lasisi, expressed displeasure over the country’s inability to achieve food security.
Osinbajo also said that a modern nation where there are peace and progress could only be built on righteousness, which could only be achieved when the citizens were ready to pay the price.
He made the point as a special guest at the 50th-anniversary Lecture, Award, and Dinner of Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos.
The vice president noted that one of the reasons systemic corruption had been prevalent in Nigeria was because Nigerians were not ready to fight it.
He disclosed that often, relatives of criminals, including religious leaders, had been in the habit of soliciting for them to be released, instead of allowing them to face the consequence of their misdeeds to serve as a deterrent.
Pastor of the Church, Rev. Israel Kristilere, said: “We believe that the Church needs to do more than what she has been doing in building the nation, not just being pessimistic, but optimistic and move into action.
“We will continue to stand for the truth which exalts the nation, and the Church should be able to assist the government in carrying out its duties through godly advice.”