Vice President Yemi Osibanjo Friday urged Nigerians to endure the high cost of commodities occasioned by closure of the country’s borders.
Osibanjo who spoke at a town hall meeting as part of activities of the ongoing National Festival for Arts and Culture, holding in Benin, Edo State, said the closure of the borders was to ensure prosperity of farmers in Nigeria.
He explained that part of reasons why the borders were closed was to get attention of neighbouring countries to take more seriously the the policing of the borders.
He said other prosperous nations did not allow any country bring goods into their countries but opted to grow what they eat.
The Vice President noted that smuggling discouraged local production and does not allow Nigeria farmers have access to market.
According to him, “Part of the reasons for shutting the border is the smuggling that has been going on. If we continue to allow the Chinese and others to continue to bring in all those things, we will kill farming completely and most of our people will not be employed.
“There may be some pain in other to gain. The countries of the world that are prosperous didn’t allow anybody to bring in anything to their country. They made sure they grew what they eat. I can assure you that very soon you will see a great deal of progress, you will see a more of our own commodities coming into the market. If we allow our own people grow these things, our people will prosper. The only way our people can prosper is if we let them use the opportunity that they have such as farming, fishing and others.
“We are going to make sure that commodity are cheaper. We must bare in mind that the reason today some commodity are more expensive is because we stopped smuggling. We have to encourage our local farmers so that our local farmers can prosper.”
Osibanjo who commend Governor Godwin Obaseki for the vision to seeking to reposition Edo State as a foremost destination for investment and tourism, said the State was blazing in the direction of diversifying the country’s economy and moving the nation in the direction of revenue beyond oil.
“Tourism is one sector which had untold potential for growth, Edo State is blazing the trail in this direction. By showcasing its rich heritage, Edo State will attract global attention for all of the right reason.
“It is apt that the Edo State government is pursuing a cultural agenda that include the recovery of the lost treasures of the Bénin Kingdom from all of the places they were taken to across the world. The invasion of the Benin Kingdom would have ended a lesser civilisation instead the royal dynasty survived and the legacy of Benin endured not only through the lineage of the noble royal houses but also in the evident resilience of the people,” he said.
Earlier in his remark, Governor Godwin Obaseki said his administration was committed to leveraging on the State’s cultural capital to drive investment to the tourism sector.
He said tourism was the key pillar of his administration agenda and the next level was to translate these cultural assets into a force that attracts international tourists traffic.
“For us entering the next level means manifesting the greatness of Edo state through tourism as one of the passways of sustaining growth and prosperity in post oil future. We believe that Edo State can serve as a path finder for the nation in the past oil economy. We recognise that culture and tourism are powerful tools for this progress,” he said.