The federal government on Wednesday, refuted a claim by an online news agent which claimed the federal government had imported genetically modified rice into the country.

This was made known by the  Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba, who made the position of the government known at a news conference in Abuja.

in his words, no Genetically Modified rice has been commercially released and as such the FG could not have imported it.

He further explained that there is still a ban on the  importation of rice in the country and there is no indication it has been lifted.

In the same vain, FG spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina explained government’s involvement in boosting production of rice in Nigeria, the Federal Government said it signed a $1 billion Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) for investment in integrated rice project with Dangote Industries Ltd.

“Further to this agreement, Dangote Industries Limited this year cultivated over 8,000 hectares in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers who are the major beneficiaries of the scheme.

“In consolidation of the rice project of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is also in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other reputable companies to tap into the vast potentials in the private sector and broadening the economic base of the country.

This was aimed at broadening the economic base of the country. “The gains of the diversification drive especially in the agriculture sector are already yielding dividends as shown by the recent statistics in the sector published by the National Bureau of Statistics.

“These engagements will continue until the present administration has laid a solid foundation for the economic development of the nation. “It is therefore ridiculous that a government that is wholly devoted to the generation of employment for Nigerians, especially through agriculture will turn around to get involved in an activity that will reverse the gains of the same partnership,’’ he said.

He noted that President Buhari had said it repeatedly “we have the capacity to feed ourselves in Nigeria and even export from what we produce in the country.’’ “He has also said that through the provision of N200 billion by the CBN for small holder farmers and processors involved in local production of rice and other grains, rice importation will hopefully stop in the next three years.

“While the Buhari administration is working assiduously with well-meaning Nigerians to bring the country out of the current economic situation it has found itself, a few self-serving individuals are bent on distracting the administration from the avowed focus to reflate the fortunes of the country through the diversification of the economy which, very soon, Nigerians will begin to see and experience the results.’’

The Presidential aide warned purveyors of such malicious information and those thinking of embarking on the same route to have a rethink and retrace their steps.


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