The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has decried the abuse of the Economic Community of West African States protocol, which allows neighboring states to bring in rice into Nigeria.
Lokpobiri said this while receiving the new country manager of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Miss Ndine Gbossa, in Abuja, on Thursday. He lamented that because of the extant ECOWAS protocol that allows free access to any market within the region, people will dump their rice products in the region and re-bag them and bring them into Nigeria.
Lokpobiri said based on that, those from Thailand would go to Benin Republic with their parboiled rice and then re-bag them as though they were produced in Benin Republic and then smuggled them into Nigeria thereby denying the people of Benin the opportunity to grow rice and then benefit from the Nigerian market.
He stated that the Nigerian government has engaged the government of Benin Republic, up to the presidential level to curtail such practices.