President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep concern over recent heavy floods in parts of Kebbi state that took a number of lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, destroying farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.
A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Wednesday, said the president regretted the timing of the disaster as it came when efforts were ongoing to boost local rice production.
The statement quoted him as saying: “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.”
President Buhari noted that “Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part of this administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.”
He said that “With the loss of six lives and still counting; thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion Naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production.”
President Buhari noted that “This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets.”
The President, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the devastating floods, has assured that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.”
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