President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, lamented the recent floods in Kebbi State which claimed lives and destroyed farmlands.
While regretting the lives lost, Buhari described the destruction of farmlands as a huge setback for his regime’s commitment to local production of food.
Buhari’s position was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The statement was titled “President Buhari laments deaths and destruction of farms in Kebbi State by floods, says disaster couldn’t have come at a worse time for farmers.”
Shehu said Buhari expressed deep concern over the floods that took a number of lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, destroying farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.
He quoted the President 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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Buhari, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the floods, assured them that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State Government in order to bring relief to the victims”.