By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday expressed concern over the heavy floods which destroyed lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses in Kebbi State.
The flood, according to presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, also destroyed 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 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.”
The statement also said the president sympathised with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the devastating floods, pledging that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.”