PDP Demands Minister’s Resignation Over Rice Claim

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THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the resignation of the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, for allegedly portraying Nigeria as a lying nation and bringing her to international opprobrium.

It has also asked the minister to apologise for falsifying rice claims relating to Nigeria’s relationship with Thailand.

The claims relate to increased rice production in Nigeria and a drop in import from Thailand which the minister said was told by Thailand’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Wattana Kuwongse, had caused problems for Thailand, leading to the shut down of a number of rice mills in the Asian country.

According to a statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday, the whole world was shocked when the ambassador of Thailand to Nigeria, Kuwongse, publicly denied ever informing Chief Ogbeh that major rice mills were shutting down in Thailand as a result of drop in importation of rice by Nigeria as claimed by the minister.

The party said the development has further dragged down the image of the nation which it claimed the APC-led administration has wrecked in the last three years.

The party said the minister had neither clarified his claims, nor offered any explanation for the heavy embarrassment he caused the country, adding that such has placed a heavy moral burden on him and the Federal Government.

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The PDP also wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari, as African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion, had not taken any action to redeem the image of the nation, after the ugly development.

The party added: “It is clear that the intention of the APC-led Federal Government was to use the Minister of Agriculture to mislead Nigerians into believing that the Buhari-led administration has achieved national self-sufficiency in food production, a stunt which fell flat on its face and brought the nation into international ridicule.

“Nigerians will recall that the same minister, last year, programmed the exporting of rotten yams and brought the country into international disrepute, all in the desperate bid of APC interests to score cheap political points and push their ill-lucked 2019 re-election bi.”

“Earlier this week, President Buhari’s handlers made the nation a laughing stock in the international arena when they railroaded the president into offering to help Ghana in the fight against corruption, when back at home, the APC-controlled Federal Government is an ocean of corruption and false claims.

“This is a government where officials deliberately issue false security assurances, particularly in the northeast region, making the people vulnerable to attacks.

“Nigerians have not forgotten how this government lied that it had recovered the abducted Dapchi girls, only for the report to turn false and frustrated prompt effort that would have led to the recovery of our daughters.

“Nigerians have seen that the hallmark of the APC-led Federal Government is falsehood, deception and lies, but they are shocked that government officials could invent and peddle bare-faced lies in the international arena.

“Nigerians can now see the weight of our earlier caution to always cross-check any information or performance indices issued to them by the Presidency or officials of the APC government, no matter how highly placed.

“We therefore charge the Minister of Agriculture to toe the path of honour and immediately resign and tender and unreserved apology to Nigerians. The fact remains that our nation cannot continue to run on a government where officials function as peddlers of falsehood and lies.”