President Muhammadu Buhari says some Nigerian elite connived with foreign firms to defraud the country.
Buhari said this on Friday when he received a delegation of All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kebbi state in the presidential villa, Abuja.
The president said the elite colluded with foreign shipping firms, insurance companies and financial outfits to deplete the country’s foreign reserves.
But the president did not identify such individuals.
He said: “When I was told that the CBN had no savings after the windfall of selling oil for more than 100 dollars per barrel for many years and production was 2.1 billion barrels per day, I did not believe them.
“I did not believe them because majority of Nigerians cannot afford imported food; they rely on what is locally grown. It turned out that 50 per cent of the export bills were fraudulent, courtesy of the Nigerian elite.
“Unfortunately, we will not know all that happened because the elite worked in collusion with institutions in developed countries like insurance firms, shipping companies and other financial outfits, to perpetuate the fraud.”
Buhari reiterated his administration’s commitment to reviewing and strengthening agricultural reforms “until Nigeria regains its pride of place as food exporting country”.
While observing that the country’s rice import bill has dropped significantly, he said: “Beyond self-sufficiency, Nigeria must strive to become net exporter of food commodities.
“We are not doing badly in the agriculture sector. Nigerians and indeed the world, are beginning to appreciate our efforts. We will work harder until we start exporting food.
“We are happy that rice and beans importation into the country have gone down by over 90 per cent, and everyone can see how productive states like Kebbi turned out to be and states like Lagos, Ogun and Ebonyi are following the example.”