The Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has advised Nigerians to stop eating imported rice and return to the pre-1980 era when indigenous rice was eaten only during festive periods.
The governor also advised Nigerians to embrace family planning, saying stopping the eating of imported rice and limiting the number of children each couple gave birth to would be effective tools towards eradicating poverty in the country.
Aregbesola said this in Osogbo, the Osun State capital at an event organised by the Osun State Agency for Community and Social Development to mark the 2016 International Day for Eradication of Poverty.
The governor also said since laziness was a factor that engendered poverty, every adult should strive to be productively engaged, especially in the agriculture sector, to ensure an abundant availability of food.
He said, “If we work and pray, we will banish poverty from our environment. Rice was not a staple food in Nigeria before 1980. Ofada rice was the only rice eaten during festivities. We should return to the time when we were eating indigenous rice.
“We have cassava, plantain, beans and yam. We should return to the time when we were eating our indigenous foods.
“Secondly, we should embrace family planning. I am not asking you to kill the ones you have given birth to, but we should stop the erroneous belief that we would be sick if we don’t give birth to all the children in our body.”
The Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolurin, said in his goodwill message that Nigeria was going through suffering caused by economic crisis because of the neglect of the poor.
Oba Abolarin, who is a lawyer, said lack and hunger being experienced were divine punishment that God promised to unleash on those who afflicted the poor.
The monarch quoted Proverbs chapter 22 verses 22 -23 to buttress what he said. He called on the government and wealthy Nigerians to stand up against poverty by assisting the needy.
The General Manager of the Community and Social Development Programme, Mrs. Funmi Abokede, lauded Aregbesola for the prompt payment of the state’s counterpart funds which, according to her, ensured the completion of the community development projects.
Abokede explained that each state captured in the World Bank initiative would pay its counterpart funds before the bank would release the balance to be used for community development projects.
The Chairman, Forum of Chairmen of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities in the South-West, Mr. Kehinde Onitiju, said the Central Bank of Nigeria was making arrangements towards giving loans to people with disabilities to assist them to be economically productively.
While commending the apex bank for this, he also appealed to Nigerians to lend a helping hand to the needy especially those with disabilities, saying they could do many things which would discourage them from begging.