The Ambassador of the republic of Benin in Nigeria, Mrs Paulette Yekpe, has called for concerted effort from Nigeria towards sustenance of peace and unity within the region of Africa.
Yekpe made the call while addressing participants at the celebration of the 58th Independence anniversary of the Republic of Benin been organised by the Beninese Embassy to Nigeria in Abuja.
She said that Nigeria and Benin shared quite long and rich natural, cultural and historical ties with over 800 miles of land borders often crossed on daily basis by five million people.
She noted that invaluable opportunity abound, adding that it is expected, such poses a number of socio-economic challenges which the nations’ leaders were steadfastly working together to address.
According to her, Benin is ready to showcase its amazing and untapped potentials to the world in the areas of its tourism attractions, beautiful beaches, friendly weather, and rich cultural heritage.
‘‘Unique animal parks notably the Pendjari and W park, the slave trade relics in Ouidah, not to mention Ganvie, the biggest lake city in Africa.
‘‘Nigeria’s critical role in my country’s socio-economic development, Africa’s first economy with it vibrant and very enterprising private sector cannot be over-emphasised.
‘‘The development and prosperity we all crave for can only be achieved in an environment of peace and security.
‘‘This is why I salute the success currently being achieved by the Nigerian government in the areas of insurgency and arms related crimes.
‘‘I have no doubt that these efforts will bring about a more united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria that is ready to take its leadership role at regional and continental levels,’’ Ambassador Yekpe stated.She said that President Patrice Talon, had in the bid to transform Benin tourism industry and attract foreign investment, made entrance into the country possible without visa requirement.
The Ambassador further urged Beninese community in Nigeria to continue to support government effort by making judicious use of the boundless opportunities that exists within their host country.
Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters- Senate, said that for economic trade to be successful, it had to be reciprocal.
Enang, who was a participant at the event stated that “what we do to other countries in West Africa, they should also reciprocate with the same measure”.
According to him, “I make reference to the kind of things happening to Nigeria and Nigerians in Ghana, where there is some level of discrimination against traders and Businessmen”.
Enang said ‘‘they should not do that and expect Nigeria as a country will keep quiet, because we owe our citizens respect and protection where ever they are taking legitimate businesses.
‘‘For us and Benin Republic, we have had very great relationship, although we have been having illegal trade in Rice and other imported goods from that country, it has been well conducted.
‘‘It was caused by a few of the businessmen, but the government of Benin has made measure that the trade relations between both countries has been commendable.’’
The lawmaker commended the country on the celebration of its independence anniversary and prayed God to grant the government and people of Benin peace and prosperity.
In another interview, Mr Honore Hounkpatin, National Chairman of Beninese Community in Nigeria, decried inadequate security to be pose challenge for business transaction to thrive.
According to him, security is our major challenge but I believe that the outcome of the meeting of Heads of States, in Lome, Togo, will create modality to tackle insecurity for businesses to flow.
‘‘We only hope that frameworks are put in place to beef up security at the border region of the two countries, to enable us carry out our business operations with ease,’’ Hounkpatin said.