Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have agreed to work together to curb the activities of smugglers between two countries.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to Nigeria, Paulette Vekpa, stated this after a closed door meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.
Ms. Vekpa said that the issue of smuggling has been a major challenge threatening the smooth bilateral relations between her country and Nigeria.
“The issue of smuggling of rice and other products from Benin to Nigeria has been an issue; we don’t really like that situation.”
“It is the biggest issue because it is affecting the good relationship between the two countries; it is not helping our country either; because Benin is not gaining anything in the smuggling.”
“These and some other issues are what I came to remind the minister about,” she explained.”
According to her, the bilateral relations between the two countries have been cordial except the issue of smuggling that has been affecting the relationship.
Mr. Onyeama disclosed that the issue discussed was how to address the challenge of smuggling and how to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The most important thing is the smuggling and we are just trying to resolve that, we have set up internal mechanism inform of inter-ministerial committee on that,” explained Mr. Onyeama.
The Minister said that a tripartite commission had also been set up with Niger, Benin and Nigeria to address the issue of smuggling and to enhance the trade relations.
According to Mr. Onyeama, “the tripartite commission is among the three countries Niger, Benin and Nigeria to sit down and see how we can enhance our trade relations both regular and irregular trade,” he said.
The Minister said the two countries had also agreed to resuscitate the joint bi-national commission between Republic of Benin and Nigeria