In order to check the high incidence of smuggling along the common borders of Nigeria and Benin Republic, the governments of the two nations have agreed to work together towards eradicating the menace.
Both countries have come to the conclusion that it is only through cooperation, support and partnerships in terms of sharing personnel, legislation, and information that the activities of smugglers between the borders of the two countries can be effectively curtailed.
This position was revealed by the Ambassador of Benin Republic to Nigeria Ms. Paulette Vekpa after having a closed-door meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Customs with Impounded goods
According to Vekpa, the issue of smuggling has been a thorny issue affecting the smooth bilateral relationship between both countries hence the need for it to be addressed holistically.
“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” lamented Vekpa
“When we met at a meeting of Heads of State in Lome, Togo the other day, I discussed the issue with the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and we decided to have a tripartite commission to address the issue. These and some other issues are what I came to remind the minister of” she added.
Cotonou, Capital of Benin Republic
The Benin envoy while speaking on the trade relationship between the two countries continued to harp on the issue of smuggling as being major impediment to increase trade and good relationship.
Commenting on the meeting between them, Onyeama said the issued discussed was on how to effectively address the issue of smuggling and how to enhance the good bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
“The most important thing is the smuggling and we are just trying to resolve that: we have set up an internal mechanism in form of the inter-ministerial committee on that” hinted Onyeama. He further disclosed that a tripartite commission has been set up consisting of Nigeria, Niger and Benin Republic to tackle the issue of smuggling.
According to him “The tripartite commission is for the three countries to sit down and see how we can enhance our trade relations both regular and irregular”
“This will also lead to both countries reviving the joint bi-national commission between them to enhance good trade relations” He added