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Insecurity: Nigeria, Benin Republic meet over smuggling of weapons, drugs

The Foreign Affairs minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyema on Thursday met with his Benin Republic counterpart, Aurelien Agbenonci over the smuggling of small arms, light weapons and drugs into the country.

Onyema, who spoke with newsmen after the closed door meeting said both countries would come up with a treaty on addressing their mutual challenge after they have briefed the president’s of both countries.

Onyema said; “The meeting we just had was a follow up to the meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari and his brother Patrice Talon of Benin had a few weeks back. We want to have an agreement between our two countries that would put any issue of smuggling or whatever it is behind us once and for all.

“So, Buhari charged us to come together at the ministerial level first of all, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship. You know the President of Benin said that they are concerned, they want not just saying it, but that Benin should be a 37th state of Nigeria. We should really be one.

“We will look into all these and we’re going to report to the two presidents. We more or less agree on a mechanism where Nigeria’s intelligence security and customs will together with Beninoise counterpart be able to monitor the borders and ports in Benin to ensure we don’t have smuggling of small arms and light weapons and drugs.

“So, this small Committee after we have reported to the two presidents will then be expanded where we’ll have all the other element, customs, immigration NAPTIP, NDLEA and all the others and will end up with a treaty that will govern this new arrangement between the two countries. So it will almost give us a common economic space, one economic space between Benin and Nigeria”.

“Benin’s foreign affairs minister was accompanied by his ministers of Finance, trade and interior, while Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister was accompanied by the ministers of interior, Industry, trade and investment and representatives from Immigration”.

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