Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Republic of Benin and Nigeria, yesterday agreed on ways to put an end to smuggling activities across the borders.
This was disclosed to journalists by the ambassador of the Republic of Benin to Nigeria, Paulette Vekpa, after a closed door session with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.
Vekpa said smuggling activities had been the huge challenge threatening the cordial bilateral ties between the two countries.
He said: “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.
“When we met at the meeting of the Heads of State in Lome the other day, I discussed that with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and we decided to have a tripartite commission to discuss about that. These and some other issues are what I came to remind the minister about,” Vekpa said.
Commenting, Onyeama said: “The most important thing is the smuggling and we are just trying to resolve that. We have set up internal mechanism in form of inter-ministerial committee on that.” Onyeama disclosed that a tripartite commission has also been put in place with Niger, Benin and Nigeria, to address the issue of smuggling and to enhance the trade relations.