Benin Republic, Nigeria partner to confront smuggling

Written by Maritime First

… As lawmaker lauds Buhari for accenting ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’***

The Republic of Benin and the Federal Government agreed on Thursday, on a new collaborative initiative to confront smuggling and collectively wrestle it in both countries, to its knees.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to Nigeria, Ms Paulette Vekpa revealed this, after a closed door meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.

Vekpa said that smuggling had become an intimidating menace, threatening the smooth bilateral relations between her country and Nigeria, hence the decision to tackle it on a concerted scale.

“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 address the issue.

“These and some other issues are what I came to remind the minister about,” she said.

According to her, the bilateral relations between the two countries have been cordial, except the issue of smuggling that has been affecting the relationship somehow.

The envoy, who declined comment on the trade volume between the two countries, maintained that the trade relation was smooth but for the issue of smuggling.

Confirming the nation’s position, Onyeama indicated later, that the issue discussed was how to address the challenges of smuggling, particularly from the standpoint of enhancing 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 in form of inter-ministerial committee on that,” he said.

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.

“The tripartite commission is among the three countries to sit down and see how we can enhance our trade relations both regular and irregular trade,” he said, explaining that the Republic of Benin and Nigeria also agreed to resuscitate the joint bi-national commission between them.

Meanwhile, a Lagos lawmaker, Mr Jude Idimogu, on Thursday lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent of the “Not Too Young To Run Bill”, saying it demonstrated that he meant well for youths.

The President on Wednesday signed into law, the “Not Too Young To Run” Bill.

Idimogu, representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly made the assertion in Lagos, highlighting that signing the bill into law has laid to rest all issues around a statement credited to the President describing Nigerian youths as lazy.

“It is a good one, I am happy that the “Not too Young to Run bill” has been signed into law by the President.
“It is to tell Nigerians that the President is on ground and meant well for the youth. He made the promise on May 29 and fulfilled it in May 31.
“This shows that Buhari is up and doing, he wants the best for the youth irrespective of what the social media is saying about him,’’ he said.

Idimogu, who described the bill as popular, said it would impact greatly on the participation of young people in the decision-making process.
According to him, some of the hurdles preventing youths from actively participating in politics have been removed, youths have the zeal, strength and intellectual capacity to drive the country.



About the author

Maritime First