The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation discussed with the Ambassador of Nigeria to Benin the latest incidents in border areas between the two countries. Minister Aurelien Agbénonci finds these acts unacceptable at a time when both countries are negotiating for the opening of borders.
The actions of some Nigerians in the Benin-Nigerian border areas could worsen the situation between the two countries following the closure of the borders. According to Aurelien Agbénonci, these actions by Nigerians are out of step with the dialogue approach chosen by the two nations to resolve issues related to border closures.
WE ARE IN A DYNAMIC DIALOGUE WITH NIGERIA. WE HAVE JUST COME OUT OF A TRIPARTITE MEETING HELD IN ABUJA ON 14 NOVEMBER, WHERE WE FOUND AN EXIT ROUTE SO THAT ISSUES RELATED TO BORDER CLOSURE, THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD CAN BE RESOLVED IN THE MOST CONSISTENT MANNER WITH THE ECOWAS TREATIES; IN THE MOST CONSISTENT MANNER WITH INTERNATIONAL TREATIES. SO IN SUMMONING THE AMBASSADOR OF NIGERIA, I WANTED TO CONVEY TO HIM THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF MY GOVERNMENT, THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF OUR GOVERNMENT THAT WHILE AT THE TOP LEVEL OF BOTH STATES WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS, INDIVIDUALS IN THE CHAIN OF RESPONSIBILITY AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL ARE TRYING TO MAKE THE SITUATION WORSE.
Benin and Nigeria are two sister countries and have maintained good neighbourly relations for many years. But for the Minister, this does not mean that certain acts will be accepted. “There are some behaviours that are not acceptable and we have made a point of saying so in the strongest possible terms. We are brotherly peoples; but there are limits that must not be exceeded,” he told ORTB.