Benin Republic has officially reacted to news that it wants to join Nigeria and become its 37th state.
Spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry, Ferdinand Nwonye, said Saturday that Benin has never aspired to be part of any country.
The Beninoise president, Patrice Talon was said to have made the offer during a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari weeks ago.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made the revelation to the Nigerian media after holding a meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbenonci.
Onyeama said “The President of Benin said as far as they are concerned, they want (not just saying it like that) but in reality, Benin should be the 37th state of Nigeria.”
“They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship,” Onyeama added.
But Benin is walking back on the said desire to join Nigeria, according to a statement from the country’s foreign affairs ministry.
“The honourable minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in the presence of his counterpart from the Republic of Benin granted a press interview after a very fruitful meeting between ministerial delegations from both countries,” the ministry’s statement read.
The statement said what the minister meant was that: “… the President of Benin Republic said he would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th State of Nigeria.”
Nigeria shares borders to Benin in the west, Chad and Camaroon in the east, and Niger in the north.
Benin is dependent on Nigeria for most of its export. Its economy is primarily based on informal trade with Nigeria.