Benin reportedly is expressing interest to join Nigeria and become its 37th state, according to Nigerian officials.
The Beninoise president, Patrice Talon is 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.
Nigeria is a federal republic of 36 states and a federal capital territory, with a population of over 150 million.
Previous leaders of Benin, a nation of 12 million people, have often expressed a desire to be a part 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.
A recent closure of borders between Nigeria and Benin sparked outrage among some West African nations due to the impact on their businesses.