Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on border closure, urging Benin Republic to change its ways for a harmonious bilateral relationship with Nigeria.
Obasanjo, speaking at a news briefing on the margins of Policy Dialogue of African Business Associations on Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreements, which took place in Addis Ababa said: “It happened when I was President of Nigeria. I called the then Benin President, Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo, to let us meet at any of our border posts over the issue.
“We eventually met at Badagry (in Nigeria), where we agreed that Nigerian Customs would be stationed in Benin.
“They (the Nigerian Customs) are still there. We don’t have issues with goods manufactured in Benin — they are welcome.
“But, as long as Benin allow dumping of goods, there will always be problem with Nigeria,”
The two-day policy dialogue was co-organised by the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Export – Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
Other co-organisers are The AfroChampion Initiative and the Coalition of Dialogue Africa (CoDA).
Obasanjo, who is the Chair of the CoDA Board of Directors, explained that Benin’s notoriety was not new, as Nigeria had for long been enduring the practice, which undermined its economic well-being.
He noted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was not created to allow one country to turn itself to a dumping ground.
On AfCFTA, Obasanjo said the execution of the agreements was crucial to its success and sustainability.
“The intense support AfCFTA has received from various member states is a clear indication of its importance.
“CoDA is highly engaged to seeking success of AfCFTA and other multilateral agreements. CoDA work is informed and guided by the notion that no one has monopoly of ideas,” he said.
Nigeria Ambassador to Portugal H.E Ngozi Ukaeje, Togo Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Robert Dussey & DG Of NIMASA in Lisbon Portugal. Dr Peterside was a keynote speaker at the seminar organized by the Portuguese ministry of Defense