The Chairman of the Steering Committee on the Proposed Nigeria/Benin Republic Permanent Joint Commission, Ambassador Kayode Oguntuase, has said creating this commission will boost economic development and security in the two neighbouring countries.
Oguntuase, who is a former Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, said this in Ibadan on Tuesday when he led members of the committee and officials of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council on an advocacy visit to the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria office at the Cocoa House.
The ex-diplomat said the bilateral issue was very important because of the closeness of the two countries and most especially the economic benefits which the creation of the commission would offer them.
He said, “The joint commission will be charged with the responsibility of formulating the required basis to strengthen the relations between Nigeria and Benin Republic, particularly in the field of, trade, economy, investment, energy, culture, human resources, skills science & technology, information technology, innovation, education, security and defence.
“The joint commission will also review agreements concluded in the past between the two countries and equally find suitable solutions for any issue in their implementation.
“The joint commission is expected to leverage and transform the existing relations between the two countries into the level of strategic partnership which will manifest itself in building robust and sustainable people to people and business to business relations among the people of Nigeria and Benin Republic.
“The commission will also strive towards enhancing the two countries and advance their share priorities which among others include ‘promoting socio-economic integration of the two countries, encourage and increase formal and legitimate trade and investments between the countries; develop a solid economic cooperation between Nigeria and Benin Republic through the Co-Prosperity, Alliance Zone (COPAZ), strengthen the fight against trans-border crimes and terrorism and promote the economic prosperity and security of the prosperous Lagos-Abidjan corridor.”
The President, West African Association of Cross-Border Trade on Agro-Forestry, Pastoral, Fisheries Products and Food, Alhaji Salami Alasoadua, said the trade barrier between Nigeria and Benin Republic must be resolved to make the two countries stop recording losses.
He said because of the trade barrier between the two countries, exported goods had to be taken through longer routes which was having negative effects on the economy I the two countries.
Alasoadura said, “The reason for us to have Nigeria/Benin Republic Permanent Joint Commission is to; promote trade, culture and generate revenue for Nigeria and make the South-West the connectivity between West Africa and Central Africa.
“On security challenge and the lack of job which is the major problem among the border communities, and infrastructures, we need to use a scheme for empowerment those border communities by providing them small scale corporative.”
The Director General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Mr Seye Oyeleye, commended the initiative.
He assured the committee of the DAWN support to ensure that the trade barrier between the two countries were removed through the establishment of the joint commission.