NIGERIA-REPUBLIC OF BENIN RELATIONS

          Nigeria has continued its policy of constructive engagement with the Republic of Benin whose nationals share strong cultural and social affinities with Nigerians. In the last one year, the two countries enjoyed excellent political relations at the highest level. Consequently, their Excellencies President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Thomas Boni Yayi had exchanged not less than eight visits. Both countries have equally enjoyed reciprocal support in securing positions for their nationals in International Organisations such as the Pan African Parliament (PAP) and Universal Postal Union (UPU).

          One of the most sailent and successful stories in the bilateral economic cooperation between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin is that which focuses on the Songhai Demonstration Farm known as the ‘centre of excellence’ based in Port-Novo, the political capital of Benin Republic. Through this project, a number of Nigerian State Governments have sponsored several youths, especially ex-militants for skill acquisition in modern agriculture such as aquaculture, poultry, food production and processing. It is noteworthy that the proprietor of the farm, Rev. Father Godfrey Nzamujo is a Nigerian. This exemplary project has been replicated in Rivers State.

          Furthermore, in early 2012, the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) which supervises the Save Sugar Company owned by Nigeria and Benin sent a team to the company, to inspect the factory with a view to ascertaining the level of its operations and the performance of the Lease Agreement entered into among the two countries, and the Chinese Lessee.

          Trade and commerce continued to flourish during the year as demonstrated by the frequency and volume of movements and exchange of goods and services along the common borders of the two countries. In the area of security, both countries have collaborated especially in the war against sea piracy. The two countries established a Joint Naval Patrol Team in September, 2011, 2011, which have enhanced security in their coastal waters and the seas.

          Cooperation in the field of education also featured prominently between the two countries. Nigeria tertiary institutions offering French Language course continue to benefit from full immersion in French Language in Beninoise Universities. The Nigerian International School, Cotonou, continued to serve as evidence of our close collaboration in raising the standard of education in the region.

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