In a bid to maintain peaceful relationship among neighbouring countries, Nigeria, Benin and Niger have agreed to meet in order to address the problem of Rice smuggling facing all three countries.
The Benin Republic Ambassador to Nigeria, Paulette Yekpe, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, said that the smuggling of rice and other products posed a threat to the relationship between both countries.
‘‘Nigeria and Benin have historical ties with over 800 kilometres of land borders; no matter the number of custom officers we put to man the place, our borders will always be porous.” She said.
‘‘When people come into our country because of ECOWAS, we cannot reject them; we have no right to; we have been fined for stopping them before for bringing rice in. ECOWAS had fined us; what such people say is we are travelling to Niger and once they are somewhere in Bardi, they go to Kebbi, Kano and that is what it is.” She added.
Yekpe therefore urged the governments of the three countries to sensitize their citizens about the dangers of smuggling in order to reduce the occurrence of such acts.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, has assured Benin that the Nigerian government would give their support in terms of security, to combat the problem.
“We have been having problem in illegal trade in rice and other imported goods from Benin Republic. The government of Benin Republic has been interested in making sure that the kind of trade that goes on between the two countries is very great, because we are the best of neigbours.’’ He said.