The Benin Republic Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Paulette Yekpe, has said that the proposed tripartite meeting by Nigeria, Niger and her country, will establish a framework to address rice smuggling.
Mrs Yekpe said this while briefing Journalists on the side line of activities marking the 58th Independence anniversary of the country.
She said that the smuggling of rice and other products posed a threat to the relationship between both countries.
The ambassador said that although ECOWAS protocol paved way for the free movement of citizens within the sub-region, more needed to be done through regional integration to tackle rice smuggling.
She, therefore, expressed the determination to strengthen the collaboration between the two countries, to curb illegal rice smuggling into Nigeria.
‘‘Nigeria and Benin have historical ties with over 800 km of land borders; no matter the number of custom officers we put to man the place, our borders will always be porous.
She said although the date for the tripartite meeting had not been fixed, plans were underway to organise it to bring the issue of rice smuggling to the barest minimum.
In separate interview, Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, said that Nigeria’s relationship with Benin needed to be deeper to tackle smuggling.
Senator Enang said that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would do all within ambit of the law to tackle smuggling, cross-border and transnational crimes.
He assured Benin of the Federal Government’s support in terms of security, to tackle smuggling.