Smuggling from Benin Republic Worries Nigeria
Worried by the high level of cross border smuggling, Nigeria has resolved to fully implement the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Benin Republic to tackle the menace.
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau, restated the nation’s commitment to curb smuggling at a meeting the Ambassador of Benin Republic, Ms. Adjovi Paulette.
The minister said that the high rate of rice smuggling from Benin Republic into Nigeria has deprived local rice growers the opportunity to harness the gains of their investment.
He said particularly, in a time when the country was aiming at food security for its populace.
The minister said that the country was willing to collaborate with Benin Republic to arrest and prosecute human traffickers as well as proliferators of small arms as these criminal acts hinder development.
The minister, therefore, called for combined border security and management to ensure safety at the borders.
Paulette, had earlier said that the need for collaboration to handle border challenges cannot be over-emphasised.
She said that the synergy would assist both countries in setting up a mechanism that would stop smuggling and organized cybercrime, adding that on its part, they had begun sensitizing their citizens on the dangers of smuggling.
She urged the Nigeria Immigration Service to assist in identifying the names of companies that illegally bring-in rice into Nigeria as it would contribute to curtailing the menace.
Meanwhile, the Governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic have launched a joint operation tagged:“Hawk Descend” against smuggling of poultry products through Benin into Nigeria. The bi-lateral agreement took place at Seme Border, and was witnessed by dignitaries and agencies from both countries. Addressing the crowd at the event, the National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Dr Ayoola Odutan, expressed his worries over the negative effect of smuggled poultry on the Nigeria economy, especially unhealthy poultry products such as chicken and turkey. He said scientists have proved that these products are loaded with harmful micro-organisms. He also decried that contraband have increased the rate of unemployment in the poultry business in Nigeria.