The Federal Government has described as “misleading” reports in the media that the Republic of Benin is aspiring to be the 37th State in Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was quoted to have said that the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, had expressed readiness for his country to be part of Nigeria.
Onyeama, reportedly stated this shortly after a close door meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbenonci.
He was alleged to have said the Beninoise president gave the offer when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari, a few weeks back.
“The President of Benin said as far as they are concerned, they want (not just saying it like that) but in reality, Benin should be the 37th state of Nigeria,” Onyeama was quoted to have said.
“We should really be one. They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship.”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, on Saturday, said Nigeria has no such territorial ambition.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports in the media that the Republic of Benin is aspiring to be the 37 State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement reads.
“The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in the presence of his counterpart from the Republic of Benin granted a Press Interview after a very fruitful meeting between Ministerial delegations from both countries and stated therein… ‘the President of Benin Republic said he would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th State of Nigeria’.
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria has no territorial ambition and has never aspired to make Benin or any country as part of Nigeria”.
The statement added that Onyeama was quoted out of context and the general public should kindly disregard the wrong information.