Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has declared support for the APC led federal government over the closure of Nigeria’s borders.
Speaking during a news briefing on Tuesday in Addis Ababa on the margins of Policy Dialogue of African Business Associations on Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreements, the former President said Benin, as a country, has been notorious in the practice which undermining Nigeria’s economic well being.
He added that the authorities of the Benin Republic must change their ways to ensure a harmonious bilateral relationship between the two countries.
The two-day policy dialogue was co-organized by the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
Other co-organisers are The AfroChampion Initiative and the Coalition of Dialogue Africa (CoDA).
Obasanjo, who is the Chair of the Afro-Champion Initiative and Coalition of Dialogue Africa, CoDA, Board of Directors explained that Benin’s notoriety was not new, noting Nigeria had for long been enduring the practice which undermined its economic well being.
“It happened when I was President of Nigeria. I called the then Benin President, Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo, to let us meet at any of our border posts over the issue.“We eventually met at Badagry (in Nigeria), where we agreed that Nigerian Customs would be stationed in Benin.“They (the Nigerian Customs) are still there. We don’t have issues with goods manufactured in Benin — they are welcome.“But as long as Benin allows the dumping of goods, there will always be problem with Nigeria,” Obasanjo said.
He also noted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was not created to allow one country to turn itself to a dumping ground.
On AfCFTA, Obasanjo said that the execution of the agreements was crucial to its success and sustainability.
“The intense support AfCFTA has received from various member states is a clear indication of its importance.“CoDA is highly engaged to seeking success of AfCFTA and other multilateral agreements. CoDA work is informed and guided by the notion that no one has monopoly of ideas,” he said.
He urged for more actions, beyond words, adding that with fragmented 55 markets, Africa would remain small player in global market place.