Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has thrown his weight behind the border closure, while asking neighbouring Benin Republic, to do better in order to improve a harmonious bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Obasanjo said this at a press conference on Tuesday, in Addis Ababa, on the margins of the policy dialogue of African business associations on implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreements.
The two-day policy dialogue was organised by the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
Obasanjo, who is the chair of the Coalition of Dialogue Africa (CoDA) board of directors, said, “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, ” he said.
“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 allow dumping of goods, there will always be a problem with Nigeria.”
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Obasanjo stressed that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was not created to allow one country to turn itself into a dumping ground.
“The intense support AfCFTA has received from various member states is a clear indication of its importance, ” he said.
“CoDA is highly engaged in seeking success of AfCFTA and other multilateral agreements. CoDA work is informed and guided by the notion that no one has monopoly of ideas.”