The federal government has pledged its strong commitment to work closely with the Republic of Benin to ensure the success of the newly inaugurated Seme-Krake joint border post between both countries.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the joint border post yesterday in Seme, president Muhammadu Buhari described the project, which is aimed at enhancing the free movement of persons and goods in the region, as “a symbol of integration that brings together the people of Nigeria and Benin”.
He said: “Indeed, the Seme-Krake joint border is one of the busiest boundary lines not only in West Africa but the whole continent, daily recording huge movement of persons, goods and services.
“Permit me, therefore, to congratulate my brother, President Patrice Talon of the Republic of Benin on the successful completion of this magnificent project.
“As we all know, Nigeria and Benin share many things in common. Hence, the establishment of the joint border post will certainly promote our brotherliness and emphasise our common interest.”
On the benefits of the joint border post, which sits on 17 hectares of land, the President, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that it would enhance trade facilitation by combining border clearance activities in a single location, increase cooperation and coordination of controls, in addition to fostering data and intelligence sharing between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
“The border post is strategically important and lies on the Lagos-Cotonou-Lome-Accra-
“The corridor is also part of the Trans-African Highway network. This joint border post with modern enabling facilities is a flagship project in ECOWAS and a good example of regional public assets with a spill-over range of benefits,” he said.
He also expressed optimism that the facilities at the border post would improve the working conditions of border officials and make them more efficient and effective in carrying out their duties.
He urged border officials of both countries to ensure that their operations were carried out within the guiding principles of ECOWAS.
Appreciating the financial commitment of the European Union Commission to the project and the contributions of the ECOWAS Commission towards its successful completion, Buhari noted that inadequate transport infrastructure and inefficient services were some of the major bottlenecks to the attainment of socio-economic growth and integration in the region.
In his capacity as the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, the President also thanked the EU for supporting two other joint borders at Malanville (between Benin/Niger) and Noepe-Akanu (between Ghana/Togo).