Nigeria and the Republic of Benin commit to a partnership that will halt illegitimate entries into both countries.
Nigeria and the Republic of Benin on Tuesday in Abuja renewed their commitment to tackling illegal trade in small arms and light weapons across their borders.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Dikko, and his Beninois counterpart, Soussia Theophile, made the pledge during the latter’s two-day working visit to the Nigerian customs headquarters.
“Today we are having problems with the proliferation of arms, and trade in hard drugs and, as such, it has become imperative that we save our nations from self destruction,” Mr. Dikko told his Beninois counterpart.
He asked that two countries increase cooperation in order to fast track the movement of people and goods, for genuine and legitimate businesses.
Mr. Dikko promised that the Nigeria Customs would ensure easy movement of genuine Beninois into and within the Nigeria borders.
He, however, warned that the Nigeria Customs would not hesitate to punish fraudulent persons caught cutting corners at the borders, and said that the Benin authorities should do same.
In response, Mr. Theophile, who spoke through an interpreter, pledged his commitment to the partnership. He said that it would improve security in the borders and encourage more revenue generation for both countries.
He stressed the need for the two customs to harmonise their revenue generation efforts in order to boost revenue generation in both countries.
Mr. Theophile also praised the Nigeria Customs Service for its leading role in ensuring the success of the customs conference held in March in Cotonou.
He said President Goodluck Jonathan’s attendance of the World Customs Forum in Brussels is a demonstration of Africa’s commitment to promoting international cooperation on issues affecting customs and border protection.
The 2012 Small Arms Survey published by the UN on Monday estimated that 875 million small arms in circulation worldwide are produced by more than 1,000 companies in 100 countries.
The survey notes that illegal trade in small arms and light weapons kill more than 500,000 people each year with a particularly heavy toll on civilians.