Pulse.ng reported Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama as having disclosed that the President of Benin Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon has expressed his country’s willingness to merge with Nigeria without hesitation.
“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,” Geoffrey Onyeama is quoted as saying.
According to Onyeama, the Beninoise president made the offer when he paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari a couple of weeks ago.
“We should really be one," Onyeama adds. "They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship.”
Onyeama further disclosed that during the visit, both presidents discussed bilateral agreements and how to better tackle the smuggling menace across the border.
He stated this shortly after a closed-door meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbenonci, Pulse.ng said.
It would be recalled that Nigeria closed its borders to Benin last year to stop rice smuggling which affected other countries including Ghana within the West African subregion.
Benin republic is a West African nation of 12 million people.
The country has reportedly expressed its desire over the years to be a part of Nigeria.
Former Beninoise President, Boni Yayi, often described the Benin Republic as Nigeria's 37th state in 2011 and 2015 under Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari respectively.
Although Nigeria itself with all the riches is not doing well when it comes to eradicating deprivation and extreme poverty among its citizens, coupled with incessant insecurity, the republic of Benin sees merging with it as a better option.