Foreign affairs minister clarifies comment on Benin Republic being ‘Nigeria’s 37th state’

Minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has clarified his comment on Benin Republic being Nigeria’s 37th state.

The minister was reported to have said 
that president of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, had expressed readiness for his country to be part of Nigeria.

Onyeama had reportedly said this after meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbenonci.

But foreign ministry spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, said the minister was quoted out of context.

“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports in the media that the Republic of Benin is aspiring to be the 37th State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Nwonye’s statement read.

“The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in the presence of his counterpart from the Republic of Benin granted a press interview after a very fruitful meeting between ministerial delegations from both countries and stated therein ‘… the President of Benin Republic said he would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th State of Nigeria.’

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria has no territorial ambition and has never aspired to make Benin or any country as part of Nigeria.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs was therefore quoted out of context and the general public should kindly disregard the wrong information.”

In 2015, former President Thomas Boni Yayi, had said Benin Republic was Nigeria’s 37th state during a visit to Nigeria.

“Benin is the 37th state of Nigeria, and 55 percent of population in Benin comes from Nigeria, you know I am at home here,” he had said.

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