Nigerians have reacted to reports that the Benin Republic wants to become the 37th state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to a Daily Trust report, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, had expressed readiness for his country to be part of Nigeria.
“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,”
“We should really be one. They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship,” Onyeama was quoted.
However, in a statement on Saturday, Onyeama revealed that there was no plan to make the neighbouring Republic of Benin the 37th State of Nigeria.
“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.
“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 fruitful meeting between the Ministerial delegation from both countries and stated there ‘…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,” the statement signed by the ministry’s spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye.
However, since the report came to light, Nigerians have supported and at the same time kicked against the move as some believe it’s a backward move for the Francophone country.
According to Wale Adetona, Benin would be going backwards if they merge with Nigeria. “Why would anyone even believe Benin Republic would want to become Nigeria’s 37th state? Sane countries are praying to make progress but they would now choose backwardness?” he questioned.
Another user, @4eyedmonk marvelled that some Nigerian initially believed the report, he said, “That some people, seemingly intelligent and critical people, actually for a moment believed that crap about Benin Republic wanting to become a state in Nigeria shows one of the reasons why we are where we are.”
Meanwhile, @africatt revealed a different alternative to make a merger work for Benin by saying “Benin Republic is probably part of Yorubaland. They are better off negotiating with the Yorubas to create the #Oduduwa nation,
not cutting deals with Fulani invaders from the Sahel to become part of Nigeria”
Reacting to the report that Nigeria is not considering the merger, one user, @SunkanmiShams is of the opinion that the rejection is a favour to the Benin people. “We are actually doing them a favour. Who in their right mind would want to join this mad house?”
According to @Ms_eMarjorie, “So which geo-political zone will Benin republic belong to? Cos we’re still tackling disunity in Nigeria and these people want to compound our problems.”
A sarcastic comment from a former senator, Shehu Sani advised that no one should translate the current state of Nigeria to them if the merger happens. “If Benin Republic wants to join us, they are warmly welcome; And please nobody should translate to them in French what is currently happening here,” he said.
If Benin Republic wants to join us,they are warmly welcome;And please nobody should translate to them in French what is currently happening here.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) February 20, 2021
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